Books & Authors: New booklist: From My Backyard | Interview with Linda Sue Park | Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: books and bookmarks | In Search of Wonder conference | Teacher appreciation books and e-cards
Ideas for Educators: Jigsaw strategy | Semantic mapping | Retelling a story | Early learning passports
Ideas for Parents: Active read alouds | Top vocabulary apps | Better hearing and speech
Research & News: What does Common Core implementation look like? l | Learning with disabilities: one effort to shake up the classroom | Family engagement is much more than volunteering at school
Read. Talk. Explore. With 24 kid-tested themes to choose from, you'll find something for every child to dive into. Each theme includes dozens of carefully chosen fiction and nonfiction books, hands-on activities, writing ideas, apps and websites to deepen the learning. You'll also find simple, practical ideas on how to improve your child's fluency during the summer months. Visit Start with a Book >
Teachers: download and print this Start with a Book flyer to share with your families, for a summer full of discovery and learning. Download flyer >
Launch a summer full of active and enriching learning experiences for your students! We've put together a wealth of resources to share with parents: ideas for encouraging everyday reading and writing, and links to information about how to start a neighborhood book club, reading incentive programs, volunteering and active citizenship, kid-friendly gardening projects, great science-focused websites, and much more. See Summer resources >
Here's a sampling of tip sheets (in English and Spanish) to print and share with families:
Nature is all around (even in the city!), and full of wonder and surprises. Discover what clouds are made of, where rain goes after it splish-splashes to the ground, how birds craft their unique nests, the journey of a seed from sprout to beautiful flower and more — in these 10 delightful picture books. View booklist >
Park brings Korean history and culture vividly to life through her richly imagined stories for young readers. She creates unforgettable characters that cross centuries and continents, yet still feel fresh and relevant — like the 12th century orphan, Tree Ear, from her Newbery winning novel A Single Shard. We also love her lively, clever sijo poems from Tap Dancing on the Roof:
What's in your pockets right now? I hope they're not empty: Empty pockets, unread books, lunches left on the bus —all a waste. In mine: One horse chestnut. One gum wrapper. One dime. One hamster.
A good book can open a child's eyes to new places, new customs. From family stories (Grandfather's Journey) to folktales (Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story) to food (Bee-Bim Bop!): discover the rich culture, humor, and traditions of Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Hawaii in this collection of picture books for kids 3-9 years old. Go to booklist >
Join authors Katherine Paterson, Steven Kellogg, Nikki Grimes and Tanya Lee Stone for an interdisciplinary, professional development day designed for educators, librarians, parents, and students of education and library science. Share information about new and classic fiction and nonfiction literature that can be used in the classroom across a variety of academic discipline — and get inspired! (Date: October 17. Location: Cleveland, OH) Register today >
Teachers are … smart, brave, intuitive, able to react at a moment's notice, possibly magical. Get to know Miss Frizzle, Miss Nelson, and the other wonderful and very human teachers in this collection of books. See booklist >
Don't forget Teacher Appreciation Week (May 5-10). Send an e-card to a favorite teacher in your child's life to thank them for the love of learning they bring to the classroom each day. Featuring delightful illustrations from Denise Brunkus and Henry Cole. Send an e-card >
Use the #ThankaTeacher hashtag and join thousands showing their support for our nation's teachers.
Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that enables each student of a "home" group to specialize in one aspect of a topic. Go inside Cathy Doyle's second grade classroom in Evanston, Illinois to observe her students use the jigsaw strategy to understand the topic of gardening more deeply and share what they have learned. See strategy >
Semantic maps (or graphic organizers) are maps or webs of words. Maps can visually display the meaning-based connections between a word or phrase and a set of related words or concepts. Semantic maps help students — especially struggling students and those with disabilities — to identify, understand and recall the meaning of words they read in the text. Get the step-by-step on using semantic maps, how to integrate technology into the strategy, and a sample lesson. See article >
Melissa Porfirio, 2014 National Teacher of the Year finalist, is a first grade teacher in Springfield, VA. Take a look at how she guides her students in learning to retell a fairy tale, including characters, setting, and events. How does academic choice foster differentiated instruction? What can you learn from Ms. Porfirio about elevating student voice in the classroom? [CCSS: ELA.RL.1.1 ELA.RL.1.2 ELA.RL.1.3] Watch video from the Teaching Channel >
By the end of the school year, preschool teachers know their students well, including each child's strengths and weaknesses. One way to make sure this important knowledge follows kids once they move on from preschool is to create an early learning "passport" — a folder containing checklists, documents, and work samples that can be passed on to a child's kindergarten teacher. This toolkit from the National Center for Learning Disabilities shows you how. Get toolkit >
The best story times are very interactive: You are reading the story and asking questions, your child is talking and there is lots of conversation between the two of you. In this video, kids and volunteers come together around books in an Alexandria, VA reading program. Watch how one reading volunteer engages kids in active conversation about vegetables, and how an outdoor "milking station" turns into a memorable way to learn new vocabulary words like "pasteurizing." (To set up your own farm station, download our Farm-themed reading adventure pack). Watch video and browse tip sheets >
Crosswords, Scrabble-style games, and interactive explorations of homophones, synonyms, and opposites — browse our baker's dozen of fun apps that engage young kids with words. See vocabulary apps >
Better Hearing and Speech
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) sponsors Better Hearing and Speech Month each May. Visit the ASHA website for resources and check out their Listen to Your Buds safe listening campaign.
The PBS NewsHour looked at how Common Core implementation is going in classrooms across the country with the help of young journalists in their Student Reporting Labs. They asked their student reporters to interview their teachers about how Common Core is affecting what they teach and how they teach it. Watch story >
This is what an inclusive classroom looks like: Children with disabilities sit next to ones who've been deemed "gifted and talented." The mixing is done carefully, and quietly. Students don't necessarily know who's working at what level. Presidio Middle School in San Francisco has been pushing for more integrated classrooms. But even champions of an inclusive model can have difficulty balancing students' varying needs. [NPR] Listen to story >
A recent commentary at the New York Times explored the findings from a study on parental involvement. The authors of the study found that the common types of parental involvement, like volunteering more at school or attending school events, don't improve student achievement. And they're right. "Random acts of parent involvement" aren't enough. Other research shows that schools need to do more, especially to engage struggling families. The bottom line: Parent/family involvement must be "Beyond the Bake Sale." [Ed Central] See story >
"Books erase bias, they make the uncommon everyday, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal."
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