Thursday, October 11, 2012

At The Core

In a few weeks, I’ll be heading to Philadelphia—very excited to attend the School Library Journal 2012 Leadership Summit. I’m one of the authors speaking on the panel, “Nonfiction at the Fore of the Common Core.”

Boy, am I looking forward to it: I love hanging out with librarians (who, I have discovered over the years, have not only chosen their field for the glamorous lifestyle and high pay; they also just plain love books). I also love ‘talking shop’ with other authors.

On the panel, I’ll get to do both.

To get ready, I’ve started reading more about The Common Core State Standards (which have now been formally adopted by 45 states and three territories.) The CCSS ask teachers and librarians to use both fiction and—happily—nonfiction to help their students build reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.

Good stuff, right? But what if you are a busy teacher or librarian? How do you implement CCSS in your daily life?

Luckily, there are a couple of terrific blogs to help you.

The Classroom Bookshelf posts a weekly entry on a recently published book, including many nonfiction titles. Each entry includes a book review, followed by a series of lesson plan ideas and links to additional resources for expanding on the text.

Recently, the blog had a very helpful entry specifically on the different types of nonfiction, an overview of how each type might be used in the classroom or library, and then a list of resources for finding great nonfiction titles.

From their resource list, I discovered another terrific blog that also highlights nonfiction texts and offers instructional ideas: The Uncommon Corps. The blog is subtitled, “Champions of Nonfiction Literature for Children and Young Adults,” and while there is no evidence of tights and capes in their group photo, they look like superheroes to me.


Unknown said...

Uncommon Core features Dr. Myra Zarnowski, a strong champion for nonfiction in the classroom and a member of iNK Think Tank's videoconferencing group Authors on Call. We are pioneering ways of collaborating with teachers and students to use nonfiction by planning ahead on different teaching strategies and by "unpacking" (Myra's term, not mine) the author's process.

Linda Salzman said...

What a great list of resources! I'll try to post some of your links on our Facebook page as well. Enjoy Philly. Don't forget to get a pretzel(the mustard really is optional).

Deborah Hodge said...

Thanks so much for such an interesting and informative post! I am a children's nonfiction author from Canada who is closely watching the Common Core ideas unfold.

Your post is very helpful!


Deborah Hodge

Barbara Kerley said...

Lots to think about -- and good to know that there are resources available for all of us! The two blogs I mentioned are so beautifully done and chock-full of practical information. Good stuff!

I will put pretzels on the radar, Linda!

Marge Loch-Wouters said...

I am sooo pleased as a long-time non-fiction junkie to see this re-emphasis on non-fiction. And your whole canon of books are - BOOM!- right there at the epicenter of teh perfect-Common-Core storm. That makes me happy too!

Melissa Stewart said...

Thanks for this very informative post, Barb. I got hooked on Classroom Bookshelf last year, but Uncommon Corps is new to me. It looks like a fantastic team.

Barbara Kerley said...

Yeah, I have to say I'm really thrilled that there will be more focus put on the craft of nonfiction -- and I mean "craft" literally: I have read so many nonfiction books by so many authors that are dynamite. Folks in the field truly are great writers (in addition to excelling at providing information) and it's very exciting to know that kids will really be studying those models.

Unknown said...

This is really interesting to me. The professional development for teachers in new york is really important now. What can we do to improve it?