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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in book study

Posted by on in Professional Development

Professional development has changed drastically, for the better, since I began my career. Long gone are the days of “sit and get, one size fits all” pd. Thank goodness! Professional development is more personalized with teachers taking control and leading it often.

The tenets of high quality professional development include:

Job embedded

Ongoing

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Posted by on in What If?

reading

When teachers assign student reading, it’s not usually the social-emotional domain that’s the focus of the activity. But if we’re to address the whole child, we have to be aware that books have an impact on students’ hearts as well as their heads.

That’s the focus of an article titled “Literature’s Emotional Lessons,” written by teacher Andrew Simmons. In it he tells the story of a 10th-grade student whose emotional reaction to Piggy’s death scene in Lord of the Flies caused her to flee the room. He writes

In my experience teaching and observing other teachers, students spend a lot of time learning academic skills and rarely even talk about the emotional reactions they may have to what they read—even when stories, as they often do, address dark themes.The Common Core Standardspush students to become clinical crafters of arguments and masters of academic language. While these are essential skills to possess, the fact that my other students appear perfectly comfortable not acknowledging and discussing emotional responses to literature may be as revelatory as this one student’s teary dash from class. Inundated with video games, movies, and memes, teenagers often seem hard to shake up. Characters are fictitious abstractions, and, without actors to bring them to life and makeup and digital tricks to make the drama feel real, students may strictly do the analytical work teachers expect without the interference of a significant emotional response. That’s a bad thing. An emotional response should be part of the curriculum.

Most likely, there’s some concern among teachers about the time such emotional explorations would take, considering there are standards to be met and tests to be passed. But there are standards for the social-emotional domain as well and literature provides a perfect jumping-off point for addressing them.

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Posted by on in Professional Development

WantPD

A few weeks ago I was notified that a couple of teachers were looking to engage in a book study as part of their required yearly professional development hours. These teachers wanted a book recommendation…

Yes, some argue there are several problems with an hours-based approach to professional development. However, in this instance, I believe we were able to transform the need for hours into an opportunity.

Now, a couple of weeks and an Amazon purchase later, six primary level teachers will be partaking in a Reading with Meaning book study, while four intermediate level educators will be reading and discussing Notice & Note. Also, the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, and both building principals have agreed to get involved, and I offered to read both books (almost done) and facilitate the professional learning.

Along with the fact that diving into these books (which both focus on close reading) can undeniably benefit our teachers and students, here are a few others reasons why these book studies are of significance for our District:

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