Current Blog Articles

online community of learning

Creating an Online Community of Learning

In the spring of 2020, teachers hit the ground running with a new way of teaching. With only a few days to prepare, classrooms were transformed from a supportive classroom environment to online learning. Considering the timeline, we did an amazing job. Now, we have the gift of time and experience to re-think and re-build

Teachers are Superheroes

What is Your Super Power?

I spend a lot of time with teachers. They are my heroes. Like Clark Kent, when out in public, they look like any other mild-mannered, ordinary individual. But, the classroom serves as their proverbial telephone booth as they slip in and change from that ordinary person into a TEACHER!

digital and print reading

Fostering 21st Century Readers

As we plan for effective literacy instruction in all subject areas, standards suggest we provide a variety of complex texts while considering the learning needs of the reader and the tasks required to promote growth. In an article published on LightSail’s website, I share some introductory thinking about designing learning experiences to develop the brain′s ability to read BOTH digital and print!

elementary literacy

Building a Culture of Reading in your School and Classroom

I have been fortunate enough to visit hundreds of schools and have found so many that welcome you at the door with art, books, and the joy of literacy. Take a journey with me into an awesome example of an Elementary School that has cultivated a rich culture of literacy!


The Art of Effective Feedback:
Getting a 50% Return on Your Investment

My most frustrating educational experience: writing my dissertation. It wasn’t the volume of research and work involved. It was the lack of high-quality feedback that provided direction as to what was expected during the process and what constituted an acceptable final product.

Boy and teacher conferring

#12 Conferring and Data Collection

When a teacher confers, they change their stance. They become a fellow reader, but also an observer, assessor and data collector. The teaching purpose of conferring about students’ independent reading is to collect information that helps you plan.


#11 Why Confer?

Independent reading is incomplete if the teacher is not conferring with each child about their reading every week.

Lifelong reading

#10 Independent Reading

The goal of daily independent reading of student self-selected text is to foster wise readers who are self-motivated, self-directed, engaged readers that are critical thinkers, problem solvers, and meaning makers who love to read and choose to read!

Rituals and Routines

#9 Rituals and Routines

Rituals and routines refer to all the planning, discussions and agreements between the teacher and students related to classroom management, organization and expectations.

boy reading

#8 Building the Stamina to Read

The goal in a Balanced Literacy classroom is to build the group’s stamina to read for 30 minutes every day.

girl reading

#7 Classroom Libraries: Student Book Bins

A student’s book bin is her toolbox for independent reading and application. The contents of the book bin supports the student’s developing interest and motivation for reading while providing texts to practice the skills and strategies she is learning in class.

Self Selection

#6 Student Self-Selection Strategies

Our classroom libraries are the heart of our literacy classroom. We need to select a wide variety of texts and organize them so that students can use strategies to select appropriate texts for their book bins.

Classroom libraries

#5 Classroom Library Structure and Organization

Studies show that in classrooms with accessible, well-organized libraries students read up to 60% more and engage in more than twice as many literacy related activities. So, what makes a strong classroom library?