Deliver information with 4 word-choice techniques

Deliver information with 4 word-choice techniques

Deliver information with 4 word-choice techniques Although informative writing consists of facts, quotes, explanations, and examples, the writer’s word choice is just as valuable. Teach students to intentionally incorporate relevant and accurate vocabulary with these...
Webinar | Make an Inference in 5 Steps

Webinar | Make an Inference in 5 Steps

Make an Inference in 5 Steps Regardless of a text’s topic, type, or complexity, students at every grade level must learn how to make inferences. Thinking beyond the text is the foundation of every comprehension standard. During this practical and engaging edWebinar,...
Webinar | Plan & Deliver Dynamic Comprehension Lessons

Webinar | Plan & Deliver Dynamic Comprehension Lessons

Plan & Deliver Dynamic Comprehension Lessons In an era when reading achievement lags behind expectations, effective comprehension instruction has never been more important. The entire class benefits from explicit and engaging whole-class mini-lessons that show...
Integrate 3 ingredients within every claim

Integrate 3 ingredients within every claim

Integrate 3 ingredients within every claim After acquiring background knowledge on a debatable topic and aligning with a side, instruct students on the three ingredients of an argumentative claim—the type, the scope, and the certainty. Duration: 4:10 | Grades...
Practice 2-step synthesizing with visuals

Practice 2-step synthesizing with visuals

Practice 2-step synthesizing with visuals A synthesis occurs when a reader combines two or more details from multiple texts to generate a new idea. As simple as this may sound, achieving a synthesis is a complex task that requires two key steps. Duration: 3:58 |...
Emphasize the 3 purposes of text features

Emphasize the 3 purposes of text features

Strengthen text citations in 3 steps Although the comprehension standards state that text features are to be introduced in grades K-3—all grade levels are to teach students how to apply them. This is where the power of text features sometimes gets lost. Students need...
Strengthen text citations in 3 steps

Strengthen text citations in 3 steps

Strengthen text citations in 3 steps Students know that they must include text evidence to support their inferences, and many are familiar with common sentence starters like, “According to the passage…” or “The author states…” And yet many still struggle to write....
Identify 4 reasons to take notes

Identify 4 reasons to take notes

Identify 4 reasons to take notes Subject-area notebooks can serve as a great incubator for a student’s thinking. But if students tackle note-taking without any overriding purpose, the notebook can become a hodgepodge of words copied from the board instead of a tool to...
Stages of Word Work

Stages of Word Work

Recognize the hierarchy of phonics development from lower to upper grades. Duration: 54 minutes | Grades K-3 / ELL
Root-Word Instruction

Root-Word Instruction

Grow vocabulary knowledge exponentially with explicit lessons on prefixes, suffixes, and bases. Duration: 50 Minutes | Grades 3-12 / ELL
Marzano’s 6 Steps

Marzano’s 6 Steps

Provide whole-class mini-lessons on domain-specific vocabulary following Marzano’s research-based steps to mastery. Duration: 55 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Functional Vocabulary

Functional Vocabulary

Recognize the direct relationship between knowing general academic words and accurately decoding a prompt. Duration: 44 Minutes | Grades 2-12 / ELL
Vocabulary Lists

Vocabulary Lists

Learn the 4-step process for building a grade-level list of domain-specific and general academic words. Duration: 44 minutes | Grades K-12
Summarize Literature

Summarize Literature

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to advance readers from retelling to summarizing to inferring the theme. Duration: 55 Minutes | Grades K-12
Track Ideas

Track Ideas

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to teach readers how to track individual story elements and analyze their relationships. Duration: 48 Minutes | Grades K-12
Text Structure

Text Structure

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to understand the connection between an author’s purpose and the text’s organizational structure. Duration: 53 Minutes | Grades K-12
Perspective & Point of View

Perspective & Point of View

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to determine character feelings, infer author perspective, and analyze points of view. Duration: 49 Minutes | Grades K-12
Compare-Contrast

Compare-Contrast

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts that move readers from comparing individual ideas to comparing whole texts. Duration: 50 Minutes | Grades K-12
Science of Reading

Science of Reading

Understand that phonics and decoding must be taught in conjunction with comprehension and meaning—and vice versa. Duration: 39 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Context Clues

Context Clues

Demystify the idea of using context clues by showing students what clues to look for and where to look for them. Duration: 47 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Make Inferences

Make Inferences

Introduce how the Reading Voice and Thinking Voice work together to figure out something the author never stated. Duration: 40 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Background Knowledge

Background Knowledge

Provide strategies for readers to make inferences despite a lack of text-to-self connections or personal experiences. Duration: 47 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Annotate & Note-Take

Annotate & Note-Take

Equip readers with ways to record their thoughts while reading using grade-appropriate techniques. Duration: 45 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
First Day to Test Day

First Day to Test Day

Identify a yearlong scaffold of write-about-reading skills needed to be game-day ready. Duration: 47 Minutes | Grades K-3 / ELL
Primary Writing

Primary Writing

Learn developmentally-appropriate writing skills that include textual evidence in pictures, labels, and simple sentences. Duration: 53 Minutes | Grades K-2 / ELL
Constructed Responses

Constructed Responses

Target the essential parts that need to be included in a polished constructed response—evidence, elaboration, and explanation. Duration: 47 Minutes | Grades 2-12
Extended Responses

Extended Responses

Demonstrate a deep understanding and synthesis after reading multiple texts on the same topic. Duration: 49 Minutes | Grades 3-12
Narrative Responses

Narrative Responses

Study the four types of narrative read-write prompts, including the text types associated with each and key skills to teach students. Duration: 41 Minutes | Grades 2-12
Research Experiences

Research Experiences

Identify frequent and authentic opportunities for students to execute research in the everyday classroom. Duration: 52 Minutes | Grades 2-12
Subject-Area Reading

Subject-Area Reading

Learn precisely how texts and purposes vary when reading in math, ELA, science, and social studies. Duration: 51 Minutes | Grades 2-12 / ELL
Text Features

Text Features

Move beyond simply identifying text features to targeting the bigger purposes behind the inclusion of these organizational aids. Duration: 47 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Word Problems

Word Problems

Teach the technical and close-reading skills needed to comprehend story problems in math. Duration: 43 Minutes | Grades 2-12 / ELL
Digital Texts

Digital Texts

Teach students what the Reading Voice says, sees, and hears when “reading” audio, visual, and video texts. Duration: 48 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Closing Session

Closing Session

In an era when distractions and disruptions are commonplace, delivering effective whole-class lessons is a persistent challenge. To overcome that challenge, teachers need the tools to make their lessons explicit and engaging. During her kickoff to Super Saturday,...
Keynote – Reading Lessons Redefined

Keynote – Reading Lessons Redefined

In an era when distractions and disruptions are commonplace, delivering effective whole-class lessons is a persistent challenge. To overcome that challenge, teachers need the tools to make their lessons explicit and engaging. During her kickoff to Super Saturday,...
Ask two types of after-reading questions

Ask two types of after-reading questions

Ask two types of after-reading questions There are two broad categories of after-reading questions that primary teachers should be asking regarding comprehension. Questions that ask about the details stated in the text.Questions that go beyond the details stated in...
Closing Session

Closing Session

In an era when distractions and disruptions are commonplace, delivering effective whole-class lessons is a persistent challenge. To overcome that challenge, teachers need the tools to make their lessons explicit and engaging. During her kickoff to Super Saturday,...
Digital Texts

Digital Texts

Teach students what the Reading Voice says, sees, and hears when “reading” audio, visual, and video texts. Duration: 48 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Word Problems

Word Problems

Teach the technical and close-reading skills needed to comprehend story problems in math. Duration: 43 Minutes | Grades 2-12 / ELL
Text Features

Text Features

Move beyond simply identifying text features to targeting the bigger purposes behind the inclusion of these organizational aids. Duration: 47 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Subject-Area Reading

Subject-Area Reading

Learn precisely how texts and purposes vary when reading in math, ELA, science, and social studies. Duration: 51 Minutes | Grades 2-12 / ELL
Research Experiences

Research Experiences

Identify frequent and authentic opportunities for students to execute research in the everyday classroom. Duration: 52 Minutes | Grades 2-12
Narrative Responses

Narrative Responses

Study the four types of narrative read-write prompts, including the text types associated with each and key skills to teach students. Duration: 41 Minutes | Grades 2-12
Extended Responses

Extended Responses

Demonstrate a deep understanding and synthesis after reading multiple texts on the same topic. Duration: 49 Minutes | Grades 3-12
Constructed Responses

Constructed Responses

Target the essential parts that need to be included in a polished constructed response—evidence, elaboration, and explanation. Duration: 47 Minutes | Grades 2-12
Primary Writing

Primary Writing

Learn developmentally-appropriate writing skills that include textual evidence in pictures, labels, and simple sentences. Duration: 53 Minutes | Grades K-2 / ELL
First Day to Test Day

First Day to Test Day

Identify a yearlong scaffold of write-about-reading skills needed to be game-day ready. Duration: 47 Minutes | Grades K-3 / ELL
Annotate & Note-Take

Annotate & Note-Take

Equip readers with ways to record their thoughts while reading using grade-appropriate techniques. Duration: 45 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Background Knowledge

Background Knowledge

Provide strategies for readers to make inferences despite a lack of text-to-self connections or personal experiences. Duration: 47 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Make Inferences

Make Inferences

Introduce how the Reading Voice and Thinking Voice work together to figure out something the author never stated. Duration: 40 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Context Clues

Context Clues

Demystify the idea of using context clues by showing students what clues to look for and where to look for them. Duration: 47 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Science of Reading

Science of Reading

Understand that phonics and decoding must be taught in conjunction with comprehension and meaning—and vice versa. Duration: 39 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Compare-Contrast

Compare-Contrast

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts that move readers from comparing individual ideas to comparing whole texts. Duration: 50 Minutes | Grades K-12
Perspective & Point of View

Perspective & Point of View

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to determine character feelings, infer author perspective, and analyze points of view. Duration: 49 Minutes | Grades K-12
Text Structure

Text Structure

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to understand the connection between an author’s purpose and the text’s organizational structure. Duration: 53 Minutes | Grades K-12
Track Ideas

Track Ideas

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to teach readers how to track individual story elements and analyze their relationships. Duration: 48 Minutes | Grades K-12
Summarize Literature

Summarize Literature

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to advance readers from retelling to summarizing to inferring the theme. Duration: 55 Minutes | Grades K-12
Vocabulary Lists

Vocabulary Lists

Learn the 4-step process for building a grade-level list of domain-specific and general academic words. Duration: 44 minutes | Grades K-12
Functional Vocabulary

Functional Vocabulary

Recognize the direct relationship between knowing general academic words and accurately decoding a prompt. Duration: 44 Minutes | Grades 2-12 / ELL
Marzano’s 6 Steps

Marzano’s 6 Steps

Provide whole-class mini-lessons on domain-specific vocabulary following Marzano’s research-based steps to mastery. Duration: 55 Minutes | Grades K-12 / ELL
Root-Word Instruction

Root-Word Instruction

Grow vocabulary knowledge exponentially with explicit lessons on prefixes, suffixes, and bases. Duration: 50 Minutes | Grades 3-12 / ELL
Stages of Word Work

Stages of Word Work

Recognize the hierarchy of phonics development from lower to upper grades. Duration: 54 minutes | Grades K-3 / ELL
Improve prompt responses with the Yes, MA’AM acronym

Improve prompt responses with the Yes, MA’AM acronym

Improve prompt responses with the Yes, MA’AM acronym Standardized tests require that students read multiple texts and then respond in writing. In order to pull this off, they have to know what to write and how to get started. To help with this challenge, kids need a...
webAcademy | First Day to Test Day

webAcademy | First Day to Test Day

Learn more about this workshop Want to offer this workshop for the entire staff? Contact us. Session Content First Day to Test Day – Part 1 First Day to Test Day – Part 2 First Day to Test Day – Part 3 First Day to Test Day – Part...
First Day to Test Day – PART 4

First Day to Test Day – PART 4

Raise the rigor to reading multiple texts and composing extended responses—all in one sitting. Provide explicit instruction on academic vocabulary to support students in decoding and responding to prompts.Build on the students’ knowledge of short constructed responses...
First Day to Test Day – PART 3

First Day to Test Day – PART 3

Advance students beyond making single-text inferences to generating multi-text syntheses. Identify a step-by-step process for reading and annotating multiple texts in one sitting.Dissect how readers integrate ideas learned from multiple sources to generate a new...
First Day to Test Day – PART 2

First Day to Test Day – PART 2

Reveal to students that their thinking must also be communicated in writing. Define the ingredients to a strong constructed response.Propel students beyond simply stating evidence to explaining it.
First Day to Test Day – PART 1

First Day to Test Day – PART 1

Target the thinking that students must execute when reading any text. Demystify the inference process in order to answer comprehension questions about complex texts.Attack questions with test-taking tips to support finding the “best” and “most likely”...
Keynote – Reading Lessons Redefined

Keynote – Reading Lessons Redefined

In an era when distractions and disruptions are commonplace, delivering effective whole-class lessons is a persistent challenge. To overcome that challenge, teachers need the tools to make their lessons explicit and engaging. During her kickoff to Super Saturday,...
Webinar | Anchor Comprehension Lessons with Anchor Charts

Webinar | Anchor Comprehension Lessons with Anchor Charts

Anchor Comprehension Lessons with Anchor Charts In this video, originally presented as a webinar, Kristina Smekens demonstrates the power in providing visual anchor charts for student learning. Rather than simply displaying them, Kristina shows how to build them...
Introduce Students to the 3 Reader Voices

Introduce Students to the 3 Reader Voices

Introduce Students to the 3 Reader Voices In this video, originally presented as a webinar, Kristina Smekens explains that all readers have three voices in their heads: the Reading Voice, the Thinking Voice, and the Distracting Voice. She goes on to share how to...
Webinar | Advance Beyond Doing Reading to Teaching Reading

Webinar | Advance Beyond Doing Reading to Teaching Reading

Advance Beyond Doing Reading to Teaching Reading Our class periods and reading blocks are often filled with students practicing and applying comprehension skills; they are “doing” a lot of reading. However, these experiences cannot replace the explicit teaching of...
What curriculum will improve our writing instruction?

What curriculum will improve our writing instruction?

What curriculum will improve our writing instruction? When educators take on the challenge of improving achievement in writing, a common starting point is to search for a robust writing curriculum. While an investment in a boxed curriculum may offer important guidance...
Mini-Lesson: Show, Don’t Tell (Grade 7)

Mini-Lesson: Show, Don’t Tell (Grade 7)

Mini-Lesson: Show, Don’t Tell This mini-lesson challenges writers to use action verbs to show their feelings. Using engaging mentor text, Kristina explains how to include action verbs to show feeling. Duration: 11:33 | Grade 7
How can my students create a digital writing portfolio?

How can my students create a digital writing portfolio?

How can my students create a digital writing portfolio? Writing portfolios have long been an effective tool for showcasing a student’s work. Unlike a writer’s notebook, which serves as a collection of working drafts, the portfolio represents a student’s best writing....
What should be my end-of-year writing focus?

What should be my end-of-year writing focus?

What should be my end-of-year writing focus? As teachers are preparing to wrap up a school year disrupted by the pandemic, many are wondering what to prioritize in their writing instruction. Regardless of whether students are in first grade or high school, a focus on...
Mini-Lesson: Sensory Mix-Up: 2-Step Directions

Mini-Lesson: Sensory Mix-Up: 2-Step Directions

Mini-Lesson: Sensory Mix-Up: 2-Step Directions This mini-lesson shows students how to include sensory details in their writing. Using the idea of sand art, Kristina explains how to mix in sensory details throughout their writing. Duration: 14:28 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Patterning First-Liners

Mini-Lesson: Patterning First-Liners

Mini-Lesson: Patterning First-Liners This mini-lesson shows students how to pattern their own beginnings in writing after mentor text. Using engaging mentor text examples, Kristina shows how to write a good first-liner. Duration: 14:54 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Develop Topic Sentences & Supporting Details

Mini-Lesson: Develop Topic Sentences & Supporting Details

Mini-Lesson: Develop Topic Sentences & Supporting Details This mini-lesson explains the importance of including supporting details in paragraph writing. Using the “table” from a pizza box, Kristina shows students how a table top needs legs in order to...
Mini-Lesson: X-Ray Editing

Mini-Lesson: X-Ray Editing

Mini-Lesson: X-Ray Editing This mini-lesson shows students how to look for their writing errors when they edit. Using colorful glasses, Kristina demonstrates how to focus on one editing task at a time. Duration: 13:35 | Grade 4
Mini-Lesson: Consistent Verb Tense

Mini-Lesson: Consistent Verb Tense

Mini-Lesson: Consistent Verb Tense This mini-lesson explains how to maintain consistent verb tense. Using a sand timer, Kristina shows students the concept of past tense, present tense, and future tense. Duration: 12:30 | Grade 8
Mini-Lesson: Punctuating Dialogue

Mini-Lesson: Punctuating Dialogue

Mini-Lesson: Punctuating Dialogue This mini-lesson explains how to use quotation marks in dialogue. Using air quotes and a little history, Kristina shows students how to place quotation marks around what characters say. Duration: 13:57 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Pause for Commas

Mini-Lesson: Pause for Commas

Mini-Lesson: Pause for Commas This mini-lesson helps students learn how to know where to add a comma. Using the mentor text “Eats, Shoots & Leaves,” Kristina shows students how important the comma is for conveying meaning. Duration: 13:06 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Hearing End Marks

Mini-Lesson: Hearing End Marks

Mini-Lesson: Hearing End Marks This mini-lesson helps students learn how to listen for punctuation. Using passages without words, Kristina shows students how to listen for different punctuation marks. Duration: 12:41 | Grade 1
Mini-Lesson: Spacing Between Words

Mini-Lesson: Spacing Between Words

Mini-Lesson: Spacing Between Words This mini-lesson shows how important it is to include spaces between words. Using dominoes, Kristina shows students what happens if no space is left between dominoes—and words. Duration: 12:07 | Grade K
Mini-Lesson: Passing the Tower Test

Mini-Lesson: Passing the Tower Test

Mini-Lesson: Passing the Tower Test This mini-lesson demonstrates how to avoid writing run-on sentences. Using wooden blocks, Kristina shows students how a tower of blocks will fall if too many blocks are added–just like too many words might require more than...
Mini-Lesson: Charting Sentence Fluency

Mini-Lesson: Charting Sentence Fluency

Mini-Lesson: Charting Sentence Fluency This mini-lesson demonstrates how students can self-assess varied sentence length. Putting aside the Slinky, Kristina shows students another way to check their sentence length to see if they have enough variety. Duration: 11:50 |...
Mini-Lesson: Slinky Sentences

Mini-Lesson: Slinky Sentences

Mini-Lesson: Sentence Stretching with a Slinky This mini-lesson demonstrates how students can self-assess varied sentence length. Using a Slinky, Kristina shows students how to check their sentence length to see if they have variety. Duration: 14:09 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Sentence Stretching with a Slinky

Mini-Lesson: Sentence Stretching with a Slinky

Mini-Lesson: Sentence Stretching with a Slinky This mini-lesson demonstrates how students can self-assess varied sentence length. Using a Slinky, Kristina shows students how to stretch out some sentences to make them longer. Duration: 15:02 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Get Outta Here

Mini-Lesson: Get Outta Here

Mini-Lesson: Get Outta Here This mini-lesson encourages students to replace worn-out verbs with better action verbs. Using the analogy of the verb being the engine of the sentence, Kristina shows students how to replace weak verbs with stronger ones. Duration: 12:27 |...
Mini-Lesson: Sequential Action Verbs

Mini-Lesson: Sequential Action Verbs

Mini-Lesson: Sequential Action Verbs This mini-lesson shows how to include multiple action verbs in one sentence. Using mentor text examples, Kristina shows students how to add powerful verbs to their writing. Duration: 15:06 | Grade 5
Mini-Lesson: Brand-Name Nouns

Mini-Lesson: Brand-Name Nouns

Mini-Lesson: Brand-Name Nouns This mini-lesson emphasizes the importance of using precise nouns instead of vague ones. Using a brand-name cereal box and a generic cereal box, Kristina explains how to use the right word in the right place for good word choice....
Mini-Lesson: Comparison Details

Mini-Lesson: Comparison Details

Mini-Lesson: Comparison Details This mini-lesson explains the importance of using good word choice with comparison details. Using the bullseye word choice icon, Kristina guides students through the process of adding comparison details in their informative writing....
Mini-Lesson: Weaving Description Among Facts

Mini-Lesson: Weaving Description Among Facts

Mini-Lesson: Weaving Description Among Facts This mini-lesson shows students how to include descriptive details in their informative writing. Using the idea of braiding, Kristina demonstrates how to weave descriptive details among facts. Duration: 14:41 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Show, Don’t Tell (Grade 2)

Mini-Lesson: Show, Don’t Tell (Grade 2)

Mini-Lesson: Show, Don’t Tell This mini-lesson challenges your writers to add details to show their feelings rather than telling their feelings. Using a magnifying glass, Kristina explains how to add close-up details to show feeling. Duration: 13:18 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Choosing Sides

Mini-Lesson: Choosing Sides

Mini-Lesson: Choosing Sides This mini-lesson helps students understand that voice is determined by perspective. Using a Rubik’s cube, Kristina explains that one issue or topic could have several different “sides.” Duration: 14:32 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Different Perspectives

Mini-Lesson: Different Perspectives

Mini-Lesson: Different Perspectives This mini-lesson shows how voice changes based on perspective. Using engaging mentor text, Kristina demonstrates how writing from a unique perspective improves the trait of voice. Duration: 13:27 | Grade 8
Mini-Lesson: P.A.T. Determines Voice

Mini-Lesson: P.A.T. Determines Voice

Mini-Lesson: P.A.T. Determines Voice This mini-lesson helps students determine their writing voice based on the purpose and audience for their writing. Using a flipbook, Kristina shows students how voice is different depending on why you’re writing and who will...
Mini-Lesson: Hearing & Naming Voice

Mini-Lesson: Hearing & Naming Voice

Mini-Lesson: Hearing, Naming, & Finding Voice This mini-lesson explains to students the importance of listening for voice as readers, and then naming it. Using the voice poster, Kristina helps students see how to using feeling words to pinpoint voice in writing....
Mini-Lesson: Backwards Brainstorming

Mini-Lesson: Backwards Brainstorming

Mini-Lesson: Backwards Brainstorming This mini-lesson asks students to start with their feelings and then think of a topic. Using the voice poster, Kristina leads students through brainstorming topics based on different feelings. Duration: 14:15 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Omitting “Really” & “Very”

Mini-Lesson: Omitting “Really” & “Very”

Mini-Lesson: Omitting “Really” & “Very” This mini-lesson encourages students to omit the words “really” and “very” from their writing. Using a toothpick and a spatula, Kristina explains how to replace those little...
Mini-Lesson: Writing Purposeful Transitions

Mini-Lesson: Writing Purposeful Transitions

Mini-Lesson: Writing Purposeful Transitions This mini-lesson helps students understand the importance of using purposeful transitions. Using a road sign, Kristina explains to students how transitions in our writing guide a reader just like road signs guide a driver....
Mini-Lesson: Organizing a Compare-Contrast

Mini-Lesson: Organizing a Compare-Contrast

Mini-Lesson: Organizing a Compare-Contrast This mini-lesson explains how to organize a compare-contrast piece of writing. Using a specially wrapped package, Kristina shows students how to pre-write using a T-Chart instead of a Venn diagram. Duration: 13:25 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Yo-Yo Beginnings & Endings

Mini-Lesson: Yo-Yo Beginnings & Endings

Mini-Lesson: Yo-Yo Beginnings & Endings This mini-lesson shows students how to start and end their writing with the same technique. Using a Yo-Yo, Kristina shows students several different ways to begin and end a piece of writing. Duration: 15:47 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Creating Strong “So What?” Endings

Mini-Lesson: Creating Strong “So What?” Endings

Mini-Lesson: Creating Strong “So What?” Endings This mini-lesson helps students learn how to create endings that do more than summarize. Using the train icon for the trait of organization, Kristina shows students writing samples that provide a “So...
Mini-Lesson: 10 Types of Introductions

Mini-Lesson: 10 Types of Introductions

Mini-Lesson: 10 Types of Introductions This mini-lesson provides students with 10 different ways to write or deliver and introduction. Using the train icon for the trait of organization, Kristina focuses on ways to write an introduction that grab a reader’s...
Mini-Lesson: Stay on Topic with Title

Mini-Lesson: Stay on Topic with Title

Mini-Lesson: Stay on Topic with Titles This mini-lesson demonstrates how writers should only include details in the title that follow the topic they’re writing about. Using a box of cereal, Kristina shows students how a reader expects to read only details that...
Mini-Lesson: Strong Titles

Mini-Lesson: Strong Titles

Mini-Lesson: Strong Titles This mini-lesson explains the importance of choosing a title carefully when writing. Using two different wrapped gifts, Kristina shows students how a strong title can grab their readers’ attention. Duration: 15:48 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: 4 Steps to Paraphrase

Mini-Lesson: 4 Steps to Paraphrase

Mini-Lesson: 4 Steps to Paraphrase This mini-lesson explains the 4-step process of paraphrasing. Using hand motions for each step, Kristina shows students how to read a text and then put what they read into their own words. Duration: 15:09 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Adding Details with the ABC Chart

Mini-Lesson: Adding Details with the ABC Chart

Mini-Lesson: Adding Details with the ABC Chart This mini-lesson shows students how brainstorm for details to improve their writing. Using the ABC Chart, Kristina shows students how to brainstorm for details before they write. Duration: 14:57 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Slow-Motion Writing

Mini-Lesson: Slow-Motion Writing

Mini-Lesson: Slow-Motion Writing This mini-lesson shows students how to slow down to improve their writing. By acting out different tasks like brushing your teeth, Kristina shows students the importance of slowing down when they write so they can include more details....
Mini-Lesson: Pump Up Your Writing

Mini-Lesson: Pump Up Your Writing

Mini-Lesson: Pump Up Your Writing This mini-lesson shows students how to develop their ideas to make their writing better. Using a balloon, Kristina shows students how to “pump” up their writing with added details. With each detail she adds, she blows more...
Does decoding the prompt ensure test success?

Does decoding the prompt ensure test success?

Does decoding the prompt ensure test success? Many ELA standardized assessments include a complex task. These often require students to combine several reading and writing skills in order to produce a longer written response. To succeed at such a task, students must...
Mini-Lesson: Narrow Down to a Thesis

Mini-Lesson: Narrow Down to a Thesis

Mini-Lesson: Narrow Down to a Thesis This mini-lesson demonstrates how to drill down a topic/idea to a specific thesis statement. Using nesting boxes, Kristina delineates how to take a huge concept and narrow it down to a sentence that includes the three essentials of...
Mini-Lesson: Narrow the Topic (Grade 3)

Mini-Lesson: Narrow the Topic (Grade 3)

Mini-Lesson: Narrow the Topic This mini-lesson explains the importance of narrowing a topic when writing. Using nesting boxes, Kristina demonstrates how to move from a broad topic to a more specific, narrowed topic. Duration: 15:34 | Grade 3
Mini-Lesson: Narrow the Topic (Grade 5)

Mini-Lesson: Narrow the Topic (Grade 5)

Mini-Lesson: Narrow the Topic This mini-lesson explains the importance of narrowing a topic when writing. Using nesting boxes, Kristina demonstrates how to move from a broad topic to a more specific, narrowed topic. Duration: 15:47 | Grade 5
Mini-Lesson: Introduce Argumentative Writing

Mini-Lesson: Introduce Argumentative Writing

Mini-Lesson: Introduce Argumentative Writing This mini-lesson includes an explanation of the differences between persuasive and argumentative writing. Using the imagery of scales, Kristina helps students understand how writers balance their writing with pros and cons...
Mini-Lesson: Adding Details with Carets

Mini-Lesson: Adding Details with Carets

Mini-Lesson: Adding Details with Carets This mini-lesson shows students how to add more to their writing. Kristina helps students see how to use a caret to add more details to their writing. Duration: 14:04 | Grade 1
Mini-Lesson: Read Up, Write Down

Mini-Lesson: Read Up, Write Down

Mini-Lesson: Read Up, Write Down This mini-lesson demonstrates a strategy for self-editing. Kristina shows students the importance of lifting their papers when they self-edit. When they write, their papers are flat on their desks. But when it’s time to...
Mini-Lesson: Introduce Text Features

Mini-Lesson: Introduce Text Features

Mini-Lesson: Introduce Text Features This mini-lesson introduces the concept of text features. Using the Guinness Book of World Records, Kristina points out different kinds of text features and their importance. Duration: 13:56 | Grade 3
Mini-Lesson: Main-Idea Newspaper Headlines

Mini-Lesson: Main-Idea Newspaper Headlines

Mini-Lesson: Main-Idea Newspaper Headlines This mini-lesson helps students to understand the concept of a main idea and how to identify it within a text. Using newspaper headlines, Kristina shows students how to look for the clues from the text to create a...
Mini-Lesson: Introduce Reading Voice & Thinking Voice

Mini-Lesson: Introduce Reading Voice & Thinking Voice

Mini-Lesson: Introduce Reading Voice & Thinking Voice This mini-lesson introduces students to the different voices in their heads. Kristina models her own “voices” to help students understand how the Reading Voice reads the words in the text, and the...
Mini-Lesson: Writing a Strong Summary

Mini-Lesson: Writing a Strong Summary

Mini-Lesson: Writing a Strong Summary This mini-lesson walks students through the process of writing a summary. Using a sports analogy, Kristina explains the difference between a retell (the play-by-play) and a summary (the highlights/ESPN SportsCenter). Duration:...
Mini-Lesson: Recalling the Details of a Story

Mini-Lesson: Recalling the Details of a Story

Mini-Lesson: Recalling the Details of a Story This mini-lesson helps students remember the details from a story they’ve just read. Using the ABC Chart, Kristina shows students how to collect their thoughts as they recall characters, settings, and events from the...
Mini-Lesson: Recall & Retell with ABC Chart

Mini-Lesson: Recall & Retell with ABC Chart

Mini-Lesson: Recall & Retell with ABC Chart This mini-lesson guides students through the process of retelling a story. Using the ABC Chart, Kristina helps students first collect the details they remember. Then, using a 3-box storyboard, she shows them how to put...
Mini-Lesson: Improving Peer Revision

Mini-Lesson: Improving Peer Revision

Mini-Lesson: Improving Peer Revision This mini-lesson helps students make the peer-revision process powerful. Kristina provides specific questions students can use in order to give meaningful feedback to their peers. Duration: 12:22 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Revise in 3 Steps

Mini-Lesson: Revise in 3 Steps

Mini-Lesson: Revise in 3 Steps This mini-lesson teaches the importance of revision in writing. Using Play-Doh as a trigger, Kristina has the students experience the entire writing process in a few minutes—including revision. Duration: 13:09 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Make Room for Revision

Mini-Lesson: Make Room for Revision

Mini-Lesson: Make Room for Revision This mini-lesson demonstrates two ways students can make room in their writing for revision. Kristina demonstrates the process and invites students to try both during writing time. Duration: 14:48 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Make Room for Revision

Mini-Lesson: Story Surgery

Mini-Lesson: Story Surgery This mini-lesson introduces students to a new revision strategy—story surgery. Using a fake liver as a visual trigger, Kristina shares how to cut up the writing to “mess with its guts.” Duration: 12:45 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Make a “Done” List

Mini-Lesson: Make a “Done” List

Mini-Lesson: Make a “Done” List This mini-lesson shows students specific ways to revise their writing when they think they are finished. Kristina creates a “Done” List with the students to demonstrate that they can still make changes to their...
Mini-Lesson: Readers Make Inferences

Mini-Lesson: Readers Make Inferences

Mini-Lesson: Readers Make Inferences This mini-lesson introduces students the process of making an inference. Using a magnifying glass, Kristina shows students how to look for clues like a detective. Duration: 13:31 | Grade 4
Classroom Activity: Stand Up, Sit Down  (Grade 4)

Classroom Activity: Stand Up, Sit Down (Grade 4)

Classroom Activity: Stand Up, Sit Down (Grade 4) This classroom activity allows students to review content. The initial video includes instructions. Kristina adds an element of fun to the review by having students share the content in engaging ways. Duration: 7:40 |...
Classroom Activity: Stand Up, Sit Down  (Grade 2)

Classroom Activity: Stand Up, Sit Down (Grade 2)

Classroom Activity: Stand Up, Sit Down (Grade 2) This classroom activity allows students to review content. The initial video includes instructions. Kristina adds an element of fun to the review by having students share the content in engaging ways. Duration: 7:22 |...
Mini-Lesson: Turn Fragments into Sentences

Mini-Lesson: Turn Fragments into Sentences

Mini-Lesson: Turn Fragments into Sentences This mini-lesson helps students learn how to turn words and phrases into complete sentences. Using Spider Legs, Kristina demonstrates an engaging way to revise a first draft, turning fragments into sentences. Duration: 16:07...
Mini-Lesson: Support Writers with Frames

Mini-Lesson: Support Writers with Frames

Mini-Lesson: Support Writers with Frames This mini-lesson shows students how to make their writing longer and more organized. Using pictures about learning to hit a baseball, Kristina shows how writers need support, too, when learning new skills. Duration: 15:26 |...
Mini-Lesson: Listing Related Details

Mini-Lesson: Listing Related Details

Mini-Lesson: Listing Related Details This mini-lesson helps students understand how to list multiple details for a topic. Using the train trigger and a grocery list, Kristina shows students that all items on a list should go together. Duration: 15:33 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: 4 Types of Picture Details

Mini-Lesson: 4 Types of Picture Details

Mini-Lesson: 4 Types of Picture Details This mini-lesson shows students how to add details to their pictures. Kristina shares four specific ways to add close-up details to drawings. Duration: 15:33 | Grade K
Mini-Lesson: 3 Reasons to Indent

Mini-Lesson: 3 Reasons to Indent

Mini-Lesson: 3 Reasons to Indent This mini-lesson shows students how to indent their paragraphs for different reasons. Using the image of a “dent” in clay, Kristina shows three specific reasons for indenting a paragraph. Duration: 15:25 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Changing Sentence Speeds

Mini-Lesson: Changing Sentence Speeds

Mini-Lesson: Changing Sentence Speeds This mini-lesson helps students understand how to intentionally create long or short sentences based on topic and purpose. Using engaging examples, Kristina models the process of deciding what length is best based on the topic and...
Mini-Lesson: Supersizing Sentences

Mini-Lesson: Supersizing Sentences

Mini-Lesson: Supersizing Sentences This mini-lesson encourages students to stretch their sentences to new lengths. Using supersized fast food, Kristina helps students understand how to make their sentences more detailed and developed. Duration: 14:28 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Hearing Punctuation

Mini-Lesson: Hearing Punctuation

Mini-Lesson: Hearing Punctuation This mini-lesson helps students to hear punctuation when they’re reading their writing aloud. Using a high-interest text, Kristina helps students learn to listen for end marks. Duration: 13:03 | Grade 2
Mini-Lesson: Write Transition Sentences that Blend Ideas

Mini-Lesson: Write Transition Sentences that Blend Ideas

Mini-Lesson: Write Transition Sentences that Blend Ideas This mini-lesson takes students from one-word transitions to sentence transitions that blend ideas from one paragraph to the next. Kristina uses variegated yarn as a trigger to show how ideas can blend from one...
Mini-Lesson: Understanding Parallelism

Mini-Lesson: Understanding Parallelism

Mini-Lesson: Understanding Parallelism This mini-lesson emphasizes how using parallel structure in writing improves the sentence fluency. Using colored beads as a trigger, Kristina demonstrates how to revise phrases to follow a pattern that makes the writing more...
Mini-Lesson: Choose the Best Adjectives

Mini-Lesson: Choose the Best Adjectives

Mini-Lesson: Choose the Best Adjectives This mini-lesson focuses on how to select the best adjective to describe a noun. Using engaging pictures, Kristina helps students brainstorm possible words and then helps them determine which is the best one for a specific...
Mini-Lesson: Self-Edit a Digital Draft

Mini-Lesson: Self-Edit a Digital Draft

Mini-Lesson: Self-Edit a Digital Draft This mini-lesson deals with how to self-edit a first draft off of a screen. Kristina shares three tips for finding errors in an on-screen draft—even if a student has just written the draft. Duration: 18:48 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Faces & Words with Feelings

Mini-Lesson: Faces & Words with Feelings

Mini-Lesson: Faces & Words with Feelings This mini-lesson demonstrates how voice can be shown in both pictures and words. Using mentor text to demonstrate, Kristina shows kindergartners how to use facial expressions in their drawings to convey emotion. She also...
Mini-Lesson: Add Beginnings & Endings to Middles

Mini-Lesson: Add Beginnings & Endings to Middles

Mini-Lesson: Add Beginnings & Endings to Middles This mini-lesson helps students understand that all writing should include three parts. Using writing samples, Kristina shows how to add a beginning and an end to what most students write—just a middle. Duration:...
Mini-Lesson: Puff Up a Pre-Write Mini-Lesson Series

Mini-Lesson: Puff Up a Pre-Write Mini-Lesson Series

Mini-Lesson: Puff Up a Pre-Write Mini-Lesson Series This mini-lesson series reminds students of pre-writing with a list and how that provides the ideas to include in a writing. Using the compression bag trigger and different lists of ideas in her Think Aloud, Kristina...
Mini-Lesson: Puff Up a Pre-Write

Mini-Lesson: Puff Up a Pre-Write

Mini-Lesson: Puff Up a Pre-Write This mini-lesson reminds students of the function of a pre-write and how it provides the ideas to include in a writing. Using a compression bag (and sound effects), Kristina shows students how “puff up” their ideas during...
Mini-Lesson: Introduce a Synthesis

Mini-Lesson: Introduce a Synthesis

Mini-Lesson: Introduce a Synthesis This mini-lesson uses what the students already know about the Reading Voice & Thinking Voice to help them take the next step in inferring ideas. Using a baking analogy, Kristina helps students understand the abstract concept of...
Mini-Lesson: Juggling Nouns & Pronouns

Mini-Lesson: Juggling Nouns & Pronouns

Mini-Lesson: Juggling Nouns & Pronouns This mini-lesson demonstrates how to determine when to use a noun and when it’s best to replace it with a pronoun. Using a basketball team analogy, Kristina walks students through the process of deciding when to...
Mini-Lesson: Pre-Write Action Verbs

Mini-Lesson: Pre-Write Action Verbs

Mini-Lesson: Pre-Write Action Verbs This mini-lesson encourages students to include action verbs in their writing. Using a comparison between name-brand batteries and generic, Kristina shows students how to make powerful verb choices when they pre-write. Duration:...
Mini-Lesson: Writers Organize Information in 3 Ways

Mini-Lesson: Writers Organize Information in 3 Ways

Mini-Lesson: Writers Organize Information in 3 Ways This mini-lesson shows students the three ways writers organize their writing. Using simple images, Kristina helps even the youngest writers understand how to organize their writing. Duration: 17:13 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson & Activity: Use MEB Order for Narrative Writing

Mini-Lesson & Activity: Use MEB Order for Narrative Writing

Mini-Lesson & Activity: Use MEB Order for Narrative Writing This mini-lesson teaches students how to pre-write effectively for narrative writing. Instead of starting with the beginning, Kristina shows how to start with the problem, then plan the ending, and after...
Mini-Lesson: Topic sentences and supporting details

Mini-Lesson: Topic sentences and supporting details

Mini-Lesson: Developing Ideas with Topic Sentences and Relevant Supporting Details This mini-lesson shows students how to develop their ideas by creating topic sentences and adding relevant details to support them. Using the “table” from a pizza box,...
Mini-Lesson: Sticky Dot Details

Mini-Lesson: Sticky Dot Details

Mini-Lesson: Sticky Dots This mini-lesson encourages students to add more details to their writing. Using different colored sticky dots, Kristina demonstrates how to add details by writing more than one sentence about each idea. Duration: 15:14 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Add More Colorful Sentences

Mini-Lesson: Add More Colorful Sentences

Mini-Lesson: Add More Colorful Sentences This mini-lesson encourages students to add more sentences to their writing. Using colorful gel pens, Kristina offers incentive for writing additional sentences—a new color for each added sentence. Duration: 14:32 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Choose a Position in 4 Steps

Mini-Lesson: Choose a Position in 4 Steps

Mini-Lesson: Choose a Position in 4 Steps This mini-lesson leads kindergartners through the 4-step process of picking a side on a debatable topic. Using a blue hat and a red hat, Kristina makes it clear which side she is taking as she lists evidence from the text for...
Mini-Lesson: Introduce Functional Vocabulary

Mini-Lesson: Introduce Functional Vocabulary

Mini-Lesson: Introduce Functional Vocabulary This mini-lesson introduces students to some of the academic words they might encounter in standardized testing. Using a fidget cube, Kristina helps students understand the importance of knowing how to interpret academic...
Mini-Lesson: Read Little Words in Story Problems

Mini-Lesson: Read Little Words in Story Problems

Mini-Lesson: Read Little Words in Story Problems This mini-lesson shows students the significance of little words used in math story problems. Kristina offers 3 tricks to support students in their reading comprehension of word problems. Duration: 24:17 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Read on Screen; Note on Paper

Mini-Lesson: Read on Screen; Note on Paper

Mini-Lesson: Read on Screen; Note on Paper This mini-lesson shows students how to make notes while reading on screen. Using a fidget cube and engaging text, Kristina explains the importance of making notes on paper. Duration: 24:17 | Grade 6
Mini-Lesson: Introduce Annotation

Mini-Lesson: Introduce Annotation

Mini-Lesson: Introduce Annotation This mini-lesson introduces the how and why behind annotating text. Using a picture of tracks in the snow, Kristina helps students understand the importance of making reader notes along with annotation codes. Duration: 17:58 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Code New Information Learned Across Texts

Mini-Lesson: Code New Information Learned Across Texts

Mini-Lesson: Code New Information Learned Across Texts This mini-lesson builds on what students already know about annotation. Using simple codes and marks, Kristina demonstrates how to mark new information found in additional texts. Duration: 18:19 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Model a Synthesis (Upper Grades)

Mini-Lesson: Model a Synthesis (Upper Grades)

Mini-Lesson: Model a Synthesis This mini-lesson uses mentor text to demonstrate the process a reader goes through to synthesize ideas. Using a cake mix as a trigger, Kristina helps students understand the necessary ingredients required for synthesis. Duration: 9:41 |...
Mini-Lesson: Model a Synthesis (Primary)

Mini-Lesson: Model a Synthesis (Primary)

Mini-Lesson: Model a Synthesis This mini-lesson demonstrates the process a reader goes through to synthesize from a text. Using a cake mix as a trigger, Kristina helps students understand the process of making a synthesis. Duration: 8:49 | Grades...
Mini-Lesson & Activity: Synthesize from Multiple Sources

Mini-Lesson & Activity: Synthesize from Multiple Sources

Mini-Lesson & Activity: Synthesize from Multiple Sources This mini-lesson demonstrates the process a reader uses to synthesize information from more than one source. Using a Synthesis Test, Kristina shows students how to determine if their thoughts are actually a...
Mini-Lesson: Value Multiple Sources

Mini-Lesson: Value Multiple Sources

Mini-Lesson: Value Multiple Sources This mini-lesson shows students the importance of reading more than one source. Using a set of images, Kristina helps students recognize how new information is added with additional pictures. Duration: 7:05 | Grade...
Mini-Lesson: Decode the Prompt

Mini-Lesson: Decode the Prompt

Mini-Lesson: Decode the Prompt This mini-lesson helps students learn how to read a prompt and how to write to a prompt. Using a decoder ring, Kristina helps students learn the secret for understanding the academic language used in prompts. Duration: 18:04 | Grade...
How do you prepare kids to decode prompts?

How do you prepare kids to decode prompts?

How do you prepare kids to decode prompts? A key part of preparing kids to decode prompts includes includes equipping kids with the skills and habits to read and interpret writing prompts accurately and independently. Students need to be able to read a prompt,...
How do I support students’ summary writing?

How do I support students’ summary writing?

How do I support students’ summary writing? If we want to teach students how to synthesize ideas, we have to start by teaching kids how to summarize them. After all, a student can’t think beyond the text if he can’t think about the text. That said, teachers at...
Where do I start when teaching theme?

Where do I start when teaching theme?

Where do I start when teaching theme? Even though determining a text’s theme is an expectation from grade 1-12, many educators wrestle with how to teach this ELA standard—and plenty more students wrestle with how to figure it out. To help students master inferring a...
How can I motivate students to “attend” live meetings?

How can I motivate students to “attend” live meetings?

How can I motivate students to “attend” live meetings? Getting students to show up for live sessions of virtual learning is no easy task. After all, when students are learning from home, there are countless distractions and interruptions that can prevent the best...
How do I manage whole-class discussions virtually?

How do I manage whole-class discussions virtually?

How do I manage whole-class discussions virtually? Creating a classroom where all students are participating in the in-class discussion is hard. And when you put masks on those same kids or set them in front of webcams, the conversation is quickly stifled. Although...
How do you engage students during a virtual read aloud?

How do you engage students during a virtual read aloud?

How do you engage students during a virtual read aloud? Long before the pandemic, teachers have been applying tricks of the trade to lead classroom read alouds that draw students in and keep them engaged. But now that many teachers are conducting read alouds in a...
What are ways to use exit tickets during remote teaching?

What are ways to use exit tickets during remote teaching?

What are ways to use exit tickets during remote teaching? One of the most efficient ways to assess for understanding after a lesson is to use an exit ticket. In the traditional face-to-face classroom, this strategy serves as a check for understanding. It usually...
Should I slow down the roll-out of the original eLessons?

Should I slow down the roll-out of the original eLessons?

Should I slow down the roll-out of the original eLessons? When COVID-19 closed schools around the globe, the team at Smekens Education began recording whole-class comprehension mini-lessons that teachers could share directly with students. Known as Literacy...
How can I conduct formative assessment virtually?

How can I conduct formative assessment virtually?

How can I conduct formative assessment virtually? Throughout the instructional process, it’s important for teachers to utilize formative assessments to evaluate the progress of students’ learning. After all, we don’t want to wait until the end of a unit to learn that...
How do I create a digital 6-Traits bulletin board?

How do I create a digital 6-Traits bulletin board?

How do I create a digital 6-Traits bulletin board? For years, Smekens Education has been advocating for teachers to kick off their introduction to the Six Traits of Writing with a bulletin board that grows and evolves as the school year progresses....
How do I overcome my own biases?

How do I overcome my own biases?

How do I overcome my own biases? As educators seek to build more equitable classrooms, an important first step is to acknowledge that even the most well-intentioned educators possess inherent biases. These baked-in perceptions of the world are shaped by a variety of...
How do I keep my mini-lesson short when the text is long?

How do I keep my mini-lesson short when the text is long?

How do I keep my mini-lesson short when the text is long? Whether teaching in person or remotely, short and effective whole-class mini-lessons have an important role to play in every subject area. These 15-20 minute lessons focus on a narrow skill and follow...
How do I get more participation in online conversations?

How do I get more participation in online conversations?

How do I get more participation in online conversations? During virtual group discussions, follow this anchor chart of 4 different ways to get all your students to participate in the meeting. Access the anchor chart Google Slide. Duration: 2:14 | Grades...
How can I use Flipgrid to practice fluency?

How can I use Flipgrid to practice fluency?

How can I use Flipgrid to practice fluency? As educators continue to sharpen their skills using technology in the ELA classroom, Flipgrid can be used to help teach fluency to students. Flipgrid is a free classroom tool that has grown in popularity since the increase...
How can I use Flipgrid in math?

How can I use Flipgrid in math?

How can I use Flipgrid in math? Flipgrid is a free classroom tool that has grown in popularity since the increase in remote learning. Check out this step-by-step guide to set up a math lesson on Flipgird. Duration: 3:05 | Grades K-5
Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading Learn how to ramp up the rigor in your reading while honoring the gradual release of responsibility. Find out how to immerse students in complex text and achieve a close reading while they learn how to synthesize their...
Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Content-Area Literacy

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Content-Area Literacy Learn how to integrate literacy skills into the content areas. Whether teaching science or social studies or math, students need to know how to read closely and how to write about what they read. Duration: 106 minutes...
Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: 6-Traits Launch

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: 6-Traits Launch Learn how to take the six ingredients to good writing and share them with your students. You’ll learn how to recognize the traits within student writing and then learn how to communicate the six traits to your writers....
Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: 6-Traits Mini-Lessons

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: 6-Traits Mini-Lessons Learn how to teach a 6-Traits mini-lesson for daily writing instruction. Find out how to include all the right elements in each short 10-15 minute lesson as well as how to plan for multiple days of lessons to teach...
Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: 6-Traits Rubrics

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: 6-Traits Rubrics Learn how to introduce the concept of a rubric to your writers. Then, build a kid-friendly rubric based on the 6 Traits. Create writing examples, being sure to include every level of ability represented in your class. As...
Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Argumentative Writing

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Argumentative Writing Learn how to teach your students to write argumentative pieces that include evidence. Watch as Kristina Smekens models how to help students discover how to align with the strongest position rather than just their own...
Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Informative Writing

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Informative Writing Learn how to provide everyday opportunities for research that can result in a variety of product options. Find ways to teach students how to organize their source information while avoiding plagiarism. Learn how to...
Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Writing About Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Writing About Reading Learn how to teach your students to cite evidence as well as how to weave in the citations necessary to identify their sources. Discover ways to use writing after a close reading to assess understanding as well as how...
Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Vocabulary

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Vocabulary Learn how to teach vocabulary to support acquisition of words as well as understanding of academic vocabulary that students will find in standardized assessments. Duration: 61 minutes | Grades 6-12
Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Comprehension Mini-Lessons

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Comprehension Mini-Lessons Learn how to teach students the comprehension strategies they need to be successful readers. Watch as Kristina Smekens shows you how to introduce the comprehension strategies at the beginning of the year and then...
Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Standardized Test Prep

Learning Path | Grades 6-12: Standardized Test Prep Learn 5 strategies that will improve your students scores on reading assessments. Discover simple ways to prepare students for the type of academic vocabulary they will encounter on tests. Find out how to show...
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading After launching your reading block and literacy stations are up and running, begin working with small groups for guided reading. Learn the procedures and best practices to manage differentiated small-group guided reading...
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Literacy Stations

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Literacy Stations Learn how to introduce literacy stations within your reading block. Discover how to build stamina with the Classroom Library station and how to introduce new stations with procedures that keep your classroom running...
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Comprehension Mini-Lessons

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Comprehension Mini-Lessons Learn how to teach students the comprehension strategies they need to be successful readers. Watch as Kristina Smekens shows you how to introduce the comprehension strategies at the beginning of the year and then...
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Vocabulary

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Vocabulary Learn how to teach vocabulary to support acquisition of words as well as understanding of academic vocabulary that students will find in standardized assessments. Duration: 60 minutes | Grades 3-5
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Rigorous Reading Learn how to ramp up the rigor in your reading while honoring the gradual release of responsibility. Find out how to immerse students in complex text and achieve a close reading while they learn how to synthesize their...
How do you model the Distracting Voice?

How do you model the Distracting Voice?

How do you model the Distracting Voice? Many teachers have been making the reading process more visible for students by introducing the Reading Voice and Thinking Voice during whole-class mini-lessons. When teachers use anchor text to model these two voices, it...
How do I effectively teach students to Turn & Talk?

How do I effectively teach students to Turn & Talk?

How do I effectively teach students to Turn & Talk? Whether you’re teaching in person or virtually, the challenge of getting every student involved in the learning is not a new one. The fact of the matter is, some students don’t have the desire, the...
How can I keep my kids focused during whole-class lessons?

How can I keep my kids focused during whole-class lessons?

How can I keep my kids focused during whole-class lessons? Even under ideal circumstances, capturing the focus of students during whole-class instruction takes some edutaining. When executing that instruction remotely, the challenge is even greater and the stakes are...
How can my students execute at-home science experiments?

How can my students execute at-home science experiments?

How can my students execute at-home science experiments? Although there are loads of websites directed to parents that tout fun science activities at home, teaching science is much more than that. It requires students to learn and apply scientific thinking rooted in...
How do I teach remotely when students don’t have the internet?

How do I teach remotely when students don’t have the internet?

How do I teach remotely when students don’t have the internet? Remote learning poses a unique challenge for most schools, but for those whose students don’t have devices and/or reliable internet, that technology gap makes learning from home especially challenging. But...
How can I use Flipgrid to practice retelling?

How can I use Flipgrid to practice retelling?

How can I use Flipgrid to practice retelling? Educators have been bombarded with all types of online resources designed to make teaching during a pandemic more manageable. But one tool that has emerged as a consistent favorite is Flipgrid by Microsoft. Duration: 3:04...
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Reading Block

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Reading Block Launch your reading block, including whole-class mini-lessons, literacy stations, and small-group guided reading. Learn the procedures and best practices to manage a reading block that honors the gradual release of...
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Standardized Test Prep

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Standardized Test Prep Learn 5 strategies that will improve your students scores on reading assessments. Discover simple ways to prepare students for the type of academic vocabulary they will encounter on tests. Find out how to show...
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Informative Writing

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Informative Writing Learn how to provide everyday opportunities for research that can result in a variety of product options. Find ways to teach students how to organize their source information while avoiding plagiarism. Learn how to teach...
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Persuasive Writing

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Persuasive Writing Learn how to teach your students to write persuasive pieces that include evidence. Watch as Kristina Smekens models how to help students discover how to align with the strongest position rather than just their own...
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: 6-Traits Rubrics

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: 6-Traits Rubrics Learn how to introduce the concept of a rubric to your writers. Then, build a kid-friendly rubric based on the 6 Traits. Create writing examples, being sure to include every level of ability represented in your class. As...
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: 6-Traits Mini-Lessons

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: 6-Traits Mini-Lessons Learn how to teach a 6-Traits mini-lesson for daily writing instruction. Find out how to include all the right elements in each short 10-15 minute lesson as well as how to plan for multiple days of lessons to teach the...
Learning Path | Grades 3-5: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: 6-Traits Launch

Learning Path | Grades 3-5: 6-Traits Launch Learn how to take the six ingredients to good writing and share them with your students. You’ll learn how to recognize the traits within student writing and then learn how to communicate the six traits to your writers....
Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading Learn how to up the reading rigor required in the standards–even with young readers. Discover ways to bring complex text to the classroom while you guide students through the 5 steps to a close reading. Learn how to...
Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Comprehension Mini-Lessons

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Comprehension Mini-Lessons Learn how to plan and implement dynamic comprehension mini-lessons. Acquire mini-lesson ideas for how to introduce students to the different “voices” in their heads before rolling out lessons to...
Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Guided Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Guided Reading Learn how to differentiate instruction as you set up small-group guided reading groups. Discover tips for each level of reading ability as well as lesson planners suited to each. Duration: 238 minutes | Grades...
Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Literacy Stations

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Literacy Stations Learn how to set procedures that will allow you to manage multiple literacy stations during your reading block. Discover ways to build student stamina, practice transitions, and prepare for small-group meetings while...
Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Reading Block

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Reading Block Launch your reading block, including whole-class mini-lessons, literacy stations, and small-group guided reading. Learn the procedures and best practices to manage a reading block that honors the graduate release of...
Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: 6-Traits Rubrics

Learning Path | Grades K-2: 6-Traits Rubrics Learn how to introduce the concept of a rubric to your young writers. Then, build a kid-friendly rubric based on the 6 Traits. Use examples of developmental stages of writing, being sure to include every level of ability...
Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Narrative Writing

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Narrative Writing Learn how to teach pictorial writing skills to help students learn how to add more details to their drawings–and eventually to their writing. Discover how to adapt the Storyboard strategy to prewrite for all...
Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Informative Writing

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Informative Writing Using the developmental stages of writing, teach students how to label and list on informative topics. Learn how to create labeling and list-writing units to complement your content-area learning or reading curriculum....
Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Opinion Writing

Learning Path | Grades K-2: Opinion Writing Even our youngest writers have opinions. Learn how to help your students share the WHAT and WHY of their opinion in drawing and writing. Learn strategies to help them align with the strongest position and how to distinguish...
Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: 6-Traits Mini-Lessons

Learning Path | Grades K-2: 6-Traits Mini-Lessons Learn how to teach a 6-Traits mini-lesson for daily writing instruction. Find out how to include all the right elements in each short 10-15 minute lesson as well as how to plan for multiple days of lessons to teach the...
Learning Path | Grades K-2: Rigorous Reading

Learning Path | Grades K-2: 6-Traits Launch

Learning Path | Grades K-2: 6-Traits Launch Learn how to take the six ingredients to good writing and share them with your students—even though they may not even know their letters yet. You’ll learn how to recognize the traits within the developmental stages of...
webAcademy | Teaching Writing Skills All Year Long

webAcademy | Teaching Writing Skills All Year Long

Learn more about this workshop Want to offer this workshop for the entire staff? Contact us. Session Content Introduction to the workshop Let’s get started! – Handout Workshop overview Start See the big picture Plan with intention Massage the “mother...
webAcademy | An Introduction to Literacy Stations

webAcademy | An Introduction to Literacy Stations

Learn more about this workshop Want to offer this workshop for the entire staff? Contact us. Session Content Introduction to the workshop Let’s get started! – Handout See the Big Picture Prepare for an effective reading block Utilize the three types of...
Revise Ideas with Spider-Leg Sentences

Revise Ideas with Spider-Leg Sentences

Revise Ideas with Spider-Leg Sentences Learn how to encourage students to revise their writing with a strategy that makes revision fun. Included in this video is a full length mini-lesson from a kindergarten classroom where Kristina demonstrates how to add spider-leg...
Live Coaching Call: Align With the Strongest Position

Live Coaching Call: Align With the Strongest Position

Live Coaching Call: Align With the Strongest Position In this live coaching call, Smekens Remote Coach Bridget Longmeier will provide implementation strategies to support the webPD video, “Align with the Strongest Position.” Bridget will review key points...
Live Coaching Call: Align With the Strongest Position

Live Coaching Call: Prioritize Persuasive Reasons

Live Coaching Call: Prioritize Persuasive Reasons In this live coaching call, Smekens Remote Coach Bridget Longmeier will provide implementation strategies to support the webPD video, “Prioritize Persuasive Reasons.” Bridget will review key points from the...
Prompt Readers When Their Inferences are Off Track

Prompt Readers When Their Inferences are Off Track

Prompt Readers When Their Inferences are Off Track To infer, readers figure out bigger ideas implied by an author by combining multiple details from the text with their own background knowledge. However, sometimes students draw conclusions about the text...
Activate Background Knowledge When Inferring

Activate Background Knowledge When Inferring

Activate Background Knowledge When Inferring When making inferences, readers analyze textual details and apply their background knowledge to determine how they go together. Although this follows the process of Text Clues + Background = Inference, it’s not that...
Identify “Relevant” Textual Details per Reading Standard

Identify “Relevant” Textual Details per Reading Standard

Identify “Relevant” Textual Details per Reading Standard It’s well established that combining text clues with background knowledge is what leads to an inference. It’s understood that the Reading Voice “speaks” the text details and the background knowledge is activated...
Adjust the Writing Process for Digital Devices

Adjust the Writing Process for Digital Devices

Adjust the Writing Process for Digital Devices For many teachers, engaging students during the writing process often includes a variety of paper, pens, highlighters, sticky notes, etc. However, these are all paper-based writing tools. Students also need to know how to...
Teach Explicitly—I do, You Watch & Listen

Teach Explicitly—I do, You Watch & Listen

Teach Explicitly–I do, You Watch & Listen The most important part of any lesson is the teacher’s explicit instruction. Teachers must reveal how to execute a new skill as plainly, clearly, and precisely as possible. Although this term explicit is often...
Start and End Persuasive Pieces

Start and End Persuasive Pieces

Start and End Persuasive Pieces Most students know that their book reviews, persuasive letters, and argumentative essays need to have an introduction. The problem is–they struggle to write one that isn’t literal. Hello, I’m writing to persuade...
Reteach Grammar Skills in Maintenance Mini-Lessons

Reteach Grammar Skills in Maintenance Mini-Lessons

Reteach Grammar Skills in Maintenance Mini-Lessons When planning any writing unit, teachers determine how long it will last, how many skills can reasonably be taught, what skills those will be, and how those skills will be revealed within an end...
Teach Conventions in Context

Teach Conventions in Context

Teach Conventions in Context Literacy experts agree that grammar and mechanics should be taught in context. And while this concept is not unfamiliar to teachers, the logistics to pulling it off in the everyday classroom might be. Duration: 5:16 | Grades...
Clarify Summary Versus Synthesis

Clarify Summary Versus Synthesis

Clarify Summary Versus Synthesis Synthesizing is often loosely defined as thinking beyond the text or having an aha. Although these are accurate explanations, many question how a synthesis differs from a summary or inference. Duration: 5:19 | Grades...
Make Notes During Writer Conferences

Make Notes During Writer Conferences

Make Notes During Writer Conferences There is a variety of information teachers may want to record during a writer conference, but it should be noted that the form is not the focus. Rather, the teacher’s top priority is to have more conversations with...
Generate Narratives in Response to Reading

Generate Narratives in Response to Reading

Generate Narratives in Response to Reading For most states, the writing portions of standardized assessments are now all rooted in reading. Students aren’t writing about finding a secret door in the classroom or thinking of embarrassing moments that happened in...
Target Grammar Skills within Writing Units

Target Grammar Skills within Writing Units

Target Grammar Skills within Writing Units When moving through your ELA curriculum, be purposeful when determining which convention skill to teach when. Recognize that the order that skills appear in the language book is tied to categorization (e.g.,...
Use Songs to Introduce Comprehension Strategies

Use Songs to Introduce Comprehension Strategies

Use Songs to Introduce Comprehension Strategies When preparing for yearlong reading instruction, it’s important to establish an understanding of the seven comprehension strategies. An intentional introduction of the comprehension strategies can be achieved using...
Mark New and Contradictory Information

Mark New and Contradictory Information

Mark New and Contradictory Information Annotation strategies improve reader comprehension. They provide a place for the reader to track his thinking in the margins using arrows, symbols, and other notes. However, when reading multiple texts, students need annotation...
Vary Time Spent in the Writing Process

Vary Time Spent in the Writing Process

Vary Time Spent in the Writing Process Teachers already know they are to provide students with a wide range of writing experiences. This includes writing about various topics, for different purposes, to diverse audiences, and in numerous genres. However, there is...
Vary Text Types

Vary Text Types

Vary Text Types Imagine a significant event occurs locally or somewhere in the world. Consider how you gather information about that topic. Duration: 3:22 | Grades K-12
Use Movies to Introduce Comprehension

Use Movies to Introduce Comprehension

Use Movies to Introduce Comprehension To introduce the six comprehension strategies to students, you might consider reading different picture books, teaching the six comprehension songs, or… you could use movie clips. Duration: 5:41 | Grades K-12
Use a Six-Traits Rubric for Efficient Assessment

Use a Six-Traits Rubric for Efficient Assessment

Use a Six-Traits Rubric for Efficient Assessment Providing feedback for student writers is essential for their growth. However, the feedback cycle is often dreaded by teachers because it can be time consuming. Duration: 5:24 | Grades K-12
Tweak the Six-Traits Rubric for Different Units

Tweak the Six-Traits Rubric for Different Units

Tweak the Six-Traits Rubric for Different Units While it’s true that the writer’s purpose and presentation may look very different depending on the genre, all good writing possesses the same basic ingredients–the Six Traits. Duration: 3:40 | Grades...
Troubleshoot Evidence Errors in Reading Responses

Troubleshoot Evidence Errors in Reading Responses

Troubleshoot Evidence Errors in Reading Responses Students’ early attempts at evidence-based responses often require some fine-tuning. Specifically, there are three common “evidence errors” that should be addressed within your reading instruction....
Translate Technical Symbols to Words

Translate Technical Symbols to Words

Translate Technical Symbols to Words It’s common knowledge that fluency is an essential ingredient in achieving reading comprehension. However, a student who is fluent when reading literature is not necessarily fluent when reading math and other technical texts....
Track Main Ideas and Details within a Dissected Web

Track Main Ideas and Details within a Dissected Web

Track Main Ideas and Details within a Dissected Web Using a Storyboard to pre-write the chronological details of a story works well. However, this same graphic organizer won’t work for every writing task. In fact, the web graphic organizer is...
Track Individual Ideas to Analyze Their Influences

Track Individual Ideas to Analyze Their Influences

Tempt Readers with Booktalks Students tend to do well when asked to retell what happened on a particular page or summarize what a portion of a text was all about. Where they struggle is looking at the evolution or development of a single idea across a...
Tempt Readers with Booktalks

Tempt Readers with Booktalks

Tempt Readers with Booktalks Teachers are always looking for ways to motivate students to want to read more. Booktalks might be a powerful strategy to add to your toolbox. Duration: 1:37 | Grades K-12
Teach Readers How to Skim Long Texts

Teach Readers How to Skim Long Texts

Teach Readers How to Skim Long Texts In anticipation of long reading passages on standardized tests, some teachers are naturally concerned with how their lower, slower, and/or unmotivated readers will perform. One simple strategy to support these students is to teach...
Teach One Skill Across 3+ Days

Teach One Skill Across 3+ Days

Teach One Skill Across 3+ Days Students don’t learn everything in one 15-minute mini-lesson. Consequently, plan multiple mini-lessons to teach a specific skill. This will require teachers to slow down to allow students a chance to recognize the skill and try the skill...
Take Advantage of Root-Word Instruction

Take Advantage of Root-Word Instruction

Take Advantage of Root-Word Instruction Teaching students every word in the English language is impossible. But teaching students how words work leads students to unlock many other words. Duration: 1:33 | Grades K-12
Synthesize & Cite Evidence from Multiple Sources

Synthesize & Cite Evidence from Multiple Sources

Synthesize & Cite Evidence from Multiple Sources Synthesizing information from many sources is a common component within large-scale research writing projects. However, students need to be able to execute this same process during a simulated research task...
Support Writers When They Need Help

Support Writers When They Need Help

Support Writers When They Need Help The term “independent writing time” can seem like an oxymoron when your writer’s workshop is void of the right procedures. While it’s natural for students to have specific questions and need individualized...
Support Main Idea with Textual Evidence

Support Main Idea with Textual Evidence

Support Main Idea with Textual Evidence Standardized tests often ask students to identify evidence for a particular main idea. To teach students how to do this, first clarify three key terms. Duration: 4:58 | Grades K-12
Strengthen the Organization of Nonfiction Notebooks

Strengthen the Organization of Nonfiction Notebooks

Strengthen the Organization of Nonfiction Notebooks As you teach any content-area unit, you are guiding students through the research and study of a particular topic or concept. Students acquire deeper understanding of a topic through reading, discussions, videos,...
Skim and Slim Portions of a Novel

Skim and Slim Portions of a Novel

Skim and Slim Portions of a Novel Standards require teaching comprehension skills and strategies—not just reading texts and asking questions. However, when a curriculum includes numerous novels, making time for teaching can be difficult when we are...
Simulate Research-Writing Tasks During E-Learning

Simulate Research-Writing Tasks During E-Learning

Simulate Research-Writing Tasks During E-Learning For school districts building e-learning days into their calendars, one way to design powerful learning is with a simulated research task like those that appear on standardized assessments. Duration: 2:53 | Grades...
Separate Information by Source & Perspective

Separate Information by Source & Perspective

Separate Information by Source & Perspective When writing a persuasive or argumentative piece, the writing process always begins with the collection of information on a T-Chart. Students build a list of facts, quotes, and other details in support of both sides in...
Scaffold Writing Experiences

Scaffold Writing Experiences

Scaffold Writing Experiences Many teachers presume that students should always generate pieces that they wrote all by themselves. However, when just learning a new genre or a type of writing, it may not be appropriate to expect such a large and complete product in the...