Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How to attract the best teachers into the profession.

The need to elevate the teaching profession is a fact. Recently I read a piece from the founder of The Harlem Village Academies, a charter network consisting of five schools, which bears noting.  She spoke of the importance of having the conditions of accountability and freedom in a school environment. Teachers who have a good amount of autonomy feel empowered and therefore are more committed and creative in how they teach. Whether a school is public, private or charter doesn’t alter the conditions teachers deserve and need to be innovative, passionate and dedicated teachers. Good teachers make for good students. It is as simple as that. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer reading for kids: Keep literature and pleasure in the same arena.

Some Books Are More Equal Than Others, speaks to the question: How important are summer reading assignments and what should they look like?  The article stated that for newly fluent readers, usually age 8 or 9, any reading is indeed good reading.  But for students in middle school and high school, reading selection does matter in terms of their acquiring both word recognition and world knowledge.

I applaud the sentiment that “allow students to explore literature in the summer as a pleasure and return to school curious about the world around them, not weary from having written about books they could not fully understand, or smug from having earned credit for an essay on a book they could have easily comprehended in fourth grade.”

The following are a few suggestions that keep literature and pleasure in the same arena

Helpful hints for Summer reading for children:
~ Give children direction in choosing books.
~ Encourage reading without use of the post-it-notes.

 ~ Support children reading challenging books during the summer, without the mandate to fully understand the book.
~ Encourage children to read nonfiction books that support acquiring world knowledge. Becoming excited by current events and history is the byproduct.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” Ray Bradbury 1920-2012

Ray Bradbury, who never attended college, described himself as “completely library-educated.” That was one of his two preferred explanation for how he became a writer. “ I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library.”  Ray Bradbury was best known as a sci-fi titan but in “my book” he is known and loved for one of the most glorious passages found in literature. This passage comes from his classic novel, Fahrenheit 451.
“Every one must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made.  Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way, so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.  It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said.   The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Diane will be working in New Haven CT, October & November 2012

Andy Eder spoke on June 7, 2012 at the West Haven Community House to discuss Diane Frankenstein’s upcoming visits to New Haven to work with Hispanic and African-American families on best practices to ensure children have the literacy skills they need to be successful in school.