Category Archives: Educator Resources

Lesson plans, activity guides, and helpful tips from our literacy specialist and guest educators.

Writing Poetry in the Classroom: A Lesson With Author Mark Karlins

Kiyoshi's Walk coverIn this guest post, author and poet Mark Karlins shares how his latest title, Kiyoshi’s Walk, can be used to engage students (and anyone!) to write poetry in the classroom and at home. Mark Karlins also shares how the traditional Japanese poetry form, renga, can help create community in a classroom especially in time for National Poetry Month! 

As I was writing Kiyoshi’s Walk, all I was thinking about was writing an engaging story about a child who wanted to learn to write poetry, a story which has a strong grandfather-grandchild relationship and a progressive structure that keeps people reading and listening. Now that Kiyoshi’s Walk has been published, I’ve begun to think about how the story can expand and become a base for teaching writing both at home and in the classroom. A walk outdoors with a parent and child, a stroll through the playground of a school, even an indoors excursion from one window to the next, can provide experiences for the writing of haiku. Grandfather Eto and Kiyoshi demonstrate a way this can happen.

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Social-Emotional Learning & Diverse Books: One Cannot Exist Without the Other

In this blog post, Katie Potter, Senior Literacy Specialist at Lee & Low Books, offers guidance on curating a social-emotional learning library and reinforces the necessary role that diverse books play in building an SEL collection. This blog post first appeared on  the Center Of Responsive Schools’ Two Sides of the Same Coin

As teachers, we know how difficult it is to explain and define emotions in concrete terms. A situation arises and we grapple with how best to approach it with the students. What are the right words to say that will resonate with them after a disagreement? How do we explain empathy or resolve a student conflict in a way that young people will understand? It can be a challenge to act quickly and make a meaningful impact when there is minimal time to prepare.

This is where books can come into play. By allowing the characters and engaging storyline to do the heavy lifting, books can take the onus off of teachers, presenting to children both the problem and the solution in a safe way that will reverberate with them.

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Anti-Racism Diverse Books for Grades 6-8+

Are you looking to add anti-racist books to your library but don’t know where to start? Have you been thinking about how to have meaningful conversations with young people about race, but lack confidence in how to begin? The books in our Anti-Racism Reading List will help you take the first steps or continue the critical discussions about anti-racism work relevant to your setting.

In this blog post, we’ve rounded up books from our anti-racism reading list for grades 6 and up. You can find more of our anti-racism titles in our Anti-Racism Diverse Reading List and the corresponding book collection.

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Anti-Racism Diverse Books for Grades 3-5

Are you looking to add anti-racist books to your library but don’t know where to start? Have you been thinking about how to have meaningful conversations with young people about race, but lack confidence in how to begin? The books in our Anti-Racism Reading List will help you take the first steps or continue the critical discussions about anti-racism work relevant to your setting.

In this blog post, we’ve rounded up books from our anti-racism reading list for grades 3-5. You can find more of our anti-racism titles in our Anti-Racism Diverse Reading List and the corresponding book collection.

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Teaching Social Justice in Schools: Facing Institutional Opposition

What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Activity Book is a collaboration between Laleña Garcia and Caryn Davidson, both professional educators and activists with the Black Lives Matter at Schools NYC organizing group. Learn the story behind What We Believe here and how the author and illustrator define activism and allyship in the first two installments.

Today, in the third installment of our conversation, Laleña and Caryn share tips and suggestions for educators who face institutional opposition when bringing learning about BLM, social justice, and activism into their classrooms: Continue reading

Anti-Racism Diverse Book List for Grades PreK-8

What does it mean to be anti-racist? Several definitions exist, but Ibram X. Kendi’s embodies the actionable steps behind anti-racist work: “The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it– and then dismantle it.” Continue reading

Black History Month Resources Roundup

For Black History Month, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite resources for readers and educators alike. Though this month is dedicated to uplifting Black history, culture, movements, and gamechangers, we must remember that Black history IS American history and should be celebrated all year round.

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Anti-Racism Diverse Books for Grades PreK-2

Are you looking to add anti-racist books to your library but don’t know where to start? Have you been thinking about how to have meaningful conversations with young people about race, but lack confidence in how to begin? The books in our Anti-Racism Reading List will help you take the first steps or continue the critical discussions about anti-racism work relevant to your setting.

In this blog post, we’ve rounded up books from our anti-racism reading list for grades PreK-2. You can find more of our anti-racism titles in our Anti-Racism Diverse Reading List and the corresponding book collection.

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Defining Activism and Allyship: An Interview with Laleña Garcia and Caryn Davidson

What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Activity Book is a collaboration between Laleña Garcia, who identifies as Black, and Caryn Davidson, who identifies as white. After learning author Laleña Garcia’s story behind What We Believe, we asked the author and illustrator to share a bit about their partnership, and how they define the role of activist and ally.

What We BelieveHow do you define activism?

Laleña Garcia: In my school, we talk about activists as people who work together with other people to make the world a better place. We emphasize the importance of collective action and solidarity, and that, even though we sometimes learn about one or two people — like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks — they had to work together with lots of other people to make change.

There’s a part of me that thinks that individual actions — like turning off the lights, recycling, or choosing to buy from BIPOC-owned businesses — is part of being a good, decent, human, but is maybe a little bit different from being an activist, but it’s not something I’m willing to have a fight about. If you’re organizing other people to do those things, or writing letters to people in power to get them to make changes, then I think it’s more like activism, because of the collective nature.

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Watch the Webinar: Black Lives Matter in the Classroom

We had the largest virtual turnout ever for last week’s webinar, “Black Lives Matter in the Classroom: A Conversation with Experts” with Laleña Garcia and Caryn Davidson, author and illustrator of What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Principles Activity Book, and Jesse Hagopian and Denisha Jones, co-authors of Black Lives Matter at SchoolAnd as promised, the recording is finally here! If you missed it live (or just want to watch again), you can access the webinar below, or here on YouTube. Keep reading for links to resources and booklists shared during the webinar.

View the slideshow here. Continue reading