Our lineup of new titles for Spring 2016 includes everything you need to update your professional development library. Browse books online—we post them in their entirety as they become available. Want a chance to win all of our new titles? Scroll down to find out how.
Growing Independent Learners From Literacy Standards to Stations, K-3
308 pages • Available now
$39.00 print • $34.99 e-book • $49.00 print/e-book bundle
Debbie Diller’s new book provides a comprehensive guide to help you plan instruction focused on literacy standards, organize your classroom for maximum benefit, and lead your students to independence through whole-group lessons, small-group focus, and partner learning at literacy stations. Follow Debbie on Twitter: @debbiediller To Tweet about the book: #growinglearners
Making Nonfiction from Scratch
144 pages • Available now
$18.50 print • $16.99 e-book • $28.50 print/e-book bundle
Ralph offers a candid critique of how nonfiction writing is often taught in schools, then presents strategies and inspiration to help students create authentic, engaging nonfiction. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @FletcherRalph To Tweet about the book: #makingnonfiction
Close Writing Developing Purposeful Writers in Grades 2-6
304 pages • Available now
$26.00 print • $22.99 e-book • $36.00 print/e-book bundle
The strategies in Close Writing will help you nurture writers in your classroom who are aware of what effective writing looks like, who care about what they write, and who take ownership for their growth as writers. Follow Paula on Twitter: @LitCoachLady To Tweet about the book: #closewriting
Interactive Writing Across Grades A Small Practice with Big Results, PreK-5
Kate Roth and Joan Dabrowski
208 pages • E-book available now • Print available late February
$27.95 print • $24.99 e-book • $37.90 print/e-book bundle Interactive Writing Across Grades is your how-to guide, unpacking this powerful method step by step—and grade by grade. The authors help you figure out where and how interactive writing fits within your literacy framework, regardless of the grade you teach. Follow Joan on Twitter: @joandabrowski To Tweet about the book: #interactivewriting
Well Played, K-2 Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number Games and Puzzles
224 pages • Available now
Linda Dacey, Karen Gartland, and Jayne Bamford Lynch
Foreword by Kassia Omohundro Wedekind
$25.00 print • $22.99 e-book • $35.00 print/e-book bundle
Well Played, 6-8 Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number and Algebraic Games and Puzzles
248 pages • Available in April
$25.00 print • $22.99 e-book • $35.00 print/e-book bundle
The Well Played series of books (already available for grades 3-5), will help you tap the power of games and puzzles to engage students in sustained and productive mathematical thinking. Follow the authors on Twitter: @LindaSDacey, @JayneJlynch, @KarenGGartland To Tweet about the books: #wellplayedmath
Adding Talk to the Equation (A Talk Toolkit: Video + Companion Guide) Discussion and Discovery in Mathematics
112 minutes + 100-page Companion Guide • Available early April
DVD + Companion Guide or 1-year Streaming: $150 • 3-year Streaming: $350
Companion Guide: $10 each or 10-pack for $75
This video features five case studies filmed in grades 1-6 and shows teachers at various stages in their practice of generating and managing rich mathematics conversations. The companion guide includes transcripts, detailed commentary, and reflections from Lucy. Follow Lucy on Twitter: @LucyWestTLC To Tweet about the book: #addingtalk
Good Thinking Teaching Argument, Persuasion, and Reasoning
136 pages • Available in April
$18.00 print • $15.99 e-book • $28.00 print/e-book bundle
Blending theory with practice, Erik shares a wide range of classroom-tested lessons on how to help students develop sophisticated reasoning skills that will improve their oral and written communications. Follow Erik on Twitter: @erik_palmer To Tweet about the book: #goodthinkingbook
Who’s Doing the Work? How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More
Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris
182 pages • Available in April
$23.00 print • $20.99 e-book • $33.00 print/e-book bundle
In their follow-up to Reading Wellness, Jan and Kim show how instructional mainstays such as read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading look in classrooms where students do more of the work. Follow the authors on Twitter: @BurkinsandYaris To Tweet about the book: #whosdoingthework
Here’s what you have to do for a chance to win a copy of each of our new titles from the Spring 2016 catalog:
Follow @stenhousepub on Twitter.
Take a picture of something in your classroom that was inspired by a Stenhouse book. It could be an anchor chart or a piece of student work or the way you set up your library.
Teaching is an art and this month guest blogger Sarah Cooper looks to architecture for lessons that can be brought into her classroom. Sarah is the author of Making History Mine.
Architecture as Experience
A few weeks ago I visited a massive exhibit on architect Frank Gehry’s work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I’ve always found Gehry’s buildings startling in their originality but not necessarily appealing.
Yet, in the weeks since, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the exhibit – for what it says about the power of ideas and what it implies about how we could be teaching.
Here are eight takeaways I aspire to implement in my classroom:
Trust in students’ ideas, even the rough and inchoate ones. The exhibit frequently places drawings, scale models and photographs of the same building next to each other. The drawings are mere sketches, with simple lines, and yet they seem to move on the page. If we saw only the drawings, we might wonder how they could possibly turn into steel and glass – and yet they did, through revision and consultation with clients and colleagues.
At the same time, realize that not every creative idea will come to fruition. Many of Gehry’s most innovative designs were never built. For our students, the process of writing a research paper or a short story may not always lead to a polished product for a portfolio or year-end show.
Take into account the long view. Gehry’s style evolved over time. At first his philosophy involved “placing objects together so that you make the space work. As he explains, “you design the objects and then you design the spaces between them.” Later Gehry began envisioning buildings in which swooping steel exteriors integrated the spaces. What students write or say now in our classes may simply be building blocks for their eventual careers and philosophies.
Help students find different ways in. The exhibit was a prime example of differentiation. I found myself drawn to the drawings, which felt like music in their fluidity. But I took photos of the models for my younger son, who likes building structures from cardboard. Other elements of the exhibit included quotations from Gehry and photos of completed projects. Everyone could find something to pull them in. Similarly, in history class, we could show students primary sources, works of art, photos, biographies and artifacts from the same era or event and ask them to describe which speaks to them most.
Work with the power of the familiar to introduce the unfamiliar. My two sons already know Gehry’s Walt Disney Hall, in downtown Los Angeles, from parking in its garage for events. Before I take them to the exhibit, I’m planning to show them photos of the concert hall, to remind them of what they know, and then drawings and photos of the somewhat similar but unfamiliar Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
Find technology that transforms student work. Gehry is famous for pioneering the aerospace software CATIA (Computer-Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application) for use in architecture, making formerly impossible designs possible. As he says, “The technology provides a way for me to get closer to the craft…. It feels like I’ve been speaking a foreign language, and now, all of a sudden, the craftsman understands me. The computer is not dehumanizing; it’s an interpreter.” I would like to find more programs to use in the history classroom, beyond Animoto and Prezi, that make history pop.
Turn your world upside down. Gehry’s design for the new Facebook campus in Menlo Park, California, features a garden on the roof that has evoked comparison to New York City’s High Line. The model was mesmerizing because the hangar-like building was hardly visible through the carpet of trees surrounding it. Especially compared with Gehry’s former work, in which the building materials took center stage, this represented something new and inspiring.
Make a hands-on space for learning. At the end of the exhibit, a huge photo of Gehry’s studio anchors a cluster of models of current and future projects. The exhibit itself seems to feel a little like his studio does, with objects everywhere to give inspiration. To see Gehry on the page would be insufficient, but to walk through his work feels real and appropriate. I would like to be more tactile with history so that students feel they are walking through the past, whether they are making objects, videos or computer simulations.
Ultimately, the biggest spur the exhibit gave me as a teacher was to get out of my books and into the world, not just on vacation but all year round.
Interactive writing is a dynamic, unscripted instructional method in which the teacher and students work together to construct a meaningful text while simultaneously discussing the details of the writing process.
• an overview of the interactive writing method and how it fits into your balanced literacy program;
• concrete ways to launch interactive writing to support both process and craft instruction;
• step-by-step guidance to implement the method with students of all ages; and
• real classroom writing from every grade that shows what to expect at each phase of the process.
Discover what makes interactive writing a particularly effective teaching practice that can support both emergent and fluent writers. Preview the full text of Interactive Writing Across Grades now!
We have a lovely guest post today from Rose Cappelli on finding brilliance in your students and helping them use that brilliance or expertise to improve on another skill that might be more challenging for them. Rose is a 1996 PAWLP Fellow. She is the co-author with Lynne Dorfman of Mentor Texts, Nonfiction Mentor Texts, and Poetry Mentor Texts. You can read more of her reflections about teaching and living in her blog entries or follow her on Twitter at @RoseCappelli.
Finding Their Brilliance
By Rose Cappelli
In Jacqueline Woodson’s beautiful novel in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming, the author talks about being compared in school to her older sister, Odella, who was “brilliant.” But school is difficult for Jacqueline, so soon the teachers
“…remember that I am the other Woodson
and begin searching for brilliance
at another desk.” (p. 220).
Jacqueline loves stories, and she quickly discovers that by reading the words of a story over and over again, that story eventually becomes lodged in her memory and becomes part of her. So when she is asked to read aloud to the class, she doesn’t need the book, and amazes her teacher and classmates by reciting a whole story from memory.
“How can I explain to anyone that stories are like air to me, I breathe them in and let them out over and over again.
Brilliant! my teacher says, smiling. Jackie, that was absolutely beautiful.
And I know now…words are my brilliance.” (p. 247-248)
The passages from Brown Girl Dreaming remind us of the importance not only of looking for the strengths in all of our students, but of helping students succeed by leading them to find their own strength or skill or “brilliance.” Recently I heard author/illustrator Peter Catalanotto speak about a teacher who encouraged him to write by letting him draw, a brilliance she recognized in him. Without that recognition, the world may have been robbed of such wonderful books as Matthew A.B.C. and Emily’s Art, among others.
How can we discover the brilliance that resides in our classrooms and use it to guide our students? We probably all know students who are great spellers, or who can easily solve math problems. Our students know them, too. They become the class experts who serve as resources to others. But how can we use the strengths we discover in students to help them become better writers? Perhaps we need to take time to think about the underlying skills of the brilliance we have observed and show our students how that brilliance or skill can be transferred to writing. For example, we might realize that the student who is great at solving math problems does so because she can easily break things down into smaller sequential parts. We could point out that organization in writing often requires breaking a large idea into smaller parts. The student who is great at telling a story but who seems lost on how to begin to transfer that story to paper might benefit from “pretend in-the-air” writing as he talks to better understand that writing is talk written down.
I have known writers who are good at crafting detailed and enticing beginnings, but who fall short when it comes to endings. If we can help those writers identify the skills they used to start the piece (rich detail, use of specific nouns, etc.) we can perhaps help them use the same skills to craft a more satisfying ending. We can help them find and use their brilliance.
Of course, it all boils down to the importance of us as teachers engaging in careful conferring so that we really get to know our students – their strengths, their weaknesses, their needs. Sometimes we might just catch a glimpse of an emerging brilliance – something the writer himself is just beginning to do without perhaps even realizing it. That is when we must step in to explain and guide and encourage that budding brilliance to grow so that it transfers to other places in the text and other pieces of writing. That is what we must do before we start to search for brilliance at another desk as Jacqueline’s teacher did.
In Brown Girl Dreaming, when Jacqueline’s brother stands on the school stage and sings in a voice no one knew he had, Jacqueline remarks,
“Maybe, I am thinking, there is something hidden
like this, in all of us. A small gift from the universe
waiting to be discovered.” (p. 233)
What brilliance will you discover in your students this week, and how will you help them use it?
Reference: Woodson, Jacqueline. 2014. Brown Girl Dreaming. New York: Penguin.
Reposted with permission from the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project
The New York Times recently ran an article about Fiddleheads Forest School near Seattle, where the outdoors serve as classrooms without walls. Stenhouse author Herb Broda wrote an encouraging response to the article. Read below and then check out his books Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning and Moving the Classroom Outdoors, as well as his recent blogposts of practical ideas that help you turn your schoolyard into an outdoor classroom.
Learning from Fiddleheads
The sky is the ceiling and the landscape provides the audio-visual experiences at the Fiddleheads Forest School near Seattle. At this innovative preschool, eloquently described in a recent New York Times feature Preschool Without Walls by Lillian Mongeaudec (Dec. 29, 2015) students spend four hours a day – rain or shine—in classrooms among the native trees in the University of Washington Botanic Gardens. Students are engaged in a wide range of activities that focus on experiencing the surrounding environment. They are immersed in hands-on nature like digging, building forts, taking “listening walks” and building child-size nests in wood chip piles.
The most popular word at Fiddleheads is “notice”. Primary emphasis is given to observing and describing the nature that is literally at children’s fingertips. “Kids are the best at sharing in joy and wonder”, explains a teacher.
Nature preschools with daily outdoor experiences at the heart of their programs have been growing in number—up from twenty in 2008 to ninety-two currently, according to the Times article. Now, I realize that it is highly unlikely that outdoor immersion preschools like Fiddleheads will eventually dominate the scene. Indeed, there are solid arguments both pro and con regarding totally outdoor-based programming. The article does, however, encourage serious consideration of outdoor learning as an effective instructional method.
It really doesn’t matter to me whether a school has a totally outdoor-based program, or a more typical situation where teachers step outside the classroom door to use the schoolyard as a teaching tool. The important thing is that children are receiving frequent contact with nature.
Regular exposure to the natural world provides many benefits that enrich instruction and reconnect children with the outdoors:
Nature provides both a spacious venue for learning, as well as an abundant source of content. Both students and teachers welcome a change of pace and place. Variety is indeed the spice of life—and the energizer of teaching.
The outdoors is the ideal place to teach universal process skills like observing, describing, classifying and analyzing. Not only are these skills critical to science, they are also integral to language arts, mathematics and the creative arts.
Outdoor learning experiences provide generous opportunities for creative play, and a necessary respite from the incessant beeps and glare of electronic devices. We are in desperate need of the calming effects that only nature can provide.
Research over the last several years is confirming that frequent outdoor experiences contribute to good health, positive mental attitude and even improved cognitive function. It isn’t necessary to be outdoors all day everyday to achieve these benefits. All that is required are regular doses of what author Richard Louv calls “Vitamin N” (Nature).
The article gives me great hope! At a time when children’s natural curiosity about the outdoors is eclipsed by the demands of busy schedules and the ever-present glow of video screens, schools may be the only place where children are encouraged to interact with nature. It’s empowering to realize that the enthusiastic engagement and joy of learning that happens daily at Fiddleheads is possible on your schoolyard!
When it comes to nonfiction, teachers don’t have to work very hard to motivate students…with this genre we start with an intrinsic buy in from students. On the other hand, I see an awful lot of formulaic nonfiction writing in the schools I visit. Nonfiction is the writing genre most typically “done to” students. We channel students into a particular curricular area whether they like it or not. We organize their writing for them, directing them to follow rubrics and use detailed prewriting outlines and graphic organizers. We teach them our system for taking notes and doing research. We tell students, “Your final report must include _____, and _____, and _____.” No wonder students feel confined! No wonder so much of their nonfiction writing lacks energy and voice. Welcome to nonfiction writing: our most pre-packaged genre.
So, over winter break, I took a good long look at my plans for our nonfiction unit, which I was set to launch on our first day back to school. My sixth graders were so excited to be moving on from personal narrative and memoir into the realm of “the real stuff” (as one put it) “the kind of stuff I WANT to be writing about!”. And I wanted to be sure that they stayed excited from launch all the way through time to publish. I wanted our nonfiction unit to rock!
Among Fletcher’s suggestions for key ingredients of “making nonfiction from scratch” was an Exploratory Notebook – a place to gather information, think through ideas, and sketch out writing. I thought back to our many varied attempts to do all of this in many different places – our writer’s notebooks, research folders, “thinking envelopes” – and how nothing had worked quite the way I’d wanted it to. Ralph Fletcher would probably say this was because I had pre-packaged each of these research/gather/write venues, they were “done to” my students rather than “done by” them.
Debbie Diller’s long-awaited new book, Growing Independent Learners, has just been released. This comprehensive guide builds on her previous books to help teachers plan standards-focused lessons and work stations, organize the classroom for independence, and use anchor charts to support learning goals and help students remember big ideas.
With over 400 full-color photographs, this beautiful book gives
– Detailed explanations of each standard’s importance and real- world application;
– Planning tools that include academic vocabulary, whole-group instruction, and suggestions for literacy work stations;
– Complete whole-group lesson plans that you can use and modify again and again;
– Connections to help you extend the lessons into other areas of daily instruction;
– Mentor texts to use during whole group, small group, or stations; and
– Teaching tips that can help build skills from grade to grade.
How closely do your students read their writing? What are the implications for those who do and those who don’t?
During her work in classrooms, literacy coach Paula Bourque noticed that students who read their own writing closely are engaged in their work, write fluently, are able to produce lengthy drafts, and incorporate teaching points from mini-lessons into the day’s writing.
In this comprehensive book, Paula shows you that no matter what structures or lessons you use in your writing classroom, the strategies in Close Writing will help you make these better by creating student writers who are more aware of what effective writing looks like, who care about what they write, and who take ownership and responsibility for their growth as writers.
Next February, Blue Ridge Middle School in Purcellville, Virginia, will have universal wireless connectivity as part of a new Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) initiative adopted by the Loudoun County Public Schools. Instead of having to reserve a laptop cart or time in the busy computer lab, teachers and students will be allowed to use tablets, smartphones, and other personal devices to access the Internet and collaborate online anytime they want. Although many educators are excited about the possibilities for extended learning, they are also anxious about the changes to instruction, assessment, and classroom protocols.
“All the staff are in different levels of implementation of these devices in our lessons,” explained Blue Ridge principal Brion Bell.
So last summer, when sixth-grade English teacher Roberta Pomponio shared a copy of Power Up: Making the Shift to 1:1 Teaching and Learning (Stenhouse, 2015), Bell immediately found ways to use the book with his faculty. He engaged his administrative team in a collaborative study of Power Up, and the principal also began attending twice-monthly meetings with sixth-grade English teachers who read the book together for professional learning. Bell hopes they will share strategies and recommendations with other Blue Ridge teachers in the coming months.
“No one in our entire county is as well versed as the authors are,” Bell said. “By reading the book, we were able to look at everything from assessment to delivery to teacher connectivity and using learning management systems. Everything they’re talking about, it’s like it had an immediate connection.”
Thinking About Logistics
Throughout the book, Power Up authors Diana Neebe and Jen Roberts coach teachers through changes in pedagogy, planning, classroom organization, and collaboration so they can be successful in a 1:1 environment. They offer advice about avoiding common problems, as well as suggestions for using technology to provide immediate feedback to students, improve workflow, and reduce paperwork.
Pomponio, who discovered Power Up through a Twitter exchange with the authors, said one of the most valuable parts of her collegial book study has been thinking through potential trouble spots with technology integration. For example, she and her colleagues wondered how they would avoid losing instructional time when someone’s phone battery dies at the start of a lesson or what to do when students use the Internet for inappropriate activities. The Blue Ridge teachers said the authors’ classroom-tested strategies and good humor have given them the confidence to proceed.
“We guarantee you that lessons will not always go smoothly. The website you used last week could be blocked by the content filter this week. The power will go out. The app you were sure was free no longer will be,” Neebe and Roberts write. “We could go on, but we think that’s enough to terrify you for a while. All of these issues are temporary, solvable, or rare, but they might slow you down for a day or two. Have a backup plan, and don’t panic. It is tempting to give in to frustration and vent a bit when things like this go wrong, but remember: your students are watching you.”
Such frank talk emboldened Susan McWhorter, a sixth-grade English teacher who’s been reading Power Up with other members of her content-area team. A twenty-year teaching veteran, McWhorter was anxious about the school district’s expectation that technology integration become a routine, rather than an occasional, part of classroom instruction and assessment.
“For some of us older teachers, it’s kind of scary. It’s a big step for us,” she said. “The book helped my thinking, especially reading about the other teachers using it. It’s really just about flipping your classroom around. The book is helping me to plan better, helping me to think about how I can set up something that students can immediately get into when they enter the classroom.”
Using the Free Study Guide
McWhorter and Pomponio said the book’s free study guide, available on the Stenhouse website, has been an invaluable resource. The discussion questions provided by the authors were especially helpful in preparing teachers for collegial study and filling awkward silences when the conversation ebbed.
“I would definitely recommend using the book and study guide together,” Pomponio said. “It made everybody focus on the topics and then stay focused so we didn’t get too far offtrack.”
In her own classroom she has begun trying some of the authors’ recommendations, such as using Google’s online forms to provide feedback to students and simplify her workflow. One of her favorite chapters in the book focuses on differentiation strategies and how 1:1 learning enables teachers to offer accommodations to students without calling attention to their learning challenges.
“The examples the authors give with in-class situations have been very helpful too,” Pomponio said. “My copy of the book is completely marked up and used. It’s turning out to be our bible.”
Karin Nixon, the school’s sixth-grade dean, said reading Power Up as an administrator has helped her anticipate problems teachers might have with 1:1 learning and what kind of training they might need. Because she’s been out of the classroom only a few years, Nixon said she appreciated the authors’ message that good teaching and assessment practices don’t get replaced in a 1:1 classroom. Rather, they are enhanced through tools that are more motivating and engaging to today’s adolescents.
“Good assessment is good assessment. It does not matter if it’s electronic or in person. It’s just a shift in how teachers are thinking,” Nixon said. “Once we gain comfort, the possibilities are endless.”