Bennett Publications

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Imagine It Better: Visions of What School Might Be (in press – August 2014)

Ch. 3: The Gratitude that Support Built by Samantha Bennett

Sam’s chapter uses the nursery rhyme “The House that Jack Built” as a structure to track the flow of gratitude in a school that focuses on STUDENTS’ AGENCY (and joy!) in developing their voices and skills to breakdown the classroom walls and make an impact on a public audience.  As part of a study of Civil Rights, students wrote and delivered Soap Box Speeches on the 16th Street Mall in Denver, CO on a beautiful Spring Day in May. See how the energy of “thank you” travels through the school community supporting students to write and speak with passion and skill in their support of civil rights for ALL citizens.

From the forward by Peter Johnston:

“Many of the essays collected in this book raise questions about what we might count as “the basics” both in educating children and in educating teachers.  They raise questions, too, about the legitimate goals of schooling.  Even if “college and career ready” were an adequate goal of schooling, it would require recognizing that we are teaching people rather than “subjects” – scientists rather than science, mathematicians rather than mathematics – and scientists and mathematicians require a good measure of relational and emotional health, collaborative competence, creativity, moral grounding, and self-direction.  As with democracy, preparation for it requires living it.     

In my view (Johnston, 2012), education is about apprenticing children into humanity and preparing them to advance the human condition, an individual and collective project from which we are embarrassingly easily distracted.  Conversations about improving education in the United States are impoverished both because we lose sight of this goal and because we lack the imagination of what is possible in schools and classrooms. That is what makes this book important.  It offers imaginative possibilities and tools to inspire transformation.”






That Workshop Book: New Systems and Structures for Classrooms that Read, Write and Think

Twenty-five years after Donald Graves popularized workshop teaching, the concept is widely implemented but not always deeply understood. That Workshop Book changes all that. It shows a new generation of teachers how the systems, structures, routines, and rituals that support successful workshops combine with thinking, planning, and conferring to drive students’ growth, inform assessment and instruction, and increase teacher’s professional satisfaction. And it shows those already using the workshop how to increase its instructional power by seeing its big ideas and its component parts in fresh, dynamic ways.
In That Workshop Book, Samantha Bennett, a veteran instructional coach, takes you on a tour of six classrooms from first grade through eighth grade to see the techniques and thought processes master teachers use to make their workshops work. In each class she offers tangible evidence of these teachers’ practices, demonstrating how they listen to students and use that information to build lessons that propel children into deeper thinking. She documents these teachers’ moves for you with:
  • classroom observations in the form of coaching emails from Bennett to each with commentary that highlights the important practices seen in each workshop
  • transcripts of minilessons, worktimes, and debriefs
  • specific, explicit reflection by each teacher about their workshop
  • examples of student work produced in the workshop and over time
  • student reflections on their development as readers, writers, thinkers, and learners.
You’ll come to understand firsthand how the setup of the workshop allows students the breathing room to think deeply about ideas, topics, and resources. You’ll also see how it creates a framework within which you can not only listen in as children express what they learn but also think deeply yourself about how best to use the information you gather for subsequent instruction. Bennett even demonstrates how the workshop can be flexible enough to fit any learning situation and how to solve common problems as they arise.
Benefit from the wisdom of one of the country’s foremost staff developers. Step inside workshop classrooms where teachers and students work side by side – where students develop literacy skills through a combination of doing what readers and writers do and purposeful, sensitive interactions with their teacher. Visit workshops where teachers learn about their students, use careful one-to-one assessment to inform their teaching, and reflect on their own practice as well. Then enter the best workshop classroom of all – the one you’ll be ready and excited to launch when you read That Workshop Book.

Comprehension Going Forward: Where We Are / What’s Next

Chapter 4: Fulfilling the Promise of “All Students Can”: Comprehension Strategies as the Verbs of Learning Targets

“The real genius of this book is that it is written by teachers, for teachers. All of the authors in this book know what classrooms are like. This means that authenticity and integrity pervade every chapter in the book. Teachers will immediately sense this authenticity on their way to realizing that the book offers an endless supply of useful suggestions.”

-From the Coda by P. David Pearson

For those of us who teach comprehension strategies, Comprehension Going Forward is as near to the ultimate PD experience as we can get. Imagine a professional learning community where you could sit in as…

Ellin Keene and Debbie Miller swap best practices

Stephanie Harvey and Harvey “Smokey” Daniels compare instruction across the grades

Anne Goudvis and Tanny McGregor share ways to infuse comprehension into every subject area

Cris Tovani and Nancy Commins apply the strategies to help struggling readers, English learners, and special-needs students.
In Comprehension Going Forward, you’ll meet up with 17 leading practitioners and researchers for an energetic, personal, and frequently irreverent conversation on what great comprehension instruction looks like, what an amazing range of applications it has for all students, and what we can do better. Not only do figures such as Susan Zimmerman and P. David Pearson include their own chapters, but, like any exciting conversation, they point out their favorite parts of one another’s chapters-highlighting discussion topics for teacher study groups along the way.

Read Comprehension Going Forward and RSVP to a get-together that no one who teaches reading will want to miss. Enter this powerful, lively conversation about how we can improve all readers’ comprehension today and join some of your favorite authors as they reach for a tomorrow where every child reads with deep understanding.

“Each author takes the comprehension strategies as a starting point, and then reaches out toward a different set of applications, extensions, and practices. But everyone is connected by the research base on comprehension instruction and by our common goal: to provide every child in America with an “All-Access Pass” to literacy.”-From the editor’s introduction by Harvey “Smokey” Daniels

The Right to Literacy in Secondary Schools: Creating a Culture of Thnking

Chapter 12: Time to Think — Using the Workshop Structure So Students Think and Teachers Listen about Cris’ Classroom

This inspirational resource challenges educators to view adolescent literacy as a ”civil right” that enables students to understand essential content and to develop as independent learners. Edited by the Vice President of Education at the Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC), a nonprofit that is nationally regarded for its expertise in literacy and professional development, the book is a call to action and a practical guide for reform-minded schools and districts, and for teachers seeking to help all adolescent learners achieve at high levels. It is replete with vivid illustrations of exemplary classroom practice across all content areas. It also offers important frameworks to help teachers implement those practices in their own schools. Perfect for professional learning communities, study groups, and individual teachers.


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