Category Archives: Special Education

With Struggling Learners, Embrace The Power of Yet

Supporting Struggling Learners

The following is adapted from the introduction to Supporting Struggling Learners: 50 Instructional Moves for the Classroom Teacher by Patricia Vitale-Reilly

Believing in and teaching the transformative power of yet is perhaps my favorite of all moves and its power with struggling learners especially important. Life, learning, progress, and success is always about yet. What you can’t do now is not what you can’t do, but what you can’t do yet.

[Click here to download a sample chapter from Supporting Struggling Learners: 50 Instructional Moves for the Classroom Teacher ]

Wrapping your mind around yet is not always easy. “It’s about learning to fly. If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. Wherever you are is where you are. You will get there. Embrace where you are and believe that you will learn to fly.” These words are exactly the kinds of words we need to say to our students.

Begin by acknowledging that students are where they are. Embrace that, and believe that they will learn how to fly. Truly. Believing in the power of yet is not some touchy-feely ideology but is grounded in the belief that when we have a mindset that trusts that all students can grow, we can move our students to a place of great joy and success.

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Your One Stop Shop for Recent Podcast Highlights

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Each week on The Heinemann Podcast we bring you concise, relevant and thought-provoking interviews with Heinemann authors and educators in the field. We know teachers are very busy people and it can be hard to keep up with all of your favorite authors, so, as we wrap up another school year we thought you might enjoy a recap of some recent Heinemann Podcast highlights. Enjoy!  

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Tom Newkirk: On Writing Embarrassment—An Interview with Myself

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By Thomas Newkirk

In anticipation of the September release of my new book, Embarrassment: And the Emotional Underlife of Learning, I decided to reflect on what the book can offer teachers, students, and (I hope) other readers intrigued with the topic. We met in Tom’s office, a cluttered upstairs room of his house. From his window, you can see across Mill Pond Road to the former house of his mentor and friend Don Murray, who figures prominently in the book.

Why embarrassment?

In so much of what I read about education, the emotional life of the learner, particularly the teacher-learner, is ignored. We often get these rosy, uniformly successful depictions—all students are motivated, everything comes in on time, the teacher just loves every minute of her job. While I loved teaching, that was never my emotional reality. I regularly felt discouraged. I relived failures, often in the middle of the night. My successes seemed so much more intermittent than those in the accounts I read. I compared myself unfavorably with colleagues, and super-teacher authors and presenters—and I didn’t measure up.

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Instructional routines can support ALL students

By Grace Kelemanik, Amy Lucenta, and Susan Janssen Creighton, adapted from their new book, Routines for Reasoning


Imagine a routine focused not on classroom management procedures but on ways of thinking mathematically when faced with an unfamiliar problem. Like the management routines, these “mathematical thinking routines” also have a predictable set of actions that students learn and then practice repeatedly until they are second nature.

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The Effectiveness of Instructional Routines

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Imagine having a set of routines focused not on classroom management, but on helping students develop their mathematical thinking skills. Routines for Reasoning provides expert guidance for harnessing the power of classroom-tested instructional routines to support every learner in developing mathematical thinking and problem solving skills.

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