LRA Show Episode 7: Vocabulary

Moderator Mike Manderino and Panelists Freddy Hiebert, Bridget Dalton, Jim Burke, and Thomas DeVere Wolsey discuss vocabulary instruction in the Literacy Research Association Research to Practice series.


That’s My Opinion

An activity to help students understand what the word “opinion” means when they are asked to write one in school:

From the post: There are so many opinions about opinions that it can be confusing for students to know just what they are to do when their teachers ask them to write or present multimodally an opinion that is appropriate for the students’ grade level. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) (2010) link opinion writing in elementary grades with the arguments they will construct in the secondary grades (6–12). Review the list of selected Common Core Standards (grades K–5) here, and you will notice that the word “opinion” comes up quite often.

To read more, visit:


Now that’s a Project: Technology Tools for the Collaborative Classroom

Now that’s a Project: Technology Tools for the Collaborative Classroom

When students work in groups oriented toward a particular task, their teachers often encourage them to pay attention to their group collaboration skills. A checklist can be helpful as students reflect on how well they worked together and whether they were able to get the job done well. This Goal 18 checklist is an example. Students discuss each of the elements on the chart, award themselves up to 3 points for each area of the chart, and then add the points as a means of reflecting on their collective skills working with each other.

Read more here.

Gantt Charts for 6th Graders?

A blog by Jodi Sorensen featuring an interview with me about project management in the secondary grades:


My 6th grade son came home from school last week, agonizing about a group project that’s due later in the semester. “I always end up doing all the work and <insert slacker kid’s name here> will pretend he’s doing things – and we both get the same grade. I hate team projects.”  Read more…

Read Across America Day

Read Across America Day

March 2, 1904, was Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birthday. You probably recognize that middle name—he is Dr. Seuss. That’s reason enough to celebrate the man whose imaginative stories, rhymes and all, are known and loved all over the world. Arguably, few authors have had such an impact on the reading habits of so many children as Geisel. In conjunction with Dr. Seuss’s birthday, the National Education Association, the publisher of Seuss’s work, and others sponsor Read Across America Day every year in March. Read more at 

Accuracy in Digital Writing Environments: Read Up, Ask Around, Double-Check

Increasingly, students are held accountable for the accuracy of what they write by their teachers, by state and national standards, and on assessments of their learning. This article outlines three approaches to accuracy in writing that go beyond spelling and punctuation. New expectations include the use of sources to inform writing in many discourse modes. Digital environments have the potential to improve the accuracy of student writing. This article proposes that students learn to read digital and traditional materials in order to inform their written work, use digital tools to interact with peers during writing processes, and double-check their work for accuracy.

Key points:

Wolsey, T. D. (2014). Accuracy in digital writing environments: Read up, ask around, double-check. Voices from the Middle, 21(3), pp. 49-53)