128 reasons to love our new catalog. Why 128? Because our new catalog contains 128 pages of resources for teachers. 128 opportunities to help you start or continue your professional learning journey. Our mission is to provide top-quality classroom resources that respect the work and expertise of teachers, and we are so excited to share our latest and greatest resources with you.
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Below, you can read the catalog's letter from Heinemann's General Manager Vicki Boyd. In it, she remembers the words of Tom Romano as he reflects on teacher-hero, Don Graves.
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Portrait of a Hero; Also, a Parable
The image I love best of teacher hero Don Graves, champion of children’s writing, isn’t captured on film or canvas; fittingly, it’s rendered in words. They are the words of another hero of the profession, Tom Romano, and come from his remembrance of Don in the September 2011 issue of Language Arts.
“One raw winter morning, the gray sky pressing down on Mast Way School,” Tom begins. “I pulled into the misty school yard and parked. Children milled about, their backpacks and coats colorful above the damp pavement. I retrieved my own backpack and trudged toward the school.”
The scene is vivid and bleak, and I’m there with Tom gazing at the oppressive sky from his passenger seat. I feel the heaviness of that bag on my shoulder, his slow steps in the mist, and an atmosphere that mutes both the children and their bright-colored garments and backpacks.
Then, Tom shifts the lens:
Across the parking lot, Don skipped out of his car. He wore a blue turtle neck and a woolen sport coat.
Enter, our unlikely hero.
He carried a leather-covered notebook in which he’d write down the morning’s surprises. He moved briskly, his large head unmistakable, bobbing above the children. His expression was expectant, his eyes intense, his jaw firm. I was immediately lifted.
The comical image of that oversized head floating balloon-like above the children absolutely reverses the mood. Suddenly the expectation that something significant is about to happen replaces dread. “We were going to be with children,” Tom continues.
“We were going to be surprised by what they wrote and said. We were going to learn.”
Teaching is hard. The atmosphere—political, social, academic—can feel raw. It can press down and make us forget that much of the real work of teaching is about being with children, about learning how to see and listen to them, about being delighted and amazed by them. Every Heinemann book you pick up, every course you take, blog or article you encounter, workshop or webinar you attend, is meant to be a little like catching sight of Don Graves, like encountering that professional hero who reminds you of the teacher you want to be. It’s meant to help you find your humanity again, shake off the malaise that sometimes descends like a wintry mist, to look up, and see with new eyes.
The last lines of Tom’s remembrance of Don read like a call to action:
"When Don caught sight of me, I raised my hand. He nodded, pumped his fist, and headed into the school."
Let’s get back in there, Don’s fist-pump seems to say. I’m with you in this. Let’s make a place of learning for children that is part sanctuary, workshop, laboratory, studio, playground. Bring your journal and prepare to be amazed.
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The Spring 2017 Heinemann catalog was mailed out this week. You can view a digital version here!
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Vicki Boyd is the SVP & General Manager of Heinemann.
Follow her on Twitter @VickiBoyd.