Archive for December, 2014

Happy New Year from Stenhouse!

We are wrapping up another great year at Stenhouse and I want to thank you for following us along on our blog. I hope you found some interesting reading this year and that you will join us again in 2015!

Here are some of the highlights from 2014:

What were your favorite teaching and/or learning moments in 2014?

See you next year!

Add comment December 30th, 2014

Now Online: In Defense of Read-Aloud

in-defense-of-read-aloudSteven convinces us that reading aloud must be a cornerstone of every teaching day regardless of the age level, subject matter, or discipline we teach.
—Regie Routman

Should be on every teacher’s must-read list.
—Jim Trelease

What do you say to someone who questions the value of reading aloud to your students? How can you use read-aloud to teach reading and writing skills? And how can you enhance your performance to leave your students engaged, transfixed, and begging for more?

Drawing on the latest research, Steven Layne provides a convincing argument for reading aloud every day across the grades, and gives teachers practical advice and specific strategies in his new book, In Defense of Read‑Aloud. You’ll learn how to:

  • arrange the best seating plan;
  • select the best read-aloud;
  • prepare for and launch a new read-aloud;
  • plan for teachable moments; and
  • read with expression to maximize engagement.

Correspondence between teachers and noted authors Katherine Paterson, Lois Lowry, Nancy Werlin, Andrew Clements, and Ben Mikaelsen open each chapter, and the book is filled with reflections and book suggestions from teachers and prominent educators such as Brian Cambourne, Richard Allington, Debbie Diller, Doug Fisher, Kelly Gallagher, Linda Hoyt, and Donalyn Miller.

In Defense of Read‑Aloud will entertain, challenge, and inspire you to make the most of this essential literacy teaching practice. You can preview the entire book online now!

1 comment December 15th, 2014

Preview the full text of 5 new books

We just posted the full preview for five new books from our Canadian publishing partner, Pembroke Publishers. They are all available in print and e-book formats!
8301Q-Tasks
How to Empower Students to Ask Questions and Care About the Answers (Second Edition)
Carol Koechlin and Sandi Zwaan
Grades 4-12 • 160 pp • Available now
$24.00 print • $21.60 e-book • $34.00 print/e-book bundle
Helps you develop a questioning culture and empower students to think critically, with 103 activities on curiosity, question types, building good questions, comprehension, opinions, interviews, surveys, writing, and more. The new edition incorporates technology tools and collaborative learning.
 

8299Exploding the Reading
Building a World of Responses from One Small Story, 50 Interactive Strategies for Increasing Comprehension
David Booth
Grades K-8 • 160 pp • Available now
$24.00 print • $21.60 e-book • $34.00 print/e-book bundle
A fascinating look at how hundreds of students respond to the same story, and how a variety of teachers at different grade levels tailor instruction using different modes of response such as text talk, role play, writing, and technology to improve comprehension.
 

 

82953-Minute Motivators
(Revised Edition)
Kathy Paterson
Grades K-12 • 160 pp • Available now
$24.00 print • $21.60 e-book • $34.00 print/e-book bundle
More than 200 simple, fun activities for any grade that will help you use “a little magic” to take a quick break, engage students, and refocus them on the task at hand. 150 of the motivators are new to this edition.
 

 

8298Stop the Stress in Schools
Mental Health Strategies Teachers Can Use to Build a Kinder, Gentler Classroom
Joey Mandel
Grades K-6 • 128 pp • Available now
$24.00 print • $21.60 e-book • $34.00 print/e-book bundle
You may not always be able to remove the source of your students’ worries, but you can employ the strategies in this book to respond in the most positive way and help kids calm themselves, become more resilient, and build their confidence, even during the most difficult moments.
 

 

8300Dramathemes
Classroom Literacy that Will Excite, Surprise, and Stimulate Learning
Larry Swartz
Grades 4-12 • 160 pp • Available now
$24.00 print • $21.60 e-book • $34.00 print/e-book bundle
Presents a set of games, activities, and resources based on 10 themes such as identity, bullying, fantasy worlds, and the immigrant experience. Each unit uses games and drama to make connections to a variety of literary genres and enrich your literacy instruction.

Add comment December 8th, 2014

In the Schoolyard: Taking Math Outdoors

We are excited to have another great post from Herb Broda, author of Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning and Moving the Classroom Outdoors. In this post he offers some ideas for taking math outdoors to re-energize your classroom and to provide some important math visuals for your students. Check out Herb’s earlier blog post about the Tale of the Tape.

Taking Math Outdoors

It was a strange sight—twenty three fifth graders forming several head-to-toe lines as they stretched out on the playground. Although it looked like a game, these students were actually taking an abstract concept and translating it into concrete (pardon the pun!) terms.

Teacher Laura Grimm had been teaching the concept of data representation through graphing. A variety of examples had been provided indoors through books and other media. But just looking at examples and doing an occasional worksheet was only part of the instructional design. Laura wanted her students to also experience the concept. The playground provided a perfect venue for using the outdoors as a teaching tool.

bar graph

The human bar graph.

Students grouped themselves according to birth month. Signs had been placed on the ground for the twelve months so students found the correct month and stretched out to form their head-to-toe lines on the pavement. The activity visually verified that most students in this year’s class were born in August.

As an extension activity, Laura has kids line up according to birth dates. The long line is closed to form a circle on the blacktop. She then draws lines on the ground to show where the four seasons would fall and an instant circle graph/pie chart is created.

Although students had fun with the activities, there also was a subtle learning process taking place. Abstract concepts like “data representation”, “bar graph” and “circle graph” suddenly take on new meanings as students experience these ideas rather than only read about them. After you have been a part of a living bar graph you definitely have a stronger perception of the concept!

Students line up by birth month.

Students line up by birth month.

Chalk lines show the four seasons in a year.

Chalk lines show the four seasons in a year.

I want to emphasize that the indoor instruction that took place prior to going outside was just as important as the outdoor experience. It was very helpful for students to hear about the abstract concepts first, and then have the clarifying activity outside. Another variation could have been to do the outdoor activity first as an advanced organizer or motivator, and then do the indoor instruction. My preference with this content, though, would be to frontload the abstractions and then use the outdoors to provide clarity.

This activity is a great example of how the outdoors can be used as a venue for instruction, not just as a source of content. We often think that going outside has to mean doing some type of analysis or investigation of nature. Although that’s certainly a valid use of the schoolyard, often going outside can provide a motivating change of pace and place just because we are in a different venue. The change of place can revitalize and refocus activities that have become overly routine indoors. Reading a story, having a class discussion or even practicing spelling words (with sidewalk chalk) are often approached with renewed energy and focus simply because of the outdoor venue.

Outdoor activities do not have to be lengthy. In the human bar graph example described above, Laura’s class was outside for only about 15-20 minutes. I feel strongly that the best use of the school grounds for instruction is to take students outside briefly to re-focus on a specific concept that is currently being developed indoors. The brief outdoor activity gives a change of pace and place and provides an opportunity to approach the concept from an experiential perspective.

1 comment December 3rd, 2014


New From Stenhouse

Most Recent Posts

Stenhouse Author Sites

Archives

Categories

Blogroll

Classroom Blogs

Tags

Feeds