Stories from the Field Including Students Speak, Teachers Take, and #WhyITeach Literacy at School // For Teachers Including High-Impact Lesson Plans, Grammar, Speaking and Listening, Writing, Student Motivation, Critical Media and Digital Literacy, and 7 Strengths for Super Readers Children's and YA Literature Including Pop Culture Corner, Authors to Know, and Book Reviews Center for Literacy Education Blog Center for Literacy Education Blog August 26, 2022 “Making Hope and History Rhyme: Words That Will Echo Forevermore” (3 of 4) Case Study #3: Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou Following the first and second of four blogs in this series, I introduced our 4th/5th grade expedition, “Making Hope and History Rhyme: Words That Will Echo Forevermore,” which we hope you will read to gain a comprehensive view of the expedition unit. July 7, 2022 “Making Hope and History Rhyme: Words That Will Echo Forevermore” (2 of 4) In the first of four blogs in this series, I introduced our 4th/5th grade expedition, “Making Hope and History Rhyme: Words That Will Echo Forevermore,” which we hope you will read to gain a comprehensive view of the expedition unit. Overview: Our twelve week expedition explores the history of th June 13, 2022 “Making Hope and History Rhyme: Words That Will Echo Forevermore” (1 of 4) This 4 part blog series will be shared over the next several weeks, highlighting three case studies as part of the expedition, “Making Hope and History Rhyme: Words That Will Echo Forevermore,” and finishing with a "Celebration of Learning" segment. May 23, 2022 Belonging, Reflection & Joy at Home, School & Work I have always been struck by just how many similarities there are between the elements that allow children to thrive at school, and those that allow adults to thrive at work. May 23, 2022 I Dream of a Million Teacher March Thank you for your kind words, your gift cards for coffee, your mugs, and thank you for your art. May 21, 2022 Subways Series: Super Readers (Part 2 of 2) First Fridays at Incarnation School O’Shaughnessy Fellows Dave Robles (5th, St. Charles Borromeo, New York City), Francesca Ciaramitaro (ELA MS, Incarnation School, New York City), and Christine Cherichella (3rd, P.S. April 4, 2022 Subway Series: Blogging from the A Train (Part 1 of 2) Blogging From the A Train During our last O’Shaughnessy All Fellows meeting, Francesca Ciaramitaro (FC) suggested an entirely new format for our blog. Rather than a traditional written blog, she suggested interviews among Fellows. March 14, 2022 The Core Commitments of Literacy Educators (4 of 4) Throughout this series, we have focused on key areas for leading literacy in K-8 Catholic schools. We first explored developing a school-wide vision for literacy instruction. Next we considered essential content for literacy learning. February 21, 2022 Artists are Guardians of the Human Spirit: Poetry as Tool to Support Spiritual Development in Teachers and Students (2 of 2) Brandon “B-Mike” Odums “Artists are Guardians of the Human Spirit” - Anna Deveare Smith In the first blog, we looked at the ways we understand spirituality in education and why that may be helpful in these times for teachers and students. February 14, 2022 Essential Structures for Literacy (3 of 4) In the last blog post, we focused on the essential content for literacy instruction: phonics and phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and high level talk and writing about text. February 7, 2022 To Not Look Away: Thinking through the Purpose & Practice of Spirituality in Education (1 of 2) (Nhat Hanh, 2013) “We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” Thich Nhat Hanh It’s February, 2022, and it seems there are a million reasons to feel hopeless. January 11, 2022 Social Emotional Development, Young Children, and Literacy I struggle to answer the question - “what do you do for a living?” The easy response is that I am a teacher, but that never seems to capture the real essence of what my day to day experience is. November 29, 2021 Essential Literacy Content (2 of 4) In the last post, we focused on five areas to consider in developing a school-wide vision for literacy: establishing literacy as a priority, creating a sense of collective responsibility for all children, ensuring evidence-based, high quality literacy instruction, establishing a balanced system of a November 3, 2021 Leading Literacy - Developing a School-Wide Literacy Vision (1 of 4) Leading Literacy - Developing a School-Wide Literacy Vision We hope you enjoy the first of a four part series on Literacy Leaders The first question I ask when I work with teachers and leaders around literacy practices is what is your school-wide vision for literacy instruction? October 19, 2021 Identity Texts Mini-Series: Honoring and Leveraging Students’ Home Languages in the Classroom This is the third blog in the mini-series “Honoring and Leveraging Students’ Home Languages in the Classroom.” In this post, I consider why it matters for students to encounter books that represent their lived experience September 27, 2021 Language and Culture Portraits This is the second blog in the mini-series “Honoring and Leveraging Students’ Home Languages in the Classroom.” In this blog, I introduce language and culture portraits as a method for learning about and affirming students’ diverse linguistic and cultural identities. Language and Culture Portraits September 21, 2021 Honoring and Leveraging Students’ Home Languages in the Classroom This is the first blog in the mini-series “Honoring and Leveraging Students’ Home Languages in the Classroom.” In this blog, I introduce some core concepts underscoring the importance of cultivating multilingual classroom spaces. I Am My Language "So, if you really want to hurt me, talk badly abou September 17, 2021 Balancing Perspectives: An Integrative Text Set on Racism and Housing In my post series about text sets, I’ve outlined research on text sets from cognitive, disciplinary, and critical perspectives. Each of these perspectives offers specific aims for what a literacy unit’s texts might look like. But how might a teacher bring them together? September 8, 2021 Text Sets & Critical Perspectives Just what is a text set, anyways? Turns out, a teacher’s text set depends a lot on their perspective on literacy. In this blog post series, I’ve described the QTS text set from the cognitive perspective and the Project READI text set from the disciplinary literacy perspective. August 30, 2021 Disciplinary Literacy Perspective on Text Sets In my last two posts, I sketched the popularity and emergence of research on text sets, and outlined the Quad Text Set (QTS) framework aimed at helping students reading more complex texts. August 23, 2021 Cognitive Perspectives on Text Sets from Reading Research Text sets are popular for many teachers and researchers, but the definition of a text set —any thematically-linked collection of texts—can often be quite vague. August 11, 2021 Text Sets: What and Why Text sets are increasingly popular resources for teachers. Sites like NewsELA, CommonLit, the Library of Congress and ReadWorks offer teachers pre-made text sets targeted at various grade levels. June 10, 2021 Digital Literacies and Digital Platforms When COVID-19 arrived, many of us had to quickly adapt to teaching online. June 7, 2021 #whyIteach ~ Featured Fellow: Monica Cozza For our June newsletter, O'Shaughnessy Fellow Monica Cozza briefly shared with us why she loves teaching. June 6, 2021 #whyIteach ~ Featured Fellow: Gisella Mancini O'Shaughnessy Fellow Gisella Mancini is our Featured Fellow for our June newsletter. June 6, 2021 Collaboration as a Vehicle for Critical Inquiry & Engagement in Literacies (Part 4 of 4) How does collaboration promote critical inquiry and engagement in literacies for educators and students? This is the common question introduced in my first blog post of this series, which connects three practitioner spotlights (parts 2 thru 4 of the series). May 31, 2021 Collaboration as a Vehicle for Critical Inquiry & Engagement in Literacies (Part 3 of 4) How does collaboration promote critical inquiry and engagement in literacies for educators and students? This is the common question introduced in my first blog post of this series, which connects three practitioner spotlights (parts 2 thru 4 of the series). May 23, 2021 Collaboration as a Vehicle for Critical Inquiry & Engagement in Literacies (Part 2 of 4) How does collaboration promote critical inquiry and engagement in literacies for educators and students? This is the common question introduced in last week’s blog that will connect practitioner spotlights these next three weeks. May 14, 2021 Collaboration as a Vehicle for Critical Inquiry & Engagement in Literacies (Part 1 of 4) Picture this: You are attending one of your school or district’s professional development (PD) days (likely virtual at some point this past year with the COVID-19 pandemic). May 3, 2021 Fanning the Flames: Building Connections and Strengthening Reader Identity (Part 2 of 2) “Middle school reading was so much fun and refreshing. It opened my mind to new enjoyable genres and I always had a book in my hand. April 29, 2021 Lighting a Fire with Literature Circles (Part I of 2) "Ms. C, can we read just one more chapter?" Want to know why middle school students are the best? They will nearly always share their honest opinion with you - especially if they know it will impact their learning experience. April 26, 2021 Gamifying Literacy // There is Glory in their Story (Part 2 of 2) A reading from St. Paul’s letter to Hogwarts: Harry, the boy who lived, is spending Christmas vacation with his friend, Ron, and the Weasley family. They don’t have much, but when all you’ve got is nothing, there’s a lot to go around. April 21, 2021 Gamifying Literacy // Rise and Shine! (1 of 2) A reading from the gospel of Luke: Luke Skywalker looked to the heavens. He visualized his future, but he needed somebody to be his champion. That champion is you, the teacher reading this blog. Luke is sitting in your classroom. January 28, 2021 The Power of Read Alouds // How to Perform an Effective Interactive Read Aloud Interested in learning more about read alouds? Check out the "We Are All Readers and Writers" book talks! As a teacher, I have always loved reading aloud to my students, no matter what grade level I was teaching. November 5, 2019 Poetry Matters // How to Help Your Students Become Poets (Part 2 of 2) In my last post on poetry, “Poetry Matters // The Case for Teaching Poetry in Every ELA Classroom,” I argued that poetry is an essential part of an English Language Arts education. November 5, 2019 Move from “Stop Talking” to “Start Talking!” // The Importance of Building a Dialogic Classroom (Part 1 of 2) As English Language Arts educators, we have high expectations for our students when it comes to the reading and writing skills they are meant to develop in our classrooms. November 4, 2019 Move from “Stop Talking” to “Start Talking!” // Strategies for Building a Dialogic Classroom (Part 2 of 2) Whole-class discussion tends to be a popular go-to strategy for middle and high school English teachers. On a simple level, it’s the easiest way to understand students’ thinking and to check for their understanding. June 3, 2019 Using Drama in the ELA Classroom "Education is the process of learning to create ourselves, and it is what the arts, both as a process and as the fruits of the process, promote. May 13, 2019 From the Experts at ENL: Take a Vocabulary Field Trip The English as a New Language Program (ENL) equips educators to meet the unique needs of English Language Learners in Catholic schools. ENL has a threefold approach to helping Catholic schools ensure that their English language learners thrive. April 10, 2019 Poetry Matters // The Case for Teaching Poetry in Every ELA Classroom (Part 1 of 2) “The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even but a millimeter the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” ~James Baldwin I can recall encountering this quote from the late James Baldwin in my earliest years as a teacher and feeling as though I had fi March 27, 2019 Lessons in Literacy // Social Justice Poetry in the Middle School Classroom Darby Evans works as the associate program director at the Center for Literacy Education. Darby taught English and literature to grades 6–8 in Fort Worth, Texas as a member of the ACE Teaching Fellows, and went on to teach middle school ELA in Harlem, New York. March 20, 2019 Guided Reading and Centers // Meeting Individual Needs in the Elementary Classroom The main purpose of guided reading is to provide instruction specific to a child’s literacy level. Scholastic defines guided reading as “an instructional approach that involves a teacher working with a small group of students who demonstrate similar reading behaviors and can read similar levels of t March 14, 2019 Have Your Pi and Eat it Too: The Case for Math Connections in Reading Class Patrick is a second-year graduate student in Cognitive Psychology. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2010 with a BBA in Finance and Political Science. He then earned his M.Ed. March 11, 2019 Lessons in Literacy // Defining Poetry and Constructing Meaning with High Schoolers For this installment of the Lessons in Literacy series, the CLE is pleased to spotlight an incredible educator, Dana Deradoorian. Ms. Deradoorian is a member of AmeriCorps and teaches English Language Arts at St. Augustine Catholic High School in Tucson, AZ. March 7, 2019 Teen Tech Week // Blended Learning & Literacy in Middle School Francesca Varga is the Associate Program Director of Blended Learning for the Higher-Powered Learning team at the Alliance for Catholic Education. Francesca came to ACE after nine years in public schools, where she served as an English teacher, instructional coach, and team leader. March 4, 2019 Teen Tech Week // Blended Learning & Literacy at the Elementary Level Elizabeth Anthony serves as the Associate Director of Higher-Powered Learning, a professional development program for schools implementing blended learning. February 20, 2019 From "The Outsiders" to "The Hate U Give": Young Adult Literature Interprets the Headlines Dr. Lynne Vallone is a professor of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden, and she will be one of the keynote speakers at the second meeting of the International Girls Studies Association, hosted at Notre Dame’s own McKenna Hall on February 28-March 3. February 17, 2019 Rethinking Effective Writing Instruction for English Learners: The Promise of Genre-Based Pedagogy Dr. Laura Hamman-Ortiz is an educational linguist whose research explores how to support language and literacy learning for emergent bilingual students. Dr. February 14, 2019 Importance of Student Voice & Choice // Part 2 of 2 In the previous blog post, we offered five suggestions for raising student voice and what this might look like in the classroom: (1) enter into conversations with students; (2) ask hard questions of texts; (3) find a balance between student-led and teacher-led learning ecologies in the classroom; (4 February 11, 2019 Importance of Student Voice & Choice // Part 1 of 2 When we think about our own lives, it seems obvious that our ability to make decisions for ourselves is one of our most cherished rights. February 5, 2019 Lessons in Literacy // Engaging in Journalism: Middle Schoolers Conduct Research in the Sonora Desert For this installment of the Lessons in Literacy series, the CLE is pleased to spotlight an incredible educator, Cesar Elvir. Mr. Elvir teaches middle school English Language Arts at Santa Cruz Catholic School in Tucson, Arizona. January 29, 2019 Developing a Readerly Identity with Young Children // Part 2 of 2 As Children's Authors and Illustrators Week 2019 continues, Dr. Mike Macaluso shares Part 2 of his post on how to encourage a reader identity in young children. In Part 1, Dr. Mac told the story of how he had difficulty seeing himself as a reader in his early years of school. Dr. January 29, 2019 Developing a Readerly Identity with Young Children // Part 1 of 2 There's a small poster that hangs in my office depicting a quotation from bestselling author James Patterson. It reads: "There's no such thing as a kid who hates reading. January 22, 2019 Lessons in Literacy // Navigating the Stories of Black History with “Black Panther” For this installment of the Lessons in Literacy series, the CLE is pleased to spotlight an incredible educator, Daniel Hodge. Mr. Hodge teaches English Language Arts at Saint Anne School in Santa Ana, California. January 17, 2019 Lessons in Literacy // Defend that Villain: Using Diary Entries to Spark Discussion in a High School Classroom For this installment of the Lessons in Literacy series, the CLE is pleased to spotlight an incredible educator, Anna Bourbonnais. Ms. Bourbonnais teaches high school English at Holy Names High School in Oakland, California. January 9, 2019 A Writing Teacher’s New Year’s Resolution: Re-visioning Revision As we stand at the threshold of a new year, we look back at what has been and we look forward, with renewed vision, toward what is yet to come. In that spirit, I thought I would take up a topic in English education that encapsulates the recursive act of looking back and moving forward: revision. January 9, 2019 Lessons in Literacy // Connecting a Middle School Classroom to the Real World through "Refugee" For our first installment of the Lessons in Literacy series, the CLE is pleased to spotlight an incredible educator, Anna Bourjaily. Ms. Bourjaily teaches middle school English at St. Robert Catholic School in Sacramento, California. She graduated from St. December 17, 2018 Deck the Walls: Create a Literacy-Rich Secondary Classroom It was my first classroom observation as a new teacher, and I was terrified. I was only about six weeks into my first year teaching middle school English and literature when my supervisor, language and education specialist Dr. December 10, 2018 #WhyITeach: An Ode to Reading and Writing For our first installment of the #WhyITeach series, the CLE is pleased to spotlight an incredible educator, Emma Fleming. Ms. Fleming is a fourth-grade teacher at Our Lady of Fatima School in Stockton, California. December 9, 2018 Dr. Mac's Top 10 Resources for Finding Great Multicultural Books Early on in graduate school, I was tasked with teaching a multicultural, young adult literature undergraduate class because of my experience as a secondary literacy teacher. December 3, 2018 Supporting Young Writers in the Home // Part 2 of 2 In Part 2 of Dr. Kati Macaluso's blog post on supporting writers in the home, she continues the work she began in Part 1. In Part 1, Dr. December 3, 2018 Supporting Young Writers in the Home // Part 1 of 2 Long before any of my children were of school age, they were writers. Matthew, at two years old, would "fill out"the collection envelopes in Mass, making marks in the "name," "address" and "amount" blanks. November 29, 2018 7 Strengths of Super Readers Series // The Strengths Model in Action The seven strengths focus on social and emotional growth and well-being. They are critical to helping kids become super readers, but they extend far beyond academics; they help children to become powerful and compassionate individuals. November 28, 2018 7 Strengths of Super Readers Series // Hope Hope: Thinking optimistically and believing that today's efforts will produce good things in the future for yourself and the world The final of our seven strengths is hope. Our social-emotional arch of the strengths begins with affirming the self (Belonging and Curiosity), understanding and e November 28, 2018 7 Strengths of Super Readers Series // Confidence + Courage Confidence: Thinking independently and expressing ideas with assurance "I can't read." Perhaps you've heard a child utter these exact words or a similar statement. November 28, 2018 7 Strengths of Super Readers Series // Friendship + Kindness Friendship: Having close, trusting relationships and personal connections to others; learning to interact in positive, productive ways While it may seem obvious to state that friendship matters, decades of research by Robert Selman has shown the incredible importance of friendship and h November 27, 2018 7 Strengths of Super Readers Series // Belonging + Curiosity Belonging: identifying as a valued, represented member of a larger community Belonging to a group is a basic human need, as important as nourishment and shelter, which stresses the absolute importance of creating a classroom culture and environment where every child is (not just feels) welcomed, November 26, 2018 7 Strengths of Super Readers Series // Introduction + Parent Pledge As National Family Literacy Month closes, we've been thinking a lot about why school and parent partnerships matter. Obviously, kids spend a significant amount of time trying to improve reading skills during school hours. November 23, 2018 Picture Books Matter: Strategies for Using Picture Books at Every Age Part 2 of 2 Whether you are a parent reading at home with your young child or a teacher trying to engage a 12th-grade class, picture books matter. Picture books' tactlessness, their glossy covers, and bright pictures beg to be opened, to be read, but also to be experienced. November 19, 2018 Picture Books Matter: Strategies for Using Picture Books at Every Age Part 1 of 2 I remember, very clearly still, my childhood bedroom, a warm and tidy little space with light yellow walls and a bed with a blue and green floral comforter. I remember many happy evenings in this room, reading with my dad before I fell asleep. November 15, 2018 Teachers as Researchers: What Makes You Wonder? Over a century ago, American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey stated, "We do not learn from experience... November 12, 2018 Audiobooks, Literature Circles, and the Goldilocks Dilemma Podcasts and audiobooks have become wildly popular over the past few years. November 5, 2018 Putting Writers’ Fingerprints on Mentor Texts Regardless of a writer’s age or grade, staring at a blank piece of paper or blank document on a computer screen can feel overwhelming. The easiest way to start? Encourage students to write their name on the paper or type it on the screen—and voila! The page is no longer blank. October 29, 2018 Finding Ourselves in Multicultural Literature Let's begin with a scenario. Imagine you are a member of a large group that recently took a group photograph. Someone has just handed you the photograph. What do you look for? Are you wondering what the background foliage looks like? Are you looking at the clouds in the sky? October 26, 2018 10 Minutes of Reading a Night Can Change Your Child's Life The reading research is unequivocal. The more a child reads the better he or she will be at reading. It is as simple as that. Children who read more enjoy reading; they read to challenge themselves, to satisfy their curiosities, and to experience unknown lands. September 27, 2018 Welcome from the Center for Literacy Education Welcome to the blog for the Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education (CLE). We hope that you will learn a great deal about powerful literacy practices from educators at the CLE and in K-12 classrooms across the country.