Every so often we like to ask our authors about the books that most affected their teaching, the books that served as turning points in their practice or opened their eyes to a new way of approaching their work, thinking about education, or seeing children. In this installment, we bring you the professional book top five of Vicki Vinton, a literacy consultant and writer who has worked in schools and districts across the country and around the world. She is the coauthor of What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making and The Power of Grammar: Unconventional Approaches to the Conventions of Language, and most recently is the author of Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: Shifting to a Problem-Based Approach. You can also find Vicki online, at the popular literacy blog To Make a Prairie.
by Anna Gratz Cockerille
For many years, The Reading and Writing Project has engaged in research, staff development, and curriculum planning to support content area literacy. Infusing content area studies with rich literacy skills continues to be exciting and important work. To study history in particular requires a high level of facility in reading and writing. Students must engage in integrating information from multiple texts, close reading of primary sources, taking notes flexibly based on the information they are learning, and reporting on their learning in a variety of ways.
You may have heard the words "what's wrong with the old way of teaching math? I learned math that way just fine!" from parents, students, family members, even colleagues. As the approach to math shifts toward students' understanding math, and away from rote memorization, many adults think back to their own experiences as students in the math classroom and often long for "the good old days. "
Legacy. What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.
I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will
Sing for me . . .
—From Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda
The gray hangs from the February sky like the roof of a tent heavy with rain. It’s during these wintry days when I feel most vulnerable as a teacher. I’m also sensing winter’s hold on my students, and I begin to wonder if I make even the smallest difference for them.
As a reader, I am captivated by characters. Major characters who drive plot or who find themselves transformed by conflict, minor characters who flesh out stories and live in the space between interesting and important, or characters who are easily forgotten.
Jennifer Serravallo has created a helpful guide for The Writing Strategies Book for book study groups or individual practitioners. As an educational consultant, Jen is in classrooms all the time, and this study guide reflects the questions and concerns teachers have brought to her about how to use strategies within an instructional framework for writing and especially how to match them to instructional goals and methods. The study guide contains over 25 pages of resources, ideas for conversations, activities, and practices that will strengthen your strategic writing instruction, raise the quality and engagement levels of your student writers, and strengthen collaboration with your colleagues.
by Anna Gratz Cockerille
In A Guide to the Reading Workshop, Lucy Calkins writes, “Your classroom library holds a lot of power. It sends a strong message to the readers in your classroom, and it should convey that reading is important and that books are to be celebrated, treasured, and enjoyed.”
Lucy outlines critical tips for organizing classroom libraries, including: