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