Finding “The Book”

Beyond teaching students foundational grammar tools and how to write well, my passion as a future teacher lies in helping students learn how to love reading. I’ve heard so many friends of mine grumble and complain about the books that they had to read for their English classes, and every time I would feel a pang thinking about how much they would enjoy reading if they could only be shown a book that they truly and deeply identified with. I believe part of the problem is the inability of teachers to teach a book to a large class in such a way that each individual sees themselves and their situations in every book they read, but there is only so much teachers can do to encourage their students to emphasize with the stories if the students don’t desire to open their eyes and look. This is where I think connecting students with books that easily strike a chord with them–where they see the parallels between themselves and the characters for themselves and feel strongly compelled to finish the story–can make a huge difference.

Rebecca Alber on edutopia offers five tips for helping a student find the right book. These tips (as seen in the image) are a great starting place to help think about what it takes to get students to connect with books.

As a voracious reader from a young age, I have read a wide variety of books. Recently, however, as I’ve begun to collect books for my future in-class library, I’ve realized my own need to re-read books with a critical eye, inspecting books, especially YA, for similar elements in order to help me better suggest books to my students. I hope to have a respectable collection of mini-book reviews by the time I have my own classroom to help my students find “the book”.

What are some books, YA or otherwise, that you think deserve to be on every classroom shelf? What other ways can you help students connect with individual books and with reading as a whole? Comment below!

Teaching and Collaboration

Academic Success for All Students: A Multi-tiered Approach

Summary:

This video discussed the P. K. Yonge Developmental Research School and its multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS). This system stresses teacher collaboration in order to create an environment where teachers are teaching the same material across the classrooms. The three “tiers” in the system help students learn material at the same pace despite differences in learning styles and previous academic ability and achievement.

How will this affect my teaching strategy?

I found this style of teaching to be an interesting take on answering public school’s need to both equalize what students are learning as well as address students learning as an individualized pursuit. How they treated teacher collaboration particularly struck me as being very key to helping students succeed across the board.

Common Core Refusal Expands Nationwide

Summary:

This article addresses the protest against the upcoming implementation of the PARCC tests.

How will this affect my teaching strategy?

The results of these and similar protests may affect standardized testing in the future. More likely than standardized testing being completely abandoned, these protests will likely mean that future standardized tests will not be implemented so suddenly. Either way, paying attention to changing public opinion on standardized tests and the protests against them will be key as I prepare students I teach for standardized tests.

Teaching and Special Needs

Our BIG List of Resources on Assistive Technology

Summary:

Though not a “true” article, this post discusses the different internet resources and tips available for educators and parents for teaching children with various disabilities.

How will this affect how I teach?

Being aware of the struggles children with disabilities have to work through in school and the resources available to help me to help them will change how I structure my teaching and help me to know how to alter my teaching methodology to better assist all of my students.

On Wondering What Your Kid Would Be Like Without Special Needs

Summary:

This blog post is written by a woman with a child who has special needs who talks about what it is like to love a child but still wonder what they would be like without special needs and grieve over the incongruity of knowing that the special needs child learns and grows at their own pace but still fighting the comparison of children without special needs who are the same age.

How will this affect how I teach?

Growing up with a sibling who has learning disabilities and watching my mom struggle with similar issues as the ones expressed in the post, it continued to drive home the point for me that there is a balance between pushing a special needs child to succeed and knowing that no matter how much extra help you give them, they won’t always be on the same level as other children their age.

Teaching and Misconceptions

Time Magazine Cover Leaves Teachers Outraged

Summary:

This article discusses a recent TIMES magazine cover that reads “Rotten Apples: It’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher.” While the actual article discusses things other than teacher tenure, making the cover hyperbolic and misleading, the cover perpetuates a negative view of teachers that is very damaging.

How will this affect how I prepare to go into the classroom?

Reading this article has made me realize that acknowledgement of these false images of teachers means that I will need to create a more positive image of teaching for myself so that I do not fall into the trap of believing the things that popular media says about teachers.

What are your thoughts on this TIMES cover? Leave a comment!

Teaching and Feminism

How Teachers Can Help Girls Lead

Summary:

This article discuss the statistics of women in leadership roles in politics, business, as well as education. It goes on to propose ways teachers can encourage girls to engage in leadership behavior. It also proposes ways to create a classroom that promotes equal leadership responsibility for both genders.

How will this change how I look at teaching?

This type of gender bias in leadership is a deeply engrained social norm and way of thinking that will require teachers, myself included, to approach teaching with this in mind in order to alter how children view this gender bias.

Women Earn 29% Less Than Men, 42% Less as Manager

Summary:

This article gave statistic on the wage gap between men and women in different countries, both in supervisory positions and otherwise. It discussed how this wage gap damages women’s ability to be treated equally in the workplace, as well as suggesting how individual women might go about asking for equal pay.

How will this change how I look at teaching?

One of the things that will change this wage gap is women demanding to be treated equally. However, if girls believe in school that they are inferior to boys, they will be more likely to accept pay even if it is less than their male counterparts are receiving.

What do you think? Leave a comment in the comment section!

Teaching and Common Core

Common Core: A Really Big Reset

Summary:

This article looked at a fourth grade classroom in Massachusetts as they implemented the Common Core. It also looked at the previous Massachusetts Framework, and commented that Massachusetts has the highest possibility for succeeding with Common Core.

How will this affect teaching?

The article raises the question that if Massachusetts cannot properly implement the Common Core, what state can? It challenges teachers to consider how they can implement the Common Core standards in their classroom.

Carpe Diem: Seize the Core

Summary:

This article looked at the role of art in Common Core. Giving an anecdotal example of young boys looking at, investigating, and discussing a piece of art, the article argues the emphasis on higher level thinking and evaluation that Common Core seeks to bring to the classroom.

How will this affect teaching?

As a future teacher, higher level critical thinking skills are one of the goals of the classroom that I will be seeking to promote an environment that encourages the development of these skills.

What are your thoughts on the Common Core?

Teaching and Literature

Keep Your Mouth Half-Shut

Summary:

This article is an interview with the poet laureate, Charles Wright, on his plans for his year as poet laureate, what poetry means to him, and how social media can affect poetry.

How does this apply to teaching?

Poetry is one of those topics that most people seem to avoid as too “artsy” or complicated for them to understand, and, while some students will get more out of poetry than others, teaching poetry in such a way that each student gets something out of it is an important thing to work on. Also, how can social media and poetry help each other?

Banned Books and the Power of the Written Word64776bdbdd3cac1ab6e7ce7a47577870

Summary:

This article is a discussion of banned books, exploring not just the controversy surrounding these books, but also the power that these books have.

How does this apply to teaching?

Though “banning” books may seem harmless enough, freedom of expression and ideas is something that should be encouraged in children. As a future teacher, intolerance of other’s ideas and opinions is something that I want to discourage in my classroom, and banned books week is an excellent time to bring up this discussion.

Don’t forget to leave a comment! What do you think about poetry, banned books, and these articles?