Search This Blog

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Here are some great resources for starting off the New Year! Courtesy of Stenhouse.

January 6, 2017  •  In This Issue:

Note: If you'd rather not receive Newslinks in the future, just
forward this message to

Stenhouse Publishers
1) Preview 7 new books in their entirety
Kick off the new year with these new and recent titles from our Canadian publishing partner, Pembroke Publishers:

Powerful Readers
Powerful Readers, by Kyla Hadden and Adrienne Gear
Thinking Strategies to Guide Literacy Instruction in Secondary Classrooms
Kyla Hadden and Adrienne Gear
At any age or grade level, powerful readers are those who are aware of their thinking as they read. This book demonstrates that instruction in the key strategies of connecting, visualizing, questioning, inferring, determining importance, and transforming can help high school students develop their reading skills and get more out of their work with fiction and nonfiction.
Grades 8-12 • 128 pages • $24.00 • Available now

Literacy 101
Literacy 101, by David Booth
Questions and Answers That Meet the Needs of Real Teachers
David Booth
In his new book, David Booth answers questions from real teachers about building skills in literacy—from phonics to comprehension, from simple exercises to rich reading materials. Drawing on more than forty years of experience in education, David shares hard-learned lessons about what has—and hasn't—worked for him.
Grades K-12 • 128 pages • $24.00 • Available now

Student Diversity, Third Edition
Student Diversity, Third Edition, by Faye Brownlie, Catherine Feniak, and Leyton Schnellert
Teaching Strategies to Meet the Learning Needs of All Students in K-10 Classrooms
Faye Brownlie, Catherine Feniak, and Leyton Schnellert
Based on extensive classroom research, Student Diversity presents many examples of teachers working together in diverse classrooms to improve their teaching practice—from the primary and early years to middle school and high school.
Grades K-10 • 160 pages • $24.00 • Available now

Substitute Teaching?
Substitute Teaching?, by Amanda Yuill
Everything You Need to Get the Students on Your Side and Teach Them, Too
Amanda Yuill
This easy-to-read, humorous survival guide for substitute teachers presents strategies to get students on your side and make classroom management easier for the whole day. You'll get ready-to-use tools, tips, and lesson ideas for every grade from kindergarten through 8th.
Grades K-8 • 160 pages • $24.00 • Available now

The Four Roles of the Numerate Learner
The Four Roles of the Numerate Learner, by Mary Fiore and Maria Luisa Lebar
Effective Teaching and Assessment Strategies to Help Students Think Differently About Mathematics
Mary Fiore and Maria Luisa Lebar
This book introduces a framework (sense maker, skill user, thought communicator, and critical interpreter) that supports an integrated approach to effective mathematics instruction. It builds on educators' understanding of how to effectively teach mathematics and borrows from successful frameworks used to teach literacy.
Grades K-12 • 128 pages • $24.00 • Available now

Relationships Make the Difference
Relationships Make the Difference, by Pat Trottier
Connect with Your Students and Help Them Build Social, Emotional, and Academic Skills
Pat Trottier
This book provides the scaffolding that teachers need to establish strong relationships with their students and create caring classroom communities that build relationships with parents, school administration, staff, and support specialists.
Grades K-12 • 128 pages • $24.00 • Available now

Teaching with Humor, Compassion, and Conviction
Teaching with Humor, Compassion, and Conviction, by Heather Hollis
Helping Our Students Become Literate, Considerate, Passionate Human Beings
Heather Hollis
How can teachers make their literacy classrooms a place of joy? Full of simple strategies and activities for building community, this practical book is committed to promoting strong literacy skills and creating mindful classrooms where students are free to speak with compassion, write with conviction, and read with joy.
Grades K-6 • 128 pages • $24.00 • Available now


2) Talking about race in the classroom
Rick Wormeli
We can't truly create equal opportunities for all until our institutions take specific actions to end racist thinking and policies. And ground zero for an equitable, non-racist society is the K-12 classroom.

Read this thoughtful article from Rick Wormeli—one of the most-read articles of 2016 from ASCD's Educational Leadership:

Rick Wormeli

And watch our recent webinar with Matt Kay, author of the upcoming book Loaded Conversations. Follow along as Matt shares ideas and strategies for navigating conversations about race in your classroom:


3) PD Corner: Creating a learning culture
The single biggest driver of business impact is the strength of an organization's learning culture.
—Josh Bersin

Create your personal learning culture. Invest in your own development. Author and executive coach Tasha Eurich advises how: know yourself, pick one thing, and practice. Be inspired to reach for awesome with her image-rich TEDx talk:

The Digital Principal, by Janet Hughes and Anne Burke
Are educators in your building inquiry based, student focused and purposefully engaged in learning with technology? Read "Learning Culture for a Digital Age," Chapter 3 of The Digital Principal, by Janet Hughes and Anne Burke:

Are the learners around you agile? Review the five components of learning agility with this post from Concordia Online:

Take apart the learning agility components on pages three to five of this Center for Creative Leadership white paper and use them as manipulatives to spark and encourage conversations with teachers:
A Sense of Belonging, by Jennifer Allen

Use the first chapter of Jennifer Allen's A Sense of Belonging to recall the story of your teaching start. Help new teachers avoid learning culture shock:


Please send comments and questions to Zsofia McMullin, Newslinks Editor, at or call (800) 988-9812. Click here to view archives of past issues.
Contributing writer: Lee Ann Spillane

We encourage you to forward this newsletter to colleagues. To subscribe to Stenhouse Newslinks, complete this form on our Web site or send an e-mail with your request to

Stenhouse respects your privacy, and we never share e-mail addresses with anyone. If you no longer wish to receive e-mail communications from us, just forward this message to:

Stenhouse Publishers
PO Box 11020
Portland, ME 04104-7020
Tel (800) 988-9812 / Fax (800) 833-9164
Bookmark and Share

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Students write international children's books - What a great idea. Some of you who are international, are welcome to leave a post and connect up with other classrooms on this blog! Maybe you could get an exchange going! Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief!

Students in a Virginia school district who participated in the Journeys of My Life project created children's books in English and Spanish for schoolchildren in El Salvador. The project is a partnership with the public library and uses funding from a grant from the American Library Association.
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (12/20)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Here is some useful information for literacy teachers K-12. Courtesy of Mind/Shift.

What Types of Sound Experiences Enable Children to Learn Best?

Girl with headphones
Nina Kraus, a biologist at Northwestern University, has spent the better part of her professional career researching how sound affects the brain. What she's found has important implications for how adults and children manage the sounds that envelop them. "Sound is invisible, but it's a tremendously powerful force," said Kraus. "For better or worse, it shapes your brain and how you learn." And according to Kraus, some sound environments are better than others at promoting learning. She offers several practical suggestions for creating that kind of space, whether at home or in school:

Reduce noise
Chronic background noise is associated with several auditory and learning problems. It contributes to "neural noise," wherein brain neurons fire spontaneously in the absence of sound; it reduces the brain's sensitivity to sound; and it slows auditory growth.

A study of two different third grade classrooms — one overlooking a highway and the other beside a quiet field — found substantially better learning outcomes for kids in the quieter room. Because income and noise exposure are correlated — the lower the income, often, the louder the environment — finding pockets of quiet are that much more important for disadvantaged children. In school, this means building a quiet classroom, with acoustics in mind.

Read aloud
Hearing stories told by others develops vocabulary and builds working memory; to understand how a story unfolds, listeners, need to remember what was said before.

Listen to audiobooks and podcasts
Well-told stories can draw kids in and build attention skills and working memory. The number and quality of these recordings have exploded in recent years, making it that much easier to find a good fit for individuals and classes. In Kraus's course on the biological foundations of speech and music, for example, she assigns a podcast from the WNYC program "RadioLab" The Walls of Jericho, to help students better understand decibels.

Use the spread of technology to your advantage
Technologies that shrink the globalized world enable second-language learning. Online videos allow aspiring musicians to listen and learn from others who are playing the same piece. The ease of travel invites opportunities to hear other types of sounds that might not be typical in a local environment. Assistive listening devices can help offset hearing loss and language disorders. Judicious use of technological progress can be used to build effective sound-to-meaning connections.

Encourage children to play a musical instrument
"There is an explicit link between making music and strengthening language skills, so that keeping music education at the center of curricula can pay big dividends for children's cognitive, emotional, and educational health," according to Kraus.
Learn more
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Every teacher who works with middle school or high school students knows how much the kids love their phones. Here is a great article for how to use their phones to increase their engagement. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Tips for boosting class interaction via devices
Tips for boosting class interaction via devices
Media specialist Kelli Whiteside uses pivotEd, from Capstone, to interact with students in real time through their devices. In this blog post, she shares how she uses the platform to foster discussions among students, plus view and grade their work.
SmartBrief/Education (11/29)  Bookmark and Share

Monday, December 5, 2016

Here is a great article that deals with keeping older students motivated to read. Well worth the read. Courtesy of Mind/Shift.

How to Help Students Love Reading

Getting kids to enjoy reading can be a challenge for teachers and parents. A 2015 study by Scholastic showed that reading for pleasure drops off after age eight. Of the students surveyed, 51 percent of said reading is something they like or love to do; five years earlier, that number was 60 percent.

How can we support young readers? Daniel Willingham, author of "Raising Kids Who Read," has several suggestions, including re-imagining the act of reading as having less to do with school and more with a life well-lived. Instead of telling kids that reading books will help them get good grades or find a good career, he said, make reading part of a larger family value: loving to learn.

Willingham's Tips for Raising Older Readers:

  • Make sure kids have access to books. Drop by the library often. If it's affordable, leave books lying around the house, in the car, even in the bathroom.
  • Don't control kids' reading. The temptation to "put the hammer down" for a page count may only result in a reaction and pushback. Comic books, graphic novels, and books below reading level all count.
  • Get kids involved in a peer network of readers. For example, teen author John Green has created an incredible network of readers and fans that connect online.
  • Offer reading material that draws on something they're already interested in. If there's a movie they already love, get the novelization of the movie, or a book about backstage gossip on set.
  • Don't forget that as the parent, you are the cheerleader, not the literature judge. Don't worry if it's not Shakespeare, the point is to show kids that "interesting things are found when you read print."
Learn more
Bookmark and Share

Friday, November 18, 2016

Report analyzes students' reading habits - Study shows kids need to practice what they learn about reading. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

About 54% of students read for less than 15 minutes per day, according to the ninth annual "What Kids Are Reading" report, which includes data from 9.9 million K-12 students at 30,863 schools. The report shows that boys, on average, read about 23% less than girls.
T.H.E. Journal (11/17) 

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Can audiobooks, podcasts improve literacy? - Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief

Listening to stories can help improve literacy skills among students who dislike or struggle with reading,according to the educators and experts mentioned in this blog post. They offer a list of recommended audiobooks and podcasts.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Another great post from Choice Literacy on blogging. It is just the right time of the year to get blogs up and running and sharing with other students. Enjoy. Courtesy of Choice Literacy.

The Big Fresh Newsletter from Choice Literacy
November 5, 2016 - Issue #526
If you are having trouble reading this newsletter, click here for a Web-based version.
What's for Sale

While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.
                                                                             Angela Schwindt

My phone rings, an unknown number but a Michigan area code, where I have lots of family and friends. So I answer it and find myself chatting with Cassie -- a stranger who is a student at my alma mater. She is hesitant and bubbly at the same time -- this job of calling alums and asking them to open their wallets is not for the faint of heart. Cassie tells me how she changed her major three times, and now as a junior has finally settled on a business degree. After a few minutes of pleasant chatter, I make a donation. Maybe I am remembering my own undeclared days in those first months decades ago on campus. Maybe it’s because I’m thinking of my young nephews who are having the time of their lives at basketball camp right at this moment on that same campus.  Maybe it’s because I remember not having much money as a college student, and having to take jobs that leave you calling strangers on a Friday night in the summer.
Youth sells. It’s why we can’t resist buying Girl Scout cookies when a gap-toothed kid is sitting outside the shopping center at a table crowded with cartoons, although truth be told they aren’t very tasty. Except for the Thin Mints. And maybe the Savannahs. Okay, on a bad day a Do-si-do will do. But I digress . . .
I was on the board for our local K-8 school, and not once in three years did children present anything to us. They should have. We were mired almost every meeting in numbers from financial spreadsheets, and it would have been great to get a face-to-face reminder once in a while about what it was all for.

Let the students tell more of the stories of your classroom this year, on whatever vehicle works best -- the class Facebook page, blog, through daily email blasts. Better yet, find ways to video bits and pieces of their stories to share throughout the year.  Keeping students front and center is a continuous reminder to families that your classroom and school have the right priorities.
The truth is that public education is always in financial peril. Schools are living, breathing, growing things, and we build a bulwark against cuts of indifference one student-told story at a time.
This week we look at student blogging. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Brenda Power
Founder, Choice Literacy

Free for All
[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links,  follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracy or Facebook: or Pinterest:]    

Katherine Sokolowski presents some strategies from her fifth-grade classroom for launching student blogs:

Shared reading and shared writing are essential instructional techniques in the primary grades. How about shared blogging for teaching children basic blogging skills? Cathy Mere describes how it works:

Pernille Ripp has suggestions for getting started with student blogging:

Join Jennifer Schwanke for the online course The Principal's Role in Evaluating and Supporting Literacy Instruction (November 28 - December 2). You'll get personal responses to all your questions, view webcasts, and receive a DVD and online resources to enhance the learning. Click on the link for details:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

4 approaches to making content kinesthetic - I am posting this here, because it is important information for all teachers to have. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

New research shows that the part of the brain typically associated with muscular activity and motor
control also plays a role in language functions and with visual-spatial, executive and working memory processes. By combining physical activity and higher-order thinking, teachers can capitalize on the brain-body connection and help students grow this area of their brain. Here are four ways to increase engagement and academic achievement by adding movement to learning. Read now.
Bookmark and Share