Reading Less to Read Better: Multi-Cueing Systems and the Surge of Graphic Novels

In my teaching literature methods course last fall, we read Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese in anticipation of a lesson prepared by some of my classmates. The novel is a thick book, almost 240 pages, but it took less than 25 minutes to read it. I encountered several pages with just pictures, and pages … Continue reading Reading Less to Read Better: Multi-Cueing Systems and the Surge of Graphic Novels

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Rethinking Independent Reading and “Just Right” Texts: The Continuing Case for Whole-Class Literacy Instruction

"Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?" That the river is everywhere at the same time... and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future"  The above quote is from Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. I remember … Continue reading Rethinking Independent Reading and “Just Right” Texts: The Continuing Case for Whole-Class Literacy Instruction

Should We Make Our Lessons Relevant?

As a result of students feeling bored and education being deemed “irrelevant” to their immediate lives, a number of tactics have been introduced as antidotes to the boring, outdated, factory model of schooling. We can either give 100% choice of low-level young adult fiction books featuring diverse characters, or as in Peter Greene’s recent Forbes … Continue reading Should We Make Our Lessons Relevant?

Building Background Knowledge to Boost Reading Comprehension and Critical Analysis

This post is a part of a series I’m writing about the evidence based instructional practices I implemented in student teaching. This is post #2. You can read post #1 here: Simple, Not Easy: How giving my students space to think improved engagement and learning.   Because of the power dynamic in schools,  students often … Continue reading Building Background Knowledge to Boost Reading Comprehension and Critical Analysis

Simple, Not Easy: How Giving My Students the Space to Think Improved Engagement and Learning

Student-teaching is over. We submitted our final essays on To Kill a Mockingbird, and all that is left is to watch the movie, and do end-of-the-year stuff next week. Now that I’m here, I can finally stop and reflect on what I’ve done over the past few months-- my trial run if you will. I … Continue reading Simple, Not Easy: How Giving My Students the Space to Think Improved Engagement and Learning

Fighting For The Schools Our Kids Deserve

As I finish my student teaching stint and move toward having my own classroom, two things have been on my mind: deficit thinking and the phrase “the schools our kids deserve”. This was brought to light by the 8 Black Hands podcast about the teacher strikes in LA and Tom Rademacher and Robert Pondiscio’s twitter … Continue reading Fighting For The Schools Our Kids Deserve

Teaching Our Way to Mediocrity: Why Choice-Based Curriculum Misses the Mark

Last week, students read about the Scottsboro Boys trial to frame our class novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. During class, I noticed one student with their head down for what I assumed was disinterest with the class. As I sat down to read with the student, I understood the real reason: they guessed "acquire" instead … Continue reading Teaching Our Way to Mediocrity: Why Choice-Based Curriculum Misses the Mark