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Posts tagged ‘Janice Ewing’

Teacher to Teacher: A Bridge to Diversity

By Janice Ewing

In a recent post on this blog, guest poster Stacey Shubitz talked about the values of mirrors and windows’ in children’s books, specifically in relation to their use as mentor texts. Stacey also expressed the view that books dealing with diverse characters and families should not be reserved for special months. I strongly agree, although I also feel that there can be value in highlighting particular groups at certain times, especially if it gives us, as teachers, the motivation to explore new texts, authors, or genres. Stacey also shared a list of excellent titles that may provide mirrors to some, windows to others, great readalouds/mentor texts for many. 

So here’s something I’ve been thinking about what are some strategies for the teacher who wants to embed more diversity into the classroom library, readaloud, and/or writers’ workshop, but has concerns about taking the leap into topics that might be controversial or out of his/her comfort zone? For most teachers in today’s climate, I would think (hope) that books featuring racial or religious diversity would not be cause for concern, other than that they portray authentic portraits, without stereotypes or tokenism. Can we say the same for books that portray non-traditional families, or explore sexual orientation? I think for many teachers, these are more complicated issues. 

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Teacher to Teacher: The Coaching Relationship

By Janice Ewing

If teaching is built upon a foundation of trust and mutual respect, nowhere is that more apparent than in the coaching relationship. Earlier in my career, my position as a reading specialist morphed into that of literacy coach. It was not a complete change, because the reading specialist role can and should incorporate sharing of strategies with teachers as well as direct work with students. There was a change in focus, though, and a lot of fuel for professional growth. One of the challenges of the literacy coaching role, I quickly learned, is to differentiate it clearly from that of supervisor or evaluator. True coaching is a collegial partnership. (See the work of Regie Routman and Cathy Toll for more on professional trust and coaching.)

Fast forward to this summer. Read more

Teacher to Teacher: Poetry Month

By Janice Ewing

I tend to have mixed feelings about special months designated for things that should be embedded into our teaching and celebrated all through the year. Take poetry, for instance. On the one hand, how bleak would the year be if we waited until April to incorporate it into our reading, writing, and teaching lives, and then dropped it like the much-maligned hot potato? Read more

Slice of Life 31: Possible Side Effects

By Janice Ewing

During the month of March, along with many others, I participated in the Slice of Life daily writing challenge (details at The facilitators did an amazing job, but, along with information they provided for first-timers, I would add the following –  Read more

Slice of Life 30: Lost and Found

By Janice Ewing

Lost in writing
is the good kind of lost
not the barren, colorless kind
we’ve all known so well Read more

Slice of Life 29: An Unexpected Book Club

By Janice Ewing

For as long as I can remember, my brother and I have led different reading lives. Growing up, I was the girl valiantly bringing home as many books as I could carry from the neighborhood library each week, in addition to collecting and devouring my beloved Nancy Drew mysteries. He pored over the coveted action hero comics of the day with his friends, eventually moving on to war and crime novels, while I grew into a love of character-driven realistic fiction.  Read more