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Two Gifts from Gretchen
Dear Friends,

The world has changed, and even though this stay-at-home state won’t last forever, it’s pretty clear that “normal” will be different in the coming months. We don’t know how bad things can get, or how valiantly the human spirit will carry us through this crisis, but already we’ve all felt overwhelming sadness at times and deep appreciation at other times. As for online classes, you have to hand it to this nation’s educational frontliners. You have redesigned instruction, with varying degrees of frustration and success, and one thing is certain:  nobody knows how this should be done.

We are individuals, and our students are individuals, and so are their parents. So are our administrators. Some have become ill; some have died; some are fearful; others are safe, cautious and secure. Some have resources, and some are in desperation. They are all missing their friends and distant loved ones.  

My team and I have been thinking about how best to help. At first the answer was staying out of the way. And now we have a couple of things to share. The first is called “Unsent Messages.” Instead of learning more literacy skills, students may find deep value in using the literacies they have already been building. It’s about connecting with people in their lives, and putting into words the messages they want to deliver to those people. The first batch is in this email. There are more batches coming, and if you like these, please let us know.

Secondly, we have some (very) short reading pieces to share. Jayne Hover and I are working on Text Structures from Fables, which will offer six different ways to respond to reading. We had thought we’d pilot these in classrooms this spring (now), but instead, we have retooled the pages to work as “home editions.” Each chapter, or part, will include one way to respond in writing, along with a whole lot of fables. They would make great pieces for parents and kids to read at home. Take a look, and if you’d like to share these with your parents or students, or your own children, we’d be pleased.  

And if you see any resulting writing you’d like to submit for consideration in the book, we’d be delighted with that too. There’s a permission-to-publish form at the end of the document.

Several of you have said you’re sad that your books are in your classrooms. Don’t forget the companion web sites at www.corwin.com. There is lots of digital material there.

Our July workshop is on hold, possibly to be cancelled, but for now we will see.  

Please keep yourselves healthy and we look forward to hearing what you think of these new resources.

Love,
Gretchen

P.S.  If you, your team, your students, your children need a Zoom meeting with me, email me!  I’d love to say hello and listen to some writing or drink coffee together. gretchen.bernabei@gmail.com

Unsent Messages

Instead of learning more literacy skills, students may find deep value in using the literacies they have already been building. It’s about connecting with people in their lives, and putting into words the messages they want to deliver to those people.

Short link for easy sharing: bit.ly/unsentmessages

Fables

These are (very) short reading pieces from the forthcoming Text Structures from Fables, which will offer six different ways to respond to reading. Each home edition includes one way to respond in writing, along with a whole lot of fables. They make great pieces for parents and kids to read at home.

Short link for easy sharing: bit.ly/homefables

Daily Journaling

These articles are thoughtful and profound reminders of the values of daily journaling, especially in times like these. We thought you might want to share some of the ideas with your students, so we're sharing them with you:

Why You Should Start a Coronavirus Diary, New York Times

Students' Journals Could Be Primary SourcesMiddle Web

 

Share Your Successes!

We would love to feature your work and the work of your students in our next newsletter! Please send your success stories to us at trail.of.bcs@gmail.com
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