Archive for June, 2011

Living the Questions — June 30, 2011

All our authors have very busy teaching, working, and family lives. Somehow, they all manage to squeeze in some writing time to produce these wonderful professional development books for their fellow teachers and colleagues all over the country. With everything that’s going on in their lives, it’s very rare that a manuscript arrives right on the expected date — and we are OK with that. But when it does happen, it’s cause for celebration.

The manuscript for the second edition of Living the Questions was delivered by authors Ruth Shagoury and Brenda Power promptly today, June 30, 2011 — exactly as scheduled. To prove that the manuscript did indeed arrive today, here is a picture of editor Bill Varner, holding up today’s copy of the Portland Daily Sun, and editorial director Philippa Stratton holding the manuscript and the authors’ agreement where the manuscript delivery date was set. 

Now, if our production process stays on schedule, the new edition should be available right around the end of the year. We’ll do our best to keep on track.

Add comment June 30th, 2011

Now Online: So What Do They Really Know?

“My hope is that teachers will recognize that many of the tools they already use, when given a slight tweak, can serve as powerful assessments that will inform instruction and improve achievement.”

How are students progressing?
What do they need next?
How do I plan my instruction to get students to the next level?

These are the core questions that Cris Tovani asks when assessing students. Her new book So What Do They Really Know? shows teachers how to expand their definition of assessment and make it a powerful part of everyday instruction.

Drawing on her roots as an elementary teacher, Cris explains how she adapted the workshop model to the realities of secondary school—multiple classrooms full of skeptical, struggling adolescent readers and writers. Throughout the book, she shares real student responses to surveys and conversations, a play-by-play description of her English class block, and sample lessons that vividly demonstrate successful practices.

Readers will discover how to:

  • use formative assessments to differentiate instruction;
  • maximize student work time and immediately assess student learning within the workshop model;
  • get trustworthy data from annotations—the most important assessment tool for reading;
  • give students timely and useful feedback;
  • assign grades that accurately reflect what students learn and what teachers value.

So What Do They Really Know? will start shipping in mid-July. You can pre-order and preview the entire book now!

1 comment June 29th, 2011

Technology tools that supports classroom learning

“What I recommend to teachers is to find one technology tool that will support learning in the classroom…and let your kids guide the way.”

Julie D. Ramsay, fifth-grade teacher and author of the new book “Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing?”, encourages teachers to take it one step at a time and network with colleagues as they begin to use technology to enhance instruction in the latest episode of our Author Conversations series:

Add comment June 28th, 2011

Blog watch: Kelly and Carolyn

In our Monday blog roundup we bring you an interview with Kelly Gallagher and an enthusiastic review of Carolyn Coman’s new book, Writing Stories.

At Reading on the Run blogger Mike McQueen talked to Kelly about his book Readicide: How Schools are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It. Kelly addresses why high-interest reading materials are important especially for struggling readers and why today’s workplace and world demand higher level readers than before. You can listen to the audio podcast and read the transcript of the conversation at Reading on the Run.

Helen Hemphill at The Found Pen writes this about Carolyn Coman’s new book: Writing Stories: “It’s also a text filled with encouragement about the sometimes daunting task of teaching writing to children. The tone of the book reminds me of of the up-beat style of Ralph Fletcher, and Coman uses her vast experience as an award winning writer to ground the text in her own experiences.” You can read the entire entry on her blog.

Add comment June 27th, 2011

Poetry Friday: Strawberrying

It’s strawberry season here in Maine, so I picked this poem by May Swenson to celebrate the occasion! Happy reading and picking!

May Swenson

My hands are murder-red. Many a plump head
drops on the heap in the basket. Or, ripe
to bursting, they might be hearts, matching
the blackbird’s wing-fleck. Gripped to a reed
he shrieks his ko-ka-ree in the next field.
He’s left his peck in some juicy cheeks, when
at first blush and mostly white, they showed
streaks of sweetness to the marauder.

A crop this thick begs for plunder. Ripeness
wants to be ravished, as udders of cows when hard,
the blue-veined bags distended, ache to be stripped.
Hunkered in mud between the rows, sun burning
the backs of our necks, we grope for, and rip loose
soft nippled heads. If they bleed – too soft –
let them stay. Let them rot in the heat.

When, hidden away in a damp hollow under moldy
leaves, I come upon a clump of heart-shapes
once red, now spiderspit-gray, intact but empty,
still attached to their dead stems –
families smothered as at Pompeii – I rise
and stretch. I eat one more big ripe lopped
head. Red-handed, I leave the field.

Add comment June 24th, 2011

The truth about revision

Kate Messner, author of the Stenhouse book Real Revision, as well as The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. readily admits this secret: “My first drafts are not pretty.”

And they shouldn’t be!

In our two-part conversation with Kate, she pulls back the curtain on the process of writing Real Revision — and writing and revising in general. She says that it’s really important for kids to know — and see — the process real writers go through before their books end up on the library shelf.

Add comment June 22nd, 2011

Stenhouse Summer Writing ‘Blogstitute’

Welcome to the first Stenhouse Summer Writing Blogstitute!

You must think “ah, here’s another weird techy-term! Blogstitute!” But let me assure you that we are calling our summer writing event a “blogstitute” because really there’s no better word for it. We toyed with the idea of calling it a “writing institute,” but that seemed a bit stuffy and structured. A blogstitute is more relaxed, informal, and most importantly, it takes place on a blog.

The event we are bringing you is a summer of blog entries by some of our newest authors who recently wrote books about writing and teaching writing. We hope that you will read their essays and get inspired to pick up pen and paper — or laptop — and create some writing magic of your own this summer. We also hope that you will take these classroom-tested ideas back to your students come September — but we will not make you think of September just yet!

Here are the topics you will read about starting July 6:

Student-initiated writing conferences by Stacey Shubitz (Day by Day)
Celebrating writers by Ruth Ayres (Day by Day)
Teaching students how to critique writing by Kate Messner (Real Revision)
Providing students with an authentic reason to write by Julie D. Ramsay (“Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing?”)
Making and taking time for your own writing by Carolyn Coman (Writing Stories)
The adventure essay as an alternative to the research paper by Peter Lourie and David Somoza (Writing to Explore)

Every conference/institute/blogstitute has to offer goodies and here is ours: You can purchase all five writing books mentioned above for $90 and save $18 off the regular price.

If you comment or ask a question about any of the articles during the blogstitute, you will be automatically entered to win a package of these books. Just make sure you comment by August 30.

So get ready to become a better writer this summer — see you on July 6!

24 comments June 21st, 2011

In the pipeline

It’s time to start teasing you about all of the great books coming your way later this summer and fall. If you just can’t wait for our catalog to appear in your mailbox, here is a quick rundown of the coming attractions:

So What Do They Really Know? Assessment That Informs Teaching and Learning
Cris Tovani
Cris explores the complex issue of monitoring, assessing, and grading students’ thinking and performance with fairness and fidelity. This book is already posted on our website for full preview and will arrive in our warehouse in mid-July.

Math Exchanges: Guiding Young Mathematicians in Small-Group Meetings
Kassia Omohundro Wedekind
Kassia, a math coach, uses small-group instruction as the centerpiece of her math workshop approach, engaging all students in rigorous “math exchanges.” Available in August.

Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk that Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understandings
Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford
Jeff and Marie have identified five core communication skills to help students hold productive academic conversations across content areas. Available in September.

The Xs and Whys of Algebra: Key Ideas and Common Misconceptions
Anne Collins and Linda Dacey
Designed for use in seventh- to ninth-grade courses focused on an introduction to formal algebra, this flipchart emphasizes five essential algebraic concepts: using variables meaningfully; using multiple representations for expressions; connecting algebra with number; connecting algebra with geometry; and manipulating symbols with understanding. Available in October.

10 Things Every Writers Needs to Know
Jeff Anderson
Jeff focuses on developing concepts and application of ten essential aspects of good writing—motion, models, focus, detail, form, frames, cohesion, energy, words, and clutter. Available in October.

Write Like This: Preparing Students for Writing in the Real World
Kelly Gallagher
Kelly emphasizes real-world writing purposes, the kind of writing he wants his students to be doing twenty years from now. Available in mid-October.

To receive notifications when these books become available, go to the Stenhouse website and select which titles you would like to hear about. To find out more, check back often — we will be updating the blog and website in late August with the latest information about these books.

Add comment June 20th, 2011

Poetry Friday: Dressing My Daughters

Here’s a Father’s Day poem for this sunny Poetry Friday. Enjoy!

Dressing My Daughters
Mark Jarman

One girl a full head taller
Than the other—into their Sunday dresses.
First, the slip, hardly a piece of fabric,
Softly stitched and printed with a bud.
I’m not their mother, and tangle, then untangle
The whole cloth—on backwards, have to grab it
Round their necks. But they know how to pull
Arms in, a reflex of being dressed,
And also, a child’s faith. The mass of stuff
That makes the Sunday frocks collapses
In my hands and finds its shape, only because
They understand the drape of it—
These skinny keys to intricate locks.
The buttons are a problem
For a surgeon. How would she connect
These bony valves and stubborn eyelets?
The filmy dress revolves in my blind fingers.
The slots work one by one.
And when they’re put together,
Not like puppets or those doll-saints
That bring tears to true believers,
But living children, somebody’s real daughters,
They do become more real.
They say, “Stop it!” and “Give it back!”
And “I don’t want to!” They’ll kiss
A doll’s hard features, whispering,
“I’m sorry.” I know just why my mother
Used to worry. Your clothes don’t keep
You close—it’s nakedness.
Clad in my boots and holster,
I would roam with my six-gun buddies.
We dealt fake death to one another,
Fell and rolled in filth and rose,
Grimy with wounds, then headed home.
But Sunday … what was that tired explanation
Given for wearing clothes that
Scratched and shone and weighed like a slow hour?
That we should shine—in gratitude.
So, I give that explanation, undressing them,
And wait for the result.
After a day like Sunday, such a long one,
When they lie down, half-dead,
To be undone, they won’t help me.
They cry, “It’s not my fault.”

1 comment June 17th, 2011

Blog watch: Real reviews for Real Revision

Kate Messner’s book Real Revision: Authors’ Strategies to Share with Student Writers is not even off the press, but some bloggers are already buzzing about it as a must-read for the summer.

Franki Sibberson at A Year of Reading writes that Real Revision is more than just a book of lessons about revision, but a book about creating a classroom where revision is valued. “I read a lot of professional books on literacy,” Franki writes. “I love so many of them but REAL REVISION totally wowed me.  It is fresh and unique. It looks hard at the life of real authors and their process for revision and then looks at how to bring those authentic strategies into the classroom.”

Monica Edinger also reviewed the book on her blog, Educating Alice. She writes that “Kate knows the realities of teaching writing in this time of tests and standards, knows middle school kids, and knows firsthand the ups and downs of writing.  She does a remarkable job connecting this all in a style that is pleasant, practical, and frank.”

Head over the Stenhouse site to preview the full book and then order your copy to add to your summer reading list!

You can hear Kate talk about her book in this recently recorded video podcast:

1 comment June 15th, 2011

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