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Posts tagged ‘reading’

Building Community in a Bigger Space – The Library

*** 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

Free Students from the Chains of the Bookroom

By Rich Mitchell

      I have a theory about novels. As a high school teacher, I assume that the dim, damp, locked bookroom across the hall from my classroom is similar to many if not most high school bookrooms around the country. Copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Huckleberry Finn, and Heart of Darkness, line the shelves, some tattered, some new; some Everbound, some paperback. My theory is this: We teach books like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Huckleberry Finn, and Heart of Darkness because our schools own them. They’re great books, don’t get me wrong, but aren’t the true reasons we use them financial and practical? Do we not order ten new copies of The Great Gatsby annually because we already own so many other serviceable copies? Can we deny that we work with To Kill a Mockingbird because it’s easier and cheaper than finding a new book, written by a living author, with similar, yet more current themes, and no SparkNotes?  Read more

The Core Six

 by Nora Ziegler

            This summer I began to worry about how I needed to change my teaching strategies to help my third grade students meet the challenges of the Common Core, so I did what I always do – I found a book chock full of great ideas I could implement in my classroom.  That book was The Core 6: Essential Strategies for Achieving Excellence with the Common Core by Silver, Dewing, and Perini, published by ASCD in 2012.  What a goldmine!  As Heidi Hayes- Jacobs says in the forward, this book is actually an edu-toolkit with instructional strategies that should be implemented at all grade levels.  Here are briefs on each of the strategies: Read more

A Closer Look at Close Reading: What Really Matters

Falling in Love with Close ReadingBy Lynne R. Dorfman

    Kate Roberts, Maggie B. Roberts, and Chris Lehman engaged a rather large audience in their interactive workshop session about close reading texts and close reading lives at the 103rd Annual NCTE Convention in Boston. They gave us some practical advice and helped us define close reading in terms of what it should not be and what it could be. Read more

Reflections from Keystone State Reading Association

by Lynne Dorfman & Janice Ewing

Keystone State Reading Association’s annual conference provides opportunities for friends and colleagues from across our state to gather in one place to listen to thoughtful presentations. A variety of speakers from many states as well as Pennsylvania deliver new ideas and make powerful connections to classroom experiences. One of our mentors, Janet Allen, opened with a statement that made us continue to think about implications. Basically, Janet told us that with all the mandates that are coming to us from the federal, state, and local levels, we are still trying to improve literacy without increasing the number of minutes that children read each day. Read more

Magic Cupcake

by Rita Kenefic

As a child, I relished a visit to Gruber’s Bakery for a “magic cupcake”.  What was so special about this chocolate treat?  The dab of whipped cream in the center made an already delectable cake something special.  These weren’t just ordinary cupcakes.  They contained an element of surprise and magic that kept you coming back for more. Read more