Many students enter mathematics classrooms with a sense of trepidation. For some, their discomfort reflects a larger sense of detachment from school. They may not feel welcomed because of the gaps they experience navigating between their home language or culture and the expectations at school. The social milieu of school may make them feel like an outcast, as they see peers who seamlessly “fit in” while they remain on the outside. Unlike the sports field, their community center, or the stage, academic settings may make them feel untalented and incompetent. For other students, school itself is fine, but there is a distinct dread upon entering math class. Math has never made sense—or it made sense when it involved whole numbers, but as soon as the variables showed up, all hope was lost. A standardized test score that deemed them “below grade level” may have demoralized them. They may get messages at home that “we’re not good at math,” setting up any potential success as familial disloyalty. For some students, they love the subject, but must contend with others who do not see them as fitting their ideas of “a math person.” They have to combat stereotypes constantly to be seen as a legitimate participant in the classroom, as they defy expectations.
The research is compelling: When teachers differentiate reading instruction, students learn more. But teachers are too often given the expectation of differentiation without the details on how to make it work. In No More Reading Instruction Without Differentiation, Lynn Bigelman and Debra Peterson offer a framework that adapts instruction based on individual students' needs and interests.
From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength.—Cesar Chavez
After a long day of teaching I walk around the classroom picking up pencils and scraps of paper. Some pieces of paper have scribble notes that make me smile. Students exchange jokes or attempt to create meaningful emojis. Other times the scribbles make me stop, wonder, and worry. One note shows two stick-figure drawings with one image’s face scratched out. Other scraps of paper have words like “I don’t like . . .” What did I miss today? How will I handle this?
On Saturday, July 29th, Heinemann celebrated its fifth annual teacher tour. Each year we invite teachers from all over to join us at our home office to learn from our authors, share in thinking and learning together, and tour the historic mill building that we call home. This year, we were pleased to host authors Ralph Fletcher, Grace Kelemanik, Valerie Bang-Jansen, Mark Lubkowitz, and Cornelius Minor. Each author led a forty minute PD workshop session for the tour participants.
Were you unable to make it to this year's teacher tour? Fear not! We recorded each session LIVE for Facebook, and you can watch all of the videos below, along with the day's tweets and some presenter materials.
In his most recent book, The Curious Classroom, Harvey “Smokey” Daniels dives deep into the who what where why whens and hows of student-directed inquiry. With each chapter, he lays out the next step in a ten-rung ladder to help you get your class from zero to inquiry as quickly as possible.
We wanted to know more about why student-directed inquiry is good for kids, and what teachers and schools have to gain from this approach to learning, so we asked him! Here’s what he had to say:
At the International Literacy Association annual conference this past weekend, author, veteran teacher, staff developer, nationally known consultant Cris Tovani was awrded the Adolescent Literacy Thought Leader Award. Cris is the author of IRead It But I Don’t Get It,Do I Really Have to Teach Reading? So, What do They Really Know? and most recently is coauthor of No More Telling as Teaching. Since the announcement, many educators, authors, and friends have taken to Twitter to express their excitement and congratulations to Cris: