Posts filed under 'Uncategorized'

Digging in and Opening Minds

“As schools jump from curricula to curricula, from initiative to initiative, I’ve found that the biggest drivers of a quality math experience are teachers dedicated to their craft and to their students.”
–Geoff Krall, Necessary Conditions

Math for All

Three Essentials for Math Success
In his new book, Geoff Krall discusses the essential elements that will open the door to math for all your students: academic safety, quality tasks, and effective facilitation. Order your copy of Necessary Conditions: Teaching Secondary Math with Academic Safety, Quality Tasks, and Effective Facilitation here.

Hands-on Choral Counting

 

The authors of Choral Counting are offering new resources for teachers. This vignette of a second-grade teacher showcases ways she engages her students in counting and conversation and an instructional routine that uses a number grid.

 

Digging into ‘Number Talks’
With Number Talks, students try to solve a problem mentally and then share their thinking with their peers. Read this reflection on Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker’s Making Number Talks Matter and their newest companion title, Digging Deeper: Making Number Talks Matter Even More.

Expanding the Literacy Mindset

The Value of a Good Question
Cathy Fraser, author of Love the Questions: Reclaiming Research with Curiosity and Passion, offers teachers the tools to nudge students beyond the mindset of “how fast can I get the answer and go?” Read an interview with Fraser here.

Calling all Artists and Illustrators

 

Shawna Coppola, author of Renew! Become a Better—and More Authentic—Writing Teacher, is writing a new book for Stenhouse that calls for a re-imagining of what we consider “writing.” She’s looking for insights and input from illustrators and comic artists. If you fit the bill, the survey is here.

 

Opening Minds with Quick Writes
Coming on Jan 13: Paula Bourque’s Spark! Quick Writes to Kindle the Hearts and Minds and Elementary Classrooms. Bourque presents a way for children to create a rich array of writing, nurturing a range of skills: mindfulness, metacognitive skills, and a mindset of reflection motivation, and gratitude.

Sing it out for Commas!
Use this catchy tune to help your students remember when they need to use a comma with subordinating conjunctions. It’s all about “AAAWWUBBIS.” Highly recommended by Jeff Anderson.

Discounts and Free Shipping

Give the gift of professional learning! Hurry to the Stenhouse website to claim a 10% discount, in addition to the 25% educator discount–with free shipping–by entering promo code 18HOLIDAY. Offer valid through 12/31/18.

Newslinks will be back Friday, January 4, 2019 with same great content, but a fresh new look!

Add comment December 18th, 2018

Engage Students with the Choral Counting Tool!

As teachers and students engage in Choral Counting together, they often get quite intrigued by what they are seeing in the numbers and begin to wonder which patterns might arise, where regularities might repeat, and why certain things are happening. The ongoing thinking and conversations propel teachers to engage students in this activity over and over, finding new ways to adapt and innovate based on what students are exploring.

We designed this Choral Counting Tool to support teachers in planning their count. What do you want to count by? Where do you want to start? Do you want the sequence to progress across the row or down a column?  How many numbers do you want in that row or column?  What would happen if you increased the number of rows? Are you interested in trying something totally new, like a fractions count?  Do you think improper fractions or mixed numbers is the way to go? The list of questions continues, and we invite teachers to ask yourselves questions like these as you play around with a variety of counting sequences. As you test out new ideas, think about how you might try it with your students and what might happen.

Let yourself (and your students!) get intrigued by the many different ways we might engage in Choral Counting together.

To learn more about choral counting, pick up  Choral Counting & Counting Collections: Transforming the PreK–5 Math Classroom by Megan L. Franke, Elham Kazemi, and Angela Chan Turrou.

Add comment December 17th, 2018

Top 15 Stenhouse Titles of 2018

 

2018 has been an exciting year for new Stenhouse titles! In case you missed them, here are the top 15 that teachers loved. Pick them up today and bring fresh ideas to your classroom in 2019!

Classroom Practice

Activate: Deeper Learning Through Movement, Talk, and Flexible Classrooms by Katherine Mills Hernandez Author Katherine Mills Hernandez argues that movement, talk, and the physical environment of the classroom all contribute and influence students’ learning. The ideas in Activate will help you create a classroom optimized for deeper engagement and lasting learning.

Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom by Matthew R. Kay Have meaningful conversations about race with your students. In Not Light, but Fire, Kay gives you the tools you need to lead such conversations in your own classroom.

Practicing Presence: Simple Self-Care Strategies for Teachers by Lisa J. Lucas Drawing upon her own experiences, Lisa has written a book to help you more successfully manage the frustration of feeling overwhelmed. Written in an informal, conversational tone, Practicing Presence is filled with ideas, exercises, checklists, personal anecdotes, and practices you can use to reframe and establish a mindset that will enhance your focus and engagement in the classroom.

Beat Boredom: Engaging Tuned-Out Teenagers by Martha Sevetson Rush Beat Boredom will help you join the ranks of teachers who have challenged the status quo and found ways to motivate even the most reluctant learners.

Math Titles

Choral Counting & Counting Collections: Transforming the PreK–5 Math Classroom by Megan L. Franke, Elham Kazemi, and Angela Chan Turrou This influential book 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.

Necessary Conditions: Teaching Secondary Math with Academic Safety, Quality Tasks, and Effective Facilitation by Geoff Krall Necessary Conditions posits for the first time a coherent approach to secondary math pedagogy. Krall identifies three essential elements that will open the door to math for all of your students: academic safety, quality tasks, and effective facilitation.

Digging Deeper: Making Number Talks Matter Even More by Ruth Parker and Cathy Humphreys In this comprehensive sequel to Making Number Talks Matter, Ruth Parker and Cathy Humphreys explore more deeply the ways Number Talks can transform student understanding of mathematics.

Number Sense Routines: Developing Mathematical Understanding Every Day in Grades 3–5 by Jessica Shumway Number Sense Routines is about tapping into every child’s innate sense of number and providing daily, connected experiences that are responsive to children’s learning needs.

Adding Talk to the Equation: A Self-Study Guide for Teachers and Coaches on Improving Math Discussions by Lucy West Designed for math teachers and coaches in grades 1–8, this self-study guide, now available as a paperback with extensive online classroom video, showcases elementary and middle school classrooms where teachers inspire even the most reluctant students to share their ideas.

Literacy Titles

Patterns of Power: Inviting Young Writers into the Conventions of Language, Grades 1–5 by Jeff Anderson and Whitney La Rocca Instead of chanting grammar rules or completing countless convention worksheets, Jeff Anderson and literacy coach Whitney La Rocca invite young writers to explore conventions as special effects devices that activate meaning. Their students study authentic texts and come to recognize these “patterns of power”—the essential grammar conventions that readers and writers require to make meaning.

Teach Writing Well: How to Assess Writing, Invigorate Instruction, and Rethink Revision! by Ruth Culham Ruth Culham is both a successful writer and a writing teacher, and she’s discovered how to teach writing and revision in a way that’s accessible to both teacher and students: First read the writing, assess it using the traits of writing, then teach the writers and guide revision decisions using traits as a common language and map.

Teaching Literature Rhetorically: Transferable Literacy Skills for 21st Century Students by Jennifer Fletcher This book explores rhetorical approaches to novels, short stories, poetry, and drama that empower ALL students to read and write across the diverse contexts of today and tomorrow.

Love the Questions: Reclaiming Research with Curiosity and Passion by Cathy Fraser Cathy Fraser believes that school research projects should be less like busywork and more like police investigations. In Love the Questions she describes ways to engage middle and secondary students from the outset, honoring their curiosity and passion.

Literacy Essentials: Engagement, Excellence, and Equity for All Learners by Regie Routman Based on her ongoing teaching, leading, and coaching in diverse schools and districts, Regie Routman offers K–12 teachers and leaders practical, easy-to-implement tools to help students develop as self-determining readers, writers, and learners.

To Know and Nurture a Reader: Conferring with Confidence and Joy by Kari Yates and Christina Nosek Conferring with students about reading allows for clearer access to one-on-one, in-the-moment teaching and learning, yet it can feel intimidating or overwhelming. Through their book, To Know and Nurture a Reader, Kari Yates and Christina Nosek have provided practical, reflective, student-centered teaching moves that you can use to develop an intentional, joy-filled conferring practice.

Go to www.stenhouse.com to place your order today. Enter promo code 18HOLIDAY at checkout and get an additional 10% off the 25% educator discount. And as always, FREE SHIPPING! (Offer expires 12/31/2018.)

Add comment December 13th, 2018

Better Teaching Practice That Leads to Student Agency

The book and the lesson sets have really rocked my teaching world. I’ve never been happier teaching in my 24 years, and I know this is a huge part of it.” ~Patti Austin, Second Grade Teacher from Islip, NY

Patti Austin, a second-grade teacher from Islip, NY, recently spoke to us about how she is using Who’s Doing the Work? Lessons Sets in her classroom and the tremendous impact it has had on her and her colleagues’ instruction. Read to find out how these simple, carefully-crafted lessons have transformed her classroom.

Lightly edited for clarity.

Q: What was your experience when you first read the professional book, Who’s Doing the Work? How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More, when it came out?

A: When Who’s Doing the Work? came around, I read it with a study group. That book spoke to my teaching soul. It resonated so deeply, and I kept finding myself going, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” in so many things I read. It created such an excitement. In the words of one of my colleagues who just started reading the book, “This is a game changer.” It really was. It really made a huge impression on me and the fellow teachers that I worked with in the study group.

Q: How did you go about incorporating some of the strategies from the book into your classroom?

A: Well, we were so excited. We had done the work over the summer, reading the book and discussing it. Leading into the new school year, it was like, Charge! But when we started we realized that we had to back it up a little bit. We weren’t ready for it, and the kids weren’t ready for it. They weren’t ready to do the work and talk about what they were thinking. As much as everything in the book made sense to us, we felt a struggle in trying to create lessons that had that gradual release of responsibility. The wait time was difficult because the students have been trained to look up and wait for somebody to help them. But there are components of the book, like the prompting funnel for example, that helped us a great deal.

Q: Your school was asked to field-test some of the lesson sets about a year ago. As someone who was already using strategies from the professional book, what was your experience seeing some of the lessons?

A: When we got the set, it was the biggest “aha” moment of our careers. What we thought we were understanding and trying to put into practice, didn’t exactly look like what we saw in the lesson sets. I often compare it to an experience I had many, many years ago, back when my children were little. Before videos, you did everything with a record album. I had the Jane Fonda workout album. My neighbor and I would put the album on every morning and do our best to work out. About a year into it, the video came out, and we watched it. We were both collectively, “Oh, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing!” We had to see it. And that’s what the lesson sets did for us. As much as we understood and followed the principles of the book, we weren’t really good at putting it all together. Then once we saw it in the lesson sets, it changed everything. As I said, it was the big “aha” moment.

Q: What did you think when the Lesson Sets came out, with all of the packaging, all of the trade books, and in full color?

A: Well, it was little bit like Christmas morning. We were very excited to see them because we had been working with them in the draft form. They’re just beautiful to look at. But what I feel is the most important feature of them is that it’s so user friendly. It is simple. I’ve read other “how to” books that are very, very long and dense. These are quick and easy to read. It’s just beautifully put together, every piece of it. To see the videos, to see Kim and Jan in action, is magical. It’s very inspiring. We’re very inspired by it all.

Q: Is there a component that your students have chosen as their favorite?

A: I would say absolutely the trade books that come with the lessons. I love them myself. Most of them I’d never heard of or read. It’s amazing to me how well they fit into what lesson is being taught. One of the things that we loved about it was how the concept was threaded through each portion of the balance piece, the gradual release. These books are such crowd-pleasers for the children, and for us as teachers, because they speak so well to what we’re trying to teach. The kids rave. They want to read them, they want to borrow them, they get very excited, and they want to hear them again and again.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about whether or not any of the strategies that you’ve learned from the lesson sets actually helped in any other parts of your curriculum?

A: It surely has. During math, when we’re reading story problems, where they have to really negotiate a lot of words, sometimes they don’t really understand. The reading is more of a challenge than the math. We found ourselves saying, “Hey, wait a minute. We’ve gotta break this down. We have to use the same strategies here in math that we were using for reading our stories.”

Q: Is there anything that you want to share with other educators about your experience with the program?

A: I could probably talk for weeks, but they don’t want to hear that. There’s just so much to say about it, but I have to say in a nutshell, the book and the lesson sets have really rocked my teaching world. It’s changed so much. Even in the guided reading sessions, whether it’s two kids or six kids, the conversations are different now. The children are feeling more empowered and more comfortable with doing the work. As we go on through the year, I’m looking forward to seeing how these second graders of mine grow and change as a result of this teaching. It is, I’ve said this many, many times, people will get sick of hearing me say it. I’ve never been happier teaching in my 24 years, and I know this is a huge part of it.

To learn more about Who’s Doing the Work? Lesson Sets, download a sampler HERE. Or to view the full conversation with Patti Auston, click HERE.

Add comment December 12th, 2018

Rethinking How Students Do Research

Research doesn’t have to be a flat experience. If students ask the right questions that require investigation and critical thinking, research can spark passion and curiosity. It can be an exciting exploration into topics that lead to discovery.

“It should pop up into one’s thoughts at odd times of the night. It should prickle the intellect as a persistent itch prickles the skin. It should be a passion, a temporary obsession, page count unlimited. It should not be a pesky, tedious assignment.” –Cathy Fraser

In her new book, Love the Questions: Reclaiming Research with Curiosity and Passion, Cathy Fraser shows us how to lead students to think more critically about information through genuine inquiry. She argues that if students consider heftier questions while doing research for a project, they’re more likely to transform the information into something more meaningful. Here are some ideas to think about before assigning your next research project.

Espousing a Culture of Inquiry

Students have a hard time coming up with research questions. Fraser believes that by getting students to comply with the rules of citizenry in the school community, we’ve inadvertently squelched their natural curiosity. But Fraser believes that this trend can be reversed by opening the avenues to inquiry. “Real research leads to discovery. It begins with inquiry, but in order to form great research questions students must have a substantial amount of background knowledge,” (Fraser 2018).

Evolution of the Research Question

Coming up with a meaningful question can be difficult. Some questions may be too broad, and some questions are too surface level. Fraser suggests putting off developing research questions until students have read more about the subject. The more they know about a topic or person, the easier it will be for them to identify a problem or a question. “A student should experience something—even vicariously—before he can develop sufficient feelings of interest to invest his time in thinking more about a subject,” (Fraser 2018).

Making Connections: The Missing Piece

The piece that is missing from student research work is the prior knowledge they’ve gained throughout all of their years spent in the classroom absorbing content and other information. Fraser believes that we do not encourage students enough to draw on what they already know, to make connections to prior reading they’ve done, or even consider interests they pursue on their own time. “If we make connections for students even briefly on a regular basis, they will see that it’s a valuable exercise, and it make break down the dividers between disciplines. Everything is connected,” (Fraser 2018).

Preliminary Reading on a Topic

As part of their research, Fraser believes that it is important for students to read authoritative essays that express opposing viewpoints on their chosen topics. They may have an emotional response to the reading, which would lead to more questions. Ask the school librarian to help you track down articles, or essays can be found on subscription databases such as Gale and EBSCO Host.

To learn more about how to implement these ideas in the classroom, go to www.stenhouse.com/content/love-questions

REFERENCES:

Fraser, Cathy. 2018. Love the Questions: Reclaiming Research with Curiosity and Passion. Portsmouth, NH: Stenhouse

Add comment December 7th, 2018

Review of Not Light, But Fire by Matthew R. Kay

Recently, Peter Anderson, an English Language Arts teacher from Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, VA, sent us his take on Not Light, But Fire: How to Have Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom by Matthew R. Kay. He very articulately put into words what we at Stenhouse all think about this important book and its potential impact on classrooms across the country. We had to share.

Not Light, But Fire is a masterful combination of pedagogy and critical consciousness. It is impossible to come out on the other side of this book without experiencing some sort of growth. It was like Matthew had watched videotapes of my most ineffective teaching moments and devised a plan to help me improve. I’d been that teacher who engaged in privilege walks and shock pedagogy in the misguided belief that this would help my students engage with race. I had watched my classroom discussions flounder, unaware that I was setting my bar too low and staying away from the ‘hard problems.’ Thank goodness Matthew Kay is willing to share his own path and his own knowledge with folks like me. Every chapter contains relatable anecdotes, instructional strategies, and incisive commentary. Matthew Kay pushes us to see ourselves and our students as scholars, critical thinkers capable of high-level discourse. In an ideal world, my teacher training would have prepared me for the ethical and professional challenges I (and any teacher) face on a daily basis. But it didn’t. For that and other reasons, I am profoundly grateful that this book exists.

One of the sections I found most powerful was the very brief discussion of the different reasons teachers wish to incorporate social justice into the classroom. As someone who has tried to consume a steady diet of anti-racist texts in the last year and a half, I identified with the social justice warrior category. And it was wonderfully humbling.”

Pick up your copy of Not Light, But Fire HERE. Start having the tough, but essential conversations in your classroom and empower your students to find their voice.

Add comment December 1st, 2018

In the Mood for Reading and Thinking

“When provided with authentic opportunities for close reading that transfer to their real reading lives, students want to keep reading, learning, and thinking as their understanding takes shape.”
—Amy Stewart, Little Readers, Big Thinkers

The Richness of Reading

The Power of Close Reading
Amy Stewart’s new book Little Readers, Big Thinkers: Teaching Close Reading in the Primary Grades showcases ways that close reading can teach even the youngest students new ways to enjoy texts, think about them critically, and share that thinking with peers and adults. You can pre-order here.

What is Regie Routman Reading?
Regie Routman, a voracious reader and author of Literacy Essentials, shares a wide-ranging list of book suggestions and contemplates the power of finely drawn characters in novels, nonfiction, and old favorites.

Literacy Treasures
Ways to teach with children’s and young adult literature is the focus of this blog, co-written by Stenhouse author Katie Cunningham. Explore the trove of book reviews, classroom ideas, book lists, and more. Cunningham is the author of Story: Still the Heart of Literacy Learning.

In the Mood?
Thinking about moods is an excellent way to access texts—both written and visual. In this short video, Trevor Bryan, author of The Art of Comprehension: Exploring Visual Texts to Foster Comprehension, Conversation, and Confidence, explains his “access lenses,” which prompt students to explore faces, body language, and sound/silence in art and reading.

Overcoming Barriers to Math

Creating Successful Classrooms
We want kids to like math. So why is it that math is often the barrier preventing students from having a rich secondary or post-secondary experience? Geoff Krall tackles that question in his new book Necessary Conditions: Teaching Secondary Math with Academic Safety, Quality Tasks, and Effective Facilitation. Read his additional reflections here.

 

Reflections

Advocating for Professional Development
Sometimes it’s difficult to convince your school that professional development conferences are a smart investment. Stenhouse author Paula Bourque, aka “the Lit Coach Lady,” provides the 10 compelling reasons she shared with her school board.

Reviews
To Know and Nurture a Reader
In the “clean and clear” To Know and Nurture a Reader, Kari Yates and Christina Nosek make conferencing “accessible for those of us who are still struggling to make it ‘just right,’” notes this new Amazon review.

Not Light, But Fire
Peter Anderson, who teaches ELA at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia, had a powerful reaction to Matthew R. Kay’s book: “Not Light, But Fire is a masterful combination of pedagogy and critical consciousness. It is impossible to come out on the other side of this book without experiencing some sort of growth. It was like Matthew Kay had watched videotapes of my most ineffective teaching moments and devised a plan to help me improve. I’d been that teacher who engaged in privilege walks and shock pedagogy in the misguided belief that this would help my students engage with race. I had watched my classroom discussions flounder, unaware that I was setting my bar too low and staying away from the hard problems. Thank goodness Matthew Kay is willing to share his own path and his own knowledge with folks like me. Every chapter contains relatable anecdotes, instructional strategies, and incisive commentary. Matthew Kay pushes us to see ourselves and our students as scholars, critical thinkers capable of high-level discourse. In an ideal world, my teacher training would have prepared me for the ethical and professional challenges I (and any teacher) face on a daily basis. But it didn’t. For that and other reasons, I am profoundly grateful that this book exists.

One of the sections I found most powerful was the very brief discussion of the different reasons teachers wish to incorporate social justice into the classroom. As someone who has tried to consume a steady diet of anti-racist texts in the last year and a half, I identified with the social justice warrior category. And it was wonderfully humbling.”
Order your own copy here.

Add comment November 30th, 2018

Here’s What’s Happening at NCTM, 2018 in Seattle, WA!

Stenhouse authors come to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) annual conference each year bringing new resources and delivering innovative and inspiring presentations. This year will be no different with the release of new exciting titles, such as Necessary Conditions by Geoff Krall and Digging Deeper by Ruth Parker and Cathy Humphreys and an invigorating opening session with Christopher Danielson.

Below is a rundown of the not-to-miss presentations by Stenhouse authors, and don’t forget to go to booth # 415 and preview the new titles!

Wednesday, 11/28

5:30–7:00 p.m. Christopher Danielson, author of How Many? and Which One Doesn’t Belong? and Melissa Gresalfi will kick off the conference with their opening session: “Play is the Ninth Mathematical Practice!” They will explain how mathematicians’ work and children’s mathematical play are connected through exploration guided by curiosity and a pursuit of something interesting and beautiful. (Ballroom 6ABC)

Thursday, 11/29

8:00–9:15 a.m. Geoff Krall, author of Necessary Conditions will host a workshop called “Necessary Conditions: Essential Elements for Secondary Math” where participants will examine the three crucial elements of a successful secondary classroom: quality tasks, effective facilitation, and academic safety. (4 C4)

9:45–11:00 a.m. Allison Hintz, author of Intentional Talk will join two other presenters to host a workshop called “Story Time STEM: Engaging Students in Sense-Making Discussion Through Children’s Literature” where you will think about how to approach literature with a mathematical lens and support students’ sense making through discussion of stories. (608)

9:45–11:00 a.m. Christopher Danielson will present “The Hierarchy of Hexagons: An Example of Geometry Inquiry,” a general inquiry session in which participants will develop hexagon classification schemes, ask about relationships, and maybe even prove a few new theorems! (602/603)

1:30–2:45 p.m. Megan Franke, co-author of Choral Counting & Counting Collections, will explore how attending to the details and partial understandings of children’s thinking can enable teachers to engage students in learning together, making use of the resources that each student brings in her session, “Children’s Thinking (CGI): How We Notice, Support, and Extend to Enhance Equity.” (4 C4)

3:00–4:00 p.m. Michael Flynn, author of Beyond Answers, will explore how to mathematize hands-on science as participants launch rockets, mix chemicals, and program robots in his session “Modeling with Mathematics in Science Class: Maximizing Opportunities to Enrich the STEM Experience.” (4 C3)

5:00–5:30 p.m. Michael Flynn, in this burst session, “Powerful Moments in Math Class: Why Certain Experiences Stand Out and How We Create More of Them” participants will learn how to create memorable mathematical experiences for all students. (613/614)

Friday, 11/30

3:15–4:30 p.m. Elham Kazemi, co-author of Choral Counting & Counting Collections, will work with participants and a team of educators to learn, plan, and rehearse a routine instructional activity, playing out how to respond to students’ ideas and cultural funds of knowledge in the workshop, “Experience the Power of Rehearsals & Teacher Time-Outs to Grow in Our Visions of Teaching for Equity.” (606)

If you are unable to attend the conference this year, be sure to follow us on Twitter @stenhousepub and get live updates directly from the presentations, as well as photos of your favorite authors!

Add comment November 27th, 2018

Raising Student Voice with Stenhouse Authors

Last week, authors, educators, and presenters came to Houston, TX from all over the country to celebrate students’ voices and the impact they make on the world. The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual conference offered a variety of dynamic presentations and workshops that showed us how we can raise student voice in our own classrooms through meaningful conversations, reflective mentor texts, and imaginative writing, empowering them to take an ownership of their learning that they can carry with them year after year.

“We have to start saying a whole lot less if we want our students to start saying a whole lot more,” Kari Yates, co-author of To Know and Nurture a Reader

Stenhouse authors brought thoughtful, actionable ideas to NCTE that showed teachers how they can raise students’ voices in their own classrooms. Here are a few examples.

Tough Conversations Are…Tough

Matthew R. Kay, author of Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom, along with two other presenters, kicked of the conference with a powerful presentation, “Talking Race: Pushing Past the Superficial to the Conversations Our Students Need.” In this energetic presentation where passionate teachers spilled onto the floor finding whatever small patch of space they could, Kay encouraged them to have the tough conversations. “You cannot packet or activity your way into better race conversations,” said Kay. “The tough conversations are tough.” He explained that giving your students a safe place to have uncomfortable conversations about race will only enable them to take pride in their own voices and start to understand that they can impact the world through their words, verbal or written.

The Power of Conversation in Grammar Instruction

At an in-booth mini-session, Jeff Anderson and Whitney La Rocca, authors of Patterns of Power: Inviting Young Writers into the Conventions of Language, showed teachers that grammar instruction doesn’t have to be about worksheets and correcting what is wrong. Grammar instruction can happen through meaningful conversations about authentic literature. “What if we create a world where readers and writers are in awe of language, linger within a text, and draw on possibilities and inspiration for their writing?” Said Anderson. This short, lively, and humor-filled session delivered the clear message that teachers can communicate the conventions of language by guiding conversations that cover meaning making, discovery, effect, and purpose–something you can’t do with a worksheet.

Let Students Lead the Way to Better Responsive Teaching

Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris, authors of Who’s Doing the Work? Lesson Sets along with Kari Yates and Christina Nosek, authors of To Know and Nurture a Reader delivered an inspiring presentation called “Responsive Teaching: The Courage to Follow the Lead of the Reader” in which they showed teachers the importance of knowing your students well in order to know how to respond. “We can’t be responsive teachers until we really know what’s going on with our students,” according to Yates who went on to give tips and recommendations on ways teachers can trust students to take the lead, “expertly teaching us about their reading lives.” They reminded teachers that taking time to get to know your students better through meaningful conferences and reading their writing is worth it to become a better responsive teacher. Burkins reminded us that “Being responsive is about seeing students, understanding and responding based on the love and expertise of the teacher.”

This was only a sample of the inspiring and motivational presentations that happen at these national conferences. If, however, you’re unable to attend, you can go to www.stenhouse.com and discover the many books and classroom resources that will enhance your professional learning in the comfort of your own home.

1 comment November 26th, 2018

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Fourteen Gratitude Habits

Are you tired, wired, and running in circles? Are you in survival mode? Lisa Lucas, author of Practicing Presence: Simple Self-Care Strategies for Teachers, knows the feeling. And she has a wealth of tips to emerge from the numbness. Cultivating the habit of gratitude is one of her go-to strategies. As we approach Thanksgiving, Lisa shares her take on gratitude, which she thinks of as the essence of presence.

by Lisa Lucas

You become what you think about all day long. The thoughts you think, repeated over and over, become your mind-set. Gratitude opens pathways in the brain that help us become healthier. A thankful thought doesn’t just remain in your mind; it flows, circulates, and expands.

If you could choose just one of these practices, and make it habitual, you would begin to actually rewire your brain to notice what’s good rather than what’s bad.

1. Begin every day by identifying five things to be grateful for. Sometimes I go through the alphabet, each day focused on things that begin with the letter of the day. Or at night, I go through the entire alphabet, thinking of one thing for each letter that I’m grateful for.

2. I’m grateful to Brother David Steindle-Rast, a Benedictine monk for this idea: Each morning, choose a theme for the day. My favorite focus is the sun. Every time I feel the warmth of the sun on my face, see a sunrise or a sunset, I am instantly filled with gratitude.

3. Exchange annoyance for gratefulness. Bring to mind someone at work that you feel annoyed with. Now imagine if the person were no more. It can put things into perspective really quickly.

4. Visit the past and recall a difficult time. If we reflect on the trials we’ve faced, we often realize that it is the difficult times when we grow the most. This can help us savor and appreciate when things are good.

5. Abstain from something that you love for four days. Notice how much more you appreciate it when you reintroduce it back to your life.

6. Say ‘thank you’ when things go right. Mean it, feel it, and even better—record it.

7. Express to others verbally what they have done to make you feel grateful. Be specific. Tell them what they did, how it made you feel, and why.

8. Put your gratitude in writing. Send a short text or e-mail, or better yet, a card or note that is a tangible reminder for someone else that his or her act of kindness counted.

9. Reach out. Hug someone who you feel grateful to have in your life. Touch activates the vagus nerve and can release oxytocin.

10. Find a gratitude mantra, prayer, or sentence—anything that you can repeat throughout the day.

11. Create a happy file. Save any sincere thank you that you receive and revisit them on the days when you are struggling to remember the good in your life.

12. Notice others being kind to one another. This cultivates empathy and activates our mirror neurons, which activate as we observe–as if we ourselves had acted kindly.

13. When you can’t sleep, count your blessings. Substantial research indicates that grateful people sleep better and spend less time awake before falling asleep.

14. End your day by recording in a gratitude journal three things each day that you are grateful for.

Recent research has shown that those who frequently feel and express gratitude appear to enjoy their work more, are more optimistic, and are more likely to help and support others. Sounds like all of us could use a dose of gratitude to kick off the holiday season.

Tune into Lisa’s VoiceEd Radio podcast for more on gratitude and practicing presence.

1 comment November 20th, 2018

Previous Posts


New From Stenhouse

Most Recent Posts

Stenhouse Author Sites

Archives

Categories

Blogroll

Classroom Blogs

Tags

Feeds