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June 12, 2017

Urgent Plea To School Leaders: Budget for Books

In this post, I share some examples of teachers explaining how lack of books impacts their planning, and a checklist and suggestions for administrators who want to build a culture of authentic reading in their schools.

May 23, 2017

Noticeable Shifts in the Big Questions on Students' Minds

This year, I revived a poetry station which I haven't used in three years: bibliomancy. In it, students ask a question, and use a special process involving books to write a poem prophesying the future. Reading the questions they ask always gives me pangs of compassion for my students, who are in the throes of adolescence. What caught my attention this year, though, was a new category of questions I had not seen before--questions about humankind in general, and its future.

April 28, 2017

Planning a Demo Lesson: Critical Thinking Is Key

In a demo lesson for a teaching position, make sure to create opportunities for students to think critically. This may sound obvious, but it can be difficult to maintain that space when you don't know the students and you're working in such a high pressure situation. For the members of the hiring committee I was on recently, this became a crucial factor in our decision. Here are some suggestions for making sure the students are doing higher order thinking in a demo lesson.

April 05, 2017

Five Steps To Revolutionize Whole-Class Novels

In my previous post, I discussed the debate around whether to teach whole class novels. In the field, this conversation can get quite polarized, but we shouldn't be limited to this either/or scenario. As a profession we can do better than a decades old stalemate. I believe we must revolutionize, not drop, the whole class novel. The five strategies below are steps toward that end.

March 15, 2017

What Do We Do About the Whole-Class Novel?

The debate around the use of novels in English classes of all age groups is at least twenty years old, but it remains unresolved, continually bubbling up in blog posts and conversations among a wide range of concerned educators: what do we do about the whole class novel? In this post, I analyze the state of current teaching trends with regard to novels, and offer two propositions for moving the debate forward.

January 24, 2017

How to Talk About Sexism in the Classroom

Educators and others who think about social issues--I can use some help: I got into a conversation with students in English class today about sexism, brought up by a pattern (out of the classroom, but among our students) of MS boys making critical comments about girls' bodies. In the course of an energized, basically positive conversation, some boys brought up that girls can be sexist, too. In a moment that I could have handled better, I argued against this, instead of probing further.

January 17, 2017

Understanding Students With Broken Relationships to Reading

Many of our struggling readers did not grow up with a consistent reading ritual at home; instead, they were exposed to books mostly in school. What was that context like for them?

December 20, 2016

Focus on Meaningful Interactions With Students This Holiday Season

Meaningful conversations and content in class mean a little more right now. Any break from school, but especially the holidays, bring more than the usual amount of chaos in students' lives--both at school and at home. While anxiety can build and emotions can run high, our words can be reassuring and inspiring. Whatever we leave students to think about is going to sit with them a little longer and differently than on any normal school day or week.

October 18, 2016

Help Students Toward Reading Complex Texts Independently: No More Training Wheels!

How exactly do we help students to be able to read complex texts on their own? Do we give them texts that are well above their reading levels and apply as much scaffolding as we need to get students through it? Or do we meet readers where they are with more accessible text selections first and build their independent reading skills?

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The opinions expressed in Teaching for the Whole Story are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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