The Building Blocks of Collaboration: Partner and Small-Group Chats (Grades 5–6)

Children learn a great deal, academically and socially, by collaborating—working together toward common goals. A good way to help students begin developing collaboration skills is by teaching them how to exchange ideas, information, and opinions as they converse with partners or in small groups. Partner and small-group chats require complex skills best taught in the Read More »
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Keeping Sharing Fresh

In my conversations with teachers I hear a common concern about Morning Meeting at this time of year—how to move forward with sharing. Teachers have long lists of varied ideas for greeting…
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Relationships: Always More to Learn

I teach a class of fourth graders with a span of academic skills, developmental characteristics, and cultural and economic backgrounds. If I had to describe what makes such a diverse class work…
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Teaching Skillful Communication

Ryan holds up the book so all his classmates can see the cover and begins: "Reptile Facts is my favorite first grade book. Every first grader should read this book because it…
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Teaching Students How to Wait

If you've ever dined out with children under four years old, you probably brought along a toolkit with games, coloring books, "I Spy" activities, or apps on a mobile device to keep…
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The Right Response

I’ve noticed that teachers who are learning about the Responsive Classroom approach to discipline often worry a lot about choosing the “right” response to student misbehavior. “Is there a list of logical…
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Teaching Children to Disagree

Not long ago I watched an animated group of second graders happily share their opinions about a children's picture book. They were responding to their teacher's open-ended question about what might have…
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Teaching Children How to Converse

These days, curriculum often recommends using "partner chats," "turn-and-talk," and other one-on-one conversation strategies to help students reflect on and deepen their learning. Although it may seem like a simple thing, chatting…
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Do You Have a Chatty Class?

I hear a lot from teachers who are feeling frustrated by students' "chattiness." They say things like "Mike, they're not bad kids, they just won't stop talking to each other. As soon…
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The Art of Commenting

On a late spring morning, Mr. Marino’s fourth graders are gathered quietly on their Morning Meeting rug, all eyes on Joe, whose turn it is to share.“I played a basketball game on…
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Power in Speech

One of the most valuable things we can teach students is how to assert themselves in respectful ways. In spontaneous and planned moments throughout the day, teachers can work with students to…
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In Case of the Blurts

How one teacher deals with interruptions and keeps learning running smoothly. Picture this: My reading group is attentive and prepared for a discussion of a favorite novel. “What if Darry had called…
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