Category Archives: Early Childhood Education

The Heinemann Podcast: The Curious Classroom by Harvey “Smokey” Daniels

Curious ClassroomWhat happens when we put our students in the driver’s seat? Harvey “Smokey” Daniels says; when we let kids be curious, they dive deep. They persist longer when they’re curious. Smokey says if we can activate a student’s curiosity, they no longer need to be forced into action. So where do elementary teachers fit inquiry and curiosity into their day. How do teachers harness the power of curiosity? And how do we hand over the reins to students in a well-structured environment? 
 Smokey Daniels covers all of this and more in his newest book, The Curious Classroom: 10 Structures for Teaching with Student-Directed Inquiry.
 
We talked about this and more on today's podcast. We started out our conversation talking about why Smokey is so excited about this new book?

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The Resurgence of Inquiry-Based Instruction

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Because inquiry sometimes seems so hard to define, Steph Harvey and Smokey Daniels created the chart below to highlight the contrasts (2015) between it and a "coverage" approach. Notice that they do not label old-school teaching as “traditional.” That’s because progressive, student-centered, and inquiry-based learning is just as strong a strand in the American tradition (think John Dewey, Jerome Bruner, Francis Parker) as the skill-and-drill paradigm that has dominated the last three decades.

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PLC Series: Building a Reading Identity

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series. This month we discuss building lifelong literacy habits for all, from honoring the work of our smallest readers to our reflecting on our own practices as adults. 

Why is it that, when asked to read, some young children will do so right away and others announce that they cannot read? 

Children are doing important, strategic work long before decoding. By noticing, naming and honoring this, we can encourage our littlest readers to engage in different ways with books, helping them to build positive reading identities before they even decode print. 

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The Big 5: Vicki Vinton on the Books That Pushed and Influenced Her Teaching Practice

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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


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Introducing The Writing Strategies Book Study Guide

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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.

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Language Study: Answering the Call to Action in the Classroom

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Written by: Jen McCreight based on a section from her book Celebrating Diversity through Language Study.


In today’s climate, many of our students’ families are feeling anxious. Anxious about whether they are welcome in the United States. Anxious about escalating disagreements and protests surrounding immigrants from countries near and far. Anxious that loved ones may be deported. Regardless of our own political beliefs, as teachers, we are called to empathize with, support, and love our students. We are called to respond to their social and emotional challenges as much as their academic ones. I am reminded of this each day that I open the newspaper or read about current events online, and over and over, the following story pops into my head, as clearly as if I had experienced it yesterday.

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