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Safeguard Students from the Summer Reading Slide

It's been an incredible year. You've worked hard. Your readers have learned and stretched and grown. But soon it's time to turn them loose into that scary unpredictable space called summer! Research shows that students who don't read during the summer months may lose...

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5 Classroom Library Design Tips

Plan your library in the right spot. Give it some sunshine and love and watch your readers thrive and grow. In a kid-centered classroom, the classroom library is a hub of learning activity.

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The Simple Magic of Greeting Kids at the Door

The few precious hurry and scurry moments before the school day starts can often feel like a bustling version of Beat the Clock. Drop your lunch in the fridge. Check your mailbox. Check your email. Gather materials for the day's math and science lessons. Respond to a...

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A little less of that. A little more of this.

The schools we have are the schools we’ve created. Our systems and cultures have been built day by day, week by week, year by year, decade by decade, One decision at a time. But maybe it's time to dismantle some of our systems, our habits, and our past ways of being....

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Dear Teacher: 7 Simple Requests from Your Students

It’s Sunday night of Labor Day weekend. Emotions hang everywhere. Even as we grieve the last weekend of summer the air is thick with anticipation. Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new school year. Hip shoes and flashy backpacks have been purchased. Three-ring...

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Engaging Texts: The Heart of Small Group Instruction

Scales! Ugh! The thing I dreaded most about piano lessons. To me, this repetitive exercise of running my fingers up the keyboard and then down again was a boring waste of time. This was not really making music. It irritated and annoyed me. I didn’t buy into the...

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Bravely step into what’s next. Today.

Start. Today can be your day. Be courageous. Let go of your longing for perfection. Trade it in on humility, courage and reflection. Make one simple start. This can be your day. Bravely step into what’s next. What’s that one thing you keep saying you want to do but...

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Learn Bravely Everywhere You Go

If you're the smartest person in the room, then you're in the wrong room. - Anonymous I stumbled upon this quote on twitter awhile back, and it has been rolling around in my mind ever since.   I love it because . . . It speaks to the importance of being a learner all...

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5 Courageous and Crucial Actions for Literacy Leaders

We all can be leaders. Every one of us. Which is great news. Because strong schools need lots of strong literacy leaders. They need teams of committed teachers, coaches, and principals who will advocate relentlessly for the things that really matter. They need people...

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Today I Celebrate Educators

Whether it's the end of the school year, the beginning, or somewhere in between, every day is the right day to celebrate the work of educators.  So, for every educator committed to keep making our schools better places for kids, this one’s for you. Today, I celebrate...

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3 Questions Every Reading Teacher Should Be Asking

It doesn't matter what type of reading instruction, materials, or program you have in place in your school or classroom. It doesn't matter if your state has adopted or rejected the Common Core Standards. It doesn't matter if your school is high-poverty or high-income....

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The Courage Rules

Why courage? We all need a dose of courage from time to time . . . Because have big work to do. And because taking the first step in a new direction can sometimes be scary. Even once you get going down the right path, you'll certainly experience moments when you just...

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Courage Rule #1: Start small. But start.

Courage Rule #1 - Start small.  But start. You can’t do it all at once, but you can do something more all the time. Don’t wait for conditions to be perfect before you start. Today is all we have.  The only time to start is now. The work is a journey and there is no...

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Courage Rule #2 – Keep a sense of humor.

Laugh more. Smile more. Stop taking yourself so seriously. So what if you try something and it completely flops? Have a good chuckle about it with a friend. Learn from your experiences and move on. Lighten up. Enjoy the journey. Just have some fun!  Life's too short...

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Courage Rule #3 – Be good to yourself.

Slow down. Eat well. Get plenty of sleep. Listen to your body. Exercise. Give yourself room to make mistakes. Take naps. Think kind and positive thoughts. Let go of guilt. Find time for the things that bring you joy.

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Courage Rule #4 – Reflect, learn, and adjust.

Reflection, not perfection, is the key to progress. You don't have to know exactly how to do a thing; you just have to be willing to reflect on what you do, learn from it and adjust accordingly. Forward motion provides opportunity to fine tune your skills for...

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Courage Rule #5 – Take charge of your own learning.

You've chosen the learning business as your life's work. So, lead the way by designing a path for your own learning. Read.  Write. Research. Reach out to colleagues. Be vulnerable. Ask great questions. Read some more. Don't wait for others to "give you what you need"....

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Courage Rule #6 – Don’t give up when things get tough.

Everything worth doing takes time and practice. So, give yourself permission to begin as a beginner. New learning takes time. Hang in there. Stick with it long enough to pass through the awkward and uncertain first steps. Dig deep. Be patient. Be tenacious. Refuse to...

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Courage Rule #7 – Celebrate Along the Way

Develop the habit of recognizing and celebrating even the tiniest bits of progress. Celebration becomes fuel in our tanks; keeping us moving forward and helping us resist the urge to quit (see Courage Rule #6). Keep a list of small successes. Smile. Pat yourself on...

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Hanging Out with Books is NOT the Same as Reading

We've all seen it happen. Instead of reading during reading time, some kids are just hanging out with the books. I love to hang out with the books, too. Turn me loose in a bookstore and I'm a goner.  But the precious minutes for independent reading we've worked...

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