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Brad Buhrow was born in Edgerton, Wisconsin, a small town in the southeastern part of the state. He received his BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder, his teaching license from Metropolitan State University at Denver, and his MA from the University of Colorado at Denver. He will be continuing with classes in language transition and transfer from University of Colorado this fall.
Reading self-selected professional development books, educational journals, attending conferences, and participating in book study groups outside of school with his teaching team have taught him so much. He's been fortunate to work a lot with and learn from Anne Goudvis. Together they have cotaught, collected data (student artifacts, scribing talk, pictures, video) to inform critical questions, and reflected on next teaching steps. He taught for three years in inner-city Denver, and ten years for Boulder Valley School District, all of them at Columbine Elementary.
Rock climbing is something he spends a great deal of time doing, about four or five days a week. "I've climbed in many European countries and much of the United States. Gymnastic difficulty is more of my climbing focus, but I've also climbed big walls like Half Dome, in Yosemite, The Diamond on Long's Peak, and routes in the Black Canyon. "People at work think I only read professional books, but I actually do other things!"
Currently he is doing independent consulting when the opportunity arises, as well as presenting at state and national conferences. He believes that "to be a teacher it takes thinking, imagination, creativity, curiosity and a lot of energy. That's why I became a teacher—I love that challenge. I've learned from critical theory that being conscious of my practices is the first step toward change. For example, that might mean being reflective of discourse routines or how democracy is or is not promoted in our classroom. Of course a solid theoretical base is very important. Theory and practice work together and inform one another."
For Brad, ideal professional development would include choice for teachers. "I like the idea of book/journal study groups that are sanctioned on school time. This means times and spaces set aside for only this. I also imagine school libraries with large collections of journals and professional development books that are displayed beautifully and accessible. First of all, that would be great modeling for our kids. Also, visitors could see from the texts our principles, beliefs, and rationale. I also imagine our entire staff leaving the building and going to conferences together."
Writing his book was a very energizing experience. "I learned it was okay to get bits and pieces of thinking down and expand upon them later. Writing with my colleague taught me what collaboration means. I wrote from faraway places like Costa Rica as well as in many coffee shops in Boulder. Having people and some noise around helped me keep going. Images and artifacts from our classroom also helped me write how theory is put into practice."
Brad Buhrow and Anne Garcia are primary teachers in a diverse school in Boulder, Colorado. In Ladybugs, Tornadoes and Swirling Galaxies, you will see how they blend comprehension instruction and ELL best practices to explore inquiry as a literacy pathway for English language learners.
As teachers and students engage in learning science and social studies content they also discover multiple ways to make meaning. The book is full of photographs of student artwork—including a color insert—that reveals the children's inquiry process, and demonstrates the important role of art as a sign system in ELL literacy and language acquisition.
Brad and Anne provide explicit detail on the process they use as they move step-by-step with students from personal narrative through the independent inquiry process. They also discuss use of the Gradual Release Model, authentic assessment, and bilingual identities.
Appendices in Spanish and English help to round out this informative and charming resource.
Mathematizing Children’s Literature
Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion