Using Dear Mr. Henshaw to encourage students to write

Dear Mr. Henshaw

Dear Mr. Henshaw, a Newbery medal-winning book by Beverly Cleary, is a great way to get students to think about some of the therapeutic benefits of writing. Of course, you don’t have to mention how helpful writing can be when you need to sort out feelings but you can let students figure this out on […]

Why we love Amos

stead_sick day for amos mcgee

Sometimes a children’s book is so heart-warming it needs no greater purpose for reading than just to enjoy it. And sometimes you get lucky and a book is not only sweet, but perfect for that lesson you want to teach about characters! A Sick Day for Amos McGee, written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated […]

Teaching perspective to first graders

Can We Save the Tiger?

Perspective is a thing so integral to understanding a story. It can even be the reason why an author thinks to lift a pencil and write a story. Yet perspective is a difficult concept, particularly for six-year-olds. As a first grade teacher, I have found that teaching about a character’s perspective is at times an […]

A book outside the box

Not a Box

“That sounds just like my dad!” one of my students exclaimed. “That must be a grown-up saying that!” offered another. We were in the midst of reading Antoinette Portis’s Not a Box and my second graders were bursting with excited insights about just who the off-page narrator might be. On its surface, Not a Box […]

Picture books for launching mathematicians

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday

My school uses a play-based approach to teaching math, which is advantageous because as an early childhood teacher, my students still love math and they love to play games. They enjoy learning and working with numbers and I can build on this through math games. For me, teaching math is often challenging because my own […]

Reading a book you dislike

Skippyjon Jones

For about ten years now, I have taught Pre-K. One of my favorite parts of the job is reading stories to the children during circle time. I am far from a great entertainer, but I try my best to make the stories entertaining or engaging to the children in some way; however, making a story […]

The queen of all biographies

Queen of the Falls

“What?! You can’t stop reading there!” bellowed one of my second graders as I shut our read-aloud book and left the main character, Annie Taylor, sealed in a barrel and about to reach the precipice of Niagara Falls. I smiled at his uncontainable outburst and began soliciting predictions about whether Annie would survive her madcap […]

Applying Martin’s big words

Martin's Big Words

With the advent of the Common Core I have worked tirelessly this year to reboot my nonfiction units from something that was once a simple overview of headings, captions, and text features to an integrated understanding and application of nonfiction texts. I feel often, however, that I have come up short, particularly in asking my […]