The Engaging Classroom

    • In Other Words

    Ending Bullying Begins With Us

    Bullying is not a new phenomenon, but today, parents and teachers are talking about bullying behavior and its effects on children much more than in previous generations. This heightened awareness around bullying is a good thing. Unfortunately, however, this awareness has come as a result of the now countless number of cases in which bullying victims have lost their lives...
    • In Other Words

    Writing My Wrongs for Victims and Bullies

    Students and young readers often ask me if I was bullied as a child. It’s a fair question, since bullying is a major topic in both of my young adult novels (BUTTER and DEAD ENDS), and it deserves an honest answer.

    Yes, I tell them, I was bullied. Sometimes, the youngest—and bravest—students will ask how I was bullied.

    • In Other Words

    A Safe Space to Embrace What You Love

    When I was in eighth grade, I loved things. I loved my friends. I loved Bad English and Poison. I loved reading David Eddings’ fantasy series The Belgariad and The Mallorean. One of these things was not quite as socially acceptable as the others, but I didn’t really know that. Or if I did, I didn’t really get it. I was, and am, a passionate person. I love out loud.
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: TWERP

    Middle school boys have been waiting for Julian Twerski.

    In the recent novel TWERP, author Mark Goldblatt turns the bully paradigm on its head, giving us a gruesomely honest account of the middle school power dynamic.

    Many books have been written about the “mean girl” mentality and about bullying in general. Let's face it: teasing, ridicule, abuse, and the desire to belong are so rife in our tween years that practically no middle grade book would be complete without them.

    • Teaching Tips

    Going Back in Time Using a Daily Living Journal

    I’ve had some major breakthroughs with my students because they were able to express themselves more readily using a keyboard and computer screen rather than traditional pencil and paper. But, sometimes, it’s refreshing for us as teachers to take a step, or two, back to a time when all writing was done using a goldenrod colored stick labeled No. 2 and sheets of wide-ruled notebook paper.
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: Gene Luen Yang’s BOXERS and SAINTS

    BOXERS and SAINTS is a two-volume work hot off the presses (September 10, 2013) from highly acclaimed AMERICAN BORN CHINESE author, Gene Luen Yang. AMERICAN BORN CHINESE was the first graphic novel to win the Michael L. Printz Award (2007) and was also a National Book Award nominee.
    • Teaching in ACTion

    Notes from a Library of Congress Institute Fellow

    Karyn GlodenKaryn Gloden reflects on her time as an Institute Fellow at the Library of Congress in the first column in our new series from the Advisory Committee of Teachers.
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: CARVER: A LIFE IN POEMS

    IRA’s theme for International Literacy Day 2013 was “Invent Your Future.” The idea of “inventing your future” made me think immediately of George Washington Carver and Marilyn Nelson’s gorgeous verse biography of him and his life. The combination of Nelson’s poetic skills and Carver’s amazing life resulted in a magical work.
    • Teaching Tips

    Career Education in First Grade?

    In the not-so-distant past, teachers knew exactly what jobs they were preparing their students for. There were a limited number of careers available for graduating students, and the reading, writing, and numeracy we taught in schools prepared those students for all of these possible positions. We knew what the jobs would be, so we knew what skills our students would need.
    • In Other Words

    What Teaching for Career Readiness Looks Like

    What is your favorite subject? What is your favorite genre? What career do you imagine for yourself in the future? These are the types of questions we should ask our students at the beginning of every year, starting in kindergarten, to get a sense of their interests. Depending on their age, we can have our students draw a picture, compose an answer, orally communicate thoughts, or complete a written survey.
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

    In ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER, a young girl learns to follow her dreams no matter what else happens. Rosie Revere is a young girl who sees beyond the trash and finds treasure. At school, she is very shy and hides her talents; at home, when no one is looking, she makes amazing creations. She hides out in the attic and creates all sorts of gadgets until she’s too tired to continue working. Why does she hide her fantastic inventions?
    • In Other Words

    Teachers: You, Too, Can Present Like Steve Jobs

    With the recently released Steve Jobs biopic, Apple’s legendary founder and pitchman is back in our national psyche. We can all agree that Jobs changed how we view design and creativity by elevating the quality and tools of many of the technologies we use every day. He was also a natural showman, and his Apple speeches were must-watch events for Apple fans around the globe.
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