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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

"I know from personal experience (growing up Jewish in a non-Jewish community) that school around this time can feel isolating," writes Ariel Sacks.

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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