The Latest Issue of Word Up!
The Word Up newsletter is chock-full of great resources for parents and educators. Browse the current issue below, or dig into the newsletter archive.
In Focus: Writing
The ability to write clearly and communicate effectively is critical to classroom and workplace success for all students. Learn new writing strategies, think about your classroom feedback, and consider all the ways you can include writing in your next lesson.
Shrinklit. Probable Passages. Guided Writing. Multigenre Reports. These four writing strategies help students learn to make predictions, build connections, raise questions, discover new ideas, and promote higher-level thinking. Here's the step-by-step on how to use these strategies in your classroom.
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Teachers play an important role in shaping students' written work. Specific feedback can motivate developing writers and provide real purpose for revision. Learn when to provide feedback, what kind of feedback is most effective, and how to plan for different types of writing conferences. You might want to keep the list of sample response prompts handy as you meet with students.
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Content area teachers may not spend time teaching grammar and mechanics, but they can spend time helping students focus on other important elements of writing, including thesis statements, writing structure and organization, and accurate use of content-area vocabulary. Discover the elements of analytic writing and read an example of learning to write "science."
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Intro to Analytical Text Structures
This 90-minute documentary from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns explores how the Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont creates a learning environment for diverse boys in grades 6-11 who have severe learning disabilities. The film tells the story of this small, rural school, where each year the students are encouraged to practice, memorize, and recite the Gettysburg Address. The film also unlocks the history, context and importance of President Lincoln's most powerful address.
Watch the preview and learn more about the documentary »
Books & Authors
Tanya Lee Stone writes a little bit of everything — science, history, biography, poetry, and fiction. She's written biographies about pioneering women in the NASA space program, Amelia Earhart, and Laura Ingalls Wilder; picture books about suffragettes and the artist Alexander Calder; and a series of books about animal camouflage. She throws herself into her research to provide context for the facts and to make her stories come alive. As Stone herself says, "A book isn't the end of information on a topic — a book is the beginning of a conversation.'
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Most kids go through a "spy" stage, and some never grow out of it! Whether it's the gadgets, the secret identities, or the gathering of clues — spies are cool! From two-minute mysteries to the history of espionage, there's something for every inquiring reader in this collection of books for kids 9-16 years old.
See booklist »
Virtual field trips, lesson plans, activities and more ideas for educators from Washington DC's Spy Museum.
Make women's history come alive through the pages of outstanding books for young readers. Check out Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month. Now in its fourth year, this blog was founded by two librarians and brings together distinguished authors and illustrators of books related to women's history with librarians and bloggers from across North America. Each day features a new essay, commentary, or book review.
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In the Classroom
High-school history teacher Johanna Heppeler guides her students through a process of "sourcing a document," which includes looking at the speaker, the occasion, the audience, the purpose and the tone. Students learn about the Civil War through the major speeches of Abraham Lincoln. Heppeler helps her students situate Lincoln's speeches in time and place — allowing them to contextualize and understand Lincoln's word choices and the structure of each speech. Watch how Heppeler integrates a variety of multimedia resources — such as political cartoons and maps — to deepen the learning.
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Visit Inside the Common Core Classroom for more video modules.
The RAFT strategy guides students in understanding their role as a writer, the audience they will address, the varied formats for writing, and the topic they'll be writing about. By using this strategy, teachers encourage students to write creatively, to consider a topic from a different perspective, and to practice writing for different audiences.
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Sources of information outside of words that readers may use to predict the identities and meanings of unknown words. Context clues may be drawn from the immediate sentence containing the word, from text already read, from pictures accompanying the text, or from definitions, restatements, examples, or descriptions in the text.
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Resources, Research & News
This free self-paced course is designed for literacy specialists, technical assistance providers, and state and district educators seeking to improve policy and practice in adolescent literacy. The four modules help participants understand the research-based guidance on academic literacy instruction in the content areas, and how it can be used to improve instruction, with a specific focus on the effective use of text.
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A recent report from the California Partnership for Children & Youth indicates that a number of districts are relying on summer programs to introduce and reinforce the new Common Core standards. And a January report from the National Center for Time and Learning contends that expanded learning time, whether in summer or after-school, is essential to give teachers and students enough time to practice and master the new standards.
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The Center for Development and Learning invites you to attend the 2014 Plain Talk About Reading Institute, April 28-30 in New Orleans. From the nation's leading researchers, you'll learn about current findings on helping adolescents with decoding, vocabulary instruction, building comprehension skills, Common Core assessments, technology in the classroom, and more. All sessions are designed to deliver not only the latest research on reading but also effective strategies that can be implemented in classrooms tomorrow. The Institute features a "who's who" of reading experts, from researchers to practitioners, including Tim Shanahan, Cynthia Shanahan, Jan Hasbrouck, Anita Archer, Susan Ebbers, Maryanne Wolf, and Elsa Cardenas-Hagan.
Learn more about the conference »
President Obama launched a new initiative called "My Brother's Keeper" that will help boys and young men of color stay in school and find good jobs by focusing on key moments in their lives. The initiative includes a commitment from foundations to fund solutions in early child development and school readiness, parenting and parent engagement, third-grade literacy, educational opportunity and school discipline reform, interactions with the criminal justice system, ladders to jobs and economic opportunity, and healthy families and communities.
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