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From the Classroom: If You Build It, They Will Come

By Tricia Ebarvia

Last week, I shared how I organize my classroom library. But how did I build my library? How did I know what books to include? And how do I keep it fresh and inviting for students? This week, I share the answers to these questions and more.


Three years ago, my first attempt at a classroom library was a collection of titles that I’d read during and after college. Well-loved copies of books like A Farewell to Arms, Pride and Prejudice, and Mrs. Dalloway sat along side more contemporary fiction I read for pleasure when I had the time, titles like A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Time Traveler’s Wife.  As an English major and general book nerd, it was a lot of books!  That was also the year I was teaching AP Lit, so many of those “English major” titles were going to come in handy with the independent reading I was planning on having my seniors do.

But I soon realized that while many of these titles were great for AP Lit students, they weren’t so great for my other classes, Read more

From the Classroom: A Labor of (Book) Love

By Tricia Ebarvia

I wrote earlier this year about my efforts to foster a culture of reading in my classroom. I reflected on the ways reading has shaped how I experience the world. I considered how my reading practices and preferences affect my students, both positively and negatively.

As a result, I dedicated more and more class time to independent reading this year than I have ever before. I replaced mini-grammar exercises with book talks. I read the books my students read and recommended to me. I cut down on whole class novel analysis and gave students what they said they needed most—time. Time to read, read, and read some more.

But I’d be remiss not to also mention that extra ingredient which made our reading community possible: a classroom library. Read more

Tools of the Trade: Podcasts

By Rita Sorrentino

radio“Radio: it ties a million ears to a single mouth.”

In All the Light We Cannot See, author, Anthony Doerr, uses this powerful statement to emphasize the propaganda broadcasted across Germany to support Hitler’s agenda, and to give us a glimpse into the character Werner Pfenning, a boy with an enchantment for tinkering with electronic circuitry and a passion for seeking new knowledge and ideas through radio communication. Before only state-sponsored radio programs filled the airwaves, Werner and his younger sister, Jutta, secretly listened to a French Professor who sparked their curiosity about the changing world. The idea that “the brain has power to create light in darkness” lingered with Werner while he tried to block out the ultimate future awaiting boys growing up in an orphanage in the German mining town of Zollverein.   Read more

How I Became a Middle Grade Author: It’s Not a Lone Pursuit | Guest Post by Jeff Anderson

This month, we are absolutely thrilled and honored to have the Jeff Anderson blogging here at Write.Share.Connect. Below, Jeff shares the process of writing and publishing his first middle-grade novel, Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth (Sterling, 2015).

By Jeff Anderson

I started writing for children in 1994.

Yep, that’s right. I know. It’s 2015.  But every writer eventually wants to be published, and the good news is, in August I will celebrate the release of my first middle-grade novel, Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth (Sterling, 2015). It took me a winding road of over 20 years, but it happened…after a lot of practice. Read more

Monday in the Middle: Wonder,

Another installment of Monday in the Middle with librarian and media specialist Gabija Fischer!

Wonder by RJ Palacio

wonderRJ Palacio’s Wonder is the story of Auggie’s transition from homeschool to attending a traditional school. This in itself would be a challenge for anyone, but Auggie, born with severe facial deformities, must also combat the stares, fear, and avoidance of his peers. But the struggles aren’t Auggie’s alone. His parents wonder if they’ve made the right decision: how can they protect him from the cruelties of the world while give him the freedom to mature too? And his sister, Via, a constant source of love and support suddenly becomes self-conscious of her image as Auggie’s sister. Read more