1. A post titled Rethinking Graphic Organizers for Writing by Dana Murphy of the blog Two Writing Teachers really resonated with me. This piece put into words what I have long wondered -- are graphic organizers really useful for every student? Organizers might be great additions to the toolbox of those students who need them, but Murphy asserts that perhaps by forcing every child into the same box, "we might actually be limiting their writing in structure or form, rather than making it better."
2. Murals Making a Difference for Low-Income Students, a recent article in School Library Journal, discusses the importance of art education, specifically citing the Estria Foundation's work to build social consciousness in students through the creation of large collaborative murals. I love the idea of using art to share the story of place or circumstance; working collectively on a large piece together encourages ALL students, even those who don't feel like they are artists, to get involved. Many of my own students really appreciate the art components of our makerspace and I appreciated the tips that this SLJ piece offered for including mural painting into a makerspace program.
Do you bring art into your classroom or library? I would love to hear your examples!
3. 9 Tips for Differentiating Whole Group Instruction, from The ThinkerBiulder, offers different strategies for ensuring we are teaching to all learners. I think this article could be especially helpful to school librarians, who may not teach the same students each day and thus may not be as familiar with the varying learning needs of a particular group or class. I especially like the ideas in this post around crafting questions.
I like to use the "vary an element" strategy of offering leveled text; I also will sometimes record audio for text or instructions. My favorite easy-to-use tool for recording audio is the free web-based tool called Online Voice Recorder.
What whole group strategies work for you when differentiating instruction?
4. Edutopia's Helping Struggling Students Build a Growth Mindset offers a range of different strategies to help "students who find school difficult maintain a positive mindset as they persist in the sometimes hard work required for learning." In each strategy mentioned, there are different ideas for bringing that strategy to action. Modeling optimism through stories and examples, and creating student "success folders" are two shared suggestions.
Corey has mentioned in earlier Take5 posts (here and here) that she has worked to incporate a growth mindset into her instruction and offers other articles of note on this topic.
5. This EW post Every book Barack Obama has recommended during his presidency is a fascinating list for any book-lover, political views aside. President Obama is an avid reader and what is most interesting to me personally is that the range and variety of titles he reads. He reads fiction and non, poetry, science fiction, historical fiction, and mystery, and recommends books for both children and adults..
Share your thoughts on these articles or anything that has sparked your interest this week! We love to hear from our blog readers.
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