Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Engaging With Literature: A Workshop for Teachers, Grades 3-5

About This Workshop

Graduate Credit »

Getting the Materials »

Using the Materials »

More Details About This Workshop »

About the Individual Sessions
in This Workshop »

Educational Basis for This Workshop »

About the Teachers Who Appear in This Workshop

About the Advisors Who Guided This Project »

About the People Who Developed This Project »

Asking Questions: An Interactive Guide
1. Foundations

2. Looking at Literature

3. Starting Classroom Conversations

4. Classroom Dialogues

5. Using Art and Other Disciplines To Enrich Classroom Conversations

6. Beginning the Year

7. Many Students: Many Voices and Abilities

8. Reacting to Students' Work

9. The Professional Teacher

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Engaging With Literature

About This Workshop

About the Teachers Who Appear in This Workshop

The following teachers appear in this workshop to share their experiences. To learn more about them, read their professional biographies (PDF) in the introduction of the Engaging With Literature: A Workshop for Teachers, Grades 3-5 guide.

  • Katherine Bomer is an author and teacher, currently teaching in Austin, Texas. Ms. Bomer was teaching at Pleasant Hill Elementary when she participated in the workshop. More than 80% of the 510 students there are of Latin American or  Mexican decent. About 70% of the students are classified by Texas as "economically  disadvantaged," and more than 83% of the student body qualifies for free lunches.

Katherine Bomer's "Must-Reads"

Favorite Professional Books:
The Art of Teaching Writing (2nd ed.) by Lucy McCormick Calkins. Heinemann.
The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy McCormick Calkins. Heinemann
Time for Meaning: Crafting Literate Lives in Middle and High School by Randy Bomer. Heinemann.
Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education, the Arts, and Social Change by Maxine Greene. Jossey
Subtractive Schooling: U.S. Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring by Angela Venezuela. State University of New York
Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers by Kathy Gnagey Short, Jerome C. Harste, Carolyn L. Burke. Heinemann.
Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Friere, translated by Robert R. Barr. Continuum Publishing Group

Favorite Chapter Books:
" . . . These were very powerful in my classroom last year:"
The Color of My Words by Lynn Joseph.
The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jimenez.
Anything ever written by Sharon Creech.
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis.

  • Jonathan Holden teaches fourth grade in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. The urban school where Mr. Holden currently teaches, Nathan Hale Elementary, has 199 students, most of who are African American, Hispanic, and   Asian.
  • Barry Hoonan works with the 5/6 cluster at Odyssey School on Bainbridge Island, Washington, teaching all subjects, but especially concerned with literature and writing, his two passions. Odyssey, with 121 students, is an alternative public   school where families promise to volunteer between five and ten hours a month at   the school.

Barry Hoonan's "Must-Reads"

Favorite Professional Books:
Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers by Kathy Gnagey Short, Jerome C. Harste, Carolyn L. Burke. Heinemann.
"You Gotta BE the Book" Teaching Engaged and Reflective Reading With Adolescents by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm. Teachers College Press.
Literature Circles and Response by Bonnie Campbell Hill (Editor), Nancy J. Johnson (Editor), Katherine l Noe, Katherine L. Schlick Noe (Editor). Christopher-Gordon Publishers

Favorite Picture Books:
Crow and Hawk: A Traditional Pueblo Indian Story retold by Michael Rosen, illustrated by John Clementson
Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki, illustrated by Dom Lee
Encounter by Jane Yolen, illustrated by David Shannon
Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ronald Himler
Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Diaz
John Henry by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

Favorite Read-Alouds:
Skellig by David Almond
Thunder Cave by Roland Smith
Crash by Jerry Spinelli
The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
Cages by Peg Kehret

  • BJ Namba teaches third grade students at Honolulu's prestigious Punahou School. The 3,700 students there reflect Hawai`i's rainbow of ethnicities and cultural and socio-economic diversities.

BJ Namba's "Must-Reads"

Favorite Read-Aloud Books:
Crow Boy by Taro Yashima
Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
The Table Where Rich People Sit by Byrd Baylor
Amos and Boris by William Steig
The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida
Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting
Heroes by Ken Mochiguchi
Westlandia by Paul Fleishman
Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Favorite Books for Literature Circles:
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Pinballs by Betsy Byars
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Because of Winn-Dixie by Katie DiCamillo
The War With Grandpa by Robert Kimmel Smith
Just Juice by Karen Hesse
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
Sun and Spoon by Kevin Henkes

Professional Books for Literature Circles Information:
Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers by Kathy G. Short and Jerome Harste
Getting Started with Literature Circles by Katherine L. Schlick Noe and Nancy J. Johnson
Grand Conversations: Literature Groups in Action by Ralph Peterson and Maryann Eeds
Conversations: Strategies for Teaching, Learning, and Evaluating by Regie Routman
Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in Book Clubs and Reading Groups by Harvey Daniels

  • Tim O'Keefe is a teacher of the 2/3 cluster at the Center for Inquiry in Columbia, South Carolina - a school he helped co-found. The Center for Inquiry's 132 students are drawn from the Columbia area and enter the school through an   application and lottery process.
  • Latosha Rowley, in her second career, taught the fourth-fifth cluster at the Indianapolis Center for Inquiry during our video visit. The Center for Inquiry, founded by Jerry Harste, is a language arts magnet school. It draws its nearly 300   students from throughout the city.
  • Bileni Teklu teaches fifth grade at Fair Oaks Elementary in Marietta, Georgia. Almost 78% of the 582 students who attend Fair Oaks are eligible for the free lunch program. The school population is highly transient: typically, nearly 60% of   the student population change schools or classes in any given year.
  • Rich Thompson teaches Grade 4 at Canyon Elementary School in Hungry Horse, Montana. The school serves a remote valley community about 10 miles from Glacier National Park, from which it draws 150+ students each year.
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