2016 Green Earth Book Awards Shortlist!

green earth book award 2016I’m super excited that The Order of the Trees is on the Nature Generation’s Green Earth Book Awards shortlist!  I’m thrilled to see Vermont based publisher Green Writers Press on this list with the major New York publishers. It is an honor to be included in this collection which features books that have a strong environmental stewardship message.

The winner and honor books will be announced on Earth Day, April 22nd 2016. Stay tuned!


Maker Friday (math in motion)

maker friday 1Middle school students sometimes come to math class with dread. They think of it as endless worksheets, seat time, and assessments. For many students, the work is hard. They don’t see themselves as math people. One way to reverse this trend is to infuse math learning with inspiration and innovation, with a healthy dose of growth mindset. 

While teachers and districts have specific goals of math instruction and these are important, so is engaging, hands on, applied mathematics that can turn around negative math thinking and provide developmentally appropriate learning environments for early adolescents.

One way to do this is Maker Fridays.

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3 books that fight bullying and build empathy

revelersWe know the long term effects bullying can have on kids are not good.  Kids who experience bullying  can have increased anxiety, sleep problems, changes in eating patterns, and symptoms of depression. Many adults and students have become more aware of this topic– however changing behaviors takes more than just a conversation or two. Building empathy, taking someone else’s perspective, and becoming a community of upstanders is process that requires focused attention, effort, conversation, and modeling.

One way teachers can begin to create deliberate communities that support each other is through literature. Reading about bullying can provide students with a way to talk about the topic without having to talk about themselves. Here are 3 great books for reading aloud in an upper elementary or middle school classroom. These can be stand alone read alouds, or done as a unit on standing up for each other. Or, they can be used in response to a class that has had a difficult time with bullying in the past.

1. The Revealers by Doug WIlhelm. 

In this book Russel is faced with a classic bully, Richie. He seeks out Elliot, who is always picked on, for advice. They are joined by Catalina, a recent immigrant who is also suffering from bullying. Together, they devise a way to help the students of their middle school to have a voice and share their stories. Issues of bystanding, upstanding, peer pressure and understanding why people bully are all in this suspenseful text. Continue reading