Tag Archives: teaching

Ten Amazing Teachers from Middle Grade Fiction

10 May

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, so take a few minutes out of your day to reach out to a teacher that had an impact on you! And if you’re looking for an amazing teacher in children’s literature, look no further than these great middle grade fiction titles! Share your favorite literary teachers in the comments below!

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How Can We Teach Children Empathy?

5 Oct

empathy.pngEmpathy, in my humble opinion, is one of those things that is vital to a caring, respectful and well-balanced individual.  Empathy, or “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another” is severely lacking in a world where shooting unarmed individuals, massive terrorist attacks and outright violence is astoundingly common. (Google) Maybe it’s partly because of the world we live in – where social media means world news is at your finger tips and media outlets are reporting news on a 24/7 basis. That being said, we need to teach children now to celebrate differences, to share their feelings and to be empathetic.

So how can we teach children to be empathetic to family and friends, to the people in their community and to the people in the world around them?  A lot of teaching can be done at home with adults, siblings, relatives, and pets, while teachers and schools can create communities of caring to encourage children to be empathetic to their classmates, teachers, and school staff.  And a lot of teaching, discussing and understanding can come from reading stories.  Books teach children about themselves, but also gives children the opportunity to look at the world from another perspective.

Take a look at what Melissa from Imagination Soup guest posted at All the Wonders about empathy.  And if you want an author’s perspective, check out what Sara Pennypacker has to say about her book, Pax on Brightly.  And your resources don’t have to stop there – the Washington Post provides a list of 24 books from Preschool through High School that show kindness an empathy.  Although I haven’t gotten a chance to put together my list of books about empathy, I have created a great list of 25 books with characters set outside the United States to give a more global perspective to kids, so you can definitely check that out as well.

The Book Whisperer

3 Jan

bookwhispererThe Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller is definitely geared toward elementary and even middle school teachers, but I found it very interesting.  Miller makes the case that children will turn into lifelong readers, by choosing what they read and by getting in the habit of reading everyday.

Miller teaches 6th grade in a public school in Texas and rather than providing the usual shared novel experience with her students, she allows them to pick their own books to read all year-long.  She expects them to read 40 books without an incentive program, daily take-home log, and the regular standardized testing prep usually done in schools today.  And her students respond by reading, enjoying it, and doing as well if not better on the state tests as their peers. 

This was such a fascinating book and really drove home how important it is to get kids reading and reading early and not only that, but finding books that kids enjoy.  There is no such thing as a non-reader, it’s just someone who hasn’t found the right book yet.

Title: The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child
Author: Donalyn Miller
Publisher: Jossey -Bass
Publication Date: 2009
Page Number: 227 pgs.

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