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Teaching poetry

Poetrees

In a short 6-week module like the one I teach at Harvard Ed School, time is the enemy. My quixotic goal for this too-short class is to expose students to all aspects of children’s literature, in breadth and in depth. Of course, every year and there is something I wish we had discussed in more […]

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, fall 2016

Folklore and poetry

For our class on November 16, we are reading four books and one article. I like combining these two genres because both need to be read aloud in order to really appreciate them. Folklore has to have a strong voice, as it comes from an oral tradition where storytellers have individual styles, just as today’s […]

Why teachers should know the Virtual History Exhibit

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We have an opening in the post schedule this week because there’s no class tonight, so I want to make a plug for our Virtual History Exhibit which displays items from our archives over the past 100 years. Because of our unique place in the history of children’s books in the US, the VHE has […]

Information books | Class #4, fall 2016

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Our next class will be in two weeks, on November 9. We’ll be talking about five information books: Actual Size by Steve Jenkins Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier Voice of Freedom: Fannie […]

Chapter books | Class #3, fall 2016

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This week we are reading three chapter books — The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, and The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. Each is the first book in a series and each has a strong central character, an element that I think is essential in early […]

Questions from Molly Bang | Class #2, fall 2016

Picture This

We are looking forward to welcoming Molly Bang to our next class on October 19. One of the things that makes Molly unique as a guest speaker is that she likes her visits to be learning experiences — for herself. One year she focused on a book that she thought didn’t work very well. It […]

Picture books and easy readers | Class #2, fall 2016

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During our first class, we started to look at picture books. For our second class on October 19, we are adding easy readers into the mix. Here’s what we are reading and discussing: Two more picture books Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown That New Animal by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Pierre Pratt Two […]

Picture books | class #1, fall 2016

wwtwa_mirror

For our first class on October 12, we will be reading two picture books and three articles. Where the Wild Things Are is a classic now, but when it was first published in 1963 it was controversial. If you knew this book as a child, what did you notice this time that you might not […]

What do ordinary people do during war?

Symphony for the City of the Dead

This is one of the questions from a student that gave me pause a long time ago.  It was a sort of typical survey humanities course, and I vividly remember her interesting and important question. My own history education was often centered on primary sources or key events summarized neatly in a textbook, and I […]

School’s first day and yours

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The first day of school is coming soon! Here are some resources from The Horn Book to make it a great one. August 2016: “What Makes a Good School Story?” From the Editor Five Questions for Adam Rex and Christian Robinson about School’s First Day of School Recommended School Stories: Picture Books Recommended School Stories: […]