The Blog Library allows educators to easily access posts about key literacy topics that our bloggers have written about. We identified 9 categories that posts fit into and will continue to add to these categories as more posts are written. Each entry includes a brief summary and the name of a blogger.
Click on a topic below to see the posts in that category.

Writing Instruction

This section of the library offers techniques, resources, and examinations of writing instruction, grades K-12.

Improving Peer Feedback in Blogs, by Beth Rogers. Peer feedback can serve an important role: it solidifies writing lessons, and gives students a greater attention to craft.

Finding the Details, by Tricia Ziegler. How oral storytelling, mentor texts, and school-wide collaborations can help K-5 students cultivate details in their writing.

Video Raises the Revision Bar, by Mike Ziegler. An app, Flipgrid, could improve the quality of students’ revisions, while motivating students’ desires to pursue the work.

Peers: The Best Writing Coaches?, by Rod Franchi. The author explains his promising peer-to-peer writing program.

Early Choice = Engagement & Excitement, by Beth Rogers. Creative writing in a blog can inspire students’ ambitions.

Imitation: My Favorite Writing Strategy, by Amy Gurney. Imitating the masters can be an exceptionally powerful strategy for student-writers.

A Better Plan: HerodotusHive, by Rod Franchi. A program brings in veteran students as mentors for struggling, first-time AP students.

NaNo What Now?, by Caroline Thompson. Participating in National Novel Writing Month can be a huge benefit for a classroom community.

Student Voices Matter, by Rick Joseph. A poetry workshop empowers students to express themselves.

Mnany, Mnany Mnemonics, by Mike Ziegler. Teachers’ writing jargon can hurt struggling students and cause confusion.

School Year’s Resolutions, by Mike Ziegler. Why “hot takes,” a form of op-ed writing, can increase students’ motivation to write.

Learning from My Mistakes, by Megan Kortlandt. How to save time on essay grading, get students to pay attention to feedback, and outsource writing instruction to the masters.

The Writing Inclination, by Amy Gurney. Five strategies to help students who hate writing. 

Meeting Students Where They Write, by Rick Kreinbring. An exploration of unconventional writing assessments. 

Garage Band Writing Instruction, by Hattie Maguire. A case for using essay revisions to teach grammar.

Write. Revise. Read. Repeat., by Caroline Thompson. An argument making the case that good writing can be taught.

Online Writing: Beauty and the Beast, by Beth Rogers. The good and the bad of online writing in ELA classes.

Mentor Texts: Reading Like Writers, by Megan Kortlandt. A review of a book about the use mentor texts.

The SAT Essay: Embracing My Fear, by Megan Kortlandt. The pitfalls and upsides of the 2016 SAT essay changes.

The Grammar Ambush, by Hattie Maguire. A defense of teaching grammar in context.

The Grammar Ambush, Part 2, by Hattie Maguire. A followup from Part 1 of the post, with lessons learned in class.

Power = Powerful Writing, by Beth Rogers. Why giving students choice in their writing assignments can do wonders for their work.

Writing Begins With Reading, by Hattie Maguire. An argument that good writers must be good readers.

Student Blogs: Audience Matters, by Beth Rogers. How online writing can entice event reluctant writers.

Genius. A Whole New Take on Audience, by Rick Kreinbring. A case study of a class using genius.com, an online platform for collaborative writing.

Inquiring Minds: Why Would We Use a Single Pedagogy?, by Marcia Bonds. A case for flexible, inquiry-based pedagogy.

Water Buffalo-ing It: Supporting Student Revision, by Hattie Maguire. A scaffolded, hard-working approach to revisions.

Students: I Am Not Your Audience, by Rick Kreinbring. How online writing forces important conversations with students about rhetoric and audience.

Blogging Bumps & Best Moments, by Beth Rogers. Lessons learned while leading 5th graders through blogging.

Audience is Everything, by Rick Kreinbring. Why an authentic audience of readers is key for student-writers.

Unnatural Acts: Realizations about Writing Instruction, by Rick Kreinbring. A reflection on the challenges of writing.

Student Blogging: Benefits & Challenges, by Beth Rogers. After leading student bloggers in class, a reflection on the numerous benefits — and several drawbacks — of in-class blogging.

Teaching Argument Using Courtroom Simulation, by Delia DeCourcy. Why simulating a legal trial could help teach argumentative writing.

Beginning Again, by Beth Rogers. An explanation about why Rogers will bring blogging into her classroom.

A Classroom of Poets, Lisa Kraiza. An uplifting story about poets who visit and work with 8th graders.

Reading Instruction

Here, you’ll find posts about reading instruction, both traditional and online, for grades K-12.

‘Tis the Season for a Fantasy Adventure, by Bethany Bratney. A page-turner of a YA novel details the history of imperial Russia.

A Book to Spark a Conversation, by Bethany Bratney. A powerful YA novel takes on race in America.

Summer (Reading) Lovin’, by Tricia Ziegler. Steps to take, year round, to prevent the summer slide.

Using Politics to Zero In on Skills, by Hattie Maguire. The 2016 election offers important, and useful, activities in the classroom.

Creating a Culture of Readers, by Megan Kortlandt. What it takes to motivate an entire classroom of struggling readers.

A YA Novel Takes on Mental Health, by Bethany Bratney. A book review of Highly Illogical Behavior, a YA novel that addresses mental health issues with both seriousness and levity.

End-of-Year Takeaways, by Rick Kreinbring. Summer reflections on the immense value of storytelling, the quest for mentor texts, and the search for relatable characters.

Lit Hot American Summer, by Mike Ziegler. An argument that all students should spend the summer reading.

Setting Individual Goals for Readers, by Amy Gurney. Why it’s important to set personalized reading goals with students.

Book Review: Reading Nonfiction, by Jianna Taylor. A review of a book with many lessons for the instruction of nonfiction.

Historical Fiction—Hot off the Press, by Bethany Bratney. A review of the novel “Salt to the Sea.”

Read. Read. READ!, by Rick Joseph. A passionate reminder about the benefits — and joys — of reading.

Book Review: Notice & Note, by Jianna Taylor. How YA novels can teach the skills of close reading.

The Value of Reading Conferences, by Caroline Thompson. A step-by-step explanation about using in-class reading conferences.

The Great Graphic Novel Project, by Mike Ziegler. A defense of graphic novels as classroom texts, and their benefits for struggling readers.

An Up-All-Night Fantasy Thriller, by Bethany Bratney. A book review of “Red Queen.”

The Importance of Reading at Home, by Tricia Ziegler. A primer on working with parents to encourage at-home reading.

A New Year’s Reading Party, by Hattie Maguire.A reading party makes literature fun — and reveals which students need support.

A Cozy Book for the Holidays, by Bethany Bratney. A book review of “Where’d You Go, Bernadette.”

Teaching Outside the Literary Canon, by Mike Ziegler. A reminder that great, teachable works of literature don’t only come from Shakespeare.

The Next Hunger Games?, by Bethany Bratney. A book review of “The Testing.”

Review of The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo, by Jianna Taylor. A book with a wide variety of resources for reading instruction.

Review of Connected Reading: Teaching Adolescent Readers in a Digital World, by Jianna Taylor. A book that offers numerous ideas about teaching online reading.

Reading in the Sunshine, by Hattie Maguire. A reminder of the importance of summer reading.

Instructional Strategies & Protocols…a means to an end, not an end to themselves!, by Darin Stockdill. A critique of teachers’ reading strategies.

Review of Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts & Minds with Inquiry, by Jianna Taylor. A book review spurs encouraging in-class research.

My Army of High School Readers Goes Into Battle, by Hattie Maguire. One teacher’s up-and-down effort to create a community of dedicated readers.

Text in the Middle: A Reading & Annotating Template, by Jianna Taylor. A book review discussing the applications of annotation.

An Army of Book Nerds, by Hattie Maguire. A full-throttled effort to build a love of reading among students.

Read Aloud with Accountable Talk: Making the Invisible Visible, by Diane Katakowski. On the benefits of the Read-Aloud strategy for reading.

Re-thinking Our Kids as Readers…, by Darin Stockdill. Why reading test scores provide limited information, and how to work around them.

Literacy and Technology

Case studies, ideas, and reflections on the use of technology in ELA classes, grades K-12.

Improving Peer Feedback in Blogs, by Beth Rogers. Peer feedback can serve an important role: it solidifies writing lessons, and gives students a greater attention to craft.

Video Raises the Revision Bar, by Mike Ziegler. An app, Flipgrid, could improve the quality of students’ revisions, while motivating students’ desires to pursue the work.

4 Ways to Energize Your PD, by Caroline Thompson. Free webinars, online classes, and other learning opportunities for ELA teachers.

Early Choice = Engagement & Excitement, by Beth Rogers. Creative writing in a blog can inspire students’ ambitions.

A Nanobot of Sugar, by Mike Ziegler. Several alternative methods, using apps, for students to show their comprehension, and to give and receive feedback

Data is the New Bacon, by Jianna Taylor. How data protocols can help ELA teachers sift through mountains of data.

A Virtual Conference on Data Literacy, by Jianna Taylor. Infographics and other forms of data visualization can teach the techniques of argumentation.

Stealing Time for Workshop, by Hattie Maguire. How mini videos and flipped lessons free up time for writing workshops.

Reading and Writing Apps: K-5, by Tricia Ziegler. A roundup of the best literacy apps for grades K-5.

Meeting Students Where They Write, by Rick Kreinbring. Could Snapchat replace the five-paragraph essay?

Newsela: A Nonfiction Resource, by Amy Gurney. A review of Newsela, which provides curated nonfiction resources across grade levels.

Building Digital Portfolios, by Beth Rogers. A case for digital student portfolios that stay with students as they progress through school.

Online Writing: Beauty and the Beast, by Beth Rogers. The good and the bad of online writing in ELA classes.

A Window into Students’ Thinking, by Beth Rogers. Why blogging offers teachers a better glimpse of students’ inner lives.

Power = Powerful Writing, by Beth Rogers. Why giving students choice in their writing assignments can do wonders for their work.

The Tumblr Experiment, part 1: Introduction, by Rick Kreinbring. To create more authentic and meaningful writing assessments, Kreinbring turned to Tumblr. Part one of a three-part series.

The Tumblr Experiment, part 2: First Steps in the Digital World, by Rick Kreinbring. Part two of the series, chronicling the use of Tumblr.

The Tumblr Experiment, Part 3: Blogging as Formative Assessment, by Rick Kreinbring. Part three, describing Tumblr as a formative assessment.

Consistency Counts with Student Blogging, by Beth Rogers. On the importance of maintaining student blogs.

Review of Connected Reading: Teaching Adolescent Readers in a Digital World, by Jianna Taylor. A book that offers numerous ideas about teaching online reading.

Workshop: To Go Digital…or Not?, by Amy Gurney. The benefits and costs of transitioning to a digital readers’ and writers’ workshop.

Student Blogs: Audience Matters, by Beth Rogers. How collaborative, online writing causes breakthroughs with students. 

Digital Writer’s Notebooks?, by Amy Gurney. A comparison of different tools for digital notebooks.

Podcast Power: Boosting Listening Skills, part 1, by Delia DeCourcy. Why podcasts can be powerful tools in ELA classrooms.

Podcast Power: Listening Skills & Curriculum, part 2, by Delia DeCourcy. Part two considers which podcasts to choose, and how to integrate them into curriculum.

Going Paperless, Part 1: Google Classroom, by Jianna Taylor. A chronicle in a school that went 1:1 with Chromebooks, and the use of Google Classroom.

Google Classroom, Part 2: The Digital Writer’s Notebook, by Jianna Taylor. Part two considers what happens when a classroom stops using paper notebooks. 

Genius. A Whole New Take on Audience., by Rick Kreinbring. A case study of a class using genius.com, an online platform for collaborative writing.

Student Voice & Choice in the Digital Writing Workshop, by Rick Joseph. How choice in assessments can motivate students, and make for meaningful assignments.

Blogging Bumps & Best Moments, by Both Rogers. Lessons learned while leading 5th graders through blogging.

Student Blogging: Benefits & Challenges, by Beth Rogers. After leading student bloggers in class, a reflection on the numerous benefits — and several drawbacks — of in-class blogging.

Classroom Culture

Suggestions about, and examinations of, classroom culture and student engagement.

Teaching Elections: Part 2, by Hattie Maguire. Divisive politics offer an important opportunity to foster grit in students.

Hard Conversations, by Rick Kreinbring. A reflection on making ELA classes more racially inclusive.

My Classroom, My Museum, by Caroline Thompson. Designing classrooms as though they’re museums can spur students’ curiosity and creativity.

Ending Your Year with Letters, by Caroline Thompson. A reflection on the need to show gratitude, and tools to do so.

Power of Play, by Tricia Ziegler. An experiment that offers increased recess yields large benefits.

“Hacking” School Culture, by Rick Kreinbring. How small “hacks” can lead to larger changes in a school’s culture.

Life Lesson: Practice What You Teach, by Beth Rogers. Writing alongside students shows why the work itself is important.

A New Year’s Reading Party, by Hattie Maguire. A reading party makes literature fun — and reveals which students need support.

Characters: They’re Just Like Us, by Mike Ziegler. The importance of fully exploring characters’ complexities, rather than reducing them to types.

Everything’s an Argument, Right?, by Rick Kreinbring. What teachers can do to foster argumentative discourse in the classroom.

The Value of Connecting with Students, by Amy Gurney. The remarkable power of small steps to connect with students.

Reading in the Sunshine, by Hattie Maguire. A reminder of the importance of summer reading.

Teacher as Director & Coach, by Rick Kreinbring. A reflection on what it’s like to be taught, and lessons for all teachers.

Classroom Campfire, Coffeehouses & Caves, by Holly Zimmerman. How physically rearranging a classroom can change its dynamics.

Let’s Talk About Student Engagement, by Susan Golab. Several steps to increase students’ engagement.

Engagement: Conducting a Symphony of Learning in the Classroom, by Marcia Bonds. Several ways teachers can increase students’ engagement.

Talk, Listen, Watch & Notice, by Amy Quinn. Why it’s important to connect with students early in a school year.

Reflect Today, Model Tomorrow, by Amy Gurney. At the start of the school year, it’s important to reflect on previous school years, and to model expectations for students.

A New School Year, A New Perspective, by Lisa Kraiza. Small steps to connect with students throughout the school year.

Assessment

Examinations of assessments, student data, and innovative ways to motivate students’ participation.

A Nanobot of Sugar, by Mike Ziegler. Several alternative methods, using apps, for students to show their comprehension, and to give and receive feedback.

Ending with a WOW, by Beth Rogers. Students can work remarkably well when they’re allowed to design their own assessments.

Student Design Yields Great Results, by Beth Rogers. A companion piece to “Ending with a WOW,” above.

Bad Data, Good Data, Red Data, Blue Data, by Mike Ziegler. How teachers should respond to inexact student data. Part two of a two-part series.

Good Teacher, Bad Data, by Mike Ziegler. Why teachers must be cautious when examining student data. Part one of a two-part series.

A Really Bad Day (Redeemed), by Rick Kreinbring. Grappling with — and responding to — the fallout from assessments that rely on trust.

Authentic M-STEP Preparation, by Jianna Taylor. What ELA teachers must know to prepare students for the M-STEP.

#nozeros and the Growth Mindset, by Amy Gurney. A successful experiment in which students aren’t allowed to earn zeros on assignments.

Finding a Balance with State Testing, by Beth Rogers. A tempered defense of prepping students for state testing.

Standards-Based Grading (Part 1), by Amy Gurney. An overview of standards-based grading, with concrete examples from an ELA class. 

Standards-Based Grading (Part 2), by Amy Gurney. Part two of this two-part series on standards-based grading.

The SAT Essay: Embracing My Fear, by Megan Kortlandt. The pitfalls and upsides of the 2016 SAT essay changes.

Triathlon Swimming & Formative Assessment, by Les Howard. An overview of formative assessment.

A Dinner Conversation with James Popham on Formative Assessment, by Susan Golab. Reflections after meeting an expert in formative assessment.

Student Reflections Confirm Teaching & Inform Grades, by Amy Gurney. A method to teach students the language of the workshop.

Re-thinking Our Kids as Readers…, by Darin Stockdill. Why reading test scores provide limited information, and how to work around them.

Supporting Struggling Learners

Motivating students through differentiated instruction, choice, relevant readings, and other strategies.

Relevance: an Apathy Antidote, by Hattie Maguire. A novel strategy to help students find relevance in their writing.

Finding Joy in a “Free Day”, by Beth Rogers. A free day spurs students to take on ambitious ELA work.

Extraordinary Learning for All, by Rick Joseph. A reminder how all students, no matter their skill level, can be remarkable learners.

A Great Graphic Novel to Engage Students, by Bethany Bratney. A review of the graphic novel “Nimona,” a valuable text for struggling readers.

The Great Graphic Novel Project, by Mike Ziegler. A defense of graphic novels as classroom texts, and their benefits for struggling readers.

Making Reading Interventions Relevant, by Megan Kortlandt. Several tips to create bridges for struggling readers.

Routines, Goals, and Risks for Struggling Readers, by Caroline Thompson. Several steps to promote classroom communities in AARI, the Adolescent Accelerated Reading Initiative.

Shared Experiences for Struggling Readers, by Caroline Thompson. A companion piece to “Routines, Goals, and Risks,” above.

Powerful AARI Communities Start Here, by Caroline Thompson. Reflections on a summer workshop and the creation of strong classroom communities.

Camp ALEC 2015, by Colleen Meszler. An uplifting story, from a week of learning about teaching students with significant disabilities.

ALL Students Can Be Readers & Writers, by Colleen Meszler. The newest strategies for teaching students with significant disabilities.

Interdisciplinary Instruction and Teachers’ Collaboration

Suggestions and case studies for inter-departmental collaboration.

Finding the Details, by Tricia Ziegler. How oral storytelling, mentor texts, and school-wide collaborations can help K-5 students cultivate details in their writing.

Being Bilingual is Better, by Rick Joseph. A passionate argument for bilingual education.

More Than One Way To Skin a Cat, by Hattie Maguire. Teachers work together — and autonomously — to develop Common Core-aligned curricula.

The Science of Good Writing, by Hattie Maguire. A collaboration with a science class pushes students to think of themselves as writers.

Collaboration with Design Thinking, by Rick Kreinbring. A case for cross-disciplinary learning, which, Kreinbring argues, is a richer learning experience.

Kindergarten Research Project, by Tricia Ziegler. How science skills support those in ELA.

Literacy Outside ELA, by Rick Joseph. The value of metacognition, across disciplines.

Interdisciplinary Curriculum: A Union of Disciplines, by Lisa Kraiza. A case study of two teachers, one from ELA and one from social studies, who created a unit on the Civil War.

Feedback

Strategies for, and reflections on, giving feedback to students.

Sing (err…Speak) Their Praises!, by Mike Ziegler. An app allows teachers to give thorough, spoken feedback to students.

The Value of Reading Conferences, by Caroline Thompson. The structure and logistics of reading conferences.

Life Lesson: Practice What You Teach, by Beth Rogers. A reflection on the need for more gentle feedback.

Trying to Lose 10 Pounds a.k.a. the Paper Load Problem, by Hattie Maguire. The challenges of finding time to give meaningful feedback.

The Power of Teachers’ Words, by Amy Gurney. A reminder that teachers’ words can have a huge effect on students, for the good and the bad.

Teacher as Director & Coach, by Rick Kreinbring. How to teach novice writers, using empathy and individualized approaches.

Renewing the Passion

Here, you’ll find posts about the lives of teachers, and the ways they’ve remained passionate about their work.

What’s Your Vision?, by Amy Gurney. A reminder about the fundamentals of ELA instruction: consistent writing and reading, student choice, and strong feedback.

Reflect. Reinvent. Renew., by Caroline Thompson. Why it’s important for teachers to reflect on their professional and personal experiences.

Mississippi: The Most Southern Place, by Rick Kreinbring. A visit to the Mississippi Delta brings literature to life.

Listening to Dragons & Peacocks at the OWP Summer Institute, by Rick Kreinbring. A reflection on the importance of listening.

A ‘Stachetastic Idea: Raising Money in a Teacher’s Honor, by Rick Joseph. A school rallies around a teacher’s memory and a distinctive mustache.

The Day the Lights Turn On, by Marcia Bonds. The excitement is palpable at the beginning of the school year.

Reflect Today, Model Tomorrow, by Amy Gurney. At the start of the school year, it’s important to reflect on previous school years, and to model expectations for students.