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A Message from Gretchen
Dear Friends,

My sister Sue and I were talking yesterday about the word “pivot.” She had made some vacation plans but had to pivot. I had thought I was spending the weekend one place but pivoted. My sister and I talked about how pivoting had become a part of our lives, part of our mindsets.  
Change has always been a part of the beginning of a summertime, though the changes this summer feel different. The world is different, the pandemic looks to be on the wane, and people continue to be people!  
We hope you will join us at our first in-person open workshop next month, and there is still some space. It’s for everyone, from instructional coaches to beginning teachers. In addition to the classics, we’ll share with you some new concrete help for getting your kids ready for writing about texts, since that will be a new focus of the STAAR.  
Meanwhile, whether your changes this month involve your vacation, summer school, or retirement, we wish you and yours health, humor, and joy. And may all your pivots be smooth.

Join Us in July!

By popular demand ... Gretchen returns to New Braunfels for the annual Essays and Grammar: Training of Trainers event this summer!

Dates: July 12-15
Time: 8:00 am - 2:30 pm each day

Click here for event details and to register.

Fun-Size Literacy Practices

My dad told me once, the mark of a good manager is how well things run when he’s not there. This thought helped guide my teaching life for over 30 years, but it has never been more tested than now, in the time of Covid-19. If you’ve tried to help your own children with assignments at home, you may have grappled with this one truth about teachers: we often overcomplicate things. And although I believe that there is no substitute for a live, up-close teacher, with eye contact and fully-nuanced facial expressions, I also have seen that if we simplify on our end, we can ease stress, frustration, and withdrawal on the other side. 

Let’s look at a few ways to lighten the load for everyone. Is it possible to simplify our lessons without sacrificing complexity? Well yes! It is.  

Here are four ways ... Click here to read the full article about simplifying instructions on the Corwin newsletter.

Captain America is My Mentor (Text)

Jerard Lafuente created this awesome model lesson by kernelizing a superhero speech. We hope you'll be inspired to do something like this with your students and share your ideas with us, too!

Essay & Grammar Training

Many moons ago, Nicole LeBlanc treated her colleagues at Imagine International Academy of North Texas to this wonderful workshop on teaching essays and grammar. Take a look and you'll be saying "all write, all write, all write"!

Treasures to Explore

Come explore this 27-page treasury of different ways teachers at Advanced Learning Academy used text structures and kernel essays to assist their projects.

A Student Poem to Share

When McNeil High School reading and writing teacher, Autumn Goodwin, shared the Text Structures from Poetry lesson using Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle" with her son, he wrote this amusing response:

Please jump out of the window
It's how James Bond would escape
It's true, I hard it on the stereo
Even Batman did it, when he had a cape
This conversation is a bore
It's gone on for several hours
So just jump before you hear any more
Trust the window, it works wonders

by Caleb Goodwin, grade 9


Share Your Successes!

We would love to feature your work and the work of your students in our next newsletter! Please send your success stories to us at
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