by Mary Ann Cappiello, Myra Zarnowski, and Marc Aronson
As champions of nonfiction literature, we have spent the past year speaking to teachers, librarians, and children’s book publishers, advocating for a new role for children’s, middle grade, and young adult nonfiction in all forms (print, digital, audio) in the classroom and in the individual reading lives of children. We are delighted to have the opportunity to join Curriculum Connections for the 2012-2013 school year and share our message with you.
As the Uncommon Corps, we have developed 10 “Cs” to help librarians and teachers meet the new demands of the Common Core State Standards, in particular, the Reading Informational Text and Writing Strands. Starting in September, this column will roll out a new “C” for each month of the school year. Each “C” stands for a different noun or verb that can help shape your implementation of the Common Core Standards as they relate to informational text and nonfiction. While the standards use the term informational text, we choose to use the more expansive term, nonfiction.
Before we begin, we wanted to introduce ourselves to you. Mary Ann spent over a decade teaching in public schools in New York and New Hampshire before becoming a faculty member at Lesley University. At Lesley, she teaches courses in content literacy and children’s and young adult literature, including a specialized course in nonfiction in the elementary and middle school classroom. From September to June, she coauthors the “The Classroom Bookshelf” with colleagues Erika Thulin Dawes and Grace Enriquez. She is also the co-author of Teaching with Text Sets (Shell Education, October 2012) a primer on creating and using multimodal, multigenre text sets in the elementary and middle school classroom.
Myra has been both an elementary and middle school teacher in Newton, Massachusetts and NYC. She is currently a faculty member at Queens College in New York City where she teaches courses in social studies and children’s literature. She is especially interested in nonfiction literature dealing with science and social studies. Myra has served on the Orbis Pictus Award Committee for Outstanding Nonfiction and the Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies Committee—two committees that fueled her passion for nonfiction. She is the author of History Makers (Heinemann, 2003) and Making Sense of History (Scholastic, 2006).
Marc earned his doctorate in American History while working as an editor of books for young readers. His subsequent career has been at the intersection of writing nonfiction for middle grade and young adult, editing, and now teaching in the MLIS program at Rutgers University. He writes the “Consider the Source” column for School Library Journal. His forthcoming The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy, and Google Earth Opened a New Window into Human Origins (National Geographic) was coauthored with Lee. R. Berger and will be released in November, 2012.
You can follow the Uncommon Corps in-between our monthly columns at our blog site.
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