Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Donalyn Miller: No More Language Arts and Crafts

This morning, I simply have to share a post from Donalyn Miller over at It says so many things I want to say about reading and reading instruction. And while it may seem a bit critical at first, pay attention to what Donalyn says here:

"I’m still learning how to be a better teacher. I’ve missed a lot of chances to connect my students with reading. I’ve created negative reading experiences in my classroom. I didn’t know what I know now. I learned. I grew. I evolved. I improved. I was a novice teacher once, but I’m not new any more. When you know better, you do better. No excuses."

If you are a teacher, I hope you will read the entire post, and then, as quickly as you can, read The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild. I also hope (if you aren't already a fan) that you will read all you can by:

Penny Kittle -
Kristin Ziemke -
Kelly Gallagher -

When we know better, we can DO better.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Asperger Experts

I am SO excited to share this with you today! I've known, taught, and observed people with Asperger's Syndrome since I was in elementary school (though I didn't know it at the time.) Most people I know in the education field, especially parents and teachers who love someone with AS, are constantly searching for better ways to help that person be successful. 

Danny Raede and Hayden Mears, both of whom have AS, have developed a Facebook page, a blog, a coaching/mentoring program, reasonably priced video products, and a website, where there are links to 47 video clips posted on their YouTube channel that you can access for FREE!

Here's an example: 

Amazing, right? And who is better equipped to teach us about Asperger's Syndrome than real people who have it?

Many thanks to Erica Falvey, who shared this site to the FB group Encouraging Teachers. I'm SO glad to know about it and to share with you, and I hope you'll help spread the word to your friends and colleagues.

For more information about Asperger's Syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders, go to the wonderful Autism Speaks website.  

Monday, 11 August 2014

Teri Lesesne: Singing the Praises of Books and Reading

It's true that Sunday was yesterday, but I simply can't NOT share this "sermon" from Teri Lesesne, posted over at Nerdy Book Club.

Teri says, in part, "Our first priority is, of course, service to the students who come into our classrooms. In the picture book The Three Questions by Jon Muth, Nicolai has three burning questions: 'What is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?'" 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Picture Books for Science AND

I'm on the deck this morning with four, yes FOUR, grandbabies 4-years-old and under. They've been having a fine bubbles party, which of course leads this retired (or "expired," as one little friend put it) science teacher to think about science.

I've also been on Pinterest, where I found a link to a great blog post from Erica, over at What Do We Do All Day. You NEED to go:

I love books, and reading, and science -- and I believe in combining them as much as possible. With the emphasis in CCSS on nonfiction, teachers have a wonderful opportunity to teach reading and science as a two-for-one! 

I'm also a fan of Readworks, which provides more than 1,000 leveled literary & nonfiction passages with questions, as well as comprehension & novel units, and skill & strategy units. You simply can't go wrong there.

Erica recommends The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer. Cross-reference with Readworks, and you find a complete 3rd grade unit to use with that book! It includes a detailed lesson plan in three parts:
  1. Teacher Modeling and Questioning
  2. Guided Practice and Discussion (with a graphic organizer)
  3. Student Independent Practice 
If you are new at teaching close reading, this is for you. If you aren't new, well, here's a lesson you don't have to create! As always, you should make it your own by tweaking any part of it.

Be sure to look at all the books in Erica's list, and while you're looking at the Readworks links, check out what else is available there, for FREE. Just register, and everything on the site is yours. Enjoy!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2014

In a blog post one year ago, I shared links to great resources for studying about Dr. King's life. I hope they serve you well!