Category Archives: Literacy

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:

Continue reading

Why Bring Stories Into The Science Classroom?

E08677_MacNeil_Goldner_London_Bookcover_MG5D4626

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)

Continue reading

Walking the Beach Like a Scientist

michael-baird-14949

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!

Continue reading

Using Pre-Assessment to Ease into Reading Differentiation

NTBT_NoMoreReading_2

The research is compelling: When teachers differentiate reading instruction, students learn more. But teachers are too often given the expectation of differentiation without the details on how to make it work. In No More Reading Instruction Without Differentiation, Lynn Bigelman and Debra Peterson offer a framework that adapts instruction based on individual students' needs and interests.

Continue reading

Heinemann Fellow Tiana Silvas on Fostering Empathy and Understanding Among Students

tyler-mullins-78917

From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength.—Cesar Chavez

After a long day of teaching I walk around the classroom picking up pencils and scraps of paper. Some pieces of paper have scribble notes that make me smile. Students exchange jokes or attempt to create meaningful emojis. Other times the scribbles make me stop, wonder, and worry. One note shows two stick-figure drawings with one image’s face scratched out. Other scraps of paper have words like “I don’t like . . .”  What did I miss today? How will I handle this?

Continue reading

Take The Heinemann Teacher Tour From Home!

20232849_10154703637846892_8382909063338438088_oOn Saturday, July 29th, Heinemann celebrated its fifth annual teacher tour.  Each year we invite teachers from all over to join us at our home office to learn from our authors, share in thinking and learning together, and tour the historic mill building that we call home. This year, we were pleased to host authors Ralph Fletcher, Grace Kelemanik, Valerie Bang-Jansen, Mark Lubkowitz, and Cornelius Minor. Each author led a forty minute PD workshop session for the tour participants. 

Were you unable to make it to this year's teacher tour? Fear not! We recorded each session LIVE for Facebook, and you can watch all of the videos below, along with the day's tweets and some presenter materials. 

Continue reading