Some Things On My Mind

Eyes Open Moment: Listening in on Academic Talk  

Join me in a classroom where small groups of students have just begun discussing Ralph Fletcher’s memoir, Marshfield Dreams. Students have recently read a chapter about Ralph’s brother, Jimmy, who is a young naturalist. Jimmy thrives by immersing himself in the outdoors and is having difficulty transitioning to the traditional school environment.  *** Student 1:…

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Eyes Open Moment: Let the Kids Talk

We’ve said goodbye to our students and we are heading back upstairs to our rooms. I turn to you and say, “My students like to talk… a lot!”  What sentiments are behind this statement?  They like to talk a lot — They have ideas to express; They are comfortable verbalizing their thoughts.  They like to…

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Invite Vulnerability into the Classroom

The air crackled with student chatter. Partnerships shared snippets of stories about their own lives that they were planning to write. Ideas escaped into the air as children talked out their memories.  I jumped into the pool and made a big splash! / The next day my dog and I went to the park. /…

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Eyes Open Moment: Fresh Paint

I started teaching in my hometown of Buffalo, NY exactly 24 years ago.  My classroom was on the second floor and had a beautiful wall of windows facing some fields. The light came streaming in. I decorated the far right corner with a rug and some plastic shelves. Wooden boxes, which once held mandarin oranges,…

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Eyes Open Moment: Just Breathe

Stay with me / Let’s just breathe, croons Eddie Vedder in his dense, gravelly voice. Seems a simple directive, and one that predates the recent awareness in the Western world,  that taking deep breaths can reliably calm our nervous system. Breathing helps us stay in the moment, stay in touch with ourselves, and others, through…

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Eyes Open Moment: Guiding Words

It was August 2020 and we were just stepping back into the classroom. What had been familiar and welcome for so long was suddenly a questionable space. I was lucky enough to work with a team of teachers dedicated to our students, and to each other, and devoted to making the transition into the unknown…

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Teaching Talk

Teaching Talk is a practical resource that will help you focus your lens on classroom talk, making the most of the st Talk is part of every classroom, regardless of grade, content area, or school location. So how can teachers harness the energy of talk to spark discussion, strengthen student dialogue, and deepen comprehension? Teaching Talk is a practical resource that will…

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Heinemann Blog: Start the School Year by Reflecting on Your Core Beliefs

“If you asked me what I value most in teaching, it’s listening to how children think. And one quick and easy way to see this is by opening up a space for them to talk and listening to what they say.” – Kara Pranikoff, author of Teaching Talk: A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking…

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Heinemann Blog: Starting The Year With Student Thinking

Written by Kara Pranikoff, author of Teaching Talk: A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking and Conversation  Educators are granted the incredible gift of revision, a chance to reflect on and refine instruction year after year. Try again. Do over. Make better. At its core, education is a creative process, facilitated by a teacher and…

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Heinemann Blog: Breathing New Life Into the Talk in Your Classroom

Below, read the foreword to Kara Pranikoff’s Teaching Talk, written by Sonja Cherry-Paul and Dana Johansen. Sonja and Dana are the co authors of Teaching Interpretation: Using Text Based Evidence to Construct Meaning. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦  Kara Pranikoff is the literacy coach teachers and students all dream of. She’s a listener, an observer, and a…

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