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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Teaching, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 420
1. big headed

Some more great work by these kids, way to go!

age 11
age 10

age 6
age 8

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2. more coming...

Just can't get enough...notice the bird has caught a fish!

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3. I'm over here!

...just powering through spring break, teaching art camp for kids ages 6-12. What an amazing group, it's never been this fun! The theme of the week is paper, and we've made our own, played with pulp, made some marionettes and today built a complete paperland. Here's a peek:


I'm so proud of these guys (and the ones I didn't show are great too), awesome job, and kind of inspiring...

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4. Tropical Rain Forest Sky Ponds — Margarita Engle

Here’s a poem by Margarita Engle from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science.

engle tropical jpg

Looking for more ways to connect science and poetry? Here’s a great place to start.

The post Tropical Rain Forest Sky Ponds — Margarita Engle appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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5. Poems About Science — Margarita Engle

My passion for poetry is combined with a love of nature. As a children’s book author, botanist, and agronomist, I don’t see why I should have to choose. There was a time when many naturalists also wrote poetry. During the twentieth century, specialization became the norm, and most scientific writing was strictly technical.

science front cover jpeg

Now, with THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY OF POEMS FOR SCIENCE, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong offer teachers and students a chance to once again unite the two. Verses written in many styles help teach a wide variety of specialties, through the voices of an amazing array of poets.  I feel fortunate to have several botanical and ecological poems included. Even better, some of them are offered in a bilingual format.

The tropical island of Cuba has always been at the heart of my writing. As my mother’s homeland, it was the place where summer visits to relatives inspired my childhood love of nature. At the same time, I was an avid reader, and poetry books were my favorites, so any opportunity to combine nature and culture in my writing is treasured. My new verse novel, SILVER PEOPLE, is not only a historical tale about the laborers who dug the Panama Canal.  It is also a love letter to the tropical rain forest, using the voices of animals and plants to convey the astounding diversity of life forms.  In my middle grade chapter book in verse, MOUNTAIN DOG, I filled an adventure story with scientific facts.  Several of my picture books—currently in the illustration stage—combine poetry with science.

In short, one of the reasons I love writing for children is the freedom to experiment.  Unlike scientific works written at the specialized professional level, books for children can be filled with fascinating factual information, without sacrificing the beautiful mysteries of language.

Margarita Engle is a poet and novelist whose work has been published in many countries. Her books include THE SURRENDER TREE, a Newbery Honor book and winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the Pura Belpré Award, the Américas Award, and the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award; THE POET SLAVE OF CUBA, winner of the Pura Belpré Award and the Américas Award; and HURRICANE DANCERS, winner of the Pura Belpré Award. Her most recent book, SILVER PEOPLE: VOICES FROM PANAMA CANAL, released March 25.

The post Poems About Science — Margarita Engle appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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6. Parent practices: change to develop successful, motivated readers

Oxford University Press is a proud sponsor of the 2014 World Literacy Summit, taking place this April. The Summit will provide a central platform for champions of literacy from around the globe to come together and exchange points of view, knowledge, and ideas. We asked literacy experts Jamie Zibulsky and Anne E. Cunningham to discuss the importance of literacy on this occasion.

By Jamie Zibulsky and Anne E. Cunningham

Being literate involves much more than the ability to sound out the words on a page, but acquiring that skill requires years of development and exposure to the world of words. Once children possess the ability to sound out words, read fluently, and comprehend the words on a page, they have limitless opportunities to learn about new concepts, places, and people. To say that becoming a reader gives one the power to change is an understatement. In fact, attempting to detail the many ways that reading can foster personal growth and development without writing an entire book on the topic is truly challenging!

Children’s capacities to build the many skills required to access text are, to a large degree, determined by their environments. Parents and teachers play a critical role in introducing children to the sounds of words, the print on a page, the ideas and concepts that provide the background for comprehension, and the structure of stories. For these reasons, if we want to ensure that all children have the opportunity to become successful, motivated readers, we need to think about the power the adults in their lives have to change children’s literacy trajectories.

The language and literacy experiences of young children are largely social in nature, and both the environment and the adults that care for them initially guide children’s development. In fact, psychologists point out that language development occurs first as a social act between people and then later as an individual act, as we gradually internalize the directions, strategies, and advice of more skilled others by verbalizing them to ourselves. Similarly, to make sense of the written symbols used to convey any language, children need guidance from the adults in their lives. Talking and reading together with children is a powerful way to help them gain entry to the world of words, and doing so most effectively may require parents to change their current practices.

The kids reading together. photo by Valerie Everett. CC BY-SA 2.0 via valeriebb Flickr.

The kids reading together. Photo by Valerie Everett. CC BY-SA 2.0 via valeriebb Flickr.

Here are some powerful tips that families can use to make shared reading time supportive and effective for young children learning a variety of languages:

  • Let your child take the lead during reading time. We often think of reading together as a time when a parent reads a story to a child straight through, page by page. Instead, let your child take more of an active role by using the pictures to narrate the story, answering your questions about aspects of the book, or sounding out some words independently. This may feel like you and your child are swapping your regular reading roles. And that’s exactly what we want you to do. Even before children are able to read independently, they are ready to be active participants in book reading experiences. Giving them these opportunities helps children build stronger language skills, and provides some insight into their skills and interests.
  • Give your child hints, rather than providing the answer, when he is struggling. This support helps the child solve the problem in a way that allows him to feel competent and to learn from the situation, but also lets the adult to guide the child through the problem-solving process. In addition, it gives him the chance to successfully experience tasks he would not have been able to tackle alone, or that would otherwise make him become frustrated and give up.
  • Identify your child’s strengths, and those reading skills he or she already possesses. Providing experiences that build on the skills your child already possesses will allow her to enhance her learning capacities. If you think about almost any activity you expect your child to complete, you can probably think back to a time when you completed that activity for her. Gradually, over time, she took more responsibility and was able to do more of the task independently. This is not only true for activities like getting dressed and tying shoes, but also for language and literacy tasks, as well as tasks that require memory and concentration.
  • Label the behavior that you want your child to display, and praise it specifically.  Praise and encouragement from parents is a powerful motivational tool. Because shared reading is such a social activity, much of your child’s initial pleasure in reading together may come not primarily from the stories that he hears, but from the joy of sitting in your lap and spending time together. Your child values the time you spend together and will, over time, begin to value the books in front of him and the strategies needed to make sense of them. You can help him build his reading motivation by praising specific skills he displays, like listening carefully, sounding out words, and making great predictions.

Each of these tips helps set the stage for a successful shared reading experience, but may require change on the part of parents to help foster a powerful and engaged reader. These changes, though, help empower children to identify themselves as readers from the time they are young. And this strong foundation prepares them for so many challenges they will face in the future, so doing everything one can to raise a successful, motivated reader is one of the best gifts a parent can give any child.

Anne E. Cunningham, Ph.D. and Jamie Zibulsky, Ph.D. are the authors of Book Smart: How to Develop and Support Successful, Motivated Readers. Anne Cunningham is Professor of Cognition and Development at University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Education and Jamie Zibulsky is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Learn more at Book Smart Family.

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The post Parent practices: change to develop successful, motivated readers appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. “Kids Don’t Learn from People They Don’t Like”

Great talk for my teacher friends in the crowd–and for all of us who have had great teachers or just wished we had!

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8. Anaphora — Margaret Simon

I am particularly fond of poets laureate.  In my experience, every one I have met has  a gentle, generous soul.  Ava Leavell Haymon is no exception.  She is the Poet Laureate of Louisiana for 2013-2014.  She recently came to my hometown for a poetry reading.  The best part of her visit was the personal time I was able to spend with her.

As a poet and teacher myself, much of our conversation turned to poetry and teaching.  She told me about the technique of using anaphora.  Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases for poetic effect.   In her latest collection, Eldest Daughter, Ava uses anaphora in a few of her poems.  She explained to me how this technique helps you focus on the details.  A simple test: Read this poem aloud and then list all the details that you remember.  There are probably quite a few.

2014-01-13 17.03.55

Color of the Moon

Anyone can name a baby
Anyone can name the town, too, at least in theory
Anyone can name the color of the moon

Who can name the last time?
Who can see it coming far enough ahead?
Who can find the marigold bed?
Who can remember the smell?

Anyone can guess what happened
Anyone could forget the next day
Anyone could hear the conviction in her voice
Anyone could see she has it all mixed up
Who could forget a thing like that?

Who can see as far as the river?
Who can try any harder than she did?
Who could leave after that? Who could stay?
No one says the same thing any longer
No one remembers the last thing they said
No one quite remembers how they got there
No one wants to be outside alone

–Ava Leavell Haymon, used with permission by the author

Another poet-friend, Clare Martin, used this technique in a poem she had published in the Mad Hatters Review.


This morning the house empties its sugar.
This morning something good has gone to rot.
This morning fire catches the pillows under our heads.
This morning the ground quakes with your rising.
This morning the night no longer haunts the air.
This morning the mirror reflects another mirror. Who is there to see it?
This morning we feed ourselves silence after silence.
This morning the cup cracks.
This morning: a new sun.
This morning crooked lines right themselves.
This morning the cat reveals her throat in a yawn.
This morning we walk into spider webs.
T his morning grief sours on our tongues.
This morning is written on a blank sky.
This morning a woman becomes more herself.
This morning there are shards of china under our bare feet.
This morning we weep in our sewing.

–Clare L. Martin, all rights reserved

This method of writing a poem works for students in upper elementary through high school.  Much like the I am From poem form of George Ella Lyons, the repetition of a line helps focus the poem.  For my students in 6th grade, I gave them a list of possible beginning words to use, such as anyone, someone, today, yesterday, in time, when I knew you, this morning, everyone, everybody knows, for you, until, how often, etc.

Whenever I ask students to write to a prompt, I write too.


Something rustles the leaves.
Something steams on the stove—
beans, tomatoes, thyme.
Something sounds like the morning,
but the sun is low in the sky.
Something rocks the chair.
Something chimes in the distance—
a church bell? a neighbor’s wind chime?
Something enters this poem without
me knowing it’s there.
Something squirms in the window.
Something sparkles in her hand—
a crystal? glint of glitter?
Something feels as soft as my grandmother’s cheek
When I kissed her goodbye.

–Margaret Simon

Margaret Simon is a Mississippi native who married into a Louisiana life.  She lives on the Bayou Teche in New Iberia, Louisiana with her husband, Jeff.  Their now empty nest once housed three daughters, Maggie, Katherine, and Martha.  Margaret has been an elementary school teacher for over 20 years, most recently teaching gifted students in Iberia Parish.  She has published poems in the journal The Aurorean, and wrote a chapter about teaching poetry to young children for Women on Poetry published in 2012 by McFarland  & Company, Inc. Publishers.  Border Press published her collection of poems with her father’s Christmas card art, Illuminate in fall of 2013.  Blessen, a novel for young readers, was published in April 2012, also by Border Press. In her teaching profession, she has a Masters degree in Gifted Education and certification by the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards.  Margaret writes regularly about teaching, writing, and living athttp://reflectionsontheteche.wordpress.com.



The post Anaphora — Margaret Simon appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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9. Come to one of our free Credenda College Webinars

I’ve been working at Crendenda — a virtual […]

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10. Call for Presenters: 2014 Indiana Writers' Consortium

Indiana Writers’ Consortium (IWC) is pleased to announce the extension of its annual networking dinner to include an intimate, high quality, and affordable half-day writers’ conference on October 11, 2014. The conference, which will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Merrillville, Indiana, will include multiple afternoon breakout sessions and be followed by a dinner and keynote address by Barbara Shoup, author of seven novels, executive director of Indiana Writers Center, associate editor of OV Books, and an associate faculty member at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.

IWC seeks proposals from individuals and groups who are at different stages in their writing careers that will represent a broad range of perspectives and experiences. Presentations may include topics such as:

· Writing and craft
· Business of publishing
· Creative writing pedagogy
· Academic and community program development
· Genre trends

Interactive individual presentation, four-to-five person panels, creative writing workshops, and round table discussions are welcome.

Submission Instructions:

Deadline: May 1, 2014

Submit: A 250-word abstract that includes the session title, description, format, and presenter names. Each presenter should include a 50-word bio and .jpg photo.

Submit to:

indianawritersconsortiumATgmail.com (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

Please indicate “IWC Half-day Conference Proposal” in the subject line.

Questions may be directed to: Janine Harrison at:

indianawritersconsortiumATgmailDOTcom  (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

Indiana Writers' Consortium inspires and builds a community of creative writers. We are dedicated to educating writers through speakers, seminars, and children's programs. IWC provides educational and networking opportunities for writers in all stages of their careers. We are a nonprofit organization incorporated in Indiana in 2008 and a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

The Indiana Writers' Consortium inspires and builds a community of creative writers. Like us on Facebook.

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11. It's a Wrap!

It's time for a report-out and a shout-out because we finished the six-week online UW-Madison CE class: Power Children's Programming - on a Budget! Although I organized the information and loaded it up on the platform, I can tell you that each and every student made this a deep, useful (and...krikey I don't have enough praise-worthy adjectives to express the phenom that happened) course.

From the start, the class of 24 librarians from libraries of all sizes in WI and across the country jumped in and shared, cared, supported and explored programming. There were "Aha!" moments, "Oh no!" moments and discoveries about programming made everywhere.

At the beginning of the course, I told the class I didn't have the answers, only the questions everyone should ask themselves when we begin to put our programs together. And I asked everyone, no matter their circumstance or experience, to share generously in the discussion boards their own journeys, program ideas and discoveries. And did they ever. It was nothing to see 200 substantive posts a week, chock full of deep thoughts and great program ideas.

A huge thank you to the library folks in class for making this the experience that helped me learn so much more about programming and your libraries than I ever dreamed I could. I am so wealthy after these six weeks that's it's hard for me not to be all

(Thanks to Sara Bryce, my blog is sporting it's first gif!)

We didn't use a textbook. Rather, the class went through blog posts related to our content written by many of our thoughtful colleagues. So a gigantic high five goes out to you, my blogosphere friends and colleagues. YOU made this course as well:  Abby at Abby the Librarian,  Amy at Catch the Possibilities , Amy at the Show Me Librarian,  Angie at Fat Girl, Reading, Anne at so tomorrow,  Beth at Beth ReadsBrooke at Reading with Red,  Carissa at Librarymakers, Cen at Little eLit, Julie at Hi Miss Julie, Leah at Keeping Up with Kids, Lisa at Thrive After ThreeMel at Mel's DeskSara at Bryce Don't Play, Tessa at Growing Wisconsin Readers and the many contributors to the ALSC blog who shared programs.      

The sharing of ideas sparked by the blog posts and the class made it a totally worthwhile trip. And now that the CE teaching bug has bit, what should I teach next?!?!                

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12. Classroom Connections: WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE by Rebecca Behrens

age range: middle grade
setting: the White House

Please tell us about your book.

WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE is about what happens when Audrey, a somewhat lonely thirteen-year-old First Daughter, finds Alice Roosevelt’s long-lost diary hidden under the floorboards of a White House closet. After reading about Alice’s wild antics—carrying around a pet snake to parties, going for joyrides in her red runabout, traveling to Cuba, and throwing a huge White House debut—Audrey is inspired to find her own ways to “eat up the world.” But trying to live like Alice threatens to get Audrey into more trouble than she can handle—and may even affect her mother’s political career.

WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE features fictional diary entries from Alice’s point of view, along with an author’s note, bibliography, and many ancillary resources available on the publisher’s website (such as an Educator’s Discussion Guide, Women’s History Month lesson plan, and ALICE FOR REAL, an annotated version of the diary entries).

What inspired you to write this story?

Growing up, I was fascinated by children living in the White House. I’m still interested today in what private life is like for presidential families. Particularly when President Obama was elected in 2008, I wondered how the lives of his daughters would change as they headed to Washington. I imagined that there would be a lot of wonderful and exciting opportunities for them in the coming years—and probably some hardships, too. The idea of a “First Daughter” feeling a little isolated and constrained stuck with me and soon developed into Audrey’s character.

I also had long wanted to write fiction about Alice Roosevelt’s wild life. Interest in Theodore Roosevelt runs in my family—my great-grandfather was present at the famous speech TR gave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after TR had been shot in an assassination attempt. My father is a history buff and told me many stories about the Roosevelt family, and I found Alice particularly fascinating.

Then one day I was walking near 62nd and Madison in New York, and suddenly I had the initial spark to combine those two story ideas into one. Interestingly enough, while researching I found out that Alice’s aunt had lived at that very intersection, and that was a place where Alice had spent time as a young person. Weird!

Could you share with readers how you conducted your research or share a few interesting tidbits you learned while researching?

Much of my research was done the old-fashioned way: heading to the public library and checking out lots and lots of books on Alice Roosevelt and White House life. I also used many online resources, including official White House websites, the White House Historical Association, National Parks Service sites, and unofficial pages that detail White House history.

I also was fortunate enough to be selected to attend a private White House Social garden tour. With about twenty other attendees, I got to tour the grounds and meet with White House employees. It was so helpful to get to see this particular setting in person, and to experience things like the security process for visitors.

While I was writing the first draft, a good friend happened to work in the West Wing. It was great to be able to send someone there an email asking, “What would happen if someone ordered a pizza to Pennsylvania Avenue?” Some of my friend’s responses made me interested in aspects of White House life I wouldn’t have thought of myself, such as food security at the White House.

What are some special challenges associated with writing historical fiction?

For me, it was challenging to balance the occasionally competing demands of factual accuracy and good fiction. Especially because I had so much information about Alice’s real life, I felt a bit of a responsibility to respect the facts while writing her diary entries. Sometimes, though, it felt more true for my Alice’s story to stray from what really happened, either because it fit the character I’d created or because it tied the two girls’ stories together more neatly.

Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to write the best piece of fiction possible, so I would have to side with that. Within reason, of course—I worked hard to make my Alice character as believable and true to her time period as possible.

I also think it can be tricky to get period writing for contemporary readers right. I hope Alice’s voice is believable as that of a seventeen-year-old in the early 1900s. I’m sure I’ve included a few anachronistic words here and there, even though I did rely heavily on the online etymology dictionary and other resources to see when terms came into use! But I also wanted her words to flow nicely and stay accessible for young readers today.

What topics does your book touch upon that would make it a perfect fit for the classroom?

Presidential politics
Theodore Roosevelt, Alice Roosevelt, and family
Women in politics
Civil Rights and the 14th Amendment
Marriage equality
White House history and White House life
Women’s History Month
Researching fact versus fiction
Labor politics (Coal Strike of 1902)

Be sure to visit Rebecca Behrens at her website.

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13. Meeting My Beloved and his Black Leather Gloves...

Despite my occasional moans about the early trains I have to catch, I do enjoy the March school visits season.  I love interacting with the children. The one big drawback to being an illustrator is that it is easy to spend far too long on your own in the house.

Before the days of school visits, when I worked as an editorial illustrator and in the early days of doing the children's books, I used to get a bit stir-crazy. Being an illustrator might sound glamorous, but mostly it's just day after day in four walls, with only a computer and a drawing desk for company. In fact, I first met John because I decided I needed to interact with the world, before I lost the power of speech! 

I'd not long moved to Sheffield, so didn't know many people and thought teaching at the local art college might be fun and help me make new friends. It was actually pretty scary to start with, but I muddled through and ended up lecturing for about 7 years, going from 1 day to 3 days a week. 

I taught all sorts - Printed Textiles (that's what my degree is in), Life Drawing, Print-making (a lot of learning as I went along), Photoshop (even more learning as I went along!) and, of course, Illustration. John and I shared an office and discovered we were living on the same side of Sheffield. I had to get 2 buses to the college, so John started giving me a lift home after work and the rest, as they say, is history. 

I think this is one of the first paintings I have of John, from those very early days in the 1990's. We'd not been married long:

We've been married for over 20 years now, so some of it is a bit hazy, but I do clearly remember fancying him in his black leather driving gloves, during those lifts home from the college!

I didn't used to keep a sketchbook as addictively in those days, so this is a much later sketch: the slightly older model, with a few more dints (don't tell him I said that, will you?).

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14. Notes on a Sentence from "The Death of the Moth"

Forced by some reductive power to declare a single favorite essay, mine would be "The Death of the Moth" by Virginia Woolf. It is a marvel of concision, and yet it contains the universe. It is an essay both personal and cosmic, material and spiritual.

Whenever I teach writing, I use "The Death of the Moth" as an example of the interplay of form and content. (While I have seldom met a pairing I didn't want to deconstruct, the form/content binary is one I continue to find useful. Yes, the separation is problematic — what, in language, is content without form or form without content? — but I also find it a valuable way to talk about concepts that are otherwise invisible or easily muddled.) Usually, I take one sentence, scrawl it out on the board, and pick it apart. It's not always the same sentence, but recently I've been using this one:
Yet, because he was so small, and so simple a form of the energy that was rolling in at the open window and driving its way through so many narrow and intricate corridors in my own brain and in those of other human beings, there was something marvellous as well as pathetic about him.
The first thing to do is break the sentence apart. Here's one way:


because he was so small, 
and so simple a form of the energy that was rolling in at the open window 
and driving its way through so many narrow and intricate corridors in my own brain 
and in those of other human beings, 

there was something marvellous 
as well as pathetic about him.

One thing we can do is try to paraphrase the basic meaning of the sentence, to get at what it says and does before we tackle the how.

It says that there was something marvelous and something pathetic about the dying moth. It doesn't only say that, of course, but that gives us a starting point. All right. How does it say what it says?

The first word sets the sentence up in opposition to what has come immediately before it. The second word prepares us for answers to a question we don't necessarily know yet.

And now we can't avoid questions of form. The sentence is complex and, especially on a first reading, beguiling. It is possible that this sentence is difficult because Virginia Woolf is a bad writer, or she was half-asleep when she wrote it, or some other flaw. After all, this essay was not published in Woolf's lifetime. Maybe she thought it was a dud.

This is where, in class, I bring in Peter Elbow's believing/doubting game. In academia, we're used to playing the doubting game. We seek out flaws, weaknesses, troubles. But if we switch our frame of thinking, new insights are possible. Let's assume, for instance, that we are not smarter than the writer. Let's assume that the writer was vastly more skilled and intelligent than us. Let's assume that there are no flaws. Such an assumption (game) forces us to seek the reasons, rather than condemnations, for what perplexes us.

(As I said above, this is my favorite essay. Woolf is one of my favorite writers. I completely believe she was more skilled and intelligent than I. I have to force myself into the doubting game with Woolf, because all I want to do is believe, believe, believe. But I'm talking pedagogy here. My students typically find the essay boring and pointless, and they think Woolf writes difficult sentences to annoy them. I like to find ways to circumvent those feelings other than screaming, "Stop being an arrogant and defensive reader!")

If we look back to how I broke the sentence up above, we can see that it can break into three major parts: the introductory word (a transition that positions the sentence in relationship to other sentences), the because section, and the final statement. We know what the introductory word does, but what about the middle section? What does it do, particularly in relationship to the final statement?

The middle section elongates or prolongs. It keeps us away from the final statement. It's important, then, to look at how it does that: not with a randomly long statement, but with phrases connected with the word and. (Here, I often read the middle section aloud at least once, dramatically emphasizing the word and at the start of each section. The and between narrow and intricate can be a little confusing, as it's connecting something different from the other ands, but that's why I don't separate it out visually. I've sometimes thought of replacing the word with an ampersand.)

Each of these ands serves to push us away from the final statement one more time.

Thus, the sentence does to us what the moth is doing: it fends off, for as long as it can, finality. The moth's struggle is replicated in the sentence's structure.

Part of the wonder of "The Death of the Moth" is that it achieves so much in so few words. It does so by uniting form and content in a specific way. Over and over, the essay replicates in its structures what it is "about". Again and again, Woolf forces the reader to consider scope. We move from the very tiny to the cosmic. The cosmic is shown to contain the microscopic, the microscopic to contain the cosmic. Life is strange and death is strange, and the two are also, like form and content, inseparable.

It's not known when Woolf wrote the essay. It's tempting to read it as something she wrote late in life, as she struggled against her fears and depression as World War II began. But the insights of the essay are more universal than that, and the struggle the speaker identifies with is one that Woolf expressed through much of her life. (In the sixth volume of The Essays of Virginia Woolf, Stuart N. Clarke writes that "it might have been composed in September 1927", but it's also just as likely that it might not have been.) The essay captures not only the scope and scale of existence, but it also represents many of the recurring ideas in Woolf's writing.

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15. Calling all English teachers in Malaysia and Singapore!

Helloooooo to all my fellow English teachers in Malaysia and Singapore. Please encourage your students to join the Scholastic Writers' Award 2014!

If you are in Malaysia, check out this link. And if you are in Singapore, check out this link. :o)

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16. Calling all English teachers in Malaysia and Singapore!

Helloooooo to all my fellow English teachers in Malaysia and Singapore. Please encourage your students to join the Scholastic Writers' Award 2014!

If you are in Malaysia, check out this link. And if you are in Singapore, check out this link. :o)

0 Comments on Calling all English teachers in Malaysia and Singapore! as of 3/8/2014 5:10:00 AM
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17. Classroom Connections: ICE DOGS by Terry Lynn Johnson + Giveaway

age range: middle grade
setting: the Alaskan wilderness
discussion guide

“A page-turner full of white-knuckle action. . . . Readers will be riveted until the end.”
—Publishers Weekly

“[A] thoroughly engaging and incredibly suspenseful survival story. . . Well-crafted, moving and gripping.”
– Kirkus

 Please tell us about your book.

 ICE DOGS is about 14-year-old Victoria Secord, a dogsled racer who loses her way in a blizzard on a training run near her home in Alaska. She rescues Chris, an annoying city boy, and together they must trust the dogs and each other in order to survive.

 What inspired you to write this story?


 I used to own eighteen Alaskan Huskies. My dog team and I shared many exciting adventures together out on the trail. But the thing I most wanted to share in my novel was the respect, trust, and partnership between a musher and her dogs. It’s a special bond that goes beyond owning a pet dog. Sled dogs have a job, they are relied upon and they know it. Watching them navigate thin ice or a tough trail with obstacles, you can see them thinking things through and working together. And they absolutely LOVE to run.


 Mad frothing love. That kind of passion is inspiring and made me want to write about it.

Could you share with readers how you conducted your research or share a few interesting tidbits you learned while researching? 

 I didn’t have to research much since I’ve run dogs near Nenana, Alaska years ago, and of course, have known quite a few entertaining sled dogs whose characters come out in this story. But I did peel the bark off some birch and eat the cambium underneath, which wasn’t as bad as it sounds. And I forced my hubby to drink twig tea with me. Yum!

 For interesting tidbits about dogsledding, readers can visit my website – I’ve listed a few things they might enjoy.

 What are some special challenges associated with writing Middle Grade?

 The challenge I’ve repeatedly encountered in my writing is which shelf the novel will go on. This may sound strange, but there is a grey area around books with main characters between 13 and 15. Is this story middle grade or young adult?

 I enjoy writing about characters who are in this tween time of their life. They’re interesting and full of drama and hope and new ideas and firsts. It was a magical time in my own life as well. And the books I read at that age made a huge impact on me.

 What topics does your book touch upon that would make it a perfect fit for the classroom?


There are an increasing number of classrooms who follow the major dogsled races. Some of them such as the Iditarod, the Pedigree Stage race, the Yukon Quest now have a great educational component. The “teacher on the trail” program usually includes a blog written by a teacher, which other teachers can follow with ideas and lesson plans. Here are just a few:


One copy of ICE DOGS is up for grabs! To enter, leave a comment below about something you learned from this interviewThe contest closes Wednesday, 3/5.


The post Classroom Connections: ICE DOGS by Terry Lynn Johnson + Giveaway appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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18. A Tip for Growing Bookworms: Avoid Bookshaming

A post at the Nerdy Book Club this week really made me think. Priscilla Thomas, an 11th grade teacher, wrote about the repercussions of what she called "bookshaming". Thomas says:

"To be clear, opinion and disagreement are important elements of literary discourse. Bookshaming, however, is the dismissive response to another’s opinion. Although it is sometimes justified as expressing an opinion that differs from the norm, or challenging a popular interpretation, bookshaming occurs when “opinions” take the form of demeaning comments meant to shut down discourse and declare opposing viewpoints invalid."

She goes on to enumerate five ways that bookshaming (particularly by teachers) can thwart the process of nurturing "lifelong readers." I wish that all teachers could read this post. 

But of course I personally read this as a parent. Thomas forced me to consider an incident that had taken place in my household a couple of weeks ago. We were rushing around to get out of the house to go somewhere, but my daughter asked me to read her a book first. The book she wanted was Barbie: My Fabulous Friends! (which she had picked out from the Scholastic Book Fair last fall). 

I did read this book about Barbie and her beautiful, multicultural friends. But at the end I made some remark about it being a terrible book. And even as I said it, I KNEW that it was the wrong thing to say. Certainly, it is not to my taste. It's just little profiles of Barbie's friends - no story to speak of. But my daughter had picked out this book from the Book Fair, and she had liked it enough to ask me to read it to her. She seemed to be enjoying it. And I squashed all of that by criticizing her taste.

Two weeks later, I am still annoyed with myself. Priscilla Thomas' article helped me to better understand why. She said: "When we make reading about satisfying others instead of our own enjoyment and education, we replace the joy of reading with anxiety." What I WANT is for my daughter to love books. And if I have to grit my teeth occasionally over a book that irritates me, so what? 

Rather than continue to beat myself up over this, I have resolved to be better. The other night I read without a murmur The Berenstain Bears Come Clean for School by Jan and Mike Berenstain, which is basically a lesson on how and why to avoid spreading germs at school. As I discussed here, that same book has helped my daughter to hone her skills in recommending books. It is not a book I would have ever selected on my own. But I'm going to hold on to the image of my daughter flipping to the last page of the book, face shining, to tell me how funny the ending was. 

Growing bookworms is about teaching our children to love reading (see a nice post by Carrie Gelson about this at Kirby Larson's blog). They're not going to love reading if we criticize their tastes, and make them feel anxious or defensive. I'm sorry that I did that to my daughter over the Barbie book, and I intend to do my best not to do that again. If this means reading 100 more Barbie books over the next couple of years, so be it. Of course I can and will introduce her to other authors that are more to my own taste, to see which ones she likes. But I will respect her taste, too. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate.

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19. Mr. Terupt Falls Again: Rob Buyea

Book: Mr. Terupt Falls Again
Author: Rob Buyea
Pages: 368
Age Range: 9-12 

Mr. Terupt Falls Again is billed as a "companion" to Rob Buyea's Because of Mr. Terupt. I suppose this is because Buyea wrapped things up pretty thoroughly in Because of Mr. Terupt. You don't need to read this as a sequel in the sense of having to find out how things play out. However, for all practical purposes, Mr. Terupt Falls Again looks like a sequel to me. It features the same teacher and the same kids, albeit in a physically different classroom. Yes, the seven kids from Because of Mr. Terupt are back with their teacher, Mr. Terupt, as sixth graders (and yes, just knowing that is a spoiler for the first book - it can't be helped). If you haven't read Because of Mr. Terupt, and you like realistic fiction set in and around schools, you'll want to rectify the situation immediately.

Like it's predecessor, Mr. Terupt Falls Again centers on a subset of the kids in a classroom, a classroom led by a risk-taking, energetic teacher. The perspective shifts from kid to kid, from chapter to chapter. All of the chapters are quite short, helping to move things along quickly. The book is divided into months across the school year. 

As in the first book, Buyea's understanding of kids, and of classroom dynamics, is evident on every page. This kids are as real as it gets. The problems that they face as sixth graders reflect their growing up. There are plotlines dealing with a girl trying to grow up too quickly (stuffing her bra, hanging out with older kids), a girl getting her first period (and not knowing what to do), and a boy resisting going off to boarding school next year. There are also the first inklings of boys and girls "liking" each other, though in a completely PG way.

There's a scene that takes place with the kids at a town carnival, forming into tentative couples, with the boys trying to win prizes for the girls. This SO took me back to the Fourth of July weekend carnivals in my own home town (though I didn't personally have any boys trying to win me prizes when I was in sixth grade). Buyea gets the feel of the carnival, and mix of the excited and insecure thoughts of the various kids, just right. I could practically smell the fried dough. 

There is a bit of suspense in Mr. Terupt Falls Again. Observant Luke notices that Mr. Terupt (who suffered a brain injury in the first book) is displaying some physical weakness. We don't know while reading along (and I won't say), what the "falls again" of the title refers to. There's also an abandoned baby, discovered by Jeffrey, lending pathos more than suspense, I suppose. As an adult reader, I worried the potential consequences of Lexie getting in with the wrong crowd. But I also appreciate very much the way that Buyea, in a non-didactic way, opens up paths by which parents and/or teachers can initiate discussions with kids.

Some of the resolutions in Mr. Terupt Falls Again may be a tiny bit idealized, but I personally don't think that there's anything wrong with showing the upsides of: 

  • Talking openly with your parents;
  • Being loyal to your friends;
  • Finding the right sport or hobby; and
  • Trusting your teacher

Rob Buyea is the real deal, creating authentic kids, and throwing realistic and age-appropriate problems at them. The Mr. Terupt books belong on the shelves of school and classroom libraries everywhere that fourth to seventh graders are to be found. While the "getting your period" and "stuffing your bra" plotline in Mr. Terupt Falls Again may make boys uncomfortable (even Mr. Terupt is a little uncomfortable), there is so much else here that will resonate with boys that I hope they'll read it, and talk about it, anyway. Highly recommended for kids, and their parents. Mr. Terupt Falls Again is a satisfying conclusion to this short series. I hope to see other books from Rob Buyea in the future. 

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (@RandomHouseKids
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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20. Art After School

Kids Art Center classes are back in session - nice work guys!

owl monoprint

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21. For Anyone Concerned About Homeschooling in NC

I have had several conversations lately about the state of homeschooling in our lovely state of NC. And as a homeschooling mom, I am more than glad to discuss this issue with anyone who asks. Here are a few things to help answer any questions in case more folks want to know: 1. I homeschool […]

6 Comments on For Anyone Concerned About Homeschooling in NC, last added: 9/8/2013
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22. Literary Fellowship: Kenyon Review

In 2012, The Kenyon Review welcomed the first of its KR Fellows. This initiative was inspired by the great tradition of Kenyon Review literary fellowships awarded in the 1950s to writers such as Flannery O’Connor and W.S. Merwin in their formative years. These fellowships represent a significant fulfillment of one aspect of our continuing mission: to recognize, publish, and support extraordinary authors in the early stages of their careers. We believe that after two years, these KR Fellows will be more mature and sophisticated writers, teachers, and editors. As a result, they will be extremely attractive candidates for academic positions as well as for significant publishing opportunities.

General Information

This two-year post-graduate residential fellowship at Kenyon College offers qualified individuals time to develop as writers, teachers, and editors. Fellows will receive a $32,500 stipend, plus health benefits. Fellows are expected to:
  • Undertake a significant writing project and attend regular individual meetings with faculty mentors.
  • Teach one semester-long class per year in the English Department of Kenyon College, contingent upon departmental needs.
  • Spend approximately 15 hours per week in non-teaching semesters assisting in creative and editorial projects for The Kenyon Reviewand KROnline.
  • Participate in The Kenyon Review Summer Programs.
  • Participate in the cultural life of Kenyon College by regularly attending readings, lectures, presentations, and other campus activities.


Eligible candidates must meet the following requirements:
  • An MFA or PhD in creative writing, English literature, or comparative literature completed before October 1, 2013 but no earlier than January 1, 2008.
  • Teaching experience in creative writing and/or literature at the undergraduate level.

Application Details

Applications will be accepted electronically beginning September 1 and ending October 1, 2013, and should include the following:
  • A cover letter
  • A curriculum vitae
  • An 8-10 page writing sample
  • An unofficial transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation, one of which should directly address the applicant’s teaching ability
All application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted by October 1st, 2013 for full consideration. There is no application fee.


  • September 1st – October 1st, 2013 • Application Period
  • November, 2013 • Applicants notified about first round decisions
  • December, 2013 • Online interviews with semi-finalists
  • January, 2014 • Kenyon College campus visit for finalists
  • February, 2014 • Final decisions
  • August 15th, 2014 • Fellowship begins

Contact Information

For questions or more information please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page
Or contact:
Tory Weber
Associate Director of Programs and Fellowships
The Kenyon Review
Finn House
Gambier, OH 43022

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23. Where’d she go?


She got summoned for jury duty and never came back . . . well, it felt like that for a while at least. I got called in for jury selection on the morning of September 18 and wasn’t released until the afternoon of October 3rd. Would you believe I was juror 46 out of 51 and I still ended up sitting as an alternate for the trial? I think by the time they got to me, they were desperate.

And what a trial. 1st degree murder. I won’t go into the details because honestly, the people involved don’t need any more publicity. AND the sooner this event fades from my own memory the better. Let’s just say I know more about deciphering blood splatter evidence than your average citizen. For all you fans of trigonometry, this is your field!

So, I’m back going through the motions of my normal routine, thirteen dollars a day richer, with the thanks of the county, worn out and weepy, trying to catch up on the mountains of grading that piled up unattended while I was attending to my civic duty.

You see, substitute teachers teach, they don’t grade, so tests, reports and assignments waited patiently for me to get back and NOW THEY ALL NEED TO GET DONE. Yikes! 112 hours got sucked out of my life; it’s already two weeks later, and still I haven’t figured out how to squeeze them back in.

Photo © Aleksandar Radovanovic

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24. Call for Presentations: Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY

As teachers of literature and creative writing, the conference asks the larger question: How do we make a literary life and literary citizenship possible both for our students and for ourselves?
This is an interdisciplinary call extended to teachers and graduate students. Additional topics are welcome.

Deadline for submissions is November 15, 2013. Send abstracts (minimum of 250 words) or inquiries to:

Dr. Margaret Barrow or Dr. Manya Steinkoler
Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY
English Department, Room N751
199 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007
Telephone: (212) 220-8000 x7282


mbarrowATbmcc.cunyDOTedu or msteinkolerATbmcc.cunyDOTedu 
(Change AT to @ and DOT to .)

The website.

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25. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 7

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There is some exceptionally good stuff in the Growing Bookworms section this week.

Also, in my quest to make it easy for people to keep up on these sorts of children's book and literacy-themed stories, I have a question for readers. Do any of you use Flipboard (app for reading news stories on tablets - lets you set up your own customized set of topics and shows stories magazine-style)? At the suggestion of Sheila Ruth, I've been dabbling in Flipboard a bit, and I am wondering if people would find some sort of Literacy Links Magazine there useful. But on to the links!

Valentine's Day

Fun! Write on, Valentine! FREE Printables for Your Favorite Writers & Readers from @MrsPStorytime http://ow.ly/thJFR

A celebration of hearts – 7 Valentine’s Day activities (all reading-friendly) for families | @wendy_lawrence http://ow.ly/thD3j

Book Lists and Awards

Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals longlists announced @TelegraphBooks http://ow.ly/thAR2 via @PWKidsBookshelf #kidlit

Some fine SFF #yalit on the Locus Recommended List! including @Gwenda http://ow.ly/tfiAw

Wow! Impressive, categorized list of 125+ Must Have Children's Books from @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/tfgPz #kidlit

New booklist at Stacked: Get Genrefied: YA Urban Fiction http://ow.ly/tfgrL @catagator #yalit #kidlit

Season of the Witch: A #YAlit Reading List from Stacked http://ow.ly/t9Yt1 @catagator

Encouraging Scientific and Engineering Practices with Picture Books @michaeltcarton guests at Darlene Beck-Jacobson http://ow.ly/teR9V

2014 @yalsa Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers | @tashrow http://ow.ly/tjK60 #yalit

2014 @alscblog Notable Children’s Books–Younger Readers | @tashrow http://ow.ly/tjKbk #kidlit

2014 Notable Children's Books for Middle Readers from @tashrow http://ow.ly/2bbCvX #kidlit

ALA Award Reactions

Fun stuff, w/ photos and videos | The 2014 Youth Media Awards: Things I Love — @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/tfir3 #kidlit

Librarians React to the Youth Media Awards | ALA Midwinter 2014 | @sljournal http://ow.ly/torzB #kidlit

Common Core

Getting Up to Speed on Common Core: An ABPA Panel @PublishersWkly http://ow.ly/thAnW via @PWKidsBookshelf #commoncore

In the Classroom: Some Questions from @medinger About Some #CommonCore Lessons | educating alice http://ow.ly/tosMH

Gender, Books, and Diversity

Suggested books for young children that include "casual diversity" from @FuseEight http://ow.ly/thDE7 #kidlit

Is Pink a Girl Color? And Other Questions We Should Quit Asking, focusing on readers not gender by @cathymere http://ow.ly/tfhAM

BoysReadPinkIt's time for the Fifth Annual Guys Read Pink Month! @MsYingling w/ celebrity sponsor @AVance_Author http://ow.ly/tfhPX

35 Multicultural Early Chapter Books for Kids from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/tffUZ #kidlit #diversity

Growing Bookworms

Sigh! Setting Children Up to Hate Reading http://flip.it/4ewWg

Here's a fine resource for parents | 100 Ways to Grow a Reader from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/tffvi #literacy

Collecting #100ReasonstoRead @Scholastic | Share yours: http://ow.ly/tfjZL #literacy

Solid advice! How to Raise a Reader: 5 Tips for Parents from @delightchildbks http://ow.ly/tfdVx #literacy

Non-Fiction Love | On how nonfiction helps kids develop reading comprehension skills @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/tjJ6i #CommonCore

5 Tips for Parents of That Precocious Reader | @NYPL via @librareanne http://ow.ly/torYL #literacy

Just Interesting

A useful resource: Book Chook Favourite Online Image Makers for kids http://ow.ly/tfhlw @BookChook

Must read from @EllenHopkinsYA On Finding Peace in Living (re: addiction, her daughter's + Philip S. Hoffman) http://ow.ly/thCac

What say you on this news: J.K. Rowling questions Ron and Hermione's relationship http://ow.ly/tfeHX #kidlit


Inscription Magazine is a new pub w/ fantasy & science fiction for teens http://ow.ly/t9XeC #yalit via @CynLeitichSmith

Let's Cekebrate International Book Giving Day says @BookChook http://ow.ly/2bbD1i

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

RT @NUSLibraries: Sharing an interesting article: Why Printed Books Will Never Die http://flip.it/6wcq3 via @mashable

RT @PWKidsBookshelf: 9 life lessons everyone can learn from these beloved children's books | Huff Post http://flip.it/EJkas

What makes an adult book right for teens? asks @StyleBlog http://ow.ly/t9X3t via @tashrow #reading

RT @tashrow The Netflix of kids’ books? Epic launches on iPad for $9.99/month — Tech News and Analysis http://buff.ly/1dLdRgO #kidlit

RT: @Librareanne: Young Adult Literature Is Better Than You Think http://fb.me/6s8L2I4rP

Dark YA RT @HMHKids: "Even if your kids aren’t going through a difficult situation, it’s likely their friends are." http://ow.ly/t7ZGK


Words of wisdom | Why Not Letting Your Kids Do Chores Hurts Society and Me | @SensibleMoms http://ow.ly/thBrI

Useful post for parents from @cmirabile | Advice to My 10 Year Old Regarding SnapChat Hack http://ow.ly/th3EO

Schools and Libraries

Nice! New Teacher’s Reading Guide: Ten Steps to Turn High School Students Into Readers by @shkrajewski @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tfg7X

Excellent Choice! Judy Blume Named Honorary Chairman of National Library Week 2014 | @infodocket via @sljournal http://ow.ly/torpb

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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