Author Archives: Lauren Audet

When World, Community, or School News is Upsetting

rhendi-rukmana-193672Excerpted from The Curious Classroom by Harvey “Smokey” Daniels

When you live with thirty other human beings for 180 days in a row, sad things and bad things can happen. Individual children or the whole group will encounter struggles, worries, losses, changes, or emergencies. It’s not whether, but when.

Many of these happenings are predictable and expectable. A class pet dies. Then someone breaks a bone. Someone moves away. Someone has a sick parent or grandparent. Someone’s family is in a car crash. There’s a bullying incident on the playground. A big storm rages through town. There’s scary news on TV and adults are agitated about it.

Here are some ways to support students when dealing with these crises in your classroom:

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Heinemann Fellow Hollis Scott on The Power of Thinking Routines

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 “Visible Thinking has a double goal: on the one hand, to cultivate students’ thinking skills and dispositions, and, on the other, to deepen content learning. By thinking dispositions, we mean curiosity, concern for truth and understanding, a creative mindset, not just being skilled but also alert to thinking and learning opportunities and eager to take them.” (visiblethinkingpz.org)

Too often, I have been guilty of repeating my old story as a teacher—the story where I play the lecturer or spoon-feeder of information, and students take down notes ferociously without processing or sharing their understanding, curiosity, or emotional responses. Weeks later, on a test, I find out what they understood or didn’t.

It is time to change my teaching story.

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Accessing Units of Study, Narrative: Tips from the Co-Authors of Up The Ladder

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Written by By Anna Gratz Cockerille

Above all, we want you to know that the Up the Ladder: Accessing Grades 3–6 Writing Units of Study series embodies the one mission that is closest to the hearts of all of us at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. For us, the most important word in the title of this series is this one: access. Nothing matters more than the mission of giving all young people access to the beautiful, important work that happens in reading and writing workshops.

 – Lucy Calkins and the Co-Authors of the new Up the Ladder Units of Study 

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Why Bring Stories Into The Science Classroom?

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The following is adapted from The Stories of Science: Integrating Reading, Writing, Speaking, and LIstening into Science Instruction by Janet MasNeil, Mark Goldner, and Melissa London

Throughout human history, we have told stories to educate, entertain, and inspire others. The art of telling the stories of science is not that different. However, some people may balk at the idea of telling stories in science—after all, stories are fictional, right? Not really. As Anne E. Greene says in Writing Science in Plain English:

Many scientists see little connection between communicating their science and telling stories. They think of stories as made-up, while science is based on fact. However, to most writers, “story” simply describes a powerful way to communicate information to an audience. Recent research has shown that our brains are wired to recognize stories with a particular structure, one that features characters and their actions, and information presented this way becomes compelling and memorable. Scientists can use these same elements of stories—characters and actions—to write about the real world with the same desirable results. Writing stories about science doesn’t mean making it up or dumbing it down. Rather, we can hang complex ideas on the scaffolding of good, simple stories and make our science as exciting to our audience as it is to us. (2013, 12)

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To Create Readers, Share Your Reading Life With Students

no-more-reading-for-junk_mg5d9684In No More Reading for Junk, Linda Gambrell and Barbara Marinak provide research-based context for fostering children’s intrinsic motivation to read, and share some of the strategies and techniques that can transform disengaged readers into passionate ones.

Teachers are often naturally avid readers, but even if you aren't the sort of reader who is inclined to sit down with the latest best-selling novel, there are so many ways to share with students the authentic ways you engage with text in your daily life. "One of the key factors in motivating students to read," write Barbara and Linda, "is a teacher who values reading and is enthusiastic about sharing their reading with students."

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Walking the Beach Like a Scientist

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Written by Valerie Bang-Jensen, and Mark Lubkowitz, authors of Sharing Books, Talking Science

Sand castles in all their summer glory whisper the cross cutting concepts. 

A beach walk this week provided Valerie with a perfect opportunity to take a look at sand castles through the framework of the crosscutting concepts. Read on to see how she’s vacationing like a scientist!

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