On today’s podcast, putting the fun back into writing. Ralph Fletcher says nothing helps writers grow like practice, but not just any kind of practice will do, you’ve got to bring the joy! In his new book, Joy Write, Ralph shares the whys and the how of giving students time and autonomy for the playful, low-stakes writing that leads to surprising, high-level growth. Ralph talks about how the element of fun has disappeared from classrooms, so we started our conversation with why that is.
Today on the podcast: problem-based teaching. How do we prepare students for a world that’s changing so rapidly that a majority of those sitting in classrooms today will go on to hold jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t yet been invented to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet? Author Vicki Vinton, says the answer is to help build students’ capacities as critical and creative thinkers by shifting to a problem-based approach for teaching reading. In her new book, Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading, Vicki connects the practices in the book to all sorts of current thinking and trends.
Think of your STEM journey as a highway. When you’re driving along you see those marker signs on the side of the road. These guideposts can provide direction and key information just when you need it. This is how authors Jo Anne Vasquez, Michael Comer and Joel Villegas describe how their work in STEM Lesson Guidepostsis designed. They say their guideposts provide direction and key information at critical times when planning a STEM journey.
We recently talked with Jo Ann and Michael, and started our conversation on the misconceptions about what STEM actually is.
During the evaluation process, teachers might be asking for one thing while evaluators are looking for something different. How do we bring these two perspectives together to reach common goals? In Making Teacher Evaluation Work, Authors Rachael Gabriel and Sarah Woulfin suggest there’s a way to not only improve the evaluation process, but use evaluations as a way to improve teaching. Rachael and Sarah have created a resource for teachers and evaluators to read together that walks them through every step of the evaluation process. We started out our conversation on how this book came to be.
If you are a K-2 teacher, have you ever asked: “During reading workshop, what kinds of meaningful work can students be doing independently, while I confer one-on-one or with small groups?” Lindsey Moses hears this common frustration among those who work with our youngest readers in her work with teachers around the country. That’s why Lindsey, along with First grade teacher Meridith Ogden, wrote: What are the Rest of My Kids Doing? Their goal is to help you move beyond assigning busy work to providing purposeful learning experiences that build independence over the year and ideally take the anxiety out of reading workshop.
On Today’s podcast — exploring science in children’s literature. Science is everywhere, in everything we do, see, and read. All books offer possibilities for talk about science in the illustrations and the texts… once you know how to look for them. Children’s literature is a natural avenue to explore the seven crosscutting concepts described in the Next Generation Science Standards. In their new book: Sharing Books, Talking Science, authors Valerie Bang-Jensen and Mark Lubkowitz help teachers develop the mindset necessary to think like a scientist, and then help students think, talk, and read like scientists. We started our conversation on how the idea for this book came to be and what they call “the surprisingly powerful friendship of children's literature and science.”