(Thanks to Karrie Fansler, James Cantonwine, Jodi Stevens, and everyone else who refers great blogs.)
- For our middle school friends, Lanny Ball has a new post on Two Writing Teachers about beginning a unit with a keynote. How do you open units (Calkins or otherwise) in a way that provides students with affirming, positive reasons for engaging in new concepts, knowledge, and skills (and hopefully emotionally engaging texts, tasks, targets–all related to a powerful topic)?
- Jennifer Gonzalez, from Cult of Pedagogy, returns with a post relevant to all literacy educators: “How to Stop Killing the Love of Reading.” There are many misconceptions out there in classrooms about choice reading–from SSR (or DEAR) to heavily “activity-ized” reading approaches. One thing seems fairly clear from the research–kids won’t love reading just because they SSR 15 minutes a day, nor will they all grow their reader identity via logs, responses, reports, charts and circles. In all things a balance…teachers who spend time conferring with readers and investing in their interests have classrooms with more kids who actually read.
- Up for a longer, but nonetheless, interesting discussion on teaching reading? Ed Week hosted a multi-part conversation with some leading educators about “Creating Joyful Moments in Reading Instruction.” An excerpt:
“More choice, more options, more interest, more students. Reading is an absolutely critical skill, one so important that we must be willing to accept that not all kids will find the same content interesting or engaging. Turning the reading assignments into something the child chooses will increase the likelihood that they will read and read with purpose. Supporting them along the way with reading strategies, assistance with comprehension, and an encouraging voice to help them continue to challenge themselves are all methods that teachers use—now I just encourage them to use the methods around books and reading of choice” (Laufenberg).
- Moving Writers is another fantastic blog with many great ideas and approaches for literacy educators. Its most recent post details an approach with an interesting acronym, Facts And Relevant Thoughts, designed to support students with research, going beyond “kids frantically skimming and scanning articles for ‘good quotes’ that back up their main ideas. They end up trying to cherry-pick things that seem relevant rather than truly understanding what is relevant” (Maguire 2017).
- Side note–Moving Writers has a “dropbox” with dozens and dozens of mentor texts…free resources!