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    By vespergirl

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    The previous posters have given you some valuable ideas, especially to point you in the direction of Nancie Atwell and Stephanie Harvey.

    You might also pick up the giant resource book by Fountas and Pinnell. It is geared more towards grades 3 - 6, but it's got great ideas for running a language arts program and -- my favorite -- lays out the first 21 days of minilessons for you. It does a great job of explaining how to run a reader and writer's workshop program.

    One other book I ran across this year and love is called Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson. It's all about how to incorporate grammar into minilessons so you aren't chained to a textbook for it.

    Definitely also pick up a copy of Aimee Buckner's Writer's Notebook book. The actual name escapes me, but that's the general gist of it. She explains how to use a writer's notebook very well.

    Lastly, I found Ralph Fletcher and Joann Portalupi's Total Qualities of Writing to be a great program to use my first year of teaching language arts. It lays out minilessons and materials for teaching several different cycles/genres of writing. Pricey -- maybe around $100?? -- but I think it would help give structure to your approach to writing during this first year. Heinemann sells it.

    As far as novels for kids, I'd add The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg to that list, Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, and The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. There are lots of oldies but goodies that still have high interest for kids of that age -- Johnny Tremain, My Brother Sam is Dead, A Wrinkle in Time, The Pushcart War, Out of the Dust, Dragonwings, etc. You can't go wrong if you start with Newbery winners, and more than likely, your district has a list of adopted titles to work with for that grade level.

    It's a big jump to go to middle school from lower elementary, but you will love it. Best of luck to you!

    View the original thread this idea was posted on



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