Every major measure of students’ historical understanding since 1917 has demonstrated that students do not retain, understand, or enjoy their school experiences with history. Bruce Lesh believes that this is due to the way we teach history—lecture and memorization. Over the last fifteen years, he has refined a method of teaching history that mirrors the process used by historians, where students are taught to ask questions of evidence and develop historical explanations. In his book "Why Won't You Just Tell Us the Answer?": Teaching Historical Thinking in Grades 7-12, he shows teachers how to successfully implement his methods in the classroom.
Students may think they want to be given the answer. Yet, when they are actively engaged in investigating the past—the way professional historians do—they find that history class is not about the boring memorization of names, dates, and facts. Instead, it’s challenging fun. Historical study that centers on a question, where students gather a variety of historical sources and then develop and defend their answers to that question, allows students to become actual historians immersed in an interpretive study of the past.
Each chapter focuses on a key concept in understanding history and then offers a sample unit on how the concept can be taught. Readers will learn about the following: • Exploring Text, Subtext, and Context: President Theodore Roosevelt and the Panama Canal • Chronological Thinking and Causality: The Rail Strike of 1877 • Multiple Perspectives: The Bonus March of 1932 • Continuity and Change Over Time: Custer’s Last Stand • Historical Significance: The Civil Rights Movement • Historical Empathy: The Truman-MacArthur Debate
By the end of the book, teachers will have learned how to teach history via a lens of interpretive questions and interrogative evidence that allows both student and teacher to develop evidence-based answers to history’s greatest questions.
10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know
Whether writing a blog entry or a high-stakes test essay, fiction or nonfiction, short story or argumentation, students need to know certain things in order to write effectively. In 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know, Jeff Anderson focuses on developing the concepts and application of ten essential aspects of good writing—motion, models, focus, detail, form, frames, cohesion, energy, words, and clutter.
Throughout the book, Jeff provides dozens of model texts, both fiction and nonfiction, that bring alive the ten things every writer needs to know. By analyzing strong mentor texts, young writers learn what is possible and experiment with the strategies professional writers use. Students explore, discover, and apply what makes good writing work. Jeff dedicates a chapter to each of the ten things every writer needs to know and provides mini-lessons, mentor texts, writing process strategies, and classroom tips that will motivate students to confidently and competently take on any writing task.
With standardized tests and Common Core Curriculum influencing classrooms nationwide, educators must stay true to what works in writing instruction. 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know keeps teachers on track—encouraging, discovering, inspiring, reminding, and improving writing through conversation, inquiry, and the support of good writing behaviors.
Melissa Stewart and Marlene Correia:::100153
5 Kinds of Nonfiction
Once upon a time...children's nonfiction books were stodgy, concise, and not very kid friendly. Most were text heavy, with just a few scattered images decorating the content and meaning, rather than enhancing it. Over the last 20 years, children's nonfiction has evolved into a new breed of visually dynamic and engaging texts.
In 5 Kinds of Nonfiction: Enriching Reading and Writing Instruction with Children’s Books, Melissa Stewart and Dr. Marlene Correia present a new way to sort nonfiction into five major categories and show how doing so can help teachers and librarians build stronger readers and writers. Along the way, they:
Introduce the 5 kinds of nonfiction: Active, Browseable, Traditional, Expository Literature, andNarrative—and explore each category through discussions, classroom examples, and insights from leading children’s book authors
Offer tips for building strong, diverse classroom texts and library collections
Provide more than 20 activities to enhance literacy instruction
Include innovative strategies for sharing and celebrating nonfiction with students.
With more than 150 exemplary nonfiction book recommendations and Stewart and Correia’s extensive knowledge of literacy instruction, 5 Kinds of Nonfiction will elevate your understanding of nonfiction in ways that speak specifically to the info-kids in your classrooms, but will inspire all readers and writers.
59 Reasons to Write
In order to teach writing effectively, teachers must be writers themselves. They must experience the same uncertainty of starting a new draft and then struggling to revise. As they learn to move past the fear of failure, they discover the nervous rush and exhilaration of sharing work with an audience, just as their students do. Only by engaging in the real work of writing can teachers become part of the writing community they dream of creating for their students.
Kate Messner’s new book, 59 Reasons to Write, shows teachers and librarians who teach writing how to be stronger role models for their students.
“Writing for my students provided me with appropriate mentor texts to share,” she writes. “Writing with my students made me a mentor and a far better teacher.”
59 Reasons to Write grew out of Messner’s popular online summer writing camp, Teachers Write. Throughout the book she offers mini-lessons, writing prompts, and bursts of inspiration designed to get you writing every day, whether on your own or as part of a group. Dozens of guest authors also share their writing processes and secrets, from brainstorming ideas and organizing research to developing characters and getting unstuck from writer’s block.
59 Reasons to Write is for anyone who has always wanted to write but never managed to get into the habit. Daily warm-ups will help you flex your writing muscles and energize your teaching. As Messner shares, “One of the greatest gifts of writing is the way it nudges us to look more closely not only at the world but also at ourselves.”
6 Tools for Collaborative Mathematics Coaching
In 6 Tools for Collaborative Mathematics Coaching, Nicora Placa lays out a clear path to help you become a trusted and effective math coach. Her “6 Tools” are flexible structures that you and your colleagues can use to learn together:
Building Teams: Fostering a Learning Community
Student Interviews: Learning to Listen
Visiting Classrooms: Developing Your Lens
Learning Walks: Focusing the Team on Students’ Thinking
Rehearsing Routines: Practicing with Colleagues
Lesson Study: Learning Collectively with Voice, Choice, and Agency
In this easy-to-use, practical guide, Placa introduces each of the 6 Tools with classroom vignettes, step-by-step guidelines for rollout, connections to the literature, resources for further research, planning templates, and opportunities for you to adapt the tool for your particular context.
Whether you're a new coach who loves teaching math to children but is new to adult education, or a more experienced coach who is looking for new strategies to engage your teams, 6 Tools for Collaborative Mathematics Coaching can help you create learning opportunities that honor teachers as professionals. With a collaborative coaching approach, you can improve teaching and learning across your school and for all your students.
"There’s so much to love about how 6 Tools is constructed." --Elham Kazemi
Lynne R. Dorfman and Diane Dougherty:::100073
A Closer Look
In A Closer Look, Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty provide the tools and strategies you need to use formative assessment in writing workshop. Through Lynne and Diane’s ideas, you will be able to establish an environment where students will internalize ways that they can assess their own writing and become independent writers.
Lynne and Diane share methods for collecting and managing information, and show practical, simple, and concise ways to document student thinking. In the accompanying online videos, they demonstrate conferences with individual writers, small groups, and whole groups. Quick, easy-to-manage assessment methods emphasize that formative assessment does not have to take a long time to be worthwhile and effective. Vignettes from classroom teachers, principals, and authors add a variety of perspectives and classroom experiences on this important topic.
A Closer Look shows that when students are in charge of their own writing process and set and reach their own goals, writing becomes a vibrant, energetic part of the day.
Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough:::100071
A Place for Wonder
In A Place for Wonder, Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough discuss how to create “a landscape of wonder,” a primary classroom where curiosity, creativity, and exploration are encouraged. For it is these characteristics, the authors write, that develop intelligent, inquiring, life-long learners.
The authors’ research shows that many primary grade state standards encourage teaching for understanding, critical thinking, creativity, and question asking, and promote the development of children who have the attributes of inventiveness, curiosity, engagement, imagination, and creativity. With these goals in mind, Georgia and Jennifer provide teachers with numerous, practical ways—setting up “wonder centers,” gathering data though senses, teaching nonfiction craft—they can create a classroom environment where student’s questions and observations are part of daily work.
They also present a step-by-step guide to planning a nonfiction reading and writing unit of study—creating a nonfiction book, which includes creating a table of contents, writing focused chapters, using “wow” words, and developing point of view. A Place for Wonder will help teachers reclaim their classrooms as a place where true learning is the norm.
A Sense of Belonging
Too often, new teachers enter the profession excited to make a difference in the lives of children only to find themselves disillusioned and overwhelmed with the expectations of the classroom. In A Sense of Belonging, Jennifer Allen shares her stories and journey in creating an infrastructure of support for new teachers within her school district.
A Sense of Belonging provides research-based, practical ideas on how to support new teachers while honoring the innovation, idealism, and optimistic enthusiasm that they bring to the classroom. From supporting new teachers early in the year with administering and analyzing literacy assessments, through using student work to guide instruction, to offering ongoing help with curriculum planning, Jennifer shares strategies on:
• Fostering relationships with new teachers, starting before school even begins • Creating learning environments for new teachers to be reflective practitioners • Coaching new teachers in their classrooms and providing opportunities for them to observe their peers in action • Supporting new teachers beyond their first year through gradual release of support over their first several years in the classroom • Facilitating professional development opportunities where new and veteran teachers learn alongside one another
Allen believes, and her book demonstrates, that when schools embrace, encourage, and celebrate the work of new teachers, they establish a supportive environment that fosters excellence and improves retention.
Above and Beyond the Writing Workshop
When writing workshops first blossomed in classrooms, its hallmarks were genuine curiosity, individual choice, quality conversations, and engaging children's literature. A joyous hum of intention, creativity, and craft enlivened the school day. Today's teachers are often faced with a range of obstacles, as new initiatives are embraced, mandates handed down, and scripted programs are purchased. Sometimes teachers must sacrifice the original principles of the writing workshop and lose the creative venue they provide.
Above and Beyond the Writing Workshop is filled with original writing challenges designed to bring back the spirit of the original writing workshop model and encourage teachers to enhance it with invention, innovation, and inspiration. Teaching creative writing is not only possible, but an important process in their instruction. Author Shelley Harwayne invites teachers to keep the workshop spirit alive by:
Encouraging professional conversations on classroom ideas and methods between colleagues
Developing writing cues that allow young writers to be inquisitive, outspoken, and independent
Showing how high quality writing can make a difference
Offering an inspired and stimulating outlet for students to express their passions
Harwayne's book will help teachers encourage students to write the world around them, which can generate more critical thinking and make for a more well-rounded child.
Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford:::100141
Conversing with others has given insights to different perspectives, helped build ideas, and solve problems. Academic conversations push students to think and learn in lasting ways. Academic conversations are back-and-forth dialogues in which students focus on a topic and explore it by building, challenging, and negotiating relevant ideas. In Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk that Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understandings authors Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford address the challenges teachers face when trying to bring thoughtful, respectful, and focused conversations into the classroom. They identify five core communications skills needed to help students hold productive academic conversation across content areas:
Elaborating and Clarifying
Supporting Ideas with Evidence
Building On and/or Challenging Ideas
This book shows teachers how to weave the cultivation of academic conversation skills and conversations into current teaching approaches. More specifically, it describes how to use conversations to build the following:
Academic vocabulary and grammar
Critical thinking skills such as persuasion, interpretation, consideration of multiple perspectives, evaluation, and application
Literacy skills such as questioning, predicting, connecting to prior knowledge, and summarizing
An academic classroom environment brimming with respect for others' ideas, equity of voice, engagement, and mutual support
The ideas in this book stem from many hours of classroom practice, research, and video analysis across grade levels and content areas. Readers will find numerous practical activities for working on each conversation skill, crafting conversation-worthy tasks, and using conversations to teach and assess. Academic Conversations offers an in-depth approach to helping students develop into the future parents, teachers, and leaders who will collaborate to build a better world.
Discover what happens when your students step out of their daily routines and activate their engagement. Author Katherine Mills Hernandez argues that movement, talk, and the physical environment of the classroom all contribute and influence students’ learning. The ideas in Activate! will help you create a classroom optimized for deeper engagement and lasting learning.
No matter what subject you teach, Katherine invites you to shift your attention from what you are doing in the classroom, to what your students are doing as the catalyst for learning. She provides insights into instruction through real classroom lessons as she gives you the tools to better assess your students’ engagement and energy levels. The book describes practical ways to incorporate movement into the classroom routine, based on research on how an active brain generates true learning.
Katherine invites you into her own classroom by sharing vignettes from lessons and activities, opening up the pages of her own learning journal, sharing pictures from her classroom, and examples of classroom charts. She also provides a comprehensive bibliography on the research behind the science of movement and talk and how they affect learning.
Adding Talk to the Equation
For more than 20 years, Lucy West has been studying mathematical classroom discourse. She believes that teachers need to understand what their students are thinking as they grapple with rich mathematical tasks and that the best way to do so is through talking and listening.
In this video-rich edition of Adding Talk to the Equation: Discussions and Discovery in Mathematics, she invites teachers into real-life classrooms where all students stay in the game, stay motivated about learning, and ultimately deepen their understanding.
Designed for math teachers and coaches in grades 1–8, this self-study guide showcases elementary and middle school classrooms where teachers inspire even the most reluctant students to share their ideas. Through the stories of skilled teachers, West offers play-by-play commentary as they get more comfortable with new talk moves and learn to tune in and respond to students’ math conversations. Although these discussions occur in math class, the strategies can be used to create a respectful, productive environment for any subject area.
This video-based resource examines the importance of creating a safe learning environment; the value of thinking, reasoning, and questioning; the role of active, accountable listening; and the necessity of giving all students a “you can do this” message. West also emphasizes that slowing down, even in the face of time constraints, is crucial for creating a classroom where all students feel they have something to contribute.
This guide includes transcripts of the case studies, with insightful commentary from West that gives you a window into her thinking and the complexities of the work she is doing with teachers, as well as her reflections on missed opportunities.
Linda Dorn and Tammy Jones:::100311
Apprenticeship in Literacy (Second Edition)
Grounded in social and cognitive learning theories, the second edition of Apprenticeship in Literacy: Transitions Across Reading and Writing, K-4 still details the seven principles of apprenticeship learning and helps K–4 teachers implement and assess guided reading, assisted writing, literature discussion groups, word study lessons, and literacy centers across an integrated curriculum. The new edition also features the following:
Updated research emphasizing the importance of early reading as a road map for success
Information on how behaviors, from emergent to fluent, align to the Common Core State Standards
Dozens of new classroom examples—students' work, photographs, transcripts, teacher-student conferences, and reproducible resources
Language prompts that promote self-regulated learners
Schedules for implementing a workshop framework in whole-group, small-group, and one-to-one settings
Suggestions for incorporating information texts into a balanced literacy program
Stronger emphasis on the importance of the writing process
Additional ideas on establishing routines and organizing the classroom
The theme of apprenticeship in literacy resonates throughout the book: children learn from teachers and teachers learn from one another as they promote children's transfer of knowledge across multiple contexts. The final chapter provides real-world examples of teachers working together to ensure that all children become literate.
Since its original publication in 1998, Apprenticeship in Literacy has become a teacher favorite, covering all aspects of a balanced literacy program in an integrated manner and showing how all components are differentiated to address the needs of diverse learners. An apprenticeship approach to literacy emphasizes the role of the teacher in providing demonstrations, engaging children, monitoring their understanding, providing timely support, and ultimately withdrawing that support as the child gains independence.
Balancing Reading and Language Learning
Teaching reading to children in a language that is not their own is a daunting task. Balancing Reading and Language Learning: A Resource for Teaching English Language Learners, K-5 provides the strategies proven to be effective in a balanced reading program, while at the same time valuing the native culture and first-language skills of the English language learner. Combining the best classroom practices and research on teaching reading and language acquisition, author Mary Cappellini integrates effective reading instruction with effective language instruction. Through the framework of a balanced reading program, she emphasizes the importance of constantly listening for and assessing children's language and reading strategies during read aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading, including literature circles. Included in this text are:
How to set up an environment that will allow all English language learners to succeed
Stages of English language proficiency and stages of reading development—how they compare and how to use them to assess and plan for individual children
A focus on tapping into children's prior knowledge in their primary language while teaching reading in English and using Spanish/English cognates to help develop academic language
A collection of in-depth lessons and mini-lessons based on children's language proficiency and reading strategy needs with ongoing assessment, teacher reflection, and with an emphasis on choosing the right books to match their reading and language level
How to manage numerous guided reading groups with children of all stages of reading and language proficiency
Thematic planning, with sample units for primary and upper grades, to support academic language and meet content standards
Ideas for literacy evenings, school tours, and other events to involve parents with the learning community
Extensive resources: numerous forms and checklists—observation sheets, planning sheets, literature response sheets, focus sheets for shared and guided reading, and more.
Regardless of how many or how few ELL students a teacher has, this invaluable resource helps them meet the challenges and reap the rewards of teaching children to read as they learn the language.
Martha S Rush:::100203
Are your students bored in class? According to research, a majority of American high school students report being bored in class and fewer than 5% claimed that they were rarely bored during a typical day in school.
Former journalist and veteran teacher Martha Rush decided this would not do for her Minnesota students. Moving beyond asking open-ended questions and making connections to their own lives, Martha began to engage her government, journalism, and economics classes in meaty discussions, competitions, simulations, and authentic work, like running a newspaper or starting a business.
Building on her more than 800 interviews with high school graduates, she offers up strategies in all subject areas for active engagement, moving way beyond traditional passive memorization of information. She describes how to create innovative experiences in your classroom, and shares her own lessons and her students’ work. Beat Boredom will help you join the ranks of teachers who have challenged the status quo and found ways to motivate even the most reluctant learners.
Becoming a Literacy Leader, 2nd edition
In this second edition of Becoming a Literacy Leader: Supporting Learning and Change, author Jennifer Allen reflects on her work as a literacy specialist and how the role has evolved in the decade since she wrote the first edition. Her experiences can apply to all school leaders including principals, coaches, teachers, support staff, and office administrators. Allen focuses on three ideas to describe her work:
Layered Leadership, the multitude of supports in place for teachers to encourage learning and change within schools
Shared experiences that develop community and develop common understanding of practices, curriculum, and assessment
Importance of “rowing in the same direction” in that literacy coaches and leaders stay interconnected and aligned to the goals of the school
Allen knows the challenges of teachers face and advocates literacy coaches implement these layers of support within a school, including in-class support, curriculum support and assessment, study group facilitation, and the cultivation of teacher leadership. In Becoming a Literacy Leader, she provides an explicit framework for implementing these layers of coaching and explains how administrators can use the literacy leader position to build and sustain change within their schools.
This book will be the road map for how literacy leaders and coaches approach their work with purpose and intention. Online videos that accompany the book bring the text alive by showing readers what coaching looks and sounds like.
Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had
Ask mathematicians to describe mathematics and they'll use words like "playful", "beautiful", and "creative". Pose the same question to students and many will use words like "boring", "useless", and even "humiliating". In Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had, author Tracy Zager helps teachers close this gap by making math class more like mathematics. Zager has spent years working with highly skilled math teachers in a diverse range of settings and grades and has compiled those ideas from these vibrant classrooms into this game-changing book. Inside you'll find:
How to Teach Student-Centered Mathematics: Zager outlines a problem-solving approach to mathematics for elementary and middle school educators looking for new ways to inspire student learning
Big Ideas, Practical Application: This math book contains dozens of practical and accessible teaching techniques that focus on fundamental math concepts, including strategies that simulate connection of big ideas; rich tasks that encourage students to wonder, generalize, hypothesize, and persevere; and routines to teach students how to collaborate
Key Topics for Elementary and Middle School Teachers:Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had offers fresh perspectives on common challenges, from formative assessment to classroom management for elementary and middle school teachers
No matter what level of math class you teach, Zager will coach you along chapter by chapter. All teachers can move towards increasingly authentic and delightful mathematics teaching and learning. This important book helps develop instructional techniques that will make the math classes we teach so much better than the math classes we took.
Better Book Clubs
In her comprehensive guide, Better Book Clubs: Deepening Comprehension and Elevating Conversation, literacy coach and staff developer Sara Kugler shows you how to combine the power of book clubs with assessment-driven instruction to support your students as they talk and think about texts together. Using authentic book club conversations as an assessment of academic talk and text understanding, Kugler raises the bar on typical professional discussions about book clubs, moving beyond teacher-directed interactions and surface-level conversations to include:
Structures, teaching methods, and routines that support authenticity and independence in book clubs
Suggestions for starting, scaffolding, and sustaining effective, student-centered book clubs
Tips for listening in on clubs as a way to assess academic talk and text understanding
Methods for moving from observation into instruction that improves conversation and comprehension
Touchstone anchor charts and sample lessons for launching and maintaining strong clubs at a variety of independence levels
With a dual focus on stronger comprehension and improved conversations, Better Book Clubs will help you establish effective book clubs that will engage your readers, enhance your learning communities, and become an indispensable component of your literacy classroom.
In Beyond Answers: Exploring Mathematical Practices with Young Children, author Mike Flynn provides teachers with a clear and deep sense of the Standards for Mathematical Practice and shares ideas on how to best implement them in K-2 classrooms.
Each chapter is dedicated to one of the eight common core standards. Using examples from his own teaching and vignettes from many other K–2 teachers, Flynn does the following:
Invites you to break the cycle of teaching math procedurally
Demonstrates what it means for children to understand—not just do—math
Explores what it looks like when young children embrace the important behaviors espoused by the practices
The book’s extensive collection of stories from K–2 classroom provides readers with glimpses of classroom dialogue, teacher reflections, and examples of student work. Focus questions at the beginning of each vignette help you analyze the examples and encourage further reflection.
Beyond Answers is a wonderful resource that can be used by individual teachers, study groups, professional development staff, and in math methods courses.
Franki Sibberson, Karen Szymusiak, and Lisa Koch:::100076
Beyond Leveled Books 2nd Edition
In Beyond Leveled Books, Second Edition, Franki Sibberson, Karen Szymusiak, and Lisa Koch provide even more resources to help teachers understand and meet the needs of transitional readers. The key topic of series books has been revised and enlarged, with charts outlining new series with the challenges they pose and supports readers need. New lessons have been added, and most chapters now include a related article from a literacy expert. Some of the contributors include Kathy Collins, Larry Swartz, and Mary Lee Hahn.
Leveled books are an indispensable tool for teaching children to read, especially for emergent readers, but the authors of Beyond Leveled Booksare sounding the alarm about the overuse and misuse of leveling and the way it restricts teacher autonomy and undermines student choice and reading engagement. The authors lay out a blueprint for using leveled books effectively within a student-centered and differentiated approach that is designed to motivate all readers, particularly transitional ones.
Teaching Transitional Readers: Beyond Leveled Booksis packed with resources to help teachers understand and meet the needs of transitional readers, including examples of classroom instruction, sample mini-lessons, strategies for small-group instruction, assessment techniques, and articles by literacy experts
Resources for K-5 Classrooms: The book explores the uses and limitations of leveled texts in primary reading instruction, including ideas for how to organize your classroom library and a list of great books and series to use alongside leveled text in supporting new readers
Gateway to Independent Reading: The authors provide explicit tools for helping students consolidate their skills and reading strategies, to read widely and deeply, to increase their vocabulary, and build critical thinking
Making Reading Fun: Teach students to experience joy from reading through deeper comprehension and application
Beyond Leveled Books is an essential resource for K-5 teachers looking to help all readers, including budding readers, struggling readers, transitional readers, and readers who have plateaued.
Maryann Wickett and Eunice Hendrix-Martin:::100128
Beyond the Bubble (Grades 4-5)
Multiple-choice testing is an educational reality. Rather than complain about the negative impact these tests may have on teaching and learning, why not use them to better understand your students’ true mathematical knowledge and comprehension? Maryann Wickett and Eunice Hendrix-Martin show teachers how to move beyond the student’s answer—right or wrong—to uncover understanding and/or misconceptions. By asking a few simple follow-up questions, teachers can learn a great deal about student understanding and make better, more informed instructional decisions.
The Beyond the Bubble books (grades 2-3 and grades 4-5) are each divided into five strands—number, measurement, algebra, geometry, and probability—with six problems per strand. Each problem includes an overview of the objective of the test question, a sample question, typical of those found on standardized tests, strategies students employ to solve the problem, conversation starters, student work, student-teacher conversations, and instructional strategies to advance student learning. Teachers will also find suggestions for differentiation, reproducible of sample questions, and a comprehensive list of additional resources.
With dozens of sample test questions and numerous student samples, Beyond the Bubble shows educators how to use multiple choice tests to provide more purposeful, focused mathematics instruction for all of their students.
Kimberly Hill Campbell and Kristi Latimer:::100086
Beyond the Five Paragraph Essay
Love it or hate it, the five-paragraph essay is perhaps the most frequently taught form of writing in classrooms of yesterday and today. But have you ever actually seen five-paragraph essays outside of school walls? Have you ever found it in business writing, journalism, nonfiction, or any other genres that exist in the real world? Kimberly Hill Campbell and Kristi Latimer reviewed the research on the effectiveness of the form as a teaching tool and discovered that the research does not support the five-paragraph formula. In fact, research shows that the formula restricts creativity, emphasizes structure rather than content, does not improve standardized test scores, inadequately prepares students for college writing, and results in vapid writing. In Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay, Kimberly and Kristi show you how to reclaim the literary essay and create a program that encourages thoughtful writing in response to literature. They provide numerous strategies that stimulate student thinking, value unique insight, and encourage lively, personal writing, including the following:
Close reading (which is the basis for writing about literature)
Low-stakes writing options that support students' thinking as they read
Collaboration in support of discussion, debate, and organizational structures that support writing as exploration
A focus on students' writing process as foundational to content development and structure
The use of model texts to write in the form of the literature students are reading and analyzing
The goal of reading and writing about literature is to push and challenge our students' thinking. We want students to know that their writing can convey something important: a unique view to share, defend, prove, delight, discover, and inspire. If we want our students to be more engaged, skilled writers, we need to move beyond the five-paragraph essay.
Black Ants and Buddhists
What would a classroom look like if understanding and respecting differences in race, culture, beliefs, and opinions were at its heart? If you were inspired to become a teacher because you wanted to develop young minds, but now find yourself limited by "teach to the test" pressures and state standards, Mary Cowhey's book Black Ants and Buddhists: Thinking Critically and Teaching Differently in the Primary Grades will reignite the passion and remind you that educators provide more than test prep.
Starting her career as a community activist, Cowhey shares her roots and how they influenced her Peace Class, where she asks her students to think critically, learn through activism and discussion, and view the entire curriculum through the framework of understanding the world, and what they can do to make it a better place.
Woven through the book is Mary's unflinching and humorous account of her own roots as well as lessons from her heroes: Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Jr, and others. Her students learn to make connections between their lives, the books they read, the community leaders they meet, and the larger world.
Black Ants and Buddhists offers no easy answers, but it does include starting points for conversations about diversity and controversy in your classroom, as well as in the larger community. Students and teachers investigate problems and issues together, in a multicultural, antiracist classroom.
Writing test scores indicate that boys have fallen far behind girls across the grades. In general, boys don't enjoy writing as much as girls. What's wrong? How can we do a better of job of creating “boy-friendly” classrooms so their voices can be heard?
In Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices Ralph Fletcher draws upon his years of experience as staff developer, children's book author, and father of four boys. He also taps the insights from dozens of writing teachers around the US and abroad. Boy Writers asks teachers to imagine the writing classroom from a boy's perspective, and consider specific steps we might take to create stimulating classrooms for boys.
Topic choice emerges as a crucial issue. The subjects many boys like to write about (war, weapons, outlandish fiction, zany or bathroom humor) often do not get a warm reception from teachers. Fletcher argues that we must “widen the circle” and give boys more choice if we want to engage them as writers. How? We must begin by recognizing boys and the world in which they live. Boy Writers explores important questions such as:
What subjects are boy writers passionate about, and what motivates them as writers?
Why do boys like to incorporate violence into their stories, and how much should be allowed?
Why do we so often misread and misunderstand the humor boys include in their stories?
In addition, the book looks at: how handwriting can hamstring boy writers, and how drawing may help; welcoming boy-friendly writing genres in our classrooms; ways to improve our conferring with boys; and more.
Each chapter begins with a thorough discussion of a topic and ends with a highly practical section titled: "What can I do in my classroom?" Boy Writers does not advocate promoting the interests of boys at the expense of girls. Rather, it argues that developing sensitivity to the unique facets of boy writers will help teachers better address the needs of all their students.
Richard J. Gentry and Gene Ouellette:::100237
The past two decades have brought giant leaps in our understanding of how the brain works. But these discoveries—and all their exciting implications—have yet to make their way into most classrooms.
In Brain Words: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching, authors J. Richard Gentry and Gene Ouellette, bring their original, research-based framework of “brain words”—dictionaries in the brain where students store and automatically access sounds, spellings, and meaning. This book aims to fill the gap between the science of reading and classroom instruction by providing up-to-date knowledge about reading and neurological circuitry, including evidence that spelling is at the core of the reading brain.
Brain Words will show how children’s brains develop as they become readers and discover ways you can take concrete steps to promote this critical developmental passage, including:
Incorporating tools to recognize what works, what doesn’t, and why
Practical classroom activities for daily teaching and student assessment
Insights about what brain research tells us about whole language and phonics-first movements
Deepened understanding of dyslexia through the enhanced lens of brain science
With the insights and strategies of Brain Words, you can meet your students where they are and ensure they gain confidence as readers, spellers, and writers.
Sara B Kajder:::100057
Bringing the Outside In
The reading that we value in school is becoming further and further distanced from the literacy students experience in their outside lives. Inside the classroom, we ask our students to immerse themselves in print texts and write purposefully. Once out the door, they are text-messaging, blogging, engaging in online multi-player games, and expertly integrating words, images, and music to create original texts. Can we import these textual spaces and literacies into English class to help re-connect students who don't see themselves as readers and writers?
English educator Sara Kajder's answer is an emphatic “yes,” and in Bringing the Outside In she demonstrates myriad ways to employ students' outside talents in the classroom. Drawing on multiple examples of student work, she shows how she adapts the curriculum to incorporate an expanded definition of literacy and literacy tools. Sara offers teachers guidance on how to extend their repertoire of teaching strategies, and help kids connect their natural curiosity and skills as readers and writers of both print and electronic texts, while keeping reading and writing at the center of the curriculum.
Keying in on the visual aspects of literacy, and building upon students' growing interest in using words and images from their lives to read and write for authentic reasons and authentic audiences—integrating such strategies as digital storytelling, visual think-alouds, visual literature circles, and others into English class—Sara and her kids redefine what it means to be literate in today's world. By adding visual components to class activities and projects integrating tools ranging from pencils and paper to “weblogs” and “wikis,” even reluctant students can become engaged and see themselves as readers and writers for the first time.
Carol Koechlin and Sandi Zwaan:::100275
Building Info Smarts
An ideal review for teachers, this innovative flip book shows students how to identify their learning style as they build important information literacy skills. Students learn how to apply what they read, hear, and see to what they already know, and grow in their understanding of themselves and the world around them. From reading books and analyzing a movie to working on a research project, students will investigate effective strategies for finding and using all kinds of information and making it their own.
Julie D. Ramsay:::100133
Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing?
Publishing podcasts, writing digital stories with "choose your own adventure" endings, and collaborating with students around the country through wikis, Skype, and VoiceThread, Julie D. Ramsay never imagined that she and her fifth grade students would be forging a new frontier using technology to support writing lessons.
In a school district with minimal resources and a prescriptive curriculum that makes originality a constant challenge, Julie could have continued teaching grammar and writing skills in isolation. But when she realized how hungry her students were for "real" writing activities that enabled them to share and learn from their peers in other states, she overcame every obstacle that threatened to stunt their creativity and limit their opportunities to communicate in a digital world.
Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing? shows teachers how to weave technology throughout the curriculum and get students so fired up about writing that they don't want to stop when the class period ends. Readers will learn how to select appropriate digital tools, guide and involve students in the learning process, and differentiate instruction to meet individual needs. Through Julie's inspiring stories and lessons, teachers in the intermediate and middle grades will discover how technology-assisted writing can foster innovation, global communication, and creative problem solving, developing responsible, productive digital citizens whose inherent love of learning will travel with them throughout their lifetimes.
Mathematizing Children’s Literature
Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion