Blog Posts

A Little Spot of Giving by Diane Alber

During this time of year when many are in a flurry trying to find that “just right” gift for loved ones, Diane Alber’s message of the perfect intangible gifts are much appreciated. Unlike the games, toys, clothes, and jewels being sought, these gifts have no physical presence. They can’t be touched, but the impact of… Continue reading A Little Spot of Giving by Diane Alber

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The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story by Aya Khalil and illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan

Teaching remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging and frustrating, but one thing has remained steadfast—my belief in the power of books to connect. This belief was reconfirmed when I read the picture book, The Arabic Quilt, to my third graders during our morning Classroom Book-a-day. Together, Aya Khalil and illustrator Anait Semirdzhyan tell… Continue reading The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story by Aya Khalil and illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan

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Birdsong

Birdsong, by Julie Flett is a beautiful tale of multigenerational friendship and life changes told through the eyes of a child.  The illustrations, also by Flett, enable the reader to feel the tenderness between the characters and to experience their journey of friendship and art, together, through the seasons.   Julie Flett is a Cree Métis… Continue reading Birdsong

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Nuestra America: 30 Inspiring Latinas/Latinos Who Have Shaped the United States

Our Latinx children and youth need to see themselves in the pages of a book, read stories of other Latinos who have added and continue to add to the fabric of this country. That's what this book represents: a celebration of 30 Latinas/Latinos who have shaped the history of the USA. This beautiful compilation of… Continue reading Nuestra America: 30 Inspiring Latinas/Latinos Who Have Shaped the United States

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When We Love Someone We Sing to Them: Cuando Amamos Cantamos

“When we love someone, Papi tells me, we sing to them, we send our love through song.” Ernesto Javier Martinez I have holes in my classroom library where beautiful stories are waiting to fill. I notice the holes each and every time I hear of a story just like the one I’m going to share… Continue reading When We Love Someone We Sing to Them: Cuando Amamos Cantamos

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Day 10: The Ups and Downs of Partner Reading in a Socially Distanced Classroom

When I envision partner reading in first grade, I see children sitting side by side holding a book across their laps, joyfully reading together. They point to the parts of the text they love, laugh together, and coach each other as they problem-solve. I know that vision doesn't work with COVID, but I was determined… Continue reading Day 10: The Ups and Downs of Partner Reading in a Socially Distanced Classroom

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Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America

In our hybrid teaching world, the elementary school day kicks off with a twenty-minute community meeting. Half of the class sits in their plexi glass stations, and the other half arrives smiling via Google Meet. At first, it felt strange and overwhelming. How will we spend this time? What might we do to simultaneously engage… Continue reading Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America

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Student Response and Class Discourse with Pear Deck

Remote Learning Distance Learning Hybrid Learning No matter how you say it, teaching has changed.  Experienced teachers have had to reinvent themselves, finding new ways to teach concepts that were once second nature.  More than once this year I have heard, “I feel like this is my first year teaching,” and “Today was not my… Continue reading Student Response and Class Discourse with Pear Deck

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Day 4 – A Writing Workshop Tool that Builds Agency and Independence

It is day four of teaching first grade, and one tool enables the kids to be more independent writers - Seesaw. I can't describe how much I love this platform. Right before writing workshop ends, students log into Seesaw. First, they take a photo of what they wrote, and then they read their writing. Now… Continue reading Day 4 – A Writing Workshop Tool that Builds Agency and Independence

Blog Posts, Read Aloud

Julian at the Wedding by Jessica Love

In my second grade classroom this year, we are weaving together our literacy goals of understanding character traits with our social emotional learning goals of understanding our own identity. Picture book characters are such a great vehicle for both! By learning about characters’ identities, we learn the language to help us describe our own. And… Continue reading Julian at the Wedding by Jessica Love

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From History to Today: Exploring Biographies with Text Sets

For as long as I can remember, I have been a huge fan of biographies. As a young reader, I appreciated how they exposed me to history, and how their subjects provided examples of lives lived with purpose. As a teacher, I find them to be versatile teaching tools. Whether my aim is to build… Continue reading From History to Today: Exploring Biographies with Text Sets

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The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

Is any child really "unteachable?" Or do they just need the right teacher to come along and figure out their talents and strengths, and help them overcome their challenges? For that matter, can the right group of students help a burned-out, counting the days until early retirement teacher remember why he got into teaching in… Continue reading The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

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Until Every Barrier Falls by LeDerick Horne

https://youtu.be/reANl6Qzg3Y I choose to use this platform today to elevate the profile of a different type of author. LeDerick Horne is a spoken word poet. His most recent poem, “Until Every Barrier Falls,” connects principles like equality, independence, and freedom to the disability rights movement. He describes himself in the poem as, “I am a… Continue reading Until Every Barrier Falls by LeDerick Horne

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Vote For Our Future

I discovered the book Vote for Our Future by Margaret McNamara and Micah Player a few months ago. I was searching for a children’s book that I could read to my second and fourth-grade students that would be informative, yet steer us away from any contentious conversations. Given the age of my students and the… Continue reading Vote For Our Future

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The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead

Sixth grade students use digital notebooks to track their thinking. When the school year started, I struggled with how to continue book clubs in our new, hybrid model of teaching. Paper was discouraged, we couldn't read notebooks unless they were "isolated" for 3 days, students were sitting six feet apart, in rows, with masks, facing… Continue reading The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead

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My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña

You don’t have to imagine how Daisy feels when her Papi reaches home. You don’t have to try to hear the motorcycle revving in this story. You don’t have to visit Corona to experience what life was like just a short while ago. You don’t have to wonder at the team’s purpose in writing and… Continue reading My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña

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Binny’s Diwali by Thrity Umrigar and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani

What a joy to discover Binny’s Diwali written by Thrity Umrigar and colorfully illustrated by Nidhi Chanani. Binny is excited but nervous the day of her class presentation on Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Her mother has set out a special Indian outfit for her to wear, and she even gets to eat warm jalebis… Continue reading Binny’s Diwali by Thrity Umrigar and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani

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A Control Enthusiast Shows Up

It’s no secret that I’ve had a hard time adjusting to supporting students, teachers and parents during a pandemic. I am a planner or, as my husband likes to say, a Control Enthusiast. I need to know where I’m going, how I’m getting there, and what I’ll see and do along the way. Truth be… Continue reading A Control Enthusiast Shows Up

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Donut the Destroyer by Sara Graley and Stef Purenins

I love helping students assemble their first book bag in the fall and this year was no different. Well, it was a little different, but I still loved it!   Prior to assembling the book bags, I surveyed students, observed students, and read with students to get to know them as readers in September of… Continue reading Donut the Destroyer by Sara Graley and Stef Purenins

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Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall

Readers join Jabari as he challenges himself with another quest -- to make a flying machine that will fly across his yard! His independent ingenuity leads to failed attempt after failed attempt, despite marvelous creativity and concentration. Reflecting on the process followed by famous inventors like Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson and Roy Allela, Jabari leans… Continue reading Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall