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Hester and relevance

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Recently, I co-taught a course with a colleague from the BU English department (I’m in English education) about teaching American literature. A great deal of time is spent in the course considering what ‘counts’ as American literature, and my colleague convinced me we should read The Scarlet Letter. We chose this novel as a highly […]

Death to the biography book report

no_books

We all remember doing book reports in elementary school. It was fairly standard. You read a book and you write a summary on it or do some type of creative project. This past spring, I assigned a biography book report. I followed the normal prescription: choose a book about someone you’re interested in, and write […]

Women can be president, too!

grace_for_pres

With the 2016 presidential election just a few months away, news from the campaign trail continues to dominate the headlines. Our students are thus very likely hearing names of candidates and snippets of information about politics and elections. While discussing politics in school is often viewed as taboo, the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Carly […]

Scientists as dreamers

Earmuffs for Everyone!

Can scientists be dreamers? They not only can, but should! The imagination pushes the boundaries of what can be discovered or created. The picture book biographies of the three subjects below — well-known Carl Sagan, and lesser-known Chester Greenwood and Jean-Henri Fabre — are intriguing examples of scientists who let their imaginations run away with […]

Old-fashioned reading in modern times

storyline_online_300x282

Literacy enthusiast that I am, I’ve always believed that the reading block in my class schedule should solely focus on, well, reading – reading long and strong, as well as reading across genres. Yet, there’s a third type of literacy that educators across the globe are acknowledging as increasingly important within a student’s repertoire. We […]

Reading groups — homogeneous or heterogeneous?

Leveled readers #4

As teachers, we know that small-group instruction can be extremely powerful. It allows us to work with just a handful of students at time, to differentiate our instruction to specific student needs, and can help students listen to and learn from one another. An often taken-for-granted assumption is that we should group our students according […]

Middle grade fiction – Serafina’s Promise

serafina

Perhaps you have read about the studies that demonstrate how reading can build empathy. Those studies usually use adults as subjects but anyone who has seen a child moved by a fictional story knows that reading can make us better people. Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg offers young readers the chance to learn about […]

Does leveled reading create life-long readers?

Leveled readers #3

Imagine you’re in the library, looking for a new book to read. You see the covers and spines of many books with intriguing titles and related to topics about which you care deeply or desire to learn more. Your excitement mounts as you take in the seemingly boundless possibilities. But then, upon closer inspection, you […]

In a word…the logophile’s journey

logophilia

Every group text, email chain, and Facebook thread has one… that one member who can’t help but change someone’s “who” to “whom,” who balks at the improper use of “their” and “there,” and who inserts the little star symbol to indicate a correction on a daily basis. Yes, indeed, some may see it as a […]

What’s in those leveled book boxes?

Leveled readers #2

Recently, I was reading an article called “The Character of Our Content” in an archived issue of Rethinking Schools. In this piece, a concerned mother critiques representations of gender and race in a basal anthology that her daughter was reading at school. The article got me thinking how incidents such as these are likely very […]