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Elementary English Language Arts

Contributor: Karen Ames, Michigan State University

Tool: Knowing students as readers and writers This tool asks elementary teachers to evaluate various assessments that could be used to measure their students' reading and writing abilities at the beginning of the school year. It also provides information on where to acquire many of these assessments.
Tool: Whole-class reading mini-lessons This tool identifies ways to use whole-class mini-lessons. It asks the user to complete a chart to evaluate how each of these strategies might prove useful.
Tool: Whole-class writing mini-lessons Whole-class mini-lessons allow a teacher to introduce and develop writing skills and strategies with all students. This tool provides a chart to help teachers analyze how they might use different mini-lesson structures.


Building a classroom library This resource presents ideas for how to acquire classroom books on a limited budget.
Building a literate community This resource is designed to help you build a literate community of learners around your class. It suggests ways to draw the students, their parents and local community members into that community.
Connecting school, home and literacy This resource describes the "Mr. Bear Backpack Activity" as a way to promote literacy among your students and their families and to involve them all in your community of learning.
Getting started with book choice This lesson outline details how to use Goldilocks and the Three Bears to initiate a discussion about reasons to choose books that are too easy, too hard and just right.
Group share in writing workshop This resource identifies all-class sharing activities that can be used at the end of writing workshop.
Managing small-group and individual reading work This resource identifies ways to manage elementary students who are doing independent reading, literacy centers, literature response, paired reading or seatwork.
Managing small-group and individual work during writing workshop This resource identifies five different individual and small-group writing activities and poses several questions that a teacher should consider before adopting any of them.
Modifying plans based on student needs This chart presents several scenarios of students with special reading needs and then proposes various ways for a teacher to work with each of them.
Planning genre use This resource raises useful questions to guide a teacher toward a more effective teaching of various genres of text.
Practicing, testing and scaffolding instruction This chart presents three stories of situations where students need additional instruction and support. For each scenario, the author provides several questions to help the user reflect on what would be the best teacher response in each situation.
Professional teaching communities This resource presents some of the best ways to become part of the professional English language arts teaching community.
Reading group share Here is a list of ideas on how to have your students share their thoughts after they have been reading.
Reading workshop: Managing the reading classroom This resource outlines the reading workshop strategy and provides guidance on how to adapt it to one's own classroom.
Student book selection This resource will help you think about how and why children select books and how you can help students develop this skill.
Transactional Strategies Instruction This introduction to Transactional Strategies Instruction outlines its approach and poses questions designed to help you decide how to integrate them into your reading instruction.
Writing workshop: Managing the writing classroom This resource explains the writing workshop strategy and provides detailed suggestions on how to use it.