I was recently chatting with an old colleague about our days teaching in New York City public schools today. “Ugh,” she moaned. “I hated teaching book clubs.” About a week later, I was in a meeting with a different colleague who said, “Book clubs just didn’t work for my kids last year.” Whenever I hear the same things twice, my pattern-seeking brain starts to go into overdrive. There was a common feeling here that I needed to explore and unpack. I sat with those comments for a couple of weeks and let them marinate. If I’m being honest with myself, book clubs were sometimes a huge struggle for me as a classroom teacher as well. But now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the difference between what I was trying to do ten years ago and what I’m trying to do now, I realize that it wasn’t the structure or “book clubs” that were the root of the problem. It’s that I had a narrow vision of what I thought book clubs were “supposed to” look like and be like.
In this week’s One Thing You Might Try . . . blog, art educator Paula Liz writes about how her students are using digital art projects to make their voices heard and explore ways to make change in the world.
In this week's One Thing You Might Try . . . post, K–8 literacy specialist, Gwen Blumberg, shares ideas for building anchor charts as visual scaffolds that can be easily implemented regardless of instructional setting.
In this week's One Thing You Might Try . . . post, teacher and writer, Pernille Ripp, calls us to stay true to what we know is valuable, despite the mounting pressures that seem to continually demand our instructional time and energy—especially during a pandemic.
"Teaching with text sets is not a luxury. It’s a possibility. It’s an approach to student-centered teaching that allows you to cover what you need to cover while engaging students in perspective taking and sense making. Because of that, it is both practical and aspirational."
In this Introduction to the forthcoming book, Text Sets in Action, the authors, Mary Ann Cappiello and Erika Thulin Dawes, tell us their "origin stories" that led them to write a book about how to successfully use text sets to carve a pathway through content area literacy. They show us how using text sets in instruction is both aspirational and practical in helping to create structures and contexts in which required learning can take place while going beyond what is merely required. They show us how this work allows for an integrated curriculum that will lead to working smarter, taking advantage of students’ interests, and customizing a curriculum that takes advantage of contemporary issues, values, and contexts. Take a look!
“Burkins and Yates skillfully explore ‘balanced literacy’ and ‘the science of reading’ to find the sweet spots where they overlap, connect, and actually complement one another.” —Susie Rolander, Bank Street College
"Relationships and communities evolve through heartfelt responses to stories." ~JoEllen McCarthy, Layers of Learning
Identifying a worthy text is often one of the biggest challenges to overcome when putting together a close-reading plan. Choosing a text that offers opportunities for multiple readings, as well as new, meaningful understandings can be difficult. So how do we know if a book or article will work for close reading?
The following is a guest blog post from Maria Walther and Karen Biggs-Tucker, authors of the new book, The Literacy Workshop: Where Reading and Writing Converge.
When Maria and her first graders were immersed in the big idea of questioning, she read aloud the picture book, I Wonder (Holt, 2019). After enjoying this engaging book, she asked her learners, “Where do questions lead?” As you can see from her students’ responses on the chart, some smart thinking grew from this question.
In this One Thing You Might Try . . . post, kindergarten teacher, Katie Keier, offers a few ideas for maintaining the critical aspects of shared reading and writing during virtual learning and creating “Read it again!” moments for young learners—no matter what instructional setting you find yourself in.