Archive for January, 2014

Is a Stenhouse author coming your way?

What better way to extend your learning from Stenhouse books and videos than to participate in a workshop by a Stenhouse author? Browse the list below for an event near you and make plans to enjoy high-quality PD in the coming months.

Choice Literacy Workshops
• Franki Sibberson: “The Tech-Savvy Literacy Teacher,” online course, January 29-February 9
• Franki Sibberson: “Text Complexity in Grades 3-5: Minilessons, Nonfiction Text Sets, and Independent Reading,” online course, April 2-13
• Clare Landrigan, Tammy Mulligan, and Jennifer Allen: “Coaching the Common Core,” Wrentham, MA, July 16-17

Reading Recovery National Conference
• Columbus, OH, February 1-3
• Clare Landrigan, Tammy Mulligan, Brenda Overturf, Linda Dorn, and Max Brand

Colorado Council IRA Annual Conference
• Denver, February 5-8
• Peter Johnston, Harvey Daniels, Bruce Lesh, Mark Overmeyer, and Julie Ramsay

Wisconsin State Reading Association Annual Conference
• Milwaukee, February 6-8
• Jeff Anderson, Aimee Buckner, Max Brand, Patrick Allen, Debbie Miller, Peter Johnston, Kathy Collins, Harvey Daniels, and Diane Sweeney

Kelowna Summit: “When Vulnerable Readers Thrive”
• Kelowna, BC, February 21-22
• Peter Johnston and Debbie Diller

Debbie Diller Richmond Institute
• February 27-28
How to organize space and time, how to manage independent learning through literacy and math work stations, how to use standards to plan for and implement work stations, and much more.

Missouri Write to Learn Conference
• Osage Beach, MO, February 27-March 1
• Brenda Overturf, Ruth Ayres, and Steven Layne

Oregon Council of Teachers of English Regional Conference
• Portland, OR, March 1-2
• Tim Gillespie, Lee Ann Tysseling, Ruth Shagoury, Andie Cunningham, and Kim Campbell

The 2 Sisters Daily 5 and CAFE Workshops
Gail Boushey & Joan Moser
• Chicago, March 29-30
• Washington, DC, April 12-13
• St. Louis, May 17-18
• Tacoma, June 26-27
• Minneapolis, July 24-25
• Atlanta, August 9-10
• San Antonio, August 23-24

National Science Teachers Association National Conference
• Boston, April 3-6
• David Sobel, Marcia Edson, and Melissa Stewart

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting
• New Orleans, April 9-12
• Jessica Shumway, Chris Confer, Marco Ramirez, Linda Dacey, Allison Hintz, Elham Kazemi, and Kassia Omohundro Wedekind

International Reading Association Annual Conference
• New Orleans, May 9-12
• Gail Boushey & Joan Moser, Kelly Gallagher, Debbie Diller, Diane Barone, Carol Bedard, Jan Burkins, Rose Cappelli, Kathy Collins, Harvey Daniels, Lynne Dorfman, Charles Fuhrken, Kathy Ganske, Anne Goudvis, Stephanie Harvey, Georgia Heard, Peter Johnston, Sara Kajder, Sue Kempton, Clare Landrigan, Steven Layne, Mary McMackin, Debbie Miller, Lesley Morrow, Tammy Mulligan, Julie Ramsay, Kathy Short, Lee Ann Spillane, Tony Stead, Terry Thompson, Kathy Whitmore, and Kim Yaris

Comprehension Times Three (CX3) Summer Institute
• Stephanie Harvey, Debbie Miller, and Cris Tovani
• Madison, WI, August 5-7
Includes expanding comprehension across the curriculum, differentiating instruction, learning targets, assessment, small groups, integrating with the Common Core, and much more.

Add comment January 29th, 2014

Download three lessons from It’s All Relative

Ratios and proportional relationships permeate our daily lives and underpin further study in mathematics and science. Understanding them and developing related problem-solving skills is essential and an important part of the Common Core Standards for grades six and seven.

It’s All Relative is a 98-page flipchart designed to engage students and develop deep conceptual understandings while correcting common misconceptions. Following the same practical format as the popular Xs and Whys of Algebra and Zeroing in on Number and Operations series, Anne Collins and Linda Dacey provide 30 modules that focus on key ideas with instructional strategies, activities, and reproducibles for:

  • understanding the language of ratios;
  • understanding the multiplicative relationships of ratios;
  • using tables, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, and graphs to represent ratios;
  • using unit rates and scale factors to solve problems; and
  • solving multi-step ratio and percent problems.

All middle-level math teachers should have this handy flipchart at their fingertips during planning and instruction. You can download three of the modules now in PDF format.

Add comment January 28th, 2014

Comprehension strategies found in nature

Take a nature walk with author Laurie Rubin in our latest blog post to see how the thinking kids do in the natural world can transfer to their reading and writing skills.  Laurie found that the strategies kids use outdoors – making inferences, questioning, making connections, synthesizing information, monitoring for meaning, identifying important ideas – carried over into their reading. Preview Laurie’s book To Look Closely online now, especially chapters 1 and 6.

January 19, 2014
Six Mile Creek, Ithaca, NY
4:30PM, 30ºF
Cloudy, Dusk begins

0992I step out at 4:30 p.m. on a cold January afternoon and head for the creek. A gentle, light snow was falling all day and I feel its crunch under my feet as I move toward the street to avoid the icy footprints on the sidewalk.

I inhale the comforting smoke of a nearby wood fire and then I hear the crows overhead, flying south to land in a grove of distant trees that I can see from my kitchen window. For the past week or so they have been gathering at dusk to assemble an enormous Chinese paper cut, a black silhouette against the darkening sky.

I soon approach the cement wall along the boat launch site where, one evening long ago, I saw a sparkly rhinestone necklace transform into slug trails glittering in the light of the street lamps, the very trails I write about in To Look Closely. This time it is the five mallards in the creek that catch my eye—four males and one female. Three have their tushes in the air as they forage in the creek bed. The other two swim close by and when one of those opens its bill to emit a loud quack, he evokes images of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard proudly crossing the street in McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings. I turn my head for a moment and when I look back, magically, the five turn into nine as four more mallards swim quietly around a small island covered with brown bent-over grasses. I wonder where they sleep at night.

I remember to “look up” as I encouraged my students to do during a minute of silence in the natural world. The tinges of pink and purple in the clouds take me back to the paint-by-number oils I did in middle school, a time when no one taught me to “look up” or “to look closely” and so I mindlessly filled in those colors, never questioning their veracity.

I have the creek to myself today. I walk briskly on the wood-bark-covered path now hidden by the fallen snow and silently thank my neighbor Dan Krall, an associate professor of landscape architecture at Cornell University, for transforming this once-neglected, overgrown creek bank. It has been years now since we discovered Dan one Sunday morning mowing the lawn alongside the path. We thought it unusual that a city employee would be working on Sunday so we approached Dan and discovered that he was responsible for all the new plantings—trees and perennials—and the park benches that had been showing up bit by bit to create this well-tended, park-like neighborhood jewel. He shrugged off our effusive gratitude by saying, “Some people work out at the gym; this is my gym.”

I continue along the path and stop to pull down some seedpods, wondering if they are from a box elder tree. I note that the remaining snow on the tree branches is only on the northern side and that the hairy ropes of the poison ivy vines look innocuous in the winter. And then as I lean into a willow tree hollow looking for animal signs, I am surprised to be thinking about the chewing gum and bright pennies that Boo Radley leaves for Jem and Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.

And that’s when it hits me. This is the very connection between literacy and the natural world that I nurtured after years of taking my second-grade students to the stream site in the woods behind our school. Here I am taking a walk and, without planning it, I find myself using the same reading comprehension strategies that I introduced to my students via their experiences in nature.

I am using my senses to smell the wood fire, see the sunset, feel the snow under my feet, and hear the crows, preparing me to visualize when I read. I am making connections with past experiences and with books I have read. Questions emerge about the tree seeds and the ducks. I infer that the snow on the southern side of the branches melted away from the heat of the sun.

When I walk in the natural world, my mind is quiet. I notice what I am thinking just as I asked my students to do when they were reading. “Reading is thinking,” I taught them. But first we practiced the language of metacognition outdoors. We connected a salamander with the discovery of three of the same species under one rock earlier in the year. We used a pile of scat to infer which animal may have been under a particular tree. We constantly asked the question, what happened here?

As I head home just half an hour later, the sky is mostly overcast but a first-quarter half moon shines down on me. The crows are still flying overhead.

Add comment January 22nd, 2014

Stenhouse authors to the rescue

Larry Ferlazzo is an award-winning English and Social Studies teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif. In his popular EdWeek blog Classroom Q&A, he addresses readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers.

Recently a couple of Stenhouse authors made an appearance to give advice on a wide range of topics from motivating students to parent-teacher relationships. Check back often for more advice!

Question: How can I deal with unmotivated students? I’m a little bit frustrated when I know my students don’t do their homework and sometimes they talk during my lessons.

Response from Cris Tovani: For me, engaging students at the emotional level is the easiest.  This means I need to work to build personal relationships–to know and care about students. When that relationship is developed kids will often “work” harder just because they like me.  However, just engaging them at the gut level isn’t enough.  I also need to set up rituals and routines and model how they work in the classroom if I want behavioral engagement.  However, just being behaviorally engaged isn’t enough either.”

Read the rest of Cris’ response on Classroom Q&A

Cris’ latest title is the DVD Talk to Me: Conferring to Engage, Differentiate, and Assess, 6-12

Question: How do we educate families about the ways in which they can support their children, without insulting their trust in us to do what’s best, and while not placing blame?

Response from Jane Baskwill: In order to operate from a position of trust rather than blame, schools–and teachers in particular–need to establish a positive relationship with families. Teachers need to create a supportive environment in which they demonstrate, through their words and actions, that they value parents’ knowledge as their children’s first teacher. By keeping the child at the center, all parties can feel they have a role to play and something valuable to contribute to the child’s learning.

Read the rest of Jane’s response on Classroom Q&A

Jane’s latest book is Attention-Grabbing Tools: Involving Parents in Their Children’s Learning

Questions: What do you do when you’re having a bad day in the classroom?  How do you get over feelings of frustration?

Response from Terry Thompson:  Let’s face it–no day in the classroom is perfect.  Our energies are pulled in so many different directions that things are bound to get hectic from time to time. Considering how we merge time crunches, curriculum crunches, and even personality crunches, it’s easy to see how the occasional off day could derail us.

Read the rest of Terry response

Terry is the author of Adventures in Graphica: Using Comics and Graphic Novels to Teach Comprehension, 2-6

Add comment January 15th, 2014

Preview online: The Daily 5, Second Edition

The new edition of The Daily 5 is here! You can now preview the book in its entirety online, and when you pre-order the print format (shipping February 1st) you’ll get immediate access to the e-book, as well as free shipping. Just use the code D5EBOOK when you place your order by January 31st on the Stenhouse website.

And in this new video, authors Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (“The 2 Sisters”) highlight what’s new in the second edition, including lesson plans for launching Daily 5, focus lessons for introducing each of the components, and differentiating for various ages and levels of stamina:

Add comment January 8th, 2014

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