• English 11 and AP English Language and
Composition at Silver Creek High School
• Member: National Council of Teachers of
English, International Reading Association,
Society of Children's Books and Illustrators,
Children's Assembly on Literature, Assembly
on Literature for Adolescents to NCTE (ALAN).
• Wonder Lead/Ambassador at Wonderopolis
with The National Center for Family Literacy
• All of this begins with being a lead learner. . .
Books and Bagels
• We select four titles each
• One Classic, One
One Poetry Anthology, and a
Young Adult Title.
• Our first session: THE
CATCHER IN THE RYE, OUT
OF OUR MINDS, I KNOW WHY
THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, and
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.
Advanced Reader Copies Build Excitement for Reading
Creating Text Sets
• Teri Lesense calls these "reading ladders" in
her book. . .Reading Ladders.
• This might also be called intertextuality.
• This might also be called "textual braiding."
• Whatever we call it, this is an approach that
weaves different kinds of texts in order to come
to a different kind of response community.
The Idea Behind the
• Invite readers who have had difficulty in ELA in
prior years into a reading conversation.
• Provide an in-road into a deeper conversation
and response by entering with an accessible,
young adult text.
• Extending the definition of "text" in order to
draw out thought captures from the learning
"What is 'Goodness?'"
An Example of Textual Braiding Employing
Multiple Texts and Approaches
Struck by "Goodness"
• Upon my very first reading of The Crucible, I
was taken by Elizabeth's final line in Act IV: "He
has his goodness now; God forbid I take it from
• When I first saw Silas House's book, Eli the
Good, I sensed there must be a connection
between the two titles.
• I would eventually find that connection.
The Essential Question
• Jim Burke talks about "essential questions" in
his book, What's the Big Idea?
• Our big idea was "What is goodness and how
do we get our 'goodness?'"
• Exploring this idea is at the core of our
sharing of the texts within the "braid."
Eli the Good
• Our first novel of the year
with our students enrolled in
• Read-aloud text in order to
model pacing, tempo, and
mood of the text.
• Eli the Good is a memoir-like
story that follows a young
boy living with a Vietnam
Veteran father during
with Eli the Good
• "The Wall" (original composition) by Kate Larkin
• The Wall (picture book) by Eve Bunting
• Selections from Lee Bennett Hopkins's America at War:
Rebecca Kai Dotlitch, Sara Holbrook, and Bobbi Katz.
• The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler
• Clips from Happy Days, The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie
• A library of 70's music referenced in the book with portable CD
Something Of Note
• When we went into this first experience, we
were so focused upon the essential question
that we missed that what were actually doing
is hitting upon two historical periods, 1692
• Cross-content exposure in the ELA classroom.
Nothing new, but notable in light of CCSS.
Our Newest Braid with a New Essential Question:
What is That One Book You've Never Read?
Braiding The Pull of Gravity, Of
Mice and Men, and The Mighty.
• An opportunity to blend contemporary and the
• An opportunity to talk about symbiotic relationships.
• An opportunity for our students to interact via
SKYPE with author, Gae Polisner.
• A link to a conversation with Mr. Hankins and Gae
Polisner can be found at engchat.com (9/16
The Pull of Gravity's
• Has never read Of Mice and Men.
• Invites us to consider those titles that we have
• Leads to new project, "The Book I've Never
• We are going to read those titles in the second
Our 40 Book Invitation
• Modeled after Donalyn
Miller's THE BOOK
• The words we choose set the
tone of the room and the
expectation for the work to
• This is truly an invitation.
• There are no tests. We have
• Book Talking should be the
primary language of the
English Language Arts
• We begin each day by taking
roll with the titles currently
• As lead learner, I either have
a book talk, a book share, or
a book trailer cued up and
ready to go.
The Room Says "Read"
• This is our poetry section of
the classroom library.
• Since we use the Pooh
characters to teach
archetypes in the room, it was
only natural that they should
have a place in the room.
• A room communicates what
is done within that room when
no kids are in the room doing
that thing. . .
• This is our picture book hutch.
• At some point in our reading of The
Crucible, we will share Yansook Choi's
THE NAME JAR and Berkeley
Breathed's EDWARD FUDWUPPER
• At the beginning of OF MICE AND
MEN, we will share Ame Dykman's
THE BOY AND THE ROBOT.
• Note the poster at the top of the hutch.
At the end of our unit with OF MICE
AND MEN and THE PULL OF
GRAVITY, students will SKYPE with
What Our Readers Say
• "I have read seven books so far this year. I have three that
I am reading right now."--Savannah
• "I have read more this year than in any other year so far. I
told my boyfriend, 'Now I know why YOU like to read so
• "The past four years, I would read just to pass the
Reading Counts tests. Now I read for fun."--Katie
• "I'd recommend Me and Earl and the Dying Girl because
it's kind of funny but it gets pretty sad at the end."--Britany
But What About
• "Now I take books out the field with me when I scout for deer. So
far this year, my favorites have been Butter and The Raft. I have
read twelve books so far this year."--Braden
• "I have read more this year than any past year. I've read all of Mr.
Hankins's graphic novels, but my favorite read this year has been
The One and Only Ivan."--Tyler
• "I've read several books already this year. My favorite is Boy
Nobody by Allen Zadoff. The first fifty pages draw you in. . ."--Zach
• "My favorite book this year (I've read eight) has been Period.8 by
Chris Crutcher. I've never really been a reader, but this year so far I
have read ten books."--Austin
Reader Friendly Titles
Yes. . .you can ladder fiction and non-fiction not only for the purpose of meeting
common core standards but also for the reading community you are building.
And What of
Professional Development Titles for the Classroom
Teacher and the Reading and Writing Culture
As the lead learner in the room,
what does OUR mentor text set
Follow Them. . .
• Teri Lesesne @professornana
• Donalyn Miller @donalynbooks
• Penny Kittle @PennyKittle
• Kelly Gallagher @KellyGToGo
Join An Online
• #TitleTalk Last Sunday of the Month
• #engchat Mondays at 7PM EST
• #edchat Tuesdays at 7PM EST
• #kidlitchat Tuesdays at 9PM EST
• #yalitchat Wednesdays at 9PM EST
• #mglitchat Thursdays at 8PM EST