This summer, consider using LiteracyTA’s tools and resources to help you plan for the 2015-2016 school year. As a classroom teacher, I see the value in creating a lesson for each of my texts with the Lesson Planner. My lessons will be standard based, interactive, focused on reading, speaking, and writing skills, and built on best teaching practices.

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Another school year is coming to an end. Congratulations to all of you! This is the time of year when we wonder if we did enough, taught the right things to prepare our students, and begin thinking about our upcoming vacations and teaching assignments next year. Spoiler alert: We have to do this all over again next school year. But we love our jobs and we love our students.

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College and Career Readiness standard one for Speaking and Listening reads: “Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades X-Y topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. Sounds good. How do we do it?

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Establishing routines for our students is critical to their success. When students have established learning routines, they can be more self-directed, efficient with their time, and focus on what I want them to learn without the distractions of changing expectations and procedures. In my experience, the first five minutes is the most important time to establish learning routines.

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We have identified a few powerful teaching strategies to help establish routines and expectations for partner work in an elementary classroom. Even if you teach older students, these routines can be used to add structure and establish expectations. Model your expectations early and often and find ways to incorporate collaborative activities whenever possible.

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