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Jen McDonough is the K–4 Literacy Specialist at the Pine School in Hobe Sound, Florida. Prior to taking on a role outside of her own classroom, she was a first-grade teacher and literacy coach at the Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, Florida. She has taught students for 23 years and has been a part of literacy training for teachers for more than six years.
She received her bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University and her master's degree from Florida Atlantic University.
"Teaching found me," Jen says. "My goal was to work with kids because I knew that I connected well with them and they responded to me in a positive way. I studied speech pathology but had a hard time getting into graduate school, so I started teaching and haven't looked back."
Jen says that she especially loves the process of getting to know kids and watching them become amazing readers and writers. "The kids' enthusiasm for the world around them keeps me in awe of the natural world and curious. This is one of the only jobs I know where you go to work and someone is constantly telling you how special you are. It's a good place to be!"
Of working with Georgia Heard on their bookA Place for Wonder(Stenhouse 2008), Jen says she feels lucky "to ride on the greatness of Georgia Heard. She taught me how to be patient, work hard, revise, and create deadlines so writing was actually completed. Georgia taught me that teachers have really good ideas and that anyone can write a book if they believe in what they have to say and are dedicated to getting it on paper."
If you’ve ever sat down to confer with a child and felt at a loss for what to say or how to help move him or her forward as a writer, this book is for you. If you are a strong teacher of writing but are not seeing results from your students, this book is for you. Authors Kristin Ackerman and Jennifer McDonough have been teaching writing for several years and know that conferring can be a murky and messy process—perhaps the hardest component of all. Written from the lessons they’ve learned through hard-won classroom experience—their mistakes and challenges—Conferring with Young Writers is based on what Kristin and Jen call the “three Fs”: frequency, focus, and follow-up. They’ve created a classroom management system that offers routine and structure for giving the most effective feedback in a writing conference. This book will help writing teachers—and students—learn to break down and utilize the qualities that enable good writing: elaboration, voice, structure, conventions, and focus. The authors also provide the knowledge and skills it takes to confer well, which will help you improve as a writing teacher and give your students the confidence to think of themselves as writers.
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.
Mathematizing Children’s Literature
Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion