*** This week we decided go back to archives and reshare this wonderful post by librarian Chris Kehan, which originally appeared on our blog two years ago. Below, Chris shares how community is something that can be nurtured and grow beyond the classroom walls―and especially how our libraries can be at the center of that growth.
By Chris Kehan
For the past four years, setting up my classroom has been different than it was for the previous nineteen years. Having taught in the regular education classroom for those nineteen years, I made the leap into library media specialist. While I still see myself as a classroom teacher, my classroom just grew in size and so did my number of students. Creating a space where students, teachers, and parents feel welcome and safe to take risks is extremely important for librarians. Most libraries are situated in the center of the school; hence it’s the hub of activity. “Entrance through our doors admits one to infinite worlds, magical kingdoms, and the treasure trove of knowledge created by our world’s best thinkers, artists, and scientists.” (Grimes, 2006) Read more
By Tricia Ebarvia
Although I’d been doing some form of independent reading for several years, with each year better than the one before, I came into last school year determined to commit in a way I hadn’t before. I wanted to find a way to make students’ independent reading a core component of their learning rather than something they did “on the side” or “in addition to” what we were doing in class.
Was I successful? I think so. Certainly there’s always room for improvement, but when I look back at last year, my 9th grade students together read more than 1000 books. That’s 1000 books in addition to the whole class novels they were assigned. That’s 1000 books I’m sure that would have gone unread had I not made the time in class for students to develop independent reading habits.
by Stacey Shubitz, September’s Guest Blogger
A powerful way for teachers to embrace diversity is through the careful selection of mentor texts. All students deserve to read mirror books, in which they can see themselves, and window books, in which they can learn about others. This means teachers must have books that represent a variety of religions, races, and sexual orientations on classroom bookshelves during all months of the year, not just the ones with special designations (e.g., Black History Month, Women’s History Month).
Children need exposure to books that mirror their life experiences. Classrooms with minority students need books with minority protagonists. Children with same-sex parents need opportunities to access books with other children who are navigating the world with a family that looks different than the “mom, dad, 2.2 kids, dog, and white picket fence” scenario most books often show. When children see their lives mirrored in books, it allows them to feel safe, thereby giving them permission to write freely about their own lives in the texts they compose. Read more
By Rita Sorrentino
We see them everywhere: magazines and newspaper advertisements, billboards and business cards, cereal boxes, web pages, and even on items of clothing. Do these popular pixilated marketing images have educational value? Certainly!
First, what is a QR code? Quick Response (QR) codes are two-dimensional barcodes that are created with a QR Generator and then scanned with a QR Reader. QR Readers transform print and physical worlds into digital realities. By downloading a free app on a digital device, you are able to scan the matrix-designed QR code, which will then lead you to a website, video, document file, contact information, or some other data.
What do you and your students need? You and your students need a device with Wi-Fi access to scan and read the QR code. A variety of mobile devices such as Smartphones, iPads, Tablets, and Laptops can scan and interpret the code. With regular access and use, QR Readers can be implemented into many aspects of the curriculum. Without doubt, teachers and students will find creative uses for QR codes in and out of the classroom. Read more
By Lynne R. Dorfman
How can you tempt your students to take the writing plunge in the beginning of the year? I have always found that poetry is the great equalizer for student writers. Especially, the found poem helps writers gain confidence in creating something quite wonderful. Mentor texts for found poems are everywhere: newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, novels, picture books, or even other poems. Like a collage art form, the writer simply takes existing texts and refashions them as a poem. In its purest form, a found poem retains the exact words of the original text with a few omissions or additions. The writer creates a poem, making conscious decisions about line breaks and the order of the ideas.
Found poetry accomplishes several goals for readers and writers. First of all, it clearly gives students a chance to read like a writer – to find the best in prose (what often sounds like poetry). It asks readers to reread many times in order to write an effective poem; thus, deepening comprehension of text. Found poetry helps all children to be successful. It will help you get what all teachers want – 100% engagement. Found poetry is easily differentiated by text choices. In addition, it is easy to build in opportunities for collaboration. Read more