Category Archives: Language Arts

Framing Science Learning With Coherent Science Stories

The Stories of Science
Science stories can be compelling vehicles for connecting people to information. When we create overarching story lines for instruction (within a unit, throughout a year of study, or over several years), students are more likely to remember what we teach. Information is more likely to stick because (as cognitive science shows) stories are the basic organizing principle for memory. Compelling stories also engage more of the brain (Berns et al. 2013). Also, students can begin to see the big ideas of science and how they connect across disciplines. Finally, the story lines give students a coherent framework to hang their learning on.

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View a clip from our Webinar Series with Colleen Cruz

Our first live webinar session with Colleen Cruz was packed with thinking about a mindset for teaching writing, strategies to guide repetitive student writing, mirror writing, and more!

In this clip below, you'll hear Colleen give advice for helping students move past the same old writing and launch an exercise with webinar participants as they dig in to student writing to problem solve together.  

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Teaching Middle School Reading Units of Study: Tips from the Authors

Teaching Middle School Reading Units of Study: Tips from the Authors

Written by Anna Gratz Cockerille

Teachers of middle school reading have their own, unique set of challenges. On the one hand, there is the pressure to get middle schoolers ready for high school. In high school, the demands will be high, to say the least. Students will be expected to wrestle with complex texts with minimal help. They’ll be expected to read and digest information quickly, and to write well about what they read. The inclination for many middle school reading teachers is to prepare students for a high school curriculum by angling their own curriculum toward what will come in high school. On the other hand, most middle schoolers still need plenty of instruction in reading skill work, and many are not quite ready for the high levels of text complexity of whole class novels. So what is a middle school teacher to do? 

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Using an Editor’s Mindset: An Origin Story

Back and Forth: Using an Editor's Mindset to improve Student Writing

In her new book Back and Forth: Using and Editor's Mindset to Improve Student Writing, Lee Heffernan encourages teachers to go from giving writing feedback to students as their teacher, to giving feedback as students’ editor. Here, excerpted from her introduction from Back and Forth is the origin story of her thinking:

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PLC Series: Decentering Our Perceptions of Language

Welcome back to the Heinemann Professional Development Professional Learning Community (PLC) series. We are excited to present a new format for the 2017-2018 year! 

Each month, we'll share 2 posts designed to provoke thinking and discussion, through a simple framework, incorporating mini-collections of linked content into your professional development time. 

This month, our posts will challenge us to examine literacy practices so we can be more inclusive of students who speak varieties of English as well those learning English.

PLC OCT #1

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When we pause to consider our use of English in different contexts— words, phrases, hashtags, colloquialisms—some of us might be surprised to discover the choices we make and why.

Make a list of places you have lived, learned, and worked, as well as spaces you frequent (both physical and online), and groups of people with whom you interact. Jot some examples of things you might say in the context of each of your list items.

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Starting The Year With Student Thinking

Teaching Talk: A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking and Conversation

Written by Kara Pranikoff, author of Teaching Talk: A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Thinking and Conversation

Educators are granted the incredible gift of revision, a chance to reflect on and refine instruction year after year. Try again. Do over. Make better. At its core, education is a creative process, facilitated by a teacher and constructed by the student community. It’s a meeting of the minds.

In the fall we aim for instruction that will introduce the fundamental concepts we’ll nurture across the year. I’m dedicated to creating a classroom where student ideas and voices are the foundation of our daily discussions.

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