Art, Race, and Lifelong Learning

“Nearly all students—non-readers, striving readers, and beginning readers—can decode visual texts, such as illustrations and paintings, effectively.”
Trevor Bryan, author of The Art of Comprehension 

Looking Closely at Literacy

In the Mood for Art?
“Most artworks are crafted around moods,” says Trevor Bryan, author of forthcoming The Art of Comprehension: Exploring Visual Texts to Foster Comprehension, Conversation, and Confidence. Watch this short video on how he helps students engage with art through his original “access lenses.” Preview and order here.

 

 

Rethinking Guided Reading
“Guided reading is a temporary scaffold to assist students to become self-regulating, self-reliant readers,” writes Regie Routman, author of Literacy Essentials: Engagement, Excellence, and Equity for All Learners. Read her MiddleWeb blog and explore her four “crucial considerations” for being fair and equitable to all students.

Working with Older Spellers
Mark Weakland, author of the upcoming Super Spellers Starter Sets, has lots of ideas for reaching older spellers, especially 4th through 6th graders. Check out his blog for suggestions, including “jaw drop;” “I say, we say, you say, you write;” deep and rich word lists; and more.

Math Tools for the Classroom

Stenhouse Math Author “Has Our Backs”
In a review of Number Sense Routines: Building Mathematical Understanding Every Day in Grades 3-5 by Jessica Shumway, math teacher Rebecca Crockett says Shumway has “given me all the tools… to commit to using number sense routines.”

Leading Robust Math Conversations

 

Watch this short video from Lucy West, author of the new, video-rich edition of Adding Talk to the Equation, about how teachers can help facilitate a discussion and increase student engagement in rich, robust conversations around math.

 

 

Lifelong Learning

On Talking About Race in Class
“It takes almost as much effort to not talk about race as it does to talk about it,” says Matthew Kay, author of Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom. Hear his reflections, dos and don’ts, and helpful hints on this teacher’s podcast.

Close Up: Mentoring a New Teacher
As a first-year teacher, having a mentor can make the difference between feeling overwhelmed or exhilarated. Shawna Coppola, author of Renew! Become a Better—and More Authentic—Writing Teacher, reflects on her six-episode podcast about mentoring a first-year kindergarten teacher.

“Insatiable Appetite” for Learning
Paula Bourque, author of the forthcoming Spark! Quick Writes to Kindle Hearts and Minds in Elementary Classrooms, reveals her hunger for learning and how she takes charge of her own professional development in her latest blog post “nErDs Unite!”

Teach More, Manage Less
Explore these one and two-day workshops presented by Gail Boushey and Allison Behne of The 2 Sisters: Daily 5 literacy block framework, behavior strategies for keeping all your students on-task, and the CAFE Literacy protocol for individual assessment and teaching. Learn about Detroit, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, and Orange County live workshops.

Add comment October 11th, 2018

Close Up: Mentoring a New Teacher

By Shawna Coppola

Author of Renew! Become a Better—and More Authentic—Writing Teacher

As a first-year teacher, having a mentor can make the difference between feeling overwhelmed and feeling exhilarated. We invited Stenhouse author and experienced educator Shawna Coppola to document her experience with mentoring Laura during her first year as a kindergarten teacher. Please join us and follow their six-episode podcast (links below) as they experience Laura’s first year in her classroom.

When Stenhouse asked me if I wanted to mentor a new teacher through her first year and record the experience for posterity, I barely took a breath before saying yes. As someone who has taught for nearly two decades, I still feel the desire to be mentored, to surround myself with supportive individuals who understand the joyful, yet challenging, life of an educator and who can occasionally offer a sage piece of advice, a thought-provoking question, a listening ear, or a much-needed laugh.

It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway, and loudly, for those sitting in the back) that teachers are engaged in some of the most complex work imaginable: making hundreds of important decisions (often on the fly), masterfully integrating a seemingly endless variety of skills, and cultivating a near-superhuman capacity for empathy and grace.

When I met Laura, an educator in her first year, I was so impressed with her thoughtful, reflective approach to teaching. A kindergarten teacher in a K-6 public school serving approximately 300 students, Laura told me during our very first conversation that she knew from early on that she wanted to work with children. That first year, she taught 22 children largely independently, with only occasional access to a classroom aide. She described her students as kind, motivated to learn, and, for the most part, happy to be in school.

As we got to know each other, investigating together some of the challenges of that first year, we covered a lot of territory. Laura and I discussed social-emotional learning, managing a large group of children, a variety of literacy practices, how to balance short- and long-term demands, and the value of using mentors to teach writing. It was such an enriching, pleasurable experience for both of us!

Like many teachers, Laura found it difficult to balance building positive, healthy relationships with her students alongside managing them as a whole group. Her biggest challenges were related to planning and making decisions both ahead of time and in the moment. She worried about how to fit in valuable instruction around skills that many perceive as “non-academic” or “soft” along with more traditionally-recognized academic skills.

The first time we met, we discussed the enormous, all-too-familiar challenge of “fitting it all in”–particularly with regard to literacy–and how to maintain a daily schedule for her students that is meaningful, engaging, and developmentally appropriate. I advised her to keep a close eye on the big picture when it came to her students’ literacy experiences and to try to identify the experiences that gave both her and her students the “best bang for [their] buck”—a difficult, yet important, task.

[Listen to Episode 1]

As Laura continued to experiment with how to incorporate literacy instruction into her students’ day in a way that felt more integrated and less piecemeal, she reported that she was beginning to feel challenged by the social/emotional demands of her kindergartners. Like many classroom teachers, Laura was forced to juggle a wide variety of student needs with very little sustained guidance. She felt as though she was “drowning in behavior charts,” which ran counter to her desire to co-construct a healthy classroom community with her students. We agreed that social-emotional learning is at the heart of all good teaching.

[Listen to Episode 2]

As we worked together, Laura reported that she was seeing marked improvements. Her students were adjusting to the routines they’d established around their classroom literacy centers. Frequent check-ins were helping students develop their ability to reflect on their work in peer partnerships. With literacy centers running more smoothly, Laura decided she wanted to broaden literacy activities. Facilitated guided reading groups could help her support her students as they read connected text within their zone of proximal development. I offered Laura some advice for how to begin the challenging work of facilitating effective guided reading groups without becoming too overwhelmed.

[Listen to Episode 3]

By mid-year, assessment results indicated that Laura needed to invest more time in helping her kindergarten students practice decoding and encoding words. We discussed how she could modify some of what she already does with her students. We brainstormed ways she could incorporate additional multisensory work with letters and sounds to help students create even more neural pathways in the brain. I shared with her the many missteps that I and other teachers have made when helping students become more independent readers and writers.

[Listen to Episode 4]

So many options exist to elicit creativity from young students. Mentors—both professional mentors and student mentors—can inspire students to write while also opening up a world of possibilities for how they might make decisions as composers of text. Laura said her students benefited greatly from two things: noticing the different and varied craft moves of such beloved authors as Kevin Henkes and Mo Willems and trying them out in their own compositions. She said their excitement over the realization that they, too, could use these moves in their writing was palpable!

[Listen to Episode 5]

As we came to the end of our mentoring sessions, we talked about how to incorporate strategies to help students learn and retain sight words. As many teachers who work with our youngest students know, it can be enormously difficult to balance phonics work and word play with opportunities to listen to and read connected text—not to mention everything else that teachers must juggle within what often seems like a few short hours! Laura and I also reflected on this unique experience we shared and the many ways in which it has impacted our work as educators.

[Listen to Episode 6]

Add comment October 5th, 2018

Newslinks: Spirited Classrooms

“Can we make sure kids are comfortable with making mistakes first and then fixing them second?”
–Brett Eberly, Teachers’ Corner Podcast

 

New! Teachers’ Corner Podcast
Our first Teachers’ Corner podcast—best practices for teachers by teachers—is now posted! Hear from authors Paula Bourque, Brett Eberly, and Matthew R. Kay as they talk about how teachers can prepare themselves and their classrooms for success. Tune in now.

 

Teaching Math

Ways to Revel—Not Struggle—in Math
Math author and coach Tracy Zager, author of Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had, shares her vision of math class moving from “confusing and compliant” to “creative and spirited” during “Class in Session.” Listen on Cincinnati radio. (Program starts at 2:04.)

How to Facilitate Rather than Deliver
Mike Flynn, author of Beyond Answers, knows that a lot of students are hesitant when it comes to talking about math. In this two-minute video, he explains how to flip the “I do, you do, we do” approach.

Literacy and More

Three Tips for Classroom Libraries
A robust classroom library is a key way to build students’ lifelong love of learning. As the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) notes, “research demonstrates that equitable access to books promotes reading achievement and motivation.” Read the Council’s tips on how to build your own.

Adding Diverse Texts to Your Library for Reading AND Writing
Ruth Culham, author of Teach Writing Well, has some tips about how to be “really, really smart” about book choice. “When you intentionally include books with diversity in mind, you step it upbig time,” she writes.

The Case for Redos and Retakes
One of the most controversial issues in grading today: redos and retakes. Watch an interview with Rick Wormeli, author of Fair Isn’t Always Equal, where he posits that “schools are not set up for teaching,” before he takes on some challenging questions.

Review: Literacy Essentials
Read this educator’s take on Regie Routman’s “timely, robust, and relevant” Literacy Essentials. The book “is an excellent reminder that every teacher is a literacy teacher,” the review notes, adding that the “bulleted, succinct, common-sense lists [are] perfect to use as a resource.”

Creative Calendars for Kindergartners
A conversation between two Stenhouse authors, Katie Keier, co-author of Catching Readers Before They Fall, and Kassia Omohundro Wedekind, author of Math Exchanges, produced some fun ideas for working with kindergartners on the passage of time.

Add comment September 27th, 2018

Mentoring New Teachers, Episode 6

Welcome to the final episode of this season of our Mentoring New Teachers podcast! In our last episode, Laura and I explored the idea of using mentors–both professional and student mentors–to inspire students to write. As Laura shares with me in this episode, her students benefited greatly from 1) noticing the different and varied craft moves of such beloved authors as Kevin Henkes and Mo Willems and 2) trying them out in their own compositions. Their excitement over the realization that they, too, could use these moves in their writing was palpable!

In this episode, I offer Laura some advice about how to incorporate strategies for helping her students learn and retain sight words into her instructional routine. As many teachers who work with our youngest students know, it can be enormously difficult to balance phonics work and word play with opportunities to listen to and read connected text–not to mention everything else that teachers must juggle within what often seems like a few short hours! Because this is our final “formal” conversation for the podcast, Laura and I also reflect on this unique experience and the many ways in which it has impacted our work as educators.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through one classroom teacher’s first full year as a public school educator. We hope you have found lots to take away and try in your own classroom and/or share with others, whether you consider yourself a “novice,” a “veteran,” or somewhere in between. If so, please recommend this podcast to colleagues within your professional learning network. And if you have any advice for how we might improve this or future Stenhouse podcasts, we’d love to hear from you!

 

Add comment September 24th, 2018

Mentoring New Teachers, Episode 5

It’s hard to believe that this is the second to last episode of our Mentoring New Teachers podcast–we hope you have enjoyed it thus far! In our last episode, Laura and I discussed what she might do to help her kindergarteners gather the courage to practice decoding and encoding words as they become more and more aware of the variety of ways that letters and sounds combine to form words. In the interest of not adding anything more to her plate as a classroom teacher, I offered some suggestions for how she might encourage her students to take “healthy risks” with their words by modifying some of what she already does with them. In addition, I suggested some simple ways that Laura might incorporate additional multisensory work within her literacy stations as a fun way to help her students create even more neural pathways in the brain than they’ve already created as developing readers and writers.

In this episode, Laura and I talk about the power of using mentors–both professional mentors and student mentors–to inspire students to write while also opening up a world of possibilities for how they might make decisions as composers of text. While teaching students to write by focusing on specific genres or forms of writing can be useful, teaching them to notice and ask questions about the kinds of craft, organization, and illustration moves their mentors make–while also encouraging them to envision making these “moves” in their own work–can ultimately transcend any genre or form that students might compose. Because this kind of “noticing” and “wondering” work can leave teachers feeling overwhelmed by possibilities about where to go next in their teaching, we also briefly discussed how to then build responsive curricula for their student writers.

 

RESOURCES & INSPIRATION:

 

Coppola, Shawna. 2015. “Math, Literacy, and the Need for More Blank Paper.” The Educator Collaborative Community Bloghttps://community.theeducatorcollaborative.com

 

Dorfman, Lynne and Rose Cappelli. 2017. Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature, K-6 (Second Edition). Portsmouth, NH: Stenhouse

 

Eickholdt, Lisa. 2015. Learning from Classmates: Using Students’ Writing As Mentor Texts. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

 

Ray, Katie. 1999. Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom. National Council of Teachers of English.

 

Add comment September 21st, 2018

Mentoring New Teachers, Episode 4

In the last episode of our Mentoring New Teachers podcast, Laura and I talked about how to begin the (often overwhelming) task of facilitating guided reading groups with young students. I explained to her how the original intention of guided reading has become somewhat lost due to the nature of many of today’s existing guided reading programs, and I offered some advice for how to begin this challenging,  but often necessary, work.

In our fourth episode, Laura shares with me how her mid-year literacy assessments led her to conclude that she needs to invest more time in helping her kindergarten students to practice decoding and encoding words. We discuss how to do this by modifying some of what she already does with her students, and I also suggest some ways to incorporate additional multisensory work with letters and sounds to help students create even more neural pathways in the brain than they’ve already created over the past several months. Finally, I share with Laura some common missteps that many teachers make–myself included!–when working to help students become more independent readers and writers. A tip: you may want to listen to this episode in small chunks–there’s a lot to absorb!

 

 

RESOURCES & INSPIRATION:

 

Cleaveland, Lisa. (2016). More About the Authors: Authors and Illustrators Mentor Our Youngest Writers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

 

Dehaene, Stanislas. (2010). Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read. New York, NY: Penguin Publishers.

 

Add comment September 20th, 2018

New Podcast from Stenhouse Publishers and Staff Development for Educators

Teachers’ Corner, Episode 1: Back to School
September 19, 2018

 

 

Welcome to our first Teachers’ Corner podcast—tips, insights, and best practices for teachers by teachers. In this back to school episode, Terry Thompson, a former educator and literacy editor at Stenhouse Publishers welcome a panel of three educators who will discuss how they prepare their classrooms for success at the beginning of the school year. Today’s panelists include literacy coach Paula Bourque, author of the upcoming book, SPARK! Quick Writes to Kindle Hearts and Minds in Elementary Classrooms, Brett Eberly, a secondary math teacher and contributor on the upcoming book, Necessary Conditions: Teaching Secondary Math with Academic Safety, Quality Tasks, and Effective Facilitation by Geoff Krall; and Matthew R. Kay, author of the recently released, Not Light But, Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations.

 

Add comment September 19th, 2018

Regroup and Refresh

 

“Cultivating personal creativity is one of the best uses of time and money for professional growth and our students’ learning.”         —Rick Wormeli

Becoming a “Reflective Practitioner”

Is there something you can unlearn this year—and rather than feel diminished, feel refreshed and rejuvenated? In this video, Rick Wormeli, author of Fair Isn’t Always Equal, Second Edition, shares some thought-provoking ideas on grading, teaching, and leadership.

The Science of Reading

 

Find out more about “two underused powerful tools for teaching beginning reading successfully” from J. Richard Gentry, co-author with Gene P. Ouellette of the forthcoming BrainWords: How the Science of Reading Informs Teaching. See his blog in Psychology Today.

 

 

Matt Kay: Teachers as Communicators

Matt Kay, author of Not Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom weighs in on ways teachers can dive into personal self-reflection in this interview in Education Week.

Other Stenhouse authors are reading Not Light, but Fire, including Kelly Gallagher, author of In the Best Interest of Students and Readicide, who calls it “thoughtful, timely, and beautifully written.”

Kay will be speaking at “Teacher Research and Knowledge: A Celebration of Writing and Literacy,” at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 8-4 p.m. It’s not too late to register.

What Makes a Book a Stenhouse Book?

Stenhouse books stand out. Learn more about how we discover gems for our library in this installment of our 25th Anniversary series on our blog.

Brighten Up Your Math Classroom

 

Use posters featuring images from Christopher Danielson’s book How Many? to brighten up your classroom. Find them here.

 

Add comment September 12th, 2018

What Makes a Book a Stenhouse Book?

 

This is the fourth in a series of six posts that we are featuring this year to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Stenhouse Publishers.

Stenhouse has a specific approach to editing and publishing that is guided by the question, “Does this book add value to the body of thought?” That kind of book doesn’t come along every day.

Stenhouse is committed to working with teacher-authors. This means editors are deeply engaged in the world of education and are looking for books that will contribute to that world. Whatever an author’s particular working style, Stenhouse espouses a respect for the creative process that seems almost old-fashioned in a world where quickly produced and freely consumed copy abounds.

Stenhouse publishes author-driven, original books. These are not curriculum packages or series in which volumes are stamped out according to a standard format, but books that present the author’s own perspectives on teaching, in a distinctive voice.

Stenhouse believes that every book counts and should be put out with care. That means quality paper, beautiful graphic design, attentive copyediting and proofreading, efficient warehouse processing, and committed marketing.

Stenhouse aims to stay small and focused with an eye toward long-term value. The company began in 1993 with the idea of publishing no more than 20 volumes a year, and that hasn’t substantially changed. This allows for the selectivity that gives the Stenhouse list definition, and it permits Stenhouse to give each book the sustained attention it deserves.

“Education is full of bandwagons,” said co-founder Tom Seavey. “Some of them crash and burn, some go off into the sunset and then show up again. In the course of all this fluctuation there is a substantial population of teachers who find some value in the kinds of books that Stenhouse publishes.”

Stenhouse’s profitability depends on a combination of top-selling new books and a strong backlist of titles that sell year after year. Very few books go out of print. The Stenhouse Library is one we are proud of, and that helps ensure that like-minded teachers will keep coming back as both authors and readers.

Coming next: Stenhouse into the Future

Add comment September 9th, 2018

New Books, Ways to Make Learning Last a Lifetime

1. Hot off the presses!

Teaching Literature Rhetorically: Transferable Literacy Skills for 21st Century Students: Jennifer Fletcher’s new book showcases eight high-utility literacy skills and practices that will stay with your students all their lives. “Literature and rhetoric offer us powerful ways of understanding ourselves and our world,” says Fletcher. Preview and order here.

Choral Counting and Counting Collections: Transforming the PreK–5 Math Classroom by Megan L. Franke, Elham Kazemi, and Angela Chan Turrou inspires preschool and elementary teachers to experience the joys and rewards of regularly using two activities—Choral Counting and Counting Collections—in their classrooms and in their partnerships with families. Preview and order here.

2. Speaking of learning that lasts a lifetime, check out this blog “How to teach so learning sticks” by Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris, the authors of Who’s Doing The Work? How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More and the Who’s Doing the Work? Lesson Sets.

3. As the school year gets into full swing, here are 13 handy ideas from Kari Yates and Christina Nosek, authors of To Know and Nurture a Reader, on ways to cultivate a community of readers in your classroom.

4. Regie Routman, author of Literacy Essentials, offers five back-to-school tips for making your classroom a welcoming, emotionally and socially safe environment.

5. Math Teachers, Read On!
Math teachers who are reading Tracy Zager’s Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You Had have formed a free collaborative book study that will be led by Mike Flynn and Kaneka Turner. Register here.

“The Main Idea: Current Education Book Summaries” overviews the book and reports that “Zager lifts the dark cloud of mathematics instruction and restores it to the fun that it should be—about wonder, exploration, and challenge.”

6. Reviewers are talking about Stenhouse books
From this review of Christopher Danielson’s How Many? “A lovely package that will interest not just elementary-grade teachers and librarians, but many a parent or homeschooling effort.”

Check out this review of Mark Weakland’s “compelling” Super Spellers,
and his latest blog here.

Add comment August 30th, 2018

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