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1. The Stories for All Project: 60,000 New Books to Increase Diversity, Promote Inclusivity

When children see their lives reflected in the books they read they become more enthusiastic readers. Their educational outcomes improve. They succeed in school and in life.

But few books actSFAP Pie Chart Infographicually reflect the cultures and circumstances of the kids First Book serves, all of whom live in low-income households and many of whom are of minority backgrounds. In fact, a mere 11 percent of 3,500 children’s books reviewed by Cooperative Children’s Book Center this year are about people of color.

This is the reason we created the Stories for All ProjectTM – the only market-driven solution to increase diverse voices and promote inclusivity in children’s literature.

Today, we’re proud to share our latest news with you: With support from Target, KPMG and Jet Blue Airways, First Book is making 60,000 copies of outstanding children’s titles featuring diverse characters and storylines available for the first time ever in affordable trade paperback format, to fuel learning and educational equity.

We chose these titles fromStories for All group photo hundreds submitted by publishers with input from the 175,000 educators and program leaders we serve. By aggregating the demand and purchasing power of this educator community, we have become the first organization to create a viable and vibrant market for books that reflect race, ability, sexual orientation and family structure in our ever-diversifying world.

Each of our selections contributes unique perspectives underrepresented in children’s literature while remaining relatable to all readers. As part of this current effort, First Book is thrilled to make available two titles by new picture book authors:

  • “Niño Wrestles the World” written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
  • “And Tango Makes Three” written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole
  • “Tiger in My Soup” written by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
  • “Boats for Papa” written and illustrated by new author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley
  • “Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah,” written by first-time children’s author Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls,
  • “Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me,” written by Daniel Beaty and illustrated by Bryan Collier

Copies of all six titles will be available through the First Book Marketplace.  The first three titles are also available for the first time in paperback format on Target.com and at Target stores nationwide.

Every day, in communities around the country and around the world, we see the critical need to further our human understanding and embrace the gifts and experience each of us brings. The Stories for All Project and promotes understanding, empathy and inclusivity with stories that can help all children see and celebrate their differences and similarities.

The post The Stories for All Project: 60,000 New Books to Increase Diversity, Promote Inclusivity appeared first on First Book Blog.

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2. Rufus Goes to Sea – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Rufus Goes to Sea Written by: Kim T. Griswell Illustrated by: Valeri Gorbachev Published by: Sterling Children’s books, April, 2015 Themes/Topics: pirates, pigs, adventure, reading & writing, stereotypes Suitable for ages: 4-8 Sequel to Rufus Goes to School Opening: Rufus Leroy William III … Continue reading

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3. First Book Joins White House to Bring Thousands of e-Books to Kids in Need

iStock_000014235579MediumWe know that access to books – in all forms – is critical for children to develop into readers.

Now, through a new White House-led initiative, First Book is helping connect children in need across the country with access to thousands of e-books. The initiative, announced today by President Obama, is part of a broad effort to ignite kids’ love of reading by improving access to digital content and public libraries.

Through the initiative, called Open eBooks, publishers are providing $250 million worth of e-books for free to children from low-income families. 10,000 of their most popular titles will be included.

The books will be accessible through an Open eBooks app, which is currently being developed by the New York Public Library, the Digital Public Library of America and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Once complete, the app and all the e-books will be available to programs and classrooms serving children in need through First Book.

Know someone working in the lives of children in need? Encourage them to sign up with First Book.

The post First Book Joins White House to Bring Thousands of e-Books to Kids in Need appeared first on First Book Blog.

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4. L is for Love ~ A to Z 2015 Challenge



In celebration of Literacy, I'm chatting about a cause near and dear to my heart...

Numerous studies from both government and the private sector provide clear evidence that early reading skills are an investment in a child's future. Early reading skill development dramatically affects the quality of life for children as they grow into adulthood. Sadly, a recent article by Carole Dickerson on the Journal Standard website quoted a local social worker who stated that many of the parents in the homes she visits do not own a single children's book.  

This is quite shocking to me and in response, I am announcing a children's book drive within my county to support the Rockland County Department of Social Services. I encourage other authors of children's books to do the same or if you have gentle used children's books to please donate to the book drive.

I invite those interested in donating to contact me directly at donna@donnamcdine.com.


In my opinion, "the bare essence of learning to read opens up the world of exploration to a child. Across the curriculum it is imperative children grow in their reading capability so success in their classes can be had. Without the fundamentals it is very difficult to progress successfully."

"I believe in ‘paying it forward.' That one book donation may be all it takes to make a difference in a child’s life. By encouraging the love of reading in our young muses their look of wonder as they bubble with excitement on their next reading journey swells my heart."

I urge you to join me in my quest to ignite curiosity in children through reading by donating to the Rockland County Department of Social Services book drive.

A big shout out goes to... Beverly Stowe McClureMelissa AbramovitzPenelope Anne ColeEmma GloverSharon Stanley, Terri Martin, Denise Stanley, L. Diane Wolfe and Barbara Keahon for their generous donations! Thanks ladies...we are off to a terrific start! 

Deadline for donations April 30, 2015. 

I look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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5. Interpreting César Chávez’s Legacy with Students

Guest BloggerIn this guest post, Sara Burnett, education associate at the American Immigration Council, presents strategies and resources to enrich the classroom with the legacy of César Chávez. This blog post was originally posted at the American Immigration Council’s Teach Immigration blog.

“When the man who feeds the world by toiling in the field is himself deprived of the basic rights of feeding and caring for his own family, the whole community of man is sick.”   — César Chávez

César Chávez was a Mexican-American labor activist and civil rightsWhen the man who feeds the world by leader who fought tirelessly throughout his life to improve the working conditions of migrant farm workers. A man of great courage, he championed nonviolent protest, using boycotts, strikes, and fasting as a way to create sweeping social change. Importantly, his work led him to found the United Farm Workers union (UFW).

His remarkable achievements towards social justice and human rights serve as an excellent example to young people of how vital their voices are in bringing about change and championing causes that are as relevant today as they were in his day.

One group of middle school students in Fellsmere, FL has done just that by writing and producing a short news broadcast “The Hands That Feed Us: A Migrant Farm Workers Service Project,” highlighting the unfair labor practices and strenuous conditions of migrant farmworkers who pick oranges in their community. Their teachers are winners of the American Immigration Council’s 2014 community grants program which helped to fund this service-learning opportunity. Their project culminates with a school-wide donation drive for materials sorely needed for migrant farmworkers.

Inspired to enrich your classroom with the legacy of César Chávez? 

Start with a lesson

Interpreting the Impact of César Chávez’s Early Years

In this immigration lesson plan, students will understand how César Chávez’s adolescence as a migrant farm worker influenced his later achievements.  First, students will analyze how an artist and biographer have interpreted Chávez’s legacy.  Then by reading excerpts from Chávez’s autobiography, students will draw connections between how his early years shaped his later beliefs and achievements around organized labor, social justice, and humane treatment of individuals. Once students have read and critically thought about these connections, they will write a response supported with evidence from the text to answer the investigative question on the impact of Chávez’s early years and development.  This Common-Core aligned lesson includes extensions and adaptations for ELL students and readers at multiple levels.

Use visuals and picture booksCESAR

Appropriate for younger students, but inspirational for all ages, picture books have a unique capacity to captivate and educate. The following books all have linked teacher’s guides.

Poems to Dream Together/Poemas para Soñar Juntos by Francisco Alarcón pays tribute to those who toil in the fields, and to César Chávez. This is an excellent bilingual book to use in your celebration of National Poetry Month in April.

Amelia’s Road by Linda Jacobs Altman explores the daily life of migrant farm working in California’s Central Valley from a child’s perspective. According to the publisher, Lee and Low Books, “it is an inspirational tale about the importance of home.”

First Day in Grapes by L. King Perez follows Chico and his family traveling farm to farm across California where every September they pick grapes and Chico enters a different school. But third grade year is different and Chico begins to find his own voice against the bullies at his school

Calling the Doves / El Canto de las Palomas by Juan Herrera is the poet’s account of his own childhood as a migrant farmworker.  Beautifully illustrated and composed in Spanish and English, Herrera describes the simple joys he misses from his native Mexico as well as detailing his personal journey in becoming a writer.

A brief video Mini-Bio: César Chávez sets the foundation for older students to learn about the major achievements of Chávez’s life.

Initiate a community service project

Chávez was explicit about the need to serve one’s community. As a class, identify a need in your community and then brainstorm ways that students can make a difference from running a donation drive to decorating school walls in order to welcome all students and families.  Take inspiration from the students in Fellsmere, FL for a more intensive project and let us know about it and apply for our community grants.

Extend learning into the present state of migrant farm workers

Read How Inaction on Immigration Impacts the Agricultural Economy (American Immigration Council) and What happens when more than half of migrant workers are undocumented? (Michigan Radio)  Ask students: What is the status of migrant labor today in the U.S.?  How much has changed and stayed the same since Chávez’s early childhood?

Read Interview with a Crab Picker (Public Welfare Foundation) and explore what it is like to apply for U.S. jobs while residing in the home country.  Pair this reading with the short film about a Public Welfare Foundation grantee: Centro De Los Derechos Del Migrante, Inc. available on their website. Ask students:  How do these recent interviews and stories compare and contrast with the conditions facing Chávez and his family? How are some individuals in home countries benefitting from sending migrant workers to the U.S.?

Have more ideas on teaching César Chávez and his legacy with students?  We’d love to hear them.  Email us at teacher@immcouncil.org and follow us on twitter @ThnkImmigration.

Sara SelfSara Burnett is the education associate at the American Immigration Council, a non-partisan non-profit dedicated to honoring our nation’s immigrant past and shaping our immigrant future. She was a former public high school English teacher in Washington D.C. and Vermont. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she taught a service-learning and creative writing with undergraduates and recently immigrated high school students. Additionally, she holds a MA in English Literature from the University of Vermont, and a BA in English and Economics from Boston College. 

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6. Bookmark: What Were Comics?

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A dream team of comics scholars has been assembled, including Professor Bart Beaty, Unflattening author Nick Sousanis, and asst. professor Benjamin Woo, and using funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and The University of Calgary and Carleton University they’ve launched a website called What Were Comics? which will…well, it’s best to let them explain:

Our proposed project is the foundational step in a larger program of work that seeks to reorient the study of comics (comic books, comic strips, graphic novels) by introducing data-driven research to the field for the first time. During this phase of the research we have two specific and inter-related goals: first, we will create the most comprehensive online open-access research tool for the study of the American comic book; second, we will draw upon the data produced by this tool to rewrite the history of the American comic book as the development of a set of styles and techniques that existed across the industry as a whole. By exponentially expanding our sample set, we will shift the study of comics away from the broadly humanistic study of exceptional works and towards a more rigorous focus on works that typified cultural production over time. This perspectival shift in method will produce new theories of the comic book as we facilitate a move from asking the theoretically abstract question of “what are comics?” to the empirically-grounded question of “what were comics?”.


Now, what does that mean?

With this project, we are proposing to study a randomly generated sample of American comic books produced between 1934 and 2014. Specifically, we will study a statistically significant sample from each of those eighty years. In the first phase, we will code a series of relevant pieces of data (number of pages per issues; numbers of stories per issue; numbers of panels per page; number of word balloons per panel; number of words per balloon). During the second phase we will be looking at data that is more subjective and more difficult to quantify (for instance, typologies of panel transitions). In the final phase, we will draw upon the data set to author a study of the evolution of comic book styles over time.


For a start, they’ve counted all the 9-panel pages in Watchmen. You may have thought ALL the pages in Watchmen had 9 panels, but it isn’t so! Can you guess which issue had the most 9 panel pages? And WHY?

This is gonna be great.

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7. 7 End-of-Year Field Trips and Book Pairings That Your Students Will Love (but won’t break the bank)

Assessments may not feel far enough in the past (or perhaps haven’t even started!), but the end of the year is fast approaching and field trip planning is in full force!

It can feel like a scramble. For our final science unit in third grade, my colleagues and I wanted to teach our students about animal adaptions by raising trout in the classroom. It was an incredible opportunity to study the behavioral and physical adaptions of a specific species, but timing their release with a scheduled field trip was tricky. We didn’t know until a week ahead when the fish would be ready for release, which led to a mad rush to book buses.

In case you want to plan a field trip with more than a week of planning, here are some ideas with book pairings to get you ahead of schedule and your students excited!

Field trips

If your unit is…

  1. Habitats, Ecosystems, & Biodiversity

NYC field trip: Central Park Zoo

Book Pairing: Puffling Patrol

How to find puffins near you (if outside of NYC): Association of Zoos & Aquariums makes it easy to find a zoo or aquarium close to your school. Most zoo and aquarium websites will list the animals they have.

Virtual field trip: Puffin burrow bird cam from Explore.org

The art and facts are stunning in this Lee & Low book where children can learn about puffin adaptations and their life cycle. After reading about the adorable creatures, fall in love with the real deal: tufted puffins at the Central Park Zoo.

  1. The Solar System & the Moon

NYC field trip: Hayden Planetarium or Hudson River Museum

Book Pairing: A Full Moon is Rising

How to embark on moon exploration near you (if outside of NYC): Go-astronmy.com has put together a national map to search for local planetariums.

Virtual field trip: Amazing Space

Alongside the science, students love to study folktales and mythology from around the world featuring and explaining the solar system and moon. Introduce the significance of the moon in world cultures, with this Lee & Low title which gives readers a world tour of diverse celebrations and beliefs regarding Earth’s only natural satellite.

  1. Plant Adaptations

NYC field trip: Queens County Farm Museum and other farm field trips from GrowNYC.org

Book Pairing: Rainbow Stew, Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué rico! America’s Sproutings, and Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic

How to find a garden near you (if outside of NYC): Check out Better Homes and Gardens’ Garden Locator and the National Gardening Association’s Public Gardens Locator

Virtual field trip: My First Garden from University of Illinois Extension program


Share the joy of growing healthy food and the experiences of working the land with these Lee & Low titles!

  1. Life Cycles and Animal Adaptations

In NYC field trip: The Butterfly Conservatory at the Natural History Museum

Book Pairing: Leo and the Butterflies, Animal Poems of the Iguazu, and Butterflies for Kiri

How to find butterflies near you (if outside of NYC): Discover a butterfly house in your state. Also, the  Association of Zoos & Aquariums makes it easy to find a zoo close to your school.

Virtual field trip: Butterflies and Moths of North America, Journey North with monarchs, and Wildscreen ArKive

What better way to celebrate these amazing creatures than to marvel at their incredible adaptations up close?

 

  1. Natural Resources, Human Impact, & Sustainability

In NYC field trip: Hudson River Park

Book Pairing: Water Rolls, Water Rises and I Know the River Loves Me

How to find a body of water near you (if outside of NYC): The National Park Service has created the Find a Park search tool to discover a park by location, activity, or topic.

Virtual field trip: Interactive animation, “The NYC Water Story,” from American Museum of Natural History’s Water: H2O=Life exhibit

Foster respect and a sense of responsibility about the environment with hands-on, outdoors learning and these stunning stories that pack a powerful message about one of our most precious resources.

  1. Recycling

In NYC field trip: Sims Municipal Recycling: Sunset Park Materials Recycling Facility in Brooklyn

Book Pairing: The Can Man

How to find a recycling center or landfill near you (if outside of NYC): Many recycling centers and landfills offer student tours and you can find one near your school here.  It is recommended to call to see if the nearest one to you does school programs.

Virtual field trip: My Garbology from Naturebridge.org

Learn about the impact of recycling on the environment and human relationships.

  1. Physics: Forces & Energy

In NY State field trip: Baseball Hall of Fame or professional baseball stadium

Book Pairing: Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy, Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream, and Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer

How to find a baseball stadium near you (if outside of NYC): Maps are available to find the nearest major league baseball stadium and most offer student discounts or field trip tours. Minor League Baseball also has a map for its stadiums. For the most accessible option, check here and you can find a local baseball field for students to play themselves or see community members try out the laws of physics.

Virtual field trip: Exploratorium’s Science of Baseball

Long considered America’s “national pastime,” baseball has had major historic milestones paralleling societal changes and attitudes. Readers of all ages delight in learning about overlooked, but nevertheless significant, pioneers in the sport and trivia like the origins of baseball coaching signals.

Pair a Lee & Low title to your beyond-the-classroom-walls adventure to deepen background knowledge and create an interdisciplinary, multi-media experience. Young learners will never forget the time you made the book come alive with a visit to any one of these sights.

You may have a dozens of reminders set, but here is a thorough list to help you plan and execute a successful field trip from the educators at Learn NC.

Field Trip Funding:

  • DonorsChoose.org –For inspiration and proposal models, be sure to study what other teachers in your area and around the country are requesting for their field trips
  • Target Field Trip Grants—These are accepted in August and September only, but this grant option is one of the most popular for teachers around the country
  • ClassWallet
  • Every Kid in a Park—new initiative to help all fourth graders and their families explore our national parks for free
  • Ticket to Ride—National Park Foundation’s answer to transportation costs to and from the national parks and monuments
  • Student Achievement Grants—from the NEA Foundation
  • Road Scholarship from Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA) Foundation—financial aid for individual students unable to afford to travel
  • PTA—your local PTA may have additional opportunities, ideas, and grants to fund your field trip

Local funding options:

Resources for virtual field trips:

Free ipad Apps for Virtual Field Trips from Edutopia

What are your experiences and tips on bridging a field trip with classroom content? What books have you used in the classroom or at home to begin or culminate a learning adventure? Share with us!

Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her weekly column at The Open Book, she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

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8. Music video: It's All About The Books (parodies of Meghan Trainor's "All About The Bass")

Just came across these fun book-focused parodies of Meghan Trainor's "All About The Bass", like Mount Desert Island High School:

Also love this "All About That Book" video from Griffin Elementary's Literacy Night:

and "All About The Books" from Andover Elementary:

and from Calusa Elementary:

and from Christina Iadicicco on YouTube:

And they're all right, of course! It's ALL ABOUT THE BOOKS.

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9. BookRiot & The Harry Potter Alliance Team Up to Host a BYOB Book Drive

World Book Night UK 2015Earlier this year, the organizers behind the United States version of World Book Night announced its shut down. To retain some presence of this beloved event in this country, BookRiot and Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) will host a BYOB Book Drive.

In this case, BYOB stands for “bring your own, outrageous, outstanding, overflowing books.” Four meet-ups will take place on April 23rd (the same night as this year’s United Kingdom edition of World Book Night) in Chicago, Richmond, Washington, and New York City.

Here’s more from the announcement: “While we can’t provide multiple copies of favorite books to givers, we figure that if you’re anything like us you’ve got mountains of beloved books at home that you’re more than willing to share with others. So set aside some to donate, swap favorites and stories with fellow participants, and help the HPA’s Accio Books campaign reach this year’s goal of 60,000 books collected. With our powers combined!”

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10. Footballers’ Favourite Books

There’s this bizarre disconnect in my life where my work spans multiple, discrete fields, but the people who know me in a work sense tend to only know me in one field. For I write about social and environmental issues, football (soccer), and the arts and, for reasons both obvious and not, these worlds don’t […]

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11. Join the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf Podcast

Would you like to be a part of a storytelling conference call that supports you in your use of storytelling? If so, then enter your name and email address and you will receive personal invitations to participate in The Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf Conference call – most Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern. Name: Email: Share [...]

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12. Selection Is Privilege

AmyAmy Koester is the Youth & Family Program Coordinator at Skokie Public Library, where she 13089CT01.tifselects fiction for youth birth through teens and oversees programming aimed at children through grade 5. She is the chair of the ALSC Public Awareness Committee, and she manages LittleeLit.com and is a Joint Chief of the Storytime Underground. Amy has shared her library programs, book reviews, and musings on librarianship on her blog The Show Me Librarian since early 2012.

This post originally appeared on her blog The Show Me Librarian, and is cross-posted with her permission.

There is a conversation happening on the Storytime Underground Facebook Group right now. It’s been going on for a few days, actually, and it seems to have started innocuously enough: with a question about folks’ thoughts on the Youth Media Award winners, asked by a person who expressed “major shock” and disappointment (via frown-y face emoticons) about one of the Caldecott honors. As I said; innocuously enough.

Some folks who added to the thread brought up the perennial gripe that not all the recognized titles seem to have much kid appeal; other voices jumped in to clarify that kid appeal is not part of the criteria for any of the major YMAs awarded by ALSC and YALSA. I find this argument annoying the same way I do a mosquito bite, because it pops up every year around the same time and is irritating but will disappear in a week. After all, there are awards that take kid appeal into account.

But. Then something ugly and uncomfortable popped up. People started talking about certain books not appealing to kids or their entire communities for one reason: because said certain books have diverse protagonists.

Things people have said*:

  • “Sometimes I pass on even well reviewed books because I know they just won’t circulate. There aren’t any Greek gods in it! I also have a difficult time getting uh, diverse books to circulate in my community. When I started my job and weeded the picture books a huge number of non circulating titles had POC on the cover. ‘Brown Girl Dreaming?’ That’s a hard sell.”
  • “You can have my copy then. Because it won’t circulate where I am.”
  • “I just know it’s going to be a hard sell.”
  • “We have a copy, but I can count the number of black patrons my library has in two weeks on one hand. It is rural, middle class, white West Michigan. The only black author that circulates…at all…is Christopher Paul Curtis and that’s because some teachers require it. It’s not just the race of the characters either. If our young patrons want sports fiction they are going to choose Mike Lupica or Tim Green. The crossover has not circulated even one time since we got it. It’s not like Kwame can’t write. Acoustic Rooster checks out frequently.”

After reading the full thread and seeing this build-up of negative dialogue specifically around diverse award-winning titles in collections, I responded:

“I find it extremely problematic to suggest that a library doesn’t need a book–award-winner or not–that features a minority protagonist on the basis that there aren’t many readers of that minority who use the library. To me, that suggests both a bias on the part of selectors as well as a lack of trust in the readers we serve. We know verifiably that young readers do not only want to read about characters whose lives are like their own, and keeping them from even having the option to try a book about a person who is different from them is bordering dangerously on censorship. If a particular child does not want to read a particular book, so be it; but, especially in a public library, children should have that option.”

I am going to expand on that a bit.

First, and frankly, I find the position “because we don’t have X readers in my library, we don’t need X books” to be racist. This position implies that we as selectors view diverse books as inherently less-than. If we argue that only black youth will want to read about black youth, we are really saying that the experiences of black youth have no relevance or meaning to youth of any other race. We are saying that the experiences of the youth in the books we do buy have broader relevance and resonance. That is the very definition of otherizing and making a particular perspective, experience, or group less-than.

The position that “because we don’t have X readers in my library, we don’t need X books” also denotes a fundamental lack of respect for the children we are supposed to be serving. It suggests that we think our young readers cannot handle, relate to, or be expected to understand an experience that does not mirror their own. Not collecting—and collecting but not promoting—titles with diverse protagonists projects the selector’s own bias onto the reader instead of letting readers freely encounter stories and information.

Also, I feel very strongly that if the excellent diverse books in your collection do not circulate, you are not doing your job of getting great books into the hands of readers. As librarians, we can sell any great book to the right reader. We can find the aspects of a title that will appeal to the range of readers we serve. Diverse books have the exact same appeal factors as the whitewashed majority of children’s publishing. So we can be professionals and make our readers’ advisory about appeal factors, or we can continue to always take kids interested in sports reads to Matt Christopher or Tim Green instead of to Kwame Alexander. But if we do the latter, we are part of the problem. If we omit diverse titles from our RA even though those exact same appeal factors are there, we are perpetuating a racist status quo.

I want to take a moment to step outside of what I have to say on this topic and share what some other professionals have said*:

  • “Good collection development policies should emphasize a variety of things, but one of them should most definitely be diversity. The goal of a public library is not just to serve as a mirror for our community, but to serve as an open door to the world, which includes giving our communities opportunities to walk in the shoes of characters very different from them. This, to me, is part of our education goals, to help our patrons gain a broad perspective of the world. If books don’t circulate there are things we can do to help promote circulation, including book displays, book talks, sharing book trailers and more. Yes, budgets are tight every where, but we should absolutely make sure that we actively are working to build diverse collections because it is an important part of helping us fulfill our primary mission to our local communities. And the idea that not one single person in our local communities wants or needs to read books that highlight diversity concerns me because it suggests that we don’t have enough faith in our kids to learn, grow and step outside of their comfort zones.”
  • “I think it is a PRIMARY JOB of librarians, specifically youth services librarians, to promote and encourage diversity in our collections, budgets be damned. After all, I spend way too much of my money on crap like Barbie and Disney princesses … which circulate like *gangbusters*. But if I went on just that, I’d have a very shallow collection.”
  • “The point: if the only way you know how to sell a book is ‘it’s got brown people’ then you might’ve missed the point of the story.”
  • “If you want to champion diversity in a place where people are resistant, sell the story, not the character’s color or orientation.”
  • “And I absolutely hate that people use the excuse ‘well, they just don’t circulate in my library.’ That speaks the the librarian’s failings.”

When it comes down to it, a major aspect of this topic is selection/collection development, and the fact that selection is a privilege. If you select materials for your readers, you are privileged to get to influence not only what children read, but what they have access to in the first place. And when I read arguments against including diverse titles, or questions about why we have to talk about this topic, it puts into sharp focus for me the fact that we have to recognize our privilege as selectors, and, more than likely, as white selectors for diverse readers.
selection is privilege
If you find yourself thinking “I don’t need this title because we don’t really have many X readers here,” your privilege is showing. You have probably never had to open more than one or two books in a row in order to find a character who looks/speaks/lives like you do. That is privilege. And whether we intend it to or not, our privilege influences our thinking and our decisions. This is a problem because our decisions affect the capabilities of young readers to find books in which they can find themselves and in which they can meet new people.

Confronting our privilege is hard. It is uncomfortable. I am acutely aware that, because of my privilege as a white woman, I don’t have to write this post. No one would begrudge me for not speaking up on this topic publicly. In fact, it would probably be a lot easier, and I would seem a lot nicer, if I didn’t write this post.

But that course of action is no longer acceptable to me. I am no longer going to privately roll my eyes when professional colleagues make privileged statements about their exclusionary practices, or when reviewers ignore microaggressions in books for youth. I am going to say something, because ignoring it only lets it perpetuate. And when someone calls me out on something I say or causes me to think critically about my own practice, I am going to try really, really hard not to get defensive and to just listen and reflect and improve. It is hard. And I don’t need to do it.

Except that I do, because the ability of every child I serve to feel valuable and see themselves as a beautiful, complex individual is what hangs in the balance.

This is not about our comfort, or our personal convictions, or what we think we know definitively after doing this job a particular way for so many years.

It is about the children we serve. Every single one of them.

*Because these conversations have been happening in public forums (a public Facebook group and on Twitter), I feel that sharing direct quotations is not a breach of anyone’s privacy. I have made the decision to share these quotes without identifying the speakers, as my ultimate goal is constructive conversation about privilege in selection for youth libraries, not alienating or shaming members of the community.

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13. 10½ Questions with Reshama Deshmukh, creator of THE PIED PIPER

One of the big draws of KidLitCon is getting a chance to meet your fellow bloggers, find out what their interests are, and discover where they intersect with yours. As you may know by now, here at FW our main focus is on Young Adult fiction, with an... Read the rest of this post

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14. Why Literacy Teachers Should Care About Math

I’ll be the first to admit it: I didn’t pay much attention to math. I specialized in literacy and focused on reading, speaking, listening, writing, social studies, and science instruction. Math? My third graders went down the hall each day to the “math classroom.” My co-teacher and I collaborated over best teaching practices, family relationships, and classroom management, but I didn’t spend time delving into the third-grade mathematics standards.

It wasn’t until I entered into our first parent-teachers-student conferences in September that I realized I couldn’t afford to compartmentalize my students’ learning.

In those conferences, we had students who loved math and had excelled in math every year leading up, but were now struggling to advance. They seemed to have hit an invisible wall. What happened?

Two words: Word problems.

Why Literacy Teachers Should Care About Math (1)Some of our students who were English Language Learners, reluctant readers, or who struggled to read at grade level for other reasons all of a sudden “couldn’t do” math anymore because the vocabulary, text length, and sentence structure were increasing in complexity. Even though they knew what 9 x 5 was, they couldn’t read and decipher the sentence:

Rene enjoys wearing a new outfit every day. His father bought him nine pairs of shorts and five shirts. Rene doesn’t want to wear any outfit twice. How many different outfit combinations does he have?

Now several of my students weren’t only struggling to read in my literacy class, but also struggling to read in math class. This was disheartening and confusing for them because math was a subject they loved, excelled at, and didn’t feel “below their grade level” because of language abilities or background schema. Yet reading challenges were following them down the hall and across instruction periods.

Guess what: Reading teachers are ALSO math teachers.

What?

Let me explain.

  • A text is a text no matter the form. Those ELA standards about determining the central idea and unknown or multiple-meaning words apply to word problems along with poems, plays, and biographies. Word problems can be lengthy, involve two or more steps, and contain new and unknown vocabulary that require examining context clues to solve.
  • Great English teachers improve students’ math scores. According to The Hechinger Report, researchers from Stanford and University of Virginia looked at 700,000 students in New York City in third through eighth grade over the course of eight school years. Results: Students of good English language arts teachers had higher than expected math scores in subsequent years.
  • Starting in second-grade mathematics, students are reading, interpreting, and solving two-step and multi-step word problems. Even as early as kindergarten and first grade, students are encountering one-step word problems. Bottom line: If they can’t read, they will get left behind in math, too.

So, how can literacy teachers embrace math?

1. Nice to meet you, Math. I’m ELA. The Common Core website also falls victim to sequestering the ELA and math standards. Whether you teach both math and literacy or only one, compare the math standards to the ELA standards of your grade. Open two windows on your computer setting the Reading or Language standards of your grade side by side with the Operations & Algebraic Thinking standards for your grade. What do they have in common?

(Hint, hint: determining central idea of a text, interpreting unknown words or phrases, using context clues, and learning general academic and domain-specific words)

2. Share what read aloud or model text you are reading for the week or unit if you have a separate teacher for math instruction. In word problems, you or the math instructor can write a few of the problems about the characters. Reading In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage? Make Augusta the main character in the word problems.

This book has several money references because Augusta earned money from her teaching and from competitions she entered. Use some of the scenes in the book to review the values of currency. For example, Augusta earned a dollar every day from the principal of her school. How many different ways can you make $1.00 using combinations of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies?

3. Reward students with a math problem during the reading instruction block. (I’m telling you—students LOVE seeing you break out math during a literacy block). This gives students a break, uses a different part of their brains/thinking, and allows them to display their abilities in another subject (which is especially important if English makes a student feel doubtful or shy). Students can do this if they finish their required assignment early or you are transitioning between periods.

4. Allow students to create a word problem using the setting and characters of a book they are reading as an incentive, extension opportunity, or way to engage reluctant readers. Students can submit problems for you to review at the end of the day and the next day you can post one with the student author’s name. Students will have a chance to model (and observe) high quality writing and thinking, as well as delight in their peers’ recognition.

5. Word problems ARE story problems. Treat a word problem like any other fiction story. Have students identify the main character(s) and the problem. Give the word problem a setting. Encourage students to expand the math problem into a fiction story through writing or drawing.

6. Make a math bin in the classroom library. Whatever gets a student excited to read and pick up a book, right? Just as we will scour web deals and dig through yard sales for books on tiger sharks and poison dart frogs, don’t forget to hunt for math-themed books to add to your classroom library if math is your students’ passion.

from Ice Cream Money

7. Pick math-themed books to align with units students are covering in the grade level’s math standards. Great read alouds and leveled readers exist to help teach concepts around counting, money, time, geometry, and mixed operations, such as:

8. Even books without explicit math themes can inspire math conversations.

From Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up the Stage:

  • Florence was promised twenty-five cents a night to perform at the Empire Theater. If she performed every night for one week, how much money did she earn? How much money would she earn in two weeks?
  • After her performance in the butchers’ shop, Florence earned $3.85. How many nickels would you need to make $3.85? How many pennies would you need to make $3.85?

From Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy:

  • If Hoy was born in 1862 and died in 1961, how old was he when he passed away? If Hoy started playing in the major leagues in 1888 and retired from baseball in 1902, how many years did he play in the major leagues? How many years ago did Hoy last play baseball? If Hoy were alive today, how old would he be?

From Love Twelve Miles Long:

  • Frederick’s mother walks twelve miles. How many yards does she walk? How many kilometers and meters does she walk?

If students can’t read, they will struggle to succeed in math (and science and social studies). These challenges will compound with each year affecting self-confidence and commitment. Bridging math and literacy for students is a powerful way for students to see that learning how to derive meaning from text has real world applications and that you are invested in their entire education.

img_1587Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

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15. Will you make up your mind: now the Guardian thinks comics are awesome

the_arrival.jpg

While The UK Guardian tooketh away on Monday with a trolling column by a known gadfly, but they gaveth back today with
this piece on how studying comics is vital to future civilizationby Christopher Murray on his courage at the University of Dundee:

Comics have a lot to offer teachers and school pupils, as I have seen in the workshops I have organised for local schools. They can break down disciplinary divides and enable discussions that cross between literature, art, history, politics, media, religious studies, and so on. The value that universities now place on creative thinking across subjects could be embedded much earlier, and using a medium that reflects forms and influences from many cultures.

Comics are also a powerful educational tool for assisting readers with dyslexia or autism who may have difficulty processing text.


Murray offers a reading list of five basics—including The Big Three, Watchmen, Dark Knight and Fun Home—but adds We3 and The Arrival. Good picks, especially The Arrival which isn’t usually classed as a graphic novel, but should be as it’s visual storytelling at its most amazing.

Anyway, please set aside that silly Jones piece as the waste of time it was.

1 Comments on Will you make up your mind: now the Guardian thinks comics are awesome, last added: 2/19/2015
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16. KidLit Events Ocotber 28-November 4

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With NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) kicking off this weekend, there’s a lot of support opportunities for those of you (not me!) who are planning to tackle the challenge of writing a full 50K word novel in one month. I’ll cheer you on while I finish revisions on my current WIP. Meanwhile, there are plenty of other events going on this week. Please remember to check the sponsoring bookstore or organization’s website for full details.

October 28, Tuesday, 7:00 PM FROM SEA TO SHINGING SEA by Callista Gingrich; Illustrated by Susan Arcerio
Blue Willow Bookshop
Callista Gingrich, Children’s Author, with Newt Gingrich, Adult Nonfiction Author

In FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA, Callista Gingrich shares a new adventure into American history with Ellis the Elephant as he explores the untamed wilderness with Lewis and Clark! He learns about the Louisiana Purchase, the two explorers’ epic journey across the North American continent, and the amazing discoveries and innovation it sparked.

Appearing with Callista will be bestselling author Newt Gingrich with his new adult nonfiction title, BREAKOUT.

November 1, Saturday, 10:00 AM-Noon, & 1:30-4:30 PM Kathy Duval, PB Author
Writespace
Kathy Duval: Picture Book Workshop
PRICE: $ 85.00

Kathy Duval, author of TAKE ME TO YOUR BBQ (DISNEY/HYPERION) will present a picture book workshop: Make It Shine!: Polish Your Picture Book Manuscript to Its Full Potential.
A successful picture book is an art form combining lyrical language and dynamic images, each dependent on the other.  To compete, your work must shine, as well as follow the conventions of today’s crowded market. This hands-on revision workshop will take a fresh look at your characters, setting, plot, and picture book language. Participants will complete exercises to polish their prose, as well as create a dummy to see how your text fits into a picture book format. Feedback in small groups will help you take your picture book to the next level.

November 1, Saturday, 9:00 AM-1:00 PM Read3Zero
Hilton Americas
Read3Zero 5th Anniversary Luncheon

Houston non-profit literacy organization, READ3Zero, will honor students nationwide at a memorable Luncheon and Book Signing event for this year’s winners of the I Write Short Stories For Kids By Kids contest and celebrate the organization’s 5th  anniversary. The event will feature the works of 55 published student authors and illustrators. The Keynote speaker will be Neil Bush, chairman to the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, and the event will be emceed by Deborah Duncan of Great Day Houston. Click here for more details and to purchase tickets.

November 1, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Barbara Bush Library
CC Hunter, YA Author
Kickoff National Novel Writing Month with a talk by NYT bestseller C.C. Hunter!

November 2, Sunday, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM Matthew Salesses, Author
Writespace
Novel Workshop: The Three Inciting Incidents
COST: $10
NOTE: Register in this workshop and when you attend on Nov. 2nd, you will receive your 10$ back in a 10$ coupon for another Writespace workshop!

In this two-hour course, novelist Matthew Salesses will give a craft lecture on “the three inciting incidents” to support National Novel Writing Month writers, as well as NaNoWriMoall Houston writers seeking to start new projects. After Matthew’s one-hour lecture, each writer will bring his/her novel concept to the table and get some help with development.

November 2, 16, 30, Sundays, 2:00-5:00 PM
Writespace
NaNoWriMo Write-Ins
Cost: Free

Come write with us and keep on-track with your word count goals!

November 3, Monday, 7:00 PM IN THE AFTERLIGHT by Alexandra Bracken
Blue Willow Bookshop
Alexandra Bracken, YA Author

Alexandra Bracken will discuss and sign IN THE AFTERLIGHT, the finale in the DARKEST MINDS series for young adults.

Alexandra Bracken is the New York Times bestselling author of THE DARKEST MINDS and NEVER FADE. Ruby can’t look back. Having suffered an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. Ruby tries to keep their highly dangerous prisoner in check, but with Clancy Gray, there’s no guarantee you’re fully in control, and everything comes with a price.

When the Children’s League disbands, Ruby becomes a leader and forms an unlikely allegiance with Liam’s brother, Cole, who has a volatile secret of his own. There are still thousands of other Psi kids suffering in government “rehabilitation camps” all over the country. Freeing them–revealing the government’s unspeakable abuses in the process–is the mission Ruby has claimed since her own escape from Thurmond, the worst camp in the country.

But not everyone is supportive of the plan Ruby and Cole craft to free the camps. As tensions rise, competing ideals threaten the mission to uncover the cause of IANN, the disease that killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others with powers the government will kill to keep contained. With the fate of a generation in their hands, there is no room for error. One wrong move could be the spark that sets the world on fire.

November 4, Tuesday, 7:00 PM The Strange Maid: Book 2 of United States of Asgard, by Tessa Gratton
Blue Willow Bookshop
The Roadside YA Tour

The Roadside YA tour hits Houston when authors Tessa Gratton, Julie Murphy and Natalie Parker discuss and sign their newest novels for young adults.

Tessa Graton will present THE STRANGE MAID: BOOK 2 OF THE UNITED STATES OF ASGARD. Signy Valborn was seven years old when she climbed the New World Tree and met Odin Alfather, who declared that if she could solve a single riddle, he would make her one of his Valkyrie. For ten years Signy has trained in the arts of SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphywar, politics, and leadership, never dreaming that a Greater Mountain Troll might hold the answer to the riddle, but that’s exactly what Ned the Spiritless promises her. A mysterious troll hunter who talks in riddles and ancient poetry, Ned is a hard man to trust. Unfortunately, Signy is running out of time. Accompanied by an outcast berserker named Soren Bearstar, she and Ned take off across the ice sheets of Canadia to hunt the mother of trolls and claim Signy’s destiny.

Julie Murphy will present SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY. When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting Beware the Wild, by Natalie Parkerwrongs. So she convinces her best friend to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge as it is about hope. But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she’s said and done.

Natalie Parker will present BEWARE THE WILD. The swamp in Sterling’s small Louisiana town proves to have a power over its inhabitants when her brother disappears and no one but Sterling even remembers that he existed. Now Sterling, with the help of brooding loner Heath, who’s had his own creepy experience with the swamp, must fight back and reclaim what–and who–the swamp has taken.

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17. First Look, Second Look, Third Look: Close “Reading” with Book Art

I’ll admit it: I was looking for a Native American book by a Native American author to write about in light of Thanksgiving and National American Indian Heritage Month as many teachers do this time of year.

This Land is My LandThis led me to reread and re-experience the Children’s Book Press treasure, This Land is My Land, by artist George Littlechild. As winner of the 1994 Jane Addams Picture Book Award and 1993 National Parenting Publications Gold Medal, This Land is My Land is a notable treat for students and readers of all ages.

The book features 17 of the artist’s mixed media paintings organized to portray Native American history in North America and Littlechild’s own heritage and childhood. As I studied Littlechild’s paintings and read his accompanying essays about each, I felt as if I were on a gallery walk with my own earbud connected to the artist.

Although this picture book would make a great counterpoint to many Thanksgiving books out there, This Land is My Land is valuable beyond the Thanksgiving-relevant content. It is a great example of how art is a powerful medium for critical thinking development and can be integrated into literacy instruction (not just the assigned art block a couple times a week).

Click on the image to read the text

So, what does close reading (or “looking?”) look like with art?

Like a text, a piece of art is another place for students to engage with multiple times and each time diving into another level of meaning and interpretation. Using art in the classroom relates to the reading standard 7 of the Common Core, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas. Additionally, many of these questions are questions we would use with students in the close reading of a text.

Below is an example of how students can progress with their observations and thinking. I separated levels of questions into three viewings based on level of complexity, but of course one could (and should) return to a worthwhile painting many, many times.

First look (literal comprehension/understanding)

  • What is happening?
  • What patterns do you see? What images, colors, and symbols do you see repeated or used most often in this painting or across paintings?
  • What materials does Littlechild use?
  • How does Littlechild use positive or negative space?
  • How does Littlechild use the foreground and background?
  • Who is the narrator?
  • What are some common ideas or events portrayed in his artwork?
  • What is the central idea of the painting? What is the central idea of the paintings taken altogether? What makes you think so?

Second look (higher level thinking/interpretation of meaning)

  • What effect do repeated colors, images, patterns, or symbols have on his art and the central idea?
  • What effect does a specific material, such as shells or sequins, have on his art and the central idea?
  • What does “Indian” mean to Littlechild?
  • How does Littlechild’s background (childhood, heritage, identity, family relationships) affect the subjects, themes, and materials of his paintings?
  • What has Littlechild learned from his elders? What does he want viewers to learn from or think about events in the past and our heritages?
  • What is the mood of one piece of the artwork or the collective body of artwork? What makes you think so? What colors, patterns, materials, or images does he use to convey mood?
  • What is the purpose of his art? Why would Littlechild create this painting or assemble these paintings into a collection? Why talk about these events and his heritage and childhood at all?
  • Who do you think is the intended audience of This Land is My Land? What might Littlechild want them to do with this narrative and perspective?
  • How does Littlechild demonstrate pride in and appreciation for his heritage? How does he convey pain in Native American history? How does he convey the closeness of his community?

Third look (higher level thinking/analysis of artist’s craft/structure/methods)

  • Why does Littlechild choose to start the book with a dedication to his ancestors and include their photographs?
  • How is the collection of paintings organized? How does the chronological structure convey or confirm his central idea? How does this mixed media collection compare to a biography in book form?
  • Why does Littlechild choose the title and painting for the book cover: This Land is My Land? He doesn’t like the song, “This land is your land, this land is my land,” or its meaning; so, why does it fit as the title and cover painting for the book? What does this choice tell us about the central idea of the book? What message does he want to convey to viewers?
  • Why does Littlechild use photographs in the painting, instead of just drawing the figures? What effect do the photographs have on the story he is telling and on the painting itself? (Repeat this question for feathers, sequins, shells, and feathers)
  • Why do you think the artist chooses to use the motif of stars? What do a “star” mean in this context? the number four? horses?
  • Why does Littlechild choose art/mixed media collage to represent events in his own life and convey his the central idea?

For further reading on integrating the Arts with the Common Core, check out these fantastic resources:

How are you integrating art with the Common Core? What tips do you have for choosing high quality art to teach? What art are you using already? Let us know!

Jill EisenbergJill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 


Filed under: Common Core State Standards, Educator Resources Tagged: art education, CCSS, children's books, close reading, Educators, ELA common core standards, guided reading, literacy, Native American, reading comprehension

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18. 5 Ways to Differentiate Assignments & Tasks: Part 2

Differentiated, or tiered, assignments provide students opportunities for individual understanding and growth in learning. differentiation part 2 copyActivities, projects, and tasks that educators create for their students can be used with flexible groups to address common learning needs.

Based on students’ diverse needs, educators differentiate by manipulating one or more of the following: content (what students learn), process (how students learn it), and product (what students create to demonstrate their learning).

Within those three domains, educators can differentiate based on challenge, complexity, resources, process, and product. We will tackle 5 ways to differentiate assignments using the Adventures Around the World series by Ted and Betsy Lewin.

Differentiate by Challenge Level:

We use Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide to develop instructional tasks with differing degrees of challenging demands. Based on the rigor and complexity of what is being taught, we can design and categorize assignments using the following classifications from Bloom’s levels of higher thinking: recall, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create.

Example: Top to Bottom: Down Undermain_toptobottom_cover

Recall: List the different types of wildlife that live in northern and southern Australia, and classify them as mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, or fish.

Understand: Identify and explain the adaptations of the platypus or echidna in their habitats.

Create: Design a new Australian animal incorporating the characteristics of two animal classifications (mammal, reptile, amphibian, bird, fish) and a written explanation supporting your reasons.

Differentiate by Complexity:

Increasing the complexity of an assigned task involves differentiating the content, or an introductory vs a more advanced activity focus. This involves strategically developing learning objectives and understanding what students should be able to do. Again, Bloom’s Taxonomy can help guide the development of least, more, and most complex tasks for your students.

In the following example, all of the students are required to write an informational essay, but the lens of their research differs in complexity.

Example: Horse Song: The Naadam of Mongoliamain_horsesong_pb_cover

Least complex: Write an informational essay about the tradition of the Naadam horse racing in Mongolia.

More complex: Write an informational essay about the tradition of the Naadam horse racing in Mongolia and evaluate the pros and cons.

Most complex: Write an informational essay about the tradition of the Naadam horse racing in Mongolia and determine your opinion, presenting a convincing argument either for or against the horse races.

Differentiate by Resource:

Differentiating by resource should be approached with thoughtful consideration of students. This requires thinking about their reading strengths and needs, as well as students’ interest in and prior knowledge about a topic. Differentiating by resource may involve selecting supplementary reading materials, such as articles, magazines, and primary documents, and using visual aids, including videos, charts, and graphic organizers. Offering all students opportunities to engage with different resources and assigning age-appropriate materials to groups of students supports collaboration and inclusion of readers of all levels.

Example: Gorilla Walkmain_gorillawalk_cover

Lower-level readers: Provide supplementary informational texts or materials about the endangered mountain gorilla on a lower reading level, such as a pre-reading guide/outline for Gorilla Walk, an audio recording of Gorilla Walk to listen to as students read along, or a graphic organizer to record notes as students read.

Advanced readers: Provide challenging supplementary articles or texts about the endangered mountain gorilla or animal habituation and critical-thinking questions to answer as students read the text.

Differentiate by Process:

When students are expected to achieve similar outcomes, such as understanding new vocabulary words, teachers often differentiate assignments by how students will achieve expected learning objectives. Therefore, how students engage with the content involves considering how challenging and complex the process or strategy is for the student, as well as offering varying and supplementary resources.

Example: Elephant Questmain_elephantquest_cover

Vocabulary words: delta, protrude, submerge, matriarch, bounding, intent, emerge

  • Frayer Model: Students will use the Frayer model to: define the word in their own words, list essential characteristics of the word/concept, and provide both examples and nonexamples.
  • LINCS strategy: (on an index card)

L: List the word + definition

I: Identify a reminding word

N: Note a LINCing story

C: Create a LINCing picture

S: Self-test

Differentiate by Product:

When students are all provided with the same materials, educators may decide to differentiate the assignment by outcommain_pufflingpatrol_covere, or what students are expected to be able to do in order to demonstrate gained knowledge. Differentation by product is valuable in encouraging student success and practice in other areas of thinking and learning.

Example: Puffling Patrol

Visual/Spatial: Create an informational video advertisement persuading people to join the Puffling Patrol on the island of Heimaey.

Verbal/Linguistic: Create an informational brochure persuading people to join the Puffling Patrol on the island of Heimaey.

For further reading on differentiation:

  • 5 Harmful Differentiation Myths: Part 1
  • Heacox, D. (2012). Differentiating instruction in the regular classroom: How to reach and teach all learners. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.

Veronica SchneiderVeronica has a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.


Filed under: Common Core State Standards, Educator Resources Tagged: Educators, ELA common core standards, literacy, teaching resources

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19. 3rd Annual Christmas Spectacular


Authors in the Park, the long-running showcase for local authors, is coming back to downtown Mount Dora with the 3rd Annual Christmas Spectacular set for December 20th.


This year’s event will feature Steve Boone of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band The Lovin’ Spoonful. Boone will be on hand to promote his memoir, Hotter Than a Match Head.


Authors in the Park is an author event series which supports local authors and community literacy. The event is sponsored by MillerWords.com and Arts for the Community, Inc. (a local non-profit).

“It is great to have Steve at this year’s event. Not only is he a rock legend, but also a Florida author,” Mark Miller, founder of Authors in the Park, said.

In addition to Boone and Miller, other local authors will be on hand including: Sharon Coady, Illustrator Victor Donahue, De Miller, Olivia Miller, Theresa Oliver, D.G. Stern, C. Kevin Thompson and Colleen Wait.

“Another great thing about these authors is their commitment to their community,” Miller said. “This year’s line-up features educators, inspirational speakers and more.”

The Christmas Spectacular will take place Saturday, December 20th from 5p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Donnelly Building at Fifth Avenue and Donnelly Street in the center of festive downtown Mount Dora. It is free to attend and the authors will be available for photos and autographs. The city will be showing off its holiday light display and local shops will be open.


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20. Thanks To You, I’m More Motivated Than Ever

Today’s guest blogger is Andrea Brunk, a physical therapist at the National Children’s Center Early Learning Center in Washington, DC.

brunch bunchI work with children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism and other disabilities. The children in my program range from infants to five year olds.

Our families do their best to meet their child’s unique needs, but it can be a challenge. Many are single or foster parents. Others are grandparents or teens. They face balancing their own schooling and long hours at work with supporting their children. They also have few, if any, books at home.

Knowing how critical it is that kids have books at an early age, I created Brunch Bunch. Here families come together to enjoy catered breakfasts and one another’s company. They read with their kids, build attention spans and play an active role in their child’s learning. Each family gets brand new books to take home and read together.

Brunch Bunch has been extremely successful.  Parents stay after our sessions to ask questions about how to work with their child. They are excited to help their children learn.

Thanks to incredible support from First Book, I’m more motivated than ever to grow Brunch Bunch and share our success with other early childhood educators and families in our community.

Please consider making a gift to First Book today to help more children and their families read, learn and grow together. Your gift today will be TRIPLED thanks to Disney.

The post Thanks To You, I’m More Motivated Than Ever appeared first on First Book Blog.

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21. 5 Charities That Promote Literacy

First BookAside from buying books for holiday gifts, now is a great time of year to contribute to charity.  To help encourage giving to causes that promote literacy, we have put together a list of 5 charities that help encourage reading among people who are least likely to have access to books. For your exploration below, we’ve listed the name of the charity, their mission statement and linked to their site.

These are just a sample of charities worth considering. Many other great organizations help teach people to read, so feel free to help us grow this list by leaving your favorite charities that promote literacy in the comments section. Also check out our list from last year and from 2011.
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New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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22. This little Griffin has a new home....Salem County Bookmobile

Meet our new little Griffin,  the mascot for Salem County Bookmobile ..He now has a home but is in need of a name....

Salem County Bookmobile and Library

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23. YALSA 2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list is out

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The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) releases a yearly list of recommended graphic novels, and this year’s list is out, 79 titles from a diverse range of publishers, from Batman to the Kingsmen to Moonhead and the Music Machine.

The list celebrates “the enormous variety of the graphic format including tales about forgotten heroes and heroines, online rebellions, new takes on beloved characters, and so much more.” said Chair Marcus Lowry. “The richness of these titles will engage and delight teen readers for years to come.”

There’s also a Top Ten list as follows:

• Afterlife with Archie: Escape From Riverdale, by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla (Archie Comics)
• Bad Machinery Vol. 3: The Case of the Simple Soul, by John Allison (Oni Press)
• 47 Ronin, by Mike Richardson and Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)
• In Real Life, by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang (First Second)
• Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Marvel)
• Seconds: A Graphic Novel, by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Ballantine Books)
• The Shadow Hero, by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew (First Second)
• Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
• Trillium, by Jeff Lemire (Vertigo)
• Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki, by Mamoru Hosoda and Yu (Yen Press)









Making the YALSA list is a good boost for a graphic novel, putting it on the radar of libraries across the nation. Library sales can add thousands of copies to a book’s bottom line and remain one of the great hidden sales outlets for comics that have fueled their growth in recent years.

Via Robot 6

http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2015/02/yalsa-announces-2015-great-graphic-novels-for-teens/

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24. KidLit Author Events Feb. 18-23

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Sorry I forgot to post this yesterday! It was a busy critique day :)

Here’s what’s going on this week for readers and writers:

February 21, Saturday, 10:00 AM THE EIGHTH DAY by Dianne Salerni
Writespace
Writers’ Workshop, Diane Salerni
Cost: FREE

Houston YA/MG Writers presents a free workshop with YA Author Dianne Salerni: Crafting A Series for Teens And Tweens

February 21, Saturday, 1:00-4:00 PM
Writespace
Writers’ Workshop with Cassandra Rose Clarke
Cost: $30.00 – $45.00

Writespace presents Crafting Effective Prose. All stories require fascinating characters and a compelling plot to be successful. But how do we reveal those characters and stories? Movies get images, music, and sound. Comic books get art and writing. Prose fiction, though, just gets words.

In this workshop, we’ll examine these powerful building blocks of fiction by focusing on the importance of effective prose. How can the prose of a story highlight and enhance classic story elements like character, structure, and plot arcs? How many metaphors are too many?  Should we all just be trying to write like Hemingway? Through a combination of writing exercises and discussion of classic examples of effective prose, we’ll answer these questions and more.

February 21, Saturday, 9:00 AM.-4:00 PM Rhyme Schemer by K.A. HoltTHE XYZsOF BEING WICKED by Lara Chapman
Lone Star College – Montgomery, Conroe, TX
Montgomery County Book Festival

The Montgomery County Book Festival is an annual free event for all ages. YA author Ellen Hopkins will give the keynote address. There will be three author discussion panels featuring Texas children’s/YA Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood, by Varsha BajajBALANCE KEPERS: Lindsey Cummingsauthors Dianna H. Aston, Kari Anne Holt, Lara Chapman, Lindsay Cummings, Emily McKay, Michelle Madow, Meg Gardiner, Kim O’Brien, Joy Preble, A.G. Howard, Victoria Scott, Beth Fehlbaum, Jennifer Mathieu, Julie Murphy, Varsha Bajaj, Lindsey Lane, C.C. Hunter, Kristin Rae, Rachel Harris and Mari Mancusi. For a full list of participating authors, please see the festival’s website. Topics being discussed include romance,UNHINGED: A.G.HowardBIG FAT DISASTER: Beth Fehlbaum mysteries, writing children’s literature, graphic novels and censorship. There will also be two workshops for writers/illustrators: Creating Comics: Words Pictures Comics! and How to Engage Readers with the Teams Writing Strategy. Murder By the Book will be on hand to sell the authors’ books.


WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN: Kristin RaeTHE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE: Jennifer MAthieuThe A-Word by Joy PrebleEVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN: Lindsey LaneTHE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS: Michelle Madow

February 21, Saturday, 10:00 AMThe Neptune Project: Polly Holyoke
Blue Willow Bookshop
Polly Holyoke , MG Author

Polly Holyoke will discuss and sign her novel THE NEPTUNE PROJECT. Nere has never understood why she feels so much more comfortable and confident in water than on land, but everything falls into place when Nere learns that she is one of a group of kids who, unbeknownst to themselves, have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of “The Neptune Project” will be able to build a better future under the sea, safe from the barren country’s famine, wars, and harsh laws.

But there are some very big problems: no one asked Nere if she wanted to be a science experiment, the other Neptune kids aren’t exactly the friendliest bunch, and in order to reach the safe haven of the Neptune colony, Nere and her fellow mutates must swim through hundreds of miles of dangerous waters, relying only on their wits, dolphins, and each other to evade terrifying undersea creatures and a government that will stop at nothing to capture the Neptune kids…dead or alive.

Fierce battles and daring escapes abound as Nere and her friends race to safety in this action-packed aquatic adventure.

February 22, Sunday, 1:00 PM The Orphan Sky, by Ella Leya
Barnes & Noble, River Oaks Shopping Center
Ella Leya, YA Author

Join us young adult author Ella Leya for a reading and signing of her new novel. Set at the crossroads of Turkish, Persian and Russian cultures under the red flag of Communism in the late 1970s,  THE ORPHAN SKY reveals one young woman’s struggle to reconcile her ideals with the corrupt world around her, and to decide whether to betray her country or her heart.

Leila is a young classical pianist who dreams of winning international competitions and bringing awards to her beloved country Azerbaijan. She is also a proud daughter of the Communist Party. When she receives an assignment from her communist mentor to spy on a music shop suspected of traitorous Western influences, she does it eagerly, determined to prove her worth to the Party.

But Leila didn’t anticipate the complications of meeting Tahir, the rebellious painter who owns the music shop. His jazz recordings, abstract art, and subversive political opinions crack open the veneer of the world she’s been living in. Just when she begins to fall in love with both the West and Tahir, her comrades force her to make an impossible choice.

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25. Do You Dare to Read?

Can reading be considered an act of bravery? Photographer Laura Boushnak delivered a talk at TEDGlobal 2014 about the women featured in her ongoing “I Read, I Write” series.

According to the TED blog, this photography project shines the spotlight on Arab women who live in parts of the world where they are discouraged from becoming literate or educated. Throughout her presentation, Boushnak shared pictures and quotes from her subjects.

We’ve embedded the full talk in the video above. For more talks, the TED organization has created a playlist that feature master storytellers called \"How to Tell a Story.\"

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