Using wordless books in the classroom

arrival

It is easy to underestimate wordless (or nearly wordless) picture books. At first glance, they can seem simplistic and their educational value can seem limited since so much focus is placed on reading in the classroom, but if used in the right way they can contribute to a number of learning objectives across a wide […]

Picture books measure up

How tall short

When I was a young student, I don’t recall learning about math concepts from picture books. Of course, I could simply have forgotten, but I do think it may be fair to say that there are more high-quality math picture books today than there were when I was a student. Nowadays, whenever I begin a […]

Empathy spells understanding

Yang the Youngest

If there’s one thing my students have come to know about their teacher, Ms. Tell, it’s that I have an extreme passion for, and knowledge of, the Harry Potter series. I won’t get too much into it (I’ll save that for another blog post), but it’s true. It’s not just the magical characters and enchanting […]

Classics and timeless books

allofakindfamily

As a child, I frequented libraries that had rather old books. I remember my elementary school library had timeworn copies of the Madeline books and that one of my neighborhood libraries had old books by Lois Lenski, older versions of the Amelia Bedelia books, and the All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor. New books did […]

Books and stuff

bookfair1

It’s that time of year again. Book fair time. “Miss Hewes! Look at the figurines I bought! Aren’t the polar bear and the penguin so cute?” I’ll be honest – yes, little rubberized figurines in the likenesses of polar bears are cute. I understand the appeal of such items to young children. However, I am […]

“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 […]

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. […]

Science and stereotypes

Me...Jane

I’d like to start this post with a little thought exercise. Close your eyes and picture a scientist. What is your scientist doing? What does your scientist look like? If you are anything like my second graders, you’ve conjured up the stereotypical scientist: a man in a white lab coat with crazy hair who is […]

I wish I wrote that

Shark vs. Train

Every teacher I know is writing a book. Okay, that is probably an exaggeration, but I would venture that there is a sizable percentage of teachers ranging from kindergarten teachers working on picture books to high school English teachers working on YA novels. Some may be writing as a hobby while others might already have […]

El Deafo

eldeafo

This week, I was lucky enough to have a thirty-minute window when I could pop into my favorite independent bookstore in Los Angeles. They have a large children’s section on the second floor that I love perusing because they do an excellent job at getting new books. On one of their displays sat El Deafo […]