Op-Ed: Higher Standards Begin With More Training for Instructors

Recently, my friends and respected Arizona teachers, Kristie Martorelli and Tara Dale and I responded to a recent ACT report that incorrectly criticized the Common Core State Standards.  We felt strong that the survey cited in the study was flawed, narrow, and misleading.  The issues raised in the study and survey point more to the flawed implementation of the standards, not the standards themselves.  Please find our op-ed published on The 74 here.


Beth’s Books: Favorite Author-Dan Poblocki

Sometimes people are surprised that I read many of the books that are in my 1,000+ book classroom library.  I do that for many reasons, one main one being that I love to read, including YA.  Modeling book commercials is another (see my Book Commercial post here).  But I feel like one of my “specialties” in sixteen years of teaching (and thirty-something years of devouring books) is connecting my students to books and connecting with them through our discussions.

Many of my students this year love the horror genre, so I am always on the lookout for quality grade level horror beyond R.L. Stine and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.   Age appropriate material is always an issue when we’re talking about horror, too.  Enter author Dan Poblocki.

The Ghost of Graylock and The Book of Bad Things are favorites of my class but I also enjoyed The Stone Child and The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe.

I just finished Poblocki’s The Nightmarys, which leads me to another reason I read so many of the books that end up in my classroom library.  I’ve planned a writing lesson using this book.  I’m going to read aloud one particularly creepy locker room scene (begins on page 66) to review the use of sensory details in our writing.   My class will love the spooky scene, and it will be a great review of a concept of which I’ve noticed we need a bit of review.  Awesome side effect?  It will generate buzz about the book and author, sparking a frenzy of reading, discussing and trading the books back and forth.

What favorite horror books do your readers enjoy?