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Teaching Essentials: Expecting the Most and Getting the Best from Every Learner, K-8

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What makes a teacher outstanding? More than anything, it's a way of being with kids in the classroom that lets them know they're smart and capable of high achievement. When you combine this mind-set with effective instruction, teaching and learning are transformed. In Teaching Essentials, Regie Routman gives us as much of a blueprint for achieving this powerful, responsive teaching as we're ever going to get.

Drawing on her extensive work with students who have excelled against great odds, Regie shares the principles and practices that help all students and teachers reach their full potential. Teaching Essentials shows teachers and principals how to build an efficient and joyful practice by:

  • setting lessons and activities in a meaningful context
  • using an Optimal Learning Model to organize teaching and gradually release responsibility to students
  • demonstrating reading, writing, and thinking for students so they have explicit models to follow
  • articulating high expectations for every student, including ELLs and struggling learners, and ensuring that they meet them
  • embedding assessment into all aspects of instruction and planning
  • employing the reading-writing connection to improve comprehension
  • motivating writers by always writing for real audiences and purposes
  • implementing a schoolwide coaching model for higher achievement and a more fulfilling collaboration with colleagues.

A companion website,, provides additional information, including a downloadable, easy-to-use study guide to promote professional conversations and video clips of Regie teaching so you can view and review the language and routines behind engaging, responsive instruction and learning. The Teaching Essentials book and website are ideal for individual, whole school, and districtwide professional development.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325010816
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 9/19/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,383,794
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Regie Routman's intimate knowledge of teaching and learning, down-to-earth style, and dedication to children's success have made her one of the most vibrant and respected names in literacy education. Her books, Teaching Essentials; Writing Essentials; Reading Essentials; Conversations; Literacy at the Crossroads; Invitations; The Blue Pages; and Transitions, all published by Heinemann, have encouraged hundreds of thousands of teachers to take charge of their professional learning and create efficient, joyful practices. Currently she is dedicating herself to a new, dynamic framework to support teachers' professional development. The DVD-based Regie Routman in Residence supports in-depth, yearlong literacy staff development that replicates the demonstration teaching she conducts in weeklong residencies and brings to life the practices she advocates in Teaching Essentials. Regie continues to inform and inspire teachers as a language arts coach in schools across the country, as a speaker at national conferences, and as a presenter of one-day workshops through Heinemann Professional Development.
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Table of Contents

A Note About Notes and Other Resources     ix
Acknowledgments     x
A Brief History of a Literacy Teacher, Learner, and Writer     xiii
Look Beyond What You See     3
Invite Everyone into the Learning Community     4
Assume All Students Are Capable     6
Value Diverse Languages and Cultures     9
Raise Your Expectations     10
Avoid Sympathy     11
Aim High     12
Create on "I Can Do It!" Learning Environment     17
Let Students Know: "I Will Help You Discover the Possibilities"     19
Ensure That All Voices Are Heard     20
Act and Speak Respectfully     20
Demonstrate the Power of Writing     21
Do More Writing for Valued Audiences and Purposes     23
Use Writing as a Way into Reading     25
Do More Shared Reading from Shared Writing Texts     27
Read and Write Texts That Embody an "I Can Do It!" Spirit     28
Celebrate     29
Cheer Students On     29
Give Students Specific Praise     29
Celebrate Small Accomplishments     30
Make Celebration Part of Everything You Do     31
Become an "Expert at Smartness"     33
Engage in Professional Study     34
Get Professional Conversations Going     35
Remain a Learner     36
View Teaching as a Craft     36
Align Your Beliefs with Your Practices     37
Examine Your Beliefs and Keep an Open Mind     37
Rely on Common Sense     38
Notice and Value What You Do as a Reader and Writer     38
Advocate for Your Students     39
Conserve Time and Energy     40
Communicate with Stakeholders     41
Take a Leadership Role     42
Use Programs as a Resource     42
Recognize Colleagues' Strengths     43
Acknowledge the Significant Role of the Principal     45
Use Technology Wisely     45
Focus on Meaning First     49
Rely on a Whole-Part-Whole Teaching Approach     50
Start with Relevant Purpose     51
Use Authentic Reading and Writing Activities     52
Embed Skills as a Means to a Worthwhile End     53
Provide More Demonstrations     54
Plan with the End in Mind     55
Start with the Student, Not the Standard     57
Know and Apply the Standards     59
Teach It First; Label It Later     60
Plan for Independence     61
Make Curriculum Relevant, Interesting, and Challenging     62
Connect Content to Students' Lives     63
Teach for Understanding     64
Use a Required Textbook as a Shared Read-Aloud     65
Make No Assumptions     66
Highlight Key Vocabulary     67
Make It Smart to Ask Questions     68
Embed Assessment in All Teaching     71
Teach Responsively     72
Provide Useful Feedback     73
Focus on the Students: Begin with Assessment     74
Examine Student Work     76
Rethink Grouping Structures in Reading     77
Rely on Essential Grouping     78
Meet with Skills Groups as Necessary     79
Value and Employ Multiple Assessments     79
Collect and Analyze Your Assessment Data to Improve Instruction     80
Continuously Check for Understanding     81
Apply a Useful Framework     82
Teach for Independent, Self-Directed Learners     87
Apply the Optimal Learning Model     88
Do Lots of Frontloading     90
Capitalize on Shared Experiences     91
Embrace Scaffolded Conversations      93
Set Up the Learning Environment for Success     94
Monitor Your Own Teaching     95
Make Management Easy     95
Teach with a Sense of Urgency     96
Be Direct, Firm, and Kind     96
Provide Choice Within Structure     97
Let Students Help You Determine Procedures and Behavior     97
Create a Beautiful and Organized Environment     98
Keep Things Simple and Organized     99
Make Resources Useful and Accessible     100
Make Practice and Independent Work Worthwhile     100
Place Responsibility on the Students     101
Teach Students to Self-Monitor and Self-Evaluate     102
Teach Self-Checking     103
Expect Basic Conventions to Be Correct     104
Teach Students How to Take Over Goal Setting     104
Teach Students How to Self-Direct Small, Collaborative Groups     105
Prepare Students for Testing     106
Put Schoolwide Coaching into Practice     113
Remember, It's Harder Than It Looks     114
Rethink Your Coaching Plan     115
Put a Whole-School Plan into Practice     116
Make Sure Coaching Is Nonthreatening, Nonevaluative, and Focused on Student Learning      117
Add Shared Experiences to Any Coaching Instruction     120
Expand the Role of Principal to Co-Teacher and Support Teacher     122
Provide Time, Support, and Trust for All-School Coaching     123
Meet the Challenge: The Effort Is Worth It     125
Live a Full Life     127
Let Yourself Be Known     128
Tell Stories with Relish     128
Simplify     129
Have More Fun     130
Rely on Hope     131
Notes and References     132
Index     136
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