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 Ken Lindblom, Associate Professor of English and Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the School of Professional Development at Stony Brook University (SUNY), and former high school English teacher. Ken has also served as the editor of English Journal and is on the Executive Board of the Conference on English Education (NCTE). Ken is a co-author of the Heinemann book Making the Journey, fourth edition, which published in the fall of 2016.
Every so often we like to ask our authors about the books that most affected their teaching, the books that served as a turning point in their practice or opened their eyes to a new way of approaching their work, thinking about education, or seeing children. In this first installment, we bring you the professional book top five of Katie Wood Ray, whose professional background includes both elementary and middle school teaching experience and two years as a staff developer at The Reading and Writing Project, Teachers College, Columbia University. She was also the coeditor of the journal Primary Voices K–6, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English. She has authored and co-authored many titles , including In Pictures and in Words, What You Know by Heart, Already Ready, and About the Authors. Katie spent many years as a professional development presenter, and is currently an Executive Editor of professional books at Heinemann.
Heinemann author and Global Teacher Prize winner Nancie Atwell was recently featured on ABC News and People Magazine. See the interview with Nancie below from ABC News and scroll down further for the link to her interview with People Magazine. For more information on Nancie and the newly released third edition of In the Middle, click here.
Read Nancie's interview with People Magazine here: "Winner of $1 Million Global Teacher Prize Donates All to Education."
Read Valarie Strauss' Washington Post story on Nancie and CTL here: "Great books that inspire a love of reading in kids — recommended by kids"
Watch Nancie on MSNBC being interviewed by Melissa Harris-Perry who named Nancie as the foot soldier of the week.
The most frequently asked question about In the Middle is, “What’s new in the third edition?” The second edition published 17 years ago, so we know a lot is new because Nancie Atwell has continued to innovate since then.
So we challenged ourselves to answer the question. We asked one of our editors to read both the second and third editions side by side, page for page, and report back. In short: In the Middle, Third Edition, more than lives up to the claim of 80% new material. Here’s what fans of the second edition can expect to find new in the third edition:
PART I, Workshop Essentials
- More how-tos: More minilessons, conferring suggestions, and scheduling and organizational ideas.
- A deep dive into the Daily Poem: A critical innovation that helps you support close reading, critical skills, and the writer’s craft.
- More about reading workshop: Nancie puts the writing and reading workshop on even footing as she shows how you can helps kids read 40 books a year.
- The 12 red flags of writing: You’ll know exactly what to watch for in students’ writing as well how to respond to them.
- Letter-essays: Nancie replaces her well-known weekly letters with letter-essays that reduce the paper burden on you and create a bridge to expository writing.
- Handover: Nancie shows you how to release responsibility to writers and, more so than in the previous edition, to readers.
- Off-the-page writing: A new concept introduced in the third edition is a way of inserting time and reflection into writing.
Part II, Genre Studies
- New emphasis and minilessons on poetry: A key innovation—Nancie details why poetry has increased in importance in her teaching and why it is the first genre your students should write in.
- More specificity about memoirs: The third edition provides more craft specifics to teach and more ways for kids to access the language and descriptions of published memoirs.
- Micro fiction: Another major innovation is replacing short stories with the concentrated power of micro fiction.
- New details on expository writing: Nancie narrows her focus to four types of expository writing and presents you with more specifics, structures, and examples for each.
- “Humor and Homage”: A brand new chapter that not only supports improved writing but helps you provide students with experiences in critical/close reading.
- New student writing samples: All-new samples reflect today’s students and topics.
For more specifics about what’s new, click here [pdf].
We are excited to announce that Nancie Atwell has won the 2015 Global Teacher Prize.
The Varkey Foundation awarded the prize to her earlier today in a ceremony in Dubai. Nancie has pledged the $1 million award to her school to fund scholarships and improvements.
Nancie paved the road to winning this prize over a forty-year career and three editions of her classic, In the Middle. For many years she taught from behind her big teacher’s desk. In 1980, she became aware of the research of Donald Graves in New Hampshire classrooms and, as she writes in In the Middle, she resisted it at first. On a Monday in March of that year, after a weekend of soul-searching, Nancie writes,
“I closed my classroom door and told my students about this elementary school in New Hampshire where kids developed their own ideas for writing, worked at their own paces, produce texts that were read by all kinds of real audiences, and received responses from their classmates and the teacher while they were drafting.”
She asked her adolescent learners, could they do this? Did they want to?
“Yes. Some said it tentatively, some resoundingly, but every kid in every class voted yes. Then, together, we made an amazing discovery: they did have ideas to write about […] that school writing could be good for something […]. This was not Camelot. It was genuine, it was happening in my classroom, and it was thrilling.”
That very day sparked a revolution in her classroom and soon in middle schools nationwide. Within a few years, she published the massively influential In the Middle with Heinemann. We have been blessed to work with Nancie since then—to play a part in the story that today is recognized across the world as important and inspirational to teachers. Through ten books and videos, dozens of NCTEs, and hundreds of workshops, we have watched her influence millions of teachers directly. We have also seen the impact of her work on generations of Heinemann authors, who in turn inspire more teachers around the world.
Most important to Nancie, herself, are the kids who became writers, readers, and critical thinkers in her classroom. They are the reason she teaches. From Jeff and Bert to Eloise and Avery—they’re all inside In the Middle—it’s the kids and their work that make the work of teaching so vital to her.
Today we celebrate Nancie winning the Global Teacher Prize. We are so proud for her and for the beliefs and practices this award celebrates—student-centeredness, choice in reading and writing, and valuing teachers as decision makers. We hope this is just the first loud chord struck on behalf of progressive educators the world over.
Last week we learned that Heinemann author Nancie Atwell had been named one of ten finalists for the inaugural Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize. Widely known as “the Nobel Prize for teaching,” the award recognizes an educator who has made an outstanding contribution to the field. If chosen, Nancie plans to pledge the $1 million award to the Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, Maine, the K–8 demonstration school she founded in 1990. We traveled to Nancie's school on the day they learned of the nomination. We spent the day with her students, her teachers, and Nancie herself to capture how special the Center for Teaching and Learning is.
Nancie will travel to Dubai for the award ceremony on March 15th. Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, will announce the winner in front of world education leaders. Watch this space and @HeinemannPub for update on Nancie’s progress as well as coverage of her school and her work.
We couldn’t be more proud of Nancie. Her book In the Middle, now in its third edition, has influenced hundreds of thousands of teachers to adopt the reading-writing workshop since its initial publication in 1987.