Tag Archives: Katie Ray

Standing on Shoulders


By Jennifer Serravallo

The Writing Strategies Book started shipping this week. I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the positive responses and enthusiasm from so many. Before you all get this book in your hands, though, I need to get something off my chest:

This book would not exist were it not for a community of friends, mentors, colleagues and teachers—giants—whom I’ve been lucky to know. I want you all to know them, too.

My most immediate teacher and mentor around the teaching of writing is Lucy Calkins. I first read her books in college, leaned on them heavily throughout my years in the classroom, and eventually was lucky enough to spend years with her at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Her contributions are deep-reaching—not only in writing curriculum and workshop methods of instruction but also as a mentor to so many who have gone on to inspire others. If you asked Lucy, though, she’d probably tell you she stands on the shoulders of her mentors, chief among them Don Graves. I came to Graves’ books, such as Writing: Teachers and Children at Work, many years after being introduced to Lucy’s books, but through Lucy, I was learning from this work years before going directly to the source.

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The Big 5: Katie Wood Ray Tells Us About the Five Books that Made a Big Difference in Her Professional Life


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 WordsWhat 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. 

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Your Heinemann Link Round-Up for the Week of October 25–31


Boil that nightshade, gather the newt eyes: it's Halloween weekend. What is your favorite part about Halloween? Mine is spooky surf music. Here are some links!

These links are interviews with educators, posts from our authors' and friends' blogs, and any interesting, newsworthy item from the past seven days. Check back each week for a new round of finds!

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The Teacher You Want to Be: Katie Ray on the Release of Responsibility


The teaching on this first day, and in particular the decision to have children take complete responsibility for their own bookmaking, is deeply theoretical, as Abbie, Jaxon, and Heidi begin living in the “figured world” (Holland et al. 1998) of Lisa’s classroom. This world is “a socially and culturally constructed realm of interpretation in which particular characters and actors are recognized, significance is assigned to certain acts, and particular outcomes are valued over others” (52). First, I’d like to focus on the idea that this figured world is constructed and consider how it is that the immediate release of responsibility is the rock-bottom foundation of this construction. How does giving children complete control of their own decision making position them in important ways as bookmakers on this first day and across the year? And perhaps even more importantly, how are children helped to understand how to be in this figured world and what their actions mean to their identities?

To begin, let’s look at the teaching that happens before Abbie, Jaxon, Heidi, and their classmates go out and start making books on this first day.

—Katie Ray

The Teacher You Want To Be: Essays About Children, Learning, and Teaching, edited by Matt Glover and Ellin Oliver Keene, is out now.

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