Last week, Tu Books Publisher Stacy Whitman spoke at the Kansas Association of Teachers of English (KATE) conference about why and how to use diverse books in the classroom. In this blog post, we share some highlights from her presentation that may be helpful for readers across the country. Continue reading
Think there’s no need for sepia-toned filters and hashtags in your classroom? Don’t write off the world of #selfies just yet.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels among generation Z, or those born after 1995 and don’t know a world without the Internet. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this is a generation of visual learners and communicators, where sharing your life-from the food you’re about to eat to your thoughts about anything and everything-is a part of your everyday routine. So, why allow Instagram in your classroom? Continue reading
Differentiated, or tiered, assignments provide students opportunities for individual understanding and growth in learning. Activities, projects, and tasks that educators create for their students can be used with flexible groups to address common learning needs. Continue reading
The learning differences, preferences, and varied backgrounds existent in the classroom present teachers with a challenging task: help every student become a successful learner. How can teachers support all students’ diverse needs? Much confusion and fear have surrounded differentiated instruction and its use in the classroom.
Myth #1: Differentiation = Individualization
Differentiation doesn’t mean individualizing the curriculum for each student. Yes, when teachers meet one-on-one and conference with students, modifying instruction to best suit the student’s needs, both individualization and differentiation are taking place. However, writing an individual lesson plan for every student in the classroom is NOT differentiating (it’s insanity). Instead, differentiation involves using quality and effective instructional practices to strategically address groups of students based on various levels of learning readiness, interests, and learning styles.
Myth #2: Every student should be doing something different
Jennifer Brunk has been teaching Spanish and English learners from preschool to university level for over 20 years. She resides in Wisconsin where she raised her three children speaking Spanish and English. Jennifer blogs about resources for teaching Spanish to children on Spanish Playground. The following post is reprinted with permission from her original post at Spanish Playground.
Research has shown that reading to children helps them learn vocabulary and improves listening comprehension skills. As a parent or teacher, you are probably convinced of the value of reading to your child in Spanish, but how should you do it to promote language development?
Andrea Cheng is the author of several critically-acclaimed books for young readers. Her most recent novel, Etched in Clay, tells the story in verse of Dave the Potter, an enslaved man, poet, and master craftsperson whose jars (many of which are inscribed with his poetry and writings) are among the most sought-after pieces of Edgefield pottery. Etched in Clay recently won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.
When I heard an NPR review of Leonard Todd’s book, Carolina Clay, I knew that Dave’s was a story I wanted to tell. And from the start, I knew that I wanted to tell it in verse. Readers often ask me why. I didn’t make this decision consciously, but subconsciously, I think there were reasons.
The evidence of Dave’s life is fragmentary: pots and shards and bills of sale. This means that each small piece of evidence stands for something more, something much larger than the object itself. For example, the first bill of sale shows that Harvey Drake purchased a teenage boy for six hundred dollars. He was “country born” with “good teeth” and “a straight back. “ (Etched in Clay, p. 7) There is so much sorrow in these few words. A person is being evaluated and then sold like an animal. After a quick transaction, he becomes the property of someone else. The only way I know to allow a reader to feel this sorrow is through the intensity of a poem.
Today’s world is smaller than ever, and as technology continues to advance it will only get smaller. Raising students for success means teaching them how to be global citizens, emphasizing cultural literacy and geoliteracy, and exposing them to people whose lives differ from theirs.
For this, there’s no better author than Jan Reynolds. Reynolds is a writer, photographer, and adventurer who has written over fourteen nonfiction books for children about her travels. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including National Geographic, The New York Times, and Outside Magazine. Reynolds is an avid skier, mountain climber, and adventurer who holds the record for women’s high altitude skiing, was part of the first expedition to circumnavigate Mount Everest, and performed a solo crossing of the Himalayas.
Throughout April, we’ll be exploring how Jan’s books can be used in the classroom to teach about the environment, geoliteracy, global citizenship, and nonfiction. Today, we wanted to share Jan’s books and some of our favorite resources available to help teach them:
We were thrilled to see the announcement this week that architect Shigeru Ban has won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, one of architecture’s most important awards. Ban is notable not only for his inspired and gorgeous designs but for his humanitarian work using innovative architecture and renewable resources to help refugees and those affected by both man-made and natural disasters. Take a look at his paper tube school in China, featured in our book Dreaming Up:
School visits from authors and illustrators are a great way to encourage literacy, bring books to life, and allow students to view themselves as creators. For a fee, many authors and illustrators will do in-person or virtual school visits, but there are ways to incorporate an author’s perspective into literacy units that work for any budget. Here are a few suggestions:
Resident Literacy Expert Jill Eisenberg began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.
In light of Thanksgiving coming, many teachers and syllabi touch upon Native American history. As the Common Core is front and center for teachers, parents, and districts as of late, we are tasked with equipping children to be “career and college ready.” This includes not only literacy and mathematics standards, but also a commitment to teaching children about the multicultural world they live in and the complex history that came before them.
One unit that I initially was intimidated to teach was about the local Native American tribes of the Bay Area. We had wrapped up the science unit on the solar system and were changing gears for a history unit about the local Bay Area tribes. I felt significantly less confident teaching about the history of the local Native American tribes because there is more complexity, more nuance, and more sensitivity needed in investigating and appreciating groups of people, traditions, and cultures…than, well, planets.