TeachersFirst Professional Exclusives

TeachersFirst’s Professional Exclusives help you learn as a teacher, try new technologies, explore new teaching strategies, or understand student differences. Discover how and why to use wikis from the Wiki Walk-Through. Learn to adapt for ESL students in a regular classroom. Learn the how and why of better rubrics – and locate or create them easily. Every TeachersFirst professional exclusive is written by experienced teachers and includes the pragmatic, teacher-friendly details that you count on from our Thinking Teachers.

 

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Now I See! Infographics as content scaffold and creative, formative assessment - TeachersFirst: Candace Hackett Shively and Louise Maine

Grades
6 to 12
7 Favorites 0  Comments
Discover how to use student-created infographics as scaffold or assessment for learning in any middle or high school subject. Many teachers are not "visual" people and struggle to implement...more
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Discover how to use student-created infographics as scaffold or assessment for learning in any middle or high school subject. Many teachers are not "visual" people and struggle to implement infographics because they do not know how to help students. Whether you are a visual person or a "data" person, these pages will help your class get started. See the story of one teacher's journey into using infographics and learn from her experience. Find downloadable files to help: a PowerPoint you can use with students, and a customizable rubric. Don't miss the extensive Resources and Tools page for examples, background articles, and more. These pages grew out of a presentation at ISTE 2012.

tag(s): infographics (50)

In the Classroom

Read through this professional tutorial if you have even considered trying infographics with your students. You will find just the encouragement you need. Mark this one in your Favorites and share the many examples with your students, including student-created examples from a ninth grade class, as you launch your own infographics projects. Let your students "show what they know" in a new way.

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Summer Reading: Not Just for Kids! - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series is just in time for summer break. Find summer reading suggestions to inspire, refresh, and get you fired...more
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series is just in time for summer break. Find summer reading suggestions to inspire, refresh, and get you fired up for fall. Find professional book selections and blogspiration to take to the beach or read on your mobile device. This series tries to fill just a tiny part of the void left by budget cuts. Teachers need our library/media specialists as our professional "connectors" to great reading choices, too!

tag(s): book lists (131), independent reading (129)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your TeachersFirst favorites, even if you have NO time to even LOOK at it right now. Share it with your student teacher, mentoree, recent teacher ed graduate, and newbie teachers as they go off on break, too. Read what you have time for this summer, and save the rest for a break later on.

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Mining the Riches of History: Creating Oral Histories - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 9
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers a step by step approach to an oral history research unit, written by an experienced elementary library/media...more
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers a step by step approach to an oral history research unit, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this plan will inspire any teacher to incorporate interviewing skills and oral histories into your teaching. Lesson ideas and resources for interviewing, primary sources, and sharing make this unit especially exciting.

tag(s): interviews (13), local history (15), primary sources (93)

In the Classroom

Mark this in your Favorites as a way to develop information literacy in your classes, even if you no longer have a library/media specialist to help out.

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Poetry Read-Alouds - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This read-aloud collection is part of TeachersFirst's Help I lost my library/media specialist series, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although...more
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This read-aloud collection is part of TeachersFirst's Help I lost my library/media specialist series, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this collection of poetry books to read aloud and related activities and lessons will inspire young poets -- even reluctant ones. Invite them to read and write poetry on their own. Find both printable and online resources to extend the poetry reading and writing. Try this terrific read-aloud collection during April, National Poetry Month. If your library does not have the books you want from this list, try using the ISBN numbers to borrow them on interlibrary loan from a public library nearby.

tag(s): book lists (131), poetry (221)

In the Classroom

Use the before, during, and after reading activities in this read-aloud collection as the core of a poetry unit or simply to honor National Poetry Month. Mark it in your Favorites so you can use it from year to year. Share some of the activity ideas and links with parents to use at home or with other teachers to make poetry a schoolwide literacy celebration.

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Gifts of Character Readalouds - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This readaloud collection is part of the Help I lost my library/media specialist series. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this...more
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This readaloud collection is part of the Help I lost my library/media specialist series. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this collection of books and activities was created by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. The list of books to read aloud and accompanying activities center on the character traits we typically associate with the holiday season and try to instill: generosity, benevolence, philanthropy, compassion, service, and kindness. If your library does not have the books you want from this list, try using the ISBN numbers to borrow them on interlibrary loan from a public library nearby.

tag(s): christmas (56), holidays (140), independent reading (129)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites to bring out in late November, just in time for the holiday season. Or include it during a character education unit. Maybe invite some parents to volunteer as readers, modeling how adults give of their own time to support others.

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Embracing Research - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 8
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers a step by step approach to a research unit, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist....more
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers a step by step approach to a research unit, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this plan includes everything from pre-planning to sharing an assessing products. There are different resources and ideas for primary, upper elementary, and middle school grades. It is almost like having your helpful library/media specialist working along with you!

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your Favorites for use when planning your next major research project. The resources and ideas will help every student be successful. Adapt for weaker readers by using resources or ideas from lower grades.

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Biography Read-alouds - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This readaloud collection is part of theHelp I lost my library/media specialist series, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace...more
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This readaloud collection is part of theHelp I lost my library/media specialist series, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this collection of biographies to read aloud and accompanying activities will teach information literacy skills about what biographies are while exciting students to read some on their own. If your library does not have the books you want from this list, try using the ISBN numbers to borrow them on interlibrary loan from a public library nearby.

tag(s): biographies (92), famous people (23), independent reading (129)

In the Classroom

Mark this readaloud in your Favorites for use when studying famous Americans or as a wonderful lead-in to Martin Luther King Day or Presidents Day.

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Help! I lost my library/media specialist - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 5
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Help I lost my library/media specialist offers read-along and activity ideas, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist, for schools where budget cuts have...more
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Help I lost my library/media specialist offers read-along and activity ideas, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist, for schools where budget cuts have forced elimination of the library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, you have students whose elementary years are passing quickly. Find new features about once a month, suggestions that classroom teachers or parent volunteers can offer as positive experiences in the school library/media center throughout the elementary grades. Planned features will include both professional articles on promoting reading and activities to do directly with students.

tag(s): book lists (131), independent reading (129), literacy (106), reading lists (81)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites as you plan for classroom or library read-along and information literacy lessons. Share the ideas with parent volunteers and other teachers within your school as you struggle to "do more with less." Use the "share" widget to send great ideas to fellow teachers or afterschool program coordinators, as well. Share the url for the current read-along list on your class web page so parents can do read-alongs at home, too. Can't find the books you want from this list in your school library? Use the ISBN numbers to search for them on interlibrary loan from a local public library.

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TeachersFirst: Sifting Through the Filters - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Web filtering is a common topic of frustration and mystification for teachers. Do you wonder why it's there, how it works, and what other schools do? Are there sites you ...more
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Web filtering is a common topic of frustration and mystification for teachers. Do you wonder why it's there, how it works, and what other schools do? Are there sites you read about but cannot access? Are you worried that your students may access "bad" things under your supervision? Learn the basics of Internet filters, consider key questions, and take a quick poll in Sifting Through the Filters, another teacher-friendly interactive module. In just a few minutes, you will gain a new perspective on filtering and some ideas to advocate for positive change (for best viewing, turn off your pop-up blocker).

tag(s): internet safety (118)

In the Classroom

Read through this on your own or share it in a staff meeting where you discuss use of the Internet and teachers' role in Internet safety. You may also want to share the link with your principal or other decision-makers to open dialog on ways to include teachers in the process.
 

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Student Produced Video Field Trips - TeachersFirst

Grades
4 to 12
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What is a student created video field trip? Simply put, it is an experience where a group of students goes to a site to shoot video, interviews, etc. and streams ...more
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What is a student created video field trip? Simply put, it is an experience where a group of students goes to a site to shoot video, interviews, etc. and streams the video (live and archived) to students, parents, and others unable to attend in person. TeachersFirst shares this how-to and why-to so you and your students will try it. Expand each point within these pages to learn what to do in detail---and skip the steps you already know or that don't apply!

tag(s): video (278)

In the Classroom

Read through the step by step and get started! TeachersFirst offers all the practical advice you need to try this 21st century approach to real world learning.

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Writer's Workshop Introduction - Teachersfirst

Grades
1 to 6
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Good writing skills are essential for secondary students. Writer's Workshop is an interdisciplinary writing technique which can build elementary students' fluency in writing through...more
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Good writing skills are essential for secondary students. Writer's Workshop is an interdisciplinary writing technique which can build elementary students' fluency in writing through continuous, repeated exposure to the process of writing. Teachers can introduce elements of Writer's Workshop at any elementary grade. Ideally, however, the process begins in Kindergarten.

tag(s): writing (364)

In the Classroom

Teachers can use this introduction to introduce Writer's Workshop elements in a variety of curriculum situations and classroom settings.

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Webquest 101 - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 12
6 Favorites 0  Comments
Newly revised, TeachersFirst's extensive tutorial explains what a webquest is, why it can be useful in the classroom, and how to create your own webquest on a topic of your ...more
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Newly revised, TeachersFirst's extensive tutorial explains what a webquest is, why it can be useful in the classroom, and how to create your own webquest on a topic of your choosing. Don't miss the section on url detective work and evaluating which sites are best for your students. Fid handy ways to collect resources for webquests and hints for checking reading levels and more. There are lots of examples, tool suggestions, and links to our ever-growing collection of sample webquests.

tag(s): tutorials (49), webquests (28)

In the Classroom

Mark this in your Favorites as a professional reference. You may even want to assign students to create their own webquests following these guidelines. If you mentor new teachers, share this resource when they are designing their first web-based projects.

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Middle School Do's and Don'ts - TeachersFirst

Grades
5 to 9
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These pointers are taken from the notebook of a 7th and 8th grade teacher, and are reprinted here with her permission. ...more
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These pointers are taken from the notebook of a 7th and 8th grade teacher, and are reprinted here with her permission.

tag(s): newbies (15), substitutes (18)

In the Classroom

If you are a new middle school teacher or mentor to one, these tips can maintain your sanity and improve your success. Mark this in favorites and looks for examples in your experience!

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Cycles vs. Checklists: Fostering Creative Process in an Accountability World - TeachersFirst/Candace Hackett Shively

Grades
6 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
Accountability for curriculum creates a tug-of-war with creativity in the data-driven world of education. Find ideas and examples for respecting and incorporating students' creative...more
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Accountability for curriculum creates a tug-of-war with creativity in the data-driven world of education. Find ideas and examples for respecting and incorporating students' creative process as an overlay to even the most restrictive curriculum in these pages, originally part of a presentation by Candace Hackett Shively at the ISTE 2011 conference. Take a high-level look at what theorists and practicing "creative people" say about creative process, and find practical ways to make that process a habit in your classroom. Download customizable assignments and rubrics as examples to use with middle and high school students. This resource is a "macro" overview of creative process, companion to the "micro" (skills based) analysis offered in our Dimensions of Creativity pages.

tag(s): creativity (117)

In the Classroom

Teachers in any subject will find ideas for fostering creativity in their classroom, especially with students developmentally ready to talk about their own creative process (usually middle school and up). Make this professional information a discussion item among your teaching peers and with parents. Share it with colleagues for an informal inservice session. Use the many resources to help students discover their own creative process just as you would help them discover their learning styles. Make creative process a habit in your class assignments through electronic idea bins and more.

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Hands Off, Vanna! Giving Students Control of Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) Learning - TeachersFirst/Candace Hackett Shively

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
If you have an IWB, use it well. These pages, filled with practical ideas and examples for student-directed use of the interactive whiteboard as a collaborative learning space, originally...more
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If you have an IWB, use it well. These pages, filled with practical ideas and examples for student-directed use of the interactive whiteboard as a collaborative learning space, originally accompanied a presentation by Candace Hackett Shively at the ISTE 2011 conference. Find specific ideas and web tools for making the IWB a student tool and avoiding the trap of being a teacher-Vanna (or Vance). See examples and classroom management tips to share this kinesthetic learning tool among students and leverage its capabilities in student-centered activities. The presentation is brand-agnostic, though some of the examples use SMART brand software (viewable with SMART Notebook Express, a free online tool, reviewed here). There are downloadable handouts and files along with the many suggestions.

tag(s): iwb (31)

In the Classroom

Teachers in any subject and grade level will find ideas for IWB learning in their classroom. Make this professional information a self-guided tour to improve your use of a new or existing IWB. Share it with colleagues for an informal inservice session. Everything is here for you to explore and learn. If you are in charge of leading professional development about IWBs, this new perspective on student-centered use will send Vanna packing and inspire many new avenues for learning.
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Dimensions of Creativity: A Model to Analyze Student Projects - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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These pages, sparked by a presentation by TeachersFirst's own Candace Hackett Shively, provide a way to plan and conduct curriculum projects to build creativity skills along with curriculum...more
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These pages, sparked by a presentation by TeachersFirst's own Candace Hackett Shively, provide a way to plan and conduct curriculum projects to build creativity skills along with curriculum concepts. Using the lens of Guilford's model of divergent thinking: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration (FFOE for short), teachers and students have a shared vocabulary and specific creativity skills to evaluate and develop. Find specific ways to differentiate for varied student creativity skills while creating curriculum projects using free web 2.0 tools. The pages include the "Prezi" visual presentation from ISTE 2010 about this model (no audio, just the visuals). These pages provide explanations and, most importantly, practical ways to look at the projects that teachers plan and the products that students produce so they can continue to build FFOE skills as part of any grade level or curriculum. Customizable rubrics make implementation easier at any grade level.

tag(s): creativity (117)

In the Classroom

Do more than simply tell your students to "be creative." Try the ideas and practical suggestions on these pages if you ask: How do I help students who struggle with "being creative" in project-based learning? How do I differentiate tools/projects to match students' varied creativity skills? How do I know that more "creative" students are moving forward, challenging their creative thinking and not simply using past "tried and true" ideas, wrapped in a little glitz? How do my students and I talk about the creativity skills they used (or did not use) in making a project?

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Twitter for Teachers Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Learn the basics about Twitter, the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other teachers in...more
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Learn the basics about Twitter, the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other teachers in other schools. This collection of reviewed resources related to Twitter will help you get started using Twitter safely for your own learning and possibly expand into using Twitter for class connections with other classrooms. The information includes basic terms such as "hastag," and even features a "widget" to show current "tweets" by educator-specific hashtag groups. Watch the sidebar (if it is not blocked in your school) to get a sense of the sharing possible on Twitter.

tag(s): social networking (111), twitter (43)

In the Classroom

Make this page a must-learn for teaching in the 21st century. Mark it in your favorites to return often to watch the embedded tweets from educators all over the world. Then muster your courage to set up a Twitter account of your own. Follow @teachersfirst or our lead Thinking Teacher @morerukus2, and we'll be sure to welcome you!

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OK2Ask - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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OK2Ask''® is TeachersFirst's series of live, online "snack sessions" (available both live and in archived format) for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration....more
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OK2Ask''® is TeachersFirst's series of live, online "snack sessions" (available both live and in archived format) for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration. These sessions, scheduled at convenient times for you to attend from any computer will share great ideas you can use in your classroom, courtesy of TeachersFirst's staff. You know our style, so you know these sessions will be useful and teacher-friendly. You can earn Professional Development Certificates for attending the LIVE sessions (and completing the requirements) or learn on your own from the archived recordings. Kick off your shoes and learn. Sessions are correlated to the NETS-T standards.

In the Classroom

Attend OK2Ask''® sessions with your teacher friends or "meet" teachers from far and wide. Mark OK2Ask in your Favorites. Then check back often for new offerings during the school year and summer breaks. You can earn Professional Development Certificates for attending the LIVE sessions (and completing the requirements) or learn on your own from the archived recordings.

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Across the World Once a Week: Collaborative Microblogging for Cross-Cultural Understanding - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W ...more
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W is a simple, social way for students to learn about real life in other cultures from real kids all across the world. By simply "hashtagging" Twitter or blog responses to a weekly question about daily life, students can share and learn about other cultures from their international peers. Find out more and read the details of this offering from TeachersFirst. The page displays the current weekly question as well as a Twitter feed of recent responses. (If you see a black "box," your school may be blocking Twitter feeds.) Don't miss the FAQ page to help you get started.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (124), cultures (108), twitter (43)

In the Classroom

Join XW1W with your class using a single Twitter account or any blog or wiki tool where you can share student answers to the weekly question. If you cannot access Twitter at school, that is not a problem. You do not even have to use Twitter (though this is a great way dip your toes into Twitter). See the FAQ page for specific hints on using XW1W with your students. Share the XW1W idea with teaching colleagues in other places, and perhaps even with families to try at home. Want to learn more about Twitter and teaching. See TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

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Building Schoolwide Literacy With Free Web 2.0 Tools: A Grade by Grade Elementary Model - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 8
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TeachersFirst offers this model for elementary (or middle) schools to build skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening systematically in a schoolwide model including students,...more
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TeachersFirst offers this model for elementary (or middle) schools to build skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening systematically in a schoolwide model including students, teachers, and parents. The free web 2.0 tools suggested here are by no means the only tools that might work. These exemplary tools were chosen by the TeachersFirst Editors for ease of use and versatility in classroom and home use, and could easily be implemented at grade levels other than those suggested here. As students and teachers master a new tool at each grade level, they develop rich literacy skills and vital technology skills, all in the context of reading, writing, speaking and listening across the curriculum.

tag(s): listening (85), speaking (24)

In the Classroom

Explore the tools and project suggestions by grade for your individual use as a teacher or work together with others in your school to build literacy across all subjects and grades by systematically adopting and repeatedly using a fixed collection of tools so students master the tool skills as an aside to reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Try the practical suggestions for implementing this model in your school or grade level team.

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