Summer school offers a wonderful opportunity to deepen student comprehension of nonfiction texts and build knowledge across the curriculum.
The Comprehension Toolkit series from Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis guides your teachers and supports your students in an active literacy classroom that’s fun and effective—and it’s ideal for use in summer school settings. Here Stephanie and Anne answer a few frequently asked questions about summer literacy learning with The Comprehension Toolkit: (For more tips, and a free 49-page summer pacing guide, click here.)
When determining how to best organize The Writing Strategies Book, Jen Serravallo considered many different approaches. She considered organizing it based on the stages in the writing process, or by genre, but In the end came back to organizing the book around eleven writing goals. This likely comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with Jen's Reading Strategies Book or any of her other recent work. In Jen's own words: "Helping kids to articulate clear goals for their work, and supporting them with strategies and feedback to accomplish those goals, makes a huge difference in their ability to succeed."
How do you define play and choice time in early childhood classrooms? According to Renée Dinnerstein,“During choice time, children choose to play in a variety of centers that have been carefully designed and equipped to scaffold children’s natural instinct for play.”
Renée reveals what can happen when you embrace a culture of inquiry, providing opportunities for children to be explorative and creative in their thinking. She believes that, “A child’s engagement is the most powerful asset we have for teaching and learning.” Give your students choice time, and watch them engage in joyful, important, playful, age-appropriate work that will empower them to become lifelong learners.
"The bottom line is when children are at play, they’re not just playing––they’re learning machines, and play is the engine that drives them.” —Renée Dinnerstein
Our time in the classroom can be transformative in profound ways. For some, this issue becomes more than dealing with content and students in an ethical way. It expands into a broader realm, that of social justice, as described by Sonia Nieto:
Teachers enter the profession for any number of reasons, but neither fame nor money nor the promise of lavish working conditions is at the top of that list. Instead . . . for many of them, social justice figures prominently among the motivating factors underlying their choice to teach. The urge to live a life of service that entails a commitment to the ideals of democracy, fair play, and equality is strong among many of those who begin teaching. (2003, 91)
Nieto continues, though, to remind us that “teachers are not miracle workers. Nor are they social workers or missionaries.” Instead, “teachers need to understand their roles as involving more than simply attending to the minds of students; it also entails nurturing their hearts and souls . . . to do this without taking on the world of injustice is tricky business . . . an equilibrium that is difficult at best” (105).
When they are motivated, children naturally engage in deep reflection and goal-setting. An example is when they are trying to get better at their favorite sport or video game. They understand exactly where they rank compared to other players. They study other players carefully, trying to emulate their moves. They take in what coaches say, they make small tweaks to improve. They practice, practice, practice. With the right conversations and the right tools, we can teach students to approach their writing with the same level of reflection and goal-setting.