In the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch teaches his children, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings, plight, or situation of another. It is recognizing and valuing perspectives that are different from one’s own. It is the basis for relationships and, some would even argue, is vital to survival.
The start of a new calendar year brings a sense of renewal, possibility, and novelty. It is a time for reflection, and certainly, as the number of people who make New Year’s resolutions shows, for goal-setting.
Hopefully, your students (and you!) have returned from the break rested, recharged, and ready to reinvest. This is the perfect time to channel your students to reflect on their reading and writing lives and to make plans for the year ahead.
If you are a middle school teacher who has chosen to teach writing using a workshop model, you know that it is possible for students to choose writing topics that fuel their passions and to write to high standards simultaneously. You know that giving students freedom to cycle through a process of writing does not mean they will be unproductive, quite the contrary. You know that it is possible to prepare students for standardized assessments while also teaching them to live a writerly 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 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.
Middle School Teachers, we have got some wonderful news for you! We are happy to announce that Units of Study in Reading for Grades 6-8 are coming soon. Join the TCRWP community at this week's Twitter chat to hear more. The chat will be hosted by Audra Robb, TCRWP's Associate Director for Middle Schools.
This week on the Heinemann blog, we’re sharing a series on Language in the Classroom. The series was inspired by an article published by NPR on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, on the ways we teach English Learners in our country. While the NPR article was specific to English Learners, our hope is to use that as a jumping off point to broader topics of language instruction in the classroom. Each day this week we will feature articles, excerpts and insights directly from Heinemann authors and affiliates that further the conversation surrounding language diversity in the classroom, the challenges it presents, and what we know works.
In the first part of this two-part blog, Jamilia Lyiscott introduced liberation literacies pedagogy. You can find it here.
5 Ways to Use Liberation Literacies in Your Classroom: Practical Strategies
By Jamila Lyiscott
Begin the year with a Literate Identity Assessment of each student
One of the goals of Liberation Literacies as a pedagogical framework is for students and teachers to find and employ agency within the stifling constraints of most classrooms, such as the pressures of teaching to the test. Within Liberation Literacies pedagogy teachers challenge the goals of assessments in their classrooms so that alongside the mandate of rigid exams are a series of assessments beginning on the first day of school to better understand the background knowledge, interests, and learning needs of each student as necessary for shaping curriculum. A Literate Identity Assessment at the beginning of the year can include the following prompt along with one or two others: