Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Revamp, recharge your curriculum with Using Informational Text to Teach Literature

Now that it’s July, we hope that your end-of-school-year stress has eased and you are settling into a rejuvenating summer. We know that summer is a precious time that many teachers use to revamp and recharge their curricula and pedagogical toolkit. We think that spending time with our Using Informational Textresources over the summer will be well-rewarded come September. You can also read on our blog about our rewarding experiences with our approach to informational text in the classroom with a wide range of students.

If you are teaching To Kill a Mockingbird and wrestling with how to help your students make sense of it amid today’s conversations about race, economic inequality, and social justice, the first volume in our series, Using Informational Text to Teach To Kill a Mockingbird, can help. Our classroom-ready units on the relationship between Calpurnia and Scout and whether Atticus is a hero will help your students think critically about the characters and the complex world Harper Lee depicts.

If you are teaching A Raisin in the Sun, the second volume in our series will help you underscore the enduring relevance of Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark play. In it, you will find ready-to-use units on housing discrimination past and present, the violence surrounding housing desegregation, the politics of African-American women’s hair, and more.

If you are looking for ways to collaborate with your content-area colleagues around literacy, check out Connecting Across Disciplines: Collaborating with Informational Text. This volume offers practical strategies for initiating cross-disciplinary collaboration and developing students’ disciplinary literacy skills, as well as a sample unit based on a science article and an excerpt from Lord of the Flies.

If you are thinking about how to revamp your curriculum, our website and our blog feature resources and strategies for finding great informational texts that relate to any literary work you may be teaching and using them successfully in your classroom. We also offer ideas for teaching key vocabulary in meaningful and engaging ways and using multimedia together with written informational texts. Check out our sample units based on Mockingbird for models.

If you’d like hands-on training in our approach to using informational text, contact us about scheduling a professional development session in your school or district. We offer half-day and full-day workshops for both English and/or content-area teachers. If you are in New Jersey, we look forward to seeing you at NJEA in November. Otherwise, we hope to see you at NCTE and CEL in St. Louis.

We have just submitted the completed manuscript for our fourth volume, Using Informational Text to Teach The Great Gatsby, which we hope will be available by this fall from Rowman & Littlefield. In the meantime, check out our recent blog posts on articles that highlight both the difficulties and relevance of Fitzgerald’s classic novel.

In anticipation of this new volume, we have also reorganized the resources on our website. You will now find teacher resources and student resources on separate pages. The Teacher Resources page features rubrics, graphic organizers, sample answers, and sample units that you can download and adapt as you wish. The Student Resources page contains all of the graphic organizers that appear in our books so that you can link directly to them from your own class website.

We hope our resources will help you create rewarding learning experiences for you and your students. If you use any of our materials, please send us your feedback. We would also greatly appreciate it if you would post a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Thank you again for your interest and support!

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