Anatomy of an Effective Email by

Dear Readers,

I ran across an article on regarding how to write an effective email to your child’s teacher. This is great information for parents. I’m also thinking about using this during the next parent conference.

It’s a great resource. Let me know what you think!

Getting ready to write an email to your child’s teacher? Use this guide to see what to include to help you get the best response from the teacher. Keep in mind that some schools may have policies about where and when to use your child’s name in an email. So check your school’s website or ask your child’s teacher.


Here’s the link:

The Gradual Release of Responsibility!

Dear Readers,

According to Dr. Douglas Fisher, Professor of Language & Literacy Instruction at San Diego State University, The gradual release of responsibility model of instruction requires that the teacher shift from assuming “all the responsibility for performing a task … to a situation in which the students assume all of the responsibility” (Duke & Pearson, 2002, p. 211). This gradual release may occur over a day, a week, a month, or a year. Stated another way, the gradual release of responsibility “… emphasizes instruction that mentors students into becoming capable thinkers and learners when handling the tasks with which they have not yet developed expertise” (Buehl, 2005).


I’m more than happy that I happened upon this particular article because I’ve been struggling with the same concept with my students. I discussed in another blog post how I coddled them. I didn’t mean to. I just didn’t want them to be left out in the cold. So, that is my dilemma.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Here’s his article, entitled, Effective Use of the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model, if you’d like to read it.

An Explanation of Project Based Learning (PBL)!

Dear Readers,

What exactly is Project Based Learning? Well, I’m glad you asked.


I’ve found a couple links that explain it a lot better than I can. Like to see them, here they go:

Check these out and let me know what you think!

Project Based Learning (PBL)

Dear Readers,

I have a confession to make. I thought I was using Project Based Learning (PBL), but I was not. I was only having them complete projects. In order for the students to be doing a Project Based Learning assignment, the project has to have a literature component, then the project must be made public. There were other components I was missing, but this was the key component I was missing. Now that I know how to do Project Based Learning, I’m actually going to do it.

I’ll write another post later on describing my upcoming project. I’ll keep you updated.

Resource Lab Grade Check/Productivity Forms

Dear Readers,

I just realized that I have not been sharing resources that I’ve created. One resource that I use because it hits so many indicators at once is The Resource Lab Grade Check/Productivity Log. I use these forms  twice weekly for my grade check process that places the onus on the students to know their grades at all times and set goals.



  1. makes students take respon-sibility for their grades.
  2. puts the onus on the students to take responsibility for showing how productive or unproductive they were during their stations/centers time.
  3. It helps the students set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
  4. It’s a running record of the students response/explanation of their grades that can be used during parent conferences. {Not sure if this is a problem at your sites, but the students, at one point in time, were saying that teachers were not helping them. This will help show that students are aware of their grades at all times.

Here are the links:

* NOTE: Although this says, Counseling Grade Check, it can be used as a grade check for Resource Lab or for any class where the students need to check all their grades. I use this one with the Counselor for students who don’t yet know how to write S.M.A.R.T. goals. So, feel free to take Counseling out of the title.

*NOTE: This form can be changed around, added to, deleted to suit your purposes.

You can make a copy for yourself or email me for a copy @ If you use it, let me know how it works for you.

Bye for now!