Literacy Links – Volume 70

creating, literacy links, online learning, professional resources, reading, summer, writing

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Summer reading is a passion of mine. I’ve developed a summer reading launch unit for teachers to use in the past, so I adapted it for quaranteaching. The goal of the units, one for primary and another for intermediate, is to set up students for success for summer reading: figuring out their best reading routines, sharing book talks, and setting a summer reading goal. There are lots of accompanying resources: an info session video and accompanying presentation for families, book lists from trusted sources, and a collection of themed, digital Bitmoji libaries curated by Center teachers! I want summer 2020 reading to be our most successful ever!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:


Literacy Links – Volume 68

book clubs, creating, online learning, professional resources, reading, writing

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This week, the second grade team at my school asked for online book club info, so I rounded up my go-to resources in my free version of Padlet (I maxed out my Padlets, and I refuse to pay $8 per month right now): videos of book clubs in action for students to analyze and infer, some organizational tools, accountable talk stems, Learning Progressions from the Units of Study, discussion prompts, and my favorite assessment tools. The only grade-level specific tool is the Learning Progressions: I find them SO helpful in providing a focus for a reading unit. Choose 3-5 different topics from the Learning Progressions and your minilessons will have more focus and potency. It’s definitely a work in progress, so check later for more resources!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Harry Potter Zine

creating, Harry Potter, writing

Hey, Potterheads! At our very last Harry Potter Club session, everyone created a zine page. The only guidelines were: use 8.5×11 printer paper in portrait layout, include a border of some kind, and share what Harry Potter means to you. The materials were inspiring: colored origami paper, washi tape, stamps, stickers, Harry Potter wrapping paper, and graph paper. Here are all of the zine pages that were turned in at the end of the last session (I recommend listening to some Harry Potter film soundtrack music while you watch the slideshow):

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Literacy Links – Volume 54

after school activities, book list, creating, graphic novels, literacy links, writing

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Each time the Reading Ambassadors enter the Reading Lounge for our meetings, they will answer the question of the week displayed on a table and then stick their responses on the window outside the room. I have loved reading their responses, but seeing other students stop and chat about the responses has been even better. Some visitors to the Reading Lounge have even asked if THEY could fill out a response to the question of the week. The display started with these seventeen responses, and now there are twenty-three.

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 50

creating, graphic novels, literacy links, technology


There’s been a lot of tinkering in Writers’ Workshop since Writing Clinic #2! Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In fact, I worried. Would students “get” it? What if they were *still* stumped for writing ideas? What if it got out of control? But over the past week, I’ve seen or heard about tinkering in three classrooms, and students have blown me away! They’ve been so respectful and CREATIVE in their builds! Now, I’m so eager to use tinkering throughout the writing process.

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 48

creating, literacy links, professional resources, writing


My standard introduction at a conference is, “I’m a literacy coach looking for daily doses of creativity and joy,” so when I read Angela Stockman’s Hacking the Writing Workshop: Redesign with Making in Mind, I knew it was going to be a just-right book for me. Boy, was I right! It inspired me so much that I created a Make Writing cart just waiting for Center teachers to use with their students. Contact me if you’re interested! Happy making!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 45

creating, literacy links, writing

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Last week, I hosted my first Writing Clinic. Its focus was conferring, which I believe is the heart of Writers’ Workshop (looks like the blog, Two Writing Teachers, agrees with me in the latest post, “Conferring Notes: The Key to Unit Planning”). Entire grade level teams attended the first clinic, and everyone left with a tool to support their conferring. Some even realized the tools could be transferred to other content areas as well! That’s what I call high leverage tool action! After the clinic, I displayed all of the materials and supplies in the teachers’ workroom in case they missed it and wanted to DIY the tools. Can’t wait for the next session on November 25th!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 41

book list, creating, literacy links

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I get a book budget every year, and I alternate between updating teachers’ classroom libraries (with their input about what their students want!) and the school’s book room. Last year was a book room update. I focused on buying #ownvoices and #weneeddiversebooks titles. The books all arrived by the end of June, so I spent a good part of my summer volunteering my time to level and label all of the new books. I decided to put them in special bins for each level so that teachers would realize new options were available!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 40

creating, Harry Potter, professional resources, writing


I have been obsessed with Dr. Rudine Bishop Sims’s quote about books as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors ever since I first heard it. So true. So powerful. When I saw Grant Snider’s print inspired by the quote, I knew I had to get it. After the reading specialist at my school transformed a long hallway into a magical, Disney-like space, I jumped into transforming some of the new, diverse texts I’d gotten for the book room into my own hallway display. It’s hard to have a favorite metaphor from the display, but I love this last part:


I overheard some students saying that “Books are music!” I hope they submit it for the display!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

HQTS: Making Literacy Toolkits

announcements, creating, literacy, professional resources, reading, writing


At the last PD day a couple weeks ago, the literacy coaches organized a variety of stations focusing on writing about reading. Teachers spent the majority of the morning exploring resources like the Literacy Continuum and Learning Progressions, analyzing student work, and calibrating assessment. They collected tons of ideas about what students need to be able to do as writers about reading and data about what their students were showing them. So what next? Here is where a toolkit will be a lifesaver.

If you’re a member of the Units of Study Facebook groups (if you haven’t joined them yet, DO IT!), I’m sure you’ve noticed people sharing ideas, asking questions about, and creating meetups for these toolkits. It’s a notebook, binder, or any kind of collection of tools you can use to support students’ literacy skills and strategies.

Based on your students’ demonstrations and understandings and your knowledge of what gets tricky for your unit/topic, you create a set of tools to support small group or one-on-one instruction. These tools are your teaching focuses, often a skill or strategy from a whole group minilesson with more scaffolds in place. The tools might get used during a small group lesson for which you’ve planned or you might pull one specific tool out to support an individual student that you noticed needing additional support during a conference. They are flexible and adaptable, which makes them incredibly useful.

Our HQTS Work



During our HQTS, we’ll explore resources, materials, and ideas to inspire us before getting into toolkit creation. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options, so I’ll be sharing the best of the best so you don’t have to weed through a bunch of Teachers Pay Teachers nonsense.

There will be so many things to consider: the focus of your toolkit (Reading fiction? Writing nonfiction? Theme? So many options.), the best tool for the job (Mini anchor chart? Microprogression? Leave-behind for students? Demonstration text?)  A toolkit that covered all of reading would be an inefficient beast. Instead, consider making a toolkit for nonfiction and fiction or even each unit. Whatever focus you choose, I’ll have sample toolkit pages for you to adapt, and as you create more, we’ll add to our Padlet to continue inspiring us.

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The thing I love most about starting a literacy toolkit is that it inspires you in so many new ways. When our HQTS is over, you’ll have at least one toolkit ready to use with students. However, I know it will also change and grow over time, and you may even leave with ideas for so many more toolkits.

Interested? Sign up here.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with. 🙂