Black History Month

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Aretha, David The Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Photographs Gr. 4–6     48 pp.    Enslow Aretha, David The Story of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement in Photographs Gr. 4–6     48 pp.    Enslow Aretha, David The Story of the Civil Rights Freedom Rides in Photographs Gr. 4–6     48 pp.    Enslow Aretha, David […]

Lesser-known heroes

Invincible

In my literature classroom, students must always be reading a book outside of the novel we’re reading as a class. Every now and then, a student will pull V for Vendetta or Watchmen or Maus or some other graphic novel* off of my shelf and ask if he can use it as his independent reading […]

Metacognitive books: How early should they be introduced?

monster end of book

During the last few months I’ve encountered a number of children’s picture books with a self-reflective or metacognitive approach. The texts encourage readers not just to reflect or think (cognitive) but to think about their thinking (metacognitive). Since the books’ illustrations were eye-catching and the topics were relatable, I read them to some three-year old […]

Behind the book

Port Chicago

Back on October 10th, I had the privilege of attending the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award ceremony. During the celebration, honorees and winners came to the podium to receive their awards and address the audience. Needless to say, I was star struck to be in the room with the likes of Steve Jenkins, Gene Luen Yang, […]

“Rabid Rabbit Readers” —- try saying that five times fast

country bunny golden

I’ve often heard the expression “teaching is a marathon, not a sprint,” an indication that teachers must allow time to pace themselves throughout the school year. But based on my experiences, that’s a whole lot easier said then done. First-year teachers are often thrown into a developed, engrained curriculum plan for a school’s reading program […]

Graphic-novel memoirs

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The creators of these graphic-novel memoirs use words and pictures to revisit experiences from their youth. Their work relates sometimes-difficult, sometimes-comical stories with poignancy, bittersweet humor, and expressive art. At the age of four, in 1975, Cece Bell contracted meningitis, leaving her severely to profoundly deaf. In her characterful, often amusing graphic-novel memoir El Deafo, […]

Fierce females

coyle_vivianapple

Katniss, they feel your pain. The following protagonists have the weight of the world on their shoulders — and, in at least one case, it’s just as the world may be ending. Katie Coyle’s Vivian Apple at the End of the World takes place in a near-future America where the cultish Church of America has […]

Series for the elementary set

beauvais_sleuth on skates

Discover some new favorite characters or keep up with old ones. These series installments can stand on their own or perhaps start a new series obsession. Sleuth on Skates, first in the Sesame Seade Mystery series by Clémentine Beauvais, introduces a type-A, roller-skating kid detective from Cambridge, England with a large vocabulary and a highly […]

Novels to supplement history | Part 1

Sundiata

This year, I started a new role as the 8th grade Humanities teacher. I began the school year with an ambitious “Novels of the World” plan that would flawlessly integrate every Common Core standard in Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking along with the world history. Then reality hit me in the throat. I realized that […]

Thinking about school as a privilege

Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys

As our year in second grade began last fall, my students and I spent some time thinking about why we go to school. In our first few weeks together, I tried to help my students understand that going to school is a privilege that has not always been (and is still not) available to everyone. […]