Book Review: From Me to We: Using Narrative Nonfiction to Broaden Student Perspectives

Grateful to Kate Walker and PCTELA News for this review of my book!


From Me to We: Using Narrative Nonfiction to Broaden Student Perspectives
by Jason Griffith

Full disclosure, I know Jason and he sent me a copy of this book. Before he went off to graduate school in Arizona, I always made sure to attend his PCTELA conference presentations, as I knew I would walk about with concrete ideas I could immediately integrate into my lessons the next week.

Well, this book is sort of like attending a week’s worth of PCTELA presentations–I found myself taking notes about which lessons to integrate and when I would use them.  What I love about this book is how Jason is a realistic teacher. He acknowledges that most of us can’t just add new books to our curriculum instantly, that we need ways to supplement the texts we already have. But he does remind us how “As an English teacher, I see myself as an…

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10 Mentor Texts to Lift the Level of Students’ Narrative Writing by Stacey Shubitz

Nerdy Book Club

As an educator, I’ve come to believe it’s important to know a small collection of books intimately.  Not only does this make sense financially, but having a handful of mentor texts you know well allows you to use them with students for many purposes.

When I was selecting fiction and nonfiction texts to feature in Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts, I looked for exquisitely written picture books. While searching for the fiction texts, I looked for books that represented a variety of races, cultures, and sexual orientations since I believe all students deserve to read mirror books, in which they can see themselves, and window books, in which they can learn about others (Bishop, 1990). If we make conscious choices about the mentor texts we present to students – in terms of showcasing impeccable writing and a range of human experiences –…

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Three Things My Ukulele Taught Me about Writing

Teachers, Profs, Parents: Writers Who Care

by Patricia A. Dunn
Photo of a green ukeleleGeorge Harrison thought everyone should learn to play the ukulele because it was easy to learn, small enough to take everywhere, and fun to listen to. (He’s right about the second.) So I got one, took a quick lesson from a friend, and then set out on Google and YouTube to see what was what. And now, three months later, it’s all I can do to sit here typing. I really want to go downstairs, take out my shiny green ukulele, open my ever-growing pocket file of downloaded chords and lyrics, and torture the household once again with my now-accompanied caterwauling.

My adventures learning to play the ukulele have reinforced for me three principles teachers and parents should remember about how students learn to write.

1) Good Writing Involves Choice

I was playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” after fifteen minutes, but after another fifteen I was…

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Mindfulness Soothes Students’ Anxiety and Depression?

The Pilot Light


By Judith Simmer-Brown, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University

When neuroscience graduate student James Holmes was convicted on 24 counts of murder and 140 counts of attempted murder for the theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, he had previously sought counseling support from a psychiatrist at his graduate school campus. The day of the rampage, Holmes mailed a notebook to his campus psychiatrist, detailing his attack plan. What the media attention did not consider is how this young man may be more typical in his generation than was previously thought.

On a recent lecture trip to the campus of a top-tier private university, the director of the counseling center lamented to me that, in spite of his love of counseling, he and his psychologist colleagues can no longer do therapy. They can only triage acute crises of students with acute anxiety, depression or suicidal…

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Handouts and Archive from #NCTE15 Session B.34: “Crafting the Truth”

Thanks to everyone who came out to our “Crafting the Truth” NCTE session in Minneapolis! We hope you had as much fun as we did and that you also took away some ideas, strategies, and resources for incorporating narrative into research, argument, and creative nonfiction into your secondary English classrooms.

Here is the link to the Storify archive of tweets from participants and presenters using #craftingtruth: CLICK HERE FOR #CRAFTINGTRUTH STORIFY

And here is the handout and PPT from the “Me to We” creative nonfiction portion of the session:Jason Presentation NCTE Handout 2

Also, I participated in an Ignite session called “Reading Real to Write True” which featured 11 Tips for Reading and Writing Narrative Nonfiction in Secondary ELA classrooms. If you’re interested in that presentation or handout, you can find them here: Jason Griffith Ignite   NCTE Handout 1