Category Archives: Educator Resources

Lesson plans, activity guides, and helpful tips from our literacy specialist and guest educators.

This is a test: Updating Word Press for the Lee and Low Blog

WESTFIELD, NJ — Led by Westfield High School teacher Jane D’Alessandro, students at WHS are collecting jeans for local youth experiencing homelessness through a project called Teens for Jeans. So far they have collected hundreds of pairs.

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“I was inspired to show students that if we work together, we can help in a big way,”  D’Alessandro said. “I challenged each person, student, staff, faculty member, to bring in two pairs to build a collection to serve homeless teens in our area. Teens helping teens — awesome! I like the recycling aspect, too. These jeans will be used and not shredded. I discussed it with the president of our WHS club Kids on the Block, Ethan Otis,and he loved the idea.”

Jeans are the most requested item by homeless people, D’Alessandro noted.

“They can be worn for a few days with being washed, they are comfortable and sturdy and provide a sense of normalcy,” she said.

Collection will continue through Friday, Feb. 27, at Westfield High School.

Kids who bring in at least two pairs and post pictures of themselves on the Teens for Jeans website are eligible to win a $5,000 scholarship, Dalessandro said.

Apply for the Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Creative Outreach Grant for Teachers and Librarians

Since many of our readers are librarians and educators with a passion for diverse books, we’re reposting information on this special grant that may be of interest:

The Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth is now accepting applications for the Annual Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Creative Outreach Grants for Teachers and Librarians.

Each year, the Conference offers two grants up to $1,000 each for projects to develop new classroom or library programs that raise awareness of multicultural literature among young people; particularly, but not exclusively, through the works of Virginia Hamilton. Continue reading

Interview With Joseph McGill, Founder of the Slave Dwelling Project

Joseph McGillToday on the blog we are honored to be able to interview Joseph McGill, Founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, which works to preserve extant slave dwellings and organizes overnight stays in them to bring attention to the history and experiences of enslaved people. Welcome, Mr. McGill! Continue reading

7 Core Values to Celebrate During Black History Month

The month of February is a time when many communities pause and celebrate the great contributions made by African Americans in history. At Lee & Low we like to not only highlight African Americans who have made a difference, but also explore the diverse experiences of black culture throughout history, from the struggle for freedom in the South and the fight for civil rights to the lively rhythms of New Orleans jazz and the cultural explosion of the Harlem Renaissance.

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Using Media Literacy to Examine Diversity In Literature

Guest BloggerIn this guest post, author and media literacy expert Tina L. Peterson, Ph.D., demonstrates how media literacy skills can help readers think deeply about diversity in books.

When I was a kid, I rarely paid attention to the ethnicities of characters in my favorite books. I probably assumed that, because I related to them, they were like me – white, suburban, and middle class. Despite the fact that many of my classmates and close friends were Latino and Asian, it didn’t occur to me that the characters in most books I read didn’t represent the mix of people in my life. Continue reading

Remembering Francisco Alarcón

Beloved poet and educator Francisco X. Francisco X Alarcon Alarcón passed away on January 15, 2016. Francisco was a prolific writer of poetry for children and adults. Born in California and raised in Mexico, Francisco’s poems explore his Chicano identity and celebrate the double joy of being a poet in two languages. His awards include multiple Pura Belpré Honors as well the Chicano Literary Prize and the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. His passing is a great loss to the world of Latino literature.

We asked some of the authors and artists who knew Francisco to share their memories of him: Continue reading

How to Create a Schoolwide Program to Celebrate Student Writing and Heritage

Want to inspire future poets, writers, and dreamers? One elementary school in San Francisco did just that with an author study of U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. Continue reading

Turn a Blanket into a Scarf! Book-Inspired DIY Projects

In Maya’s Blanket/La Manta de Maya, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by David Diaz,  Maya takes an old blanket that her abuela sewed for her and turns it into many different things. Her blanket turns into a dress, then a skirt, then a rebozo, a scarf, a headband and even a bookmark! Maya teaches us that something old can be turned into a new and beautiful something else.

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“¿Qué es deportar?”: Teaching from Students’ Lives

Guest BloggerWe at LEE & LOW BOOKS believe that high-quality bilingual books help build a solid foundation to achieve literacy in any language while affirming and validating a child’s identity, culture, and home language. We are so excited and honored to share this one educator’s example of why books featuring characters like her students belong in her classroom and curriculum.

In this guest post, Sandra L. Osorio describes using books that captured her students’ bilingual and bicultural experiences. An elementary bilingual teacher for eight years, Osorio is now an assistant professor at Illinois State University. This article originally appeared in Rethinking Schools magazine, and is cross-posted here with permission. Article is also available in Spanish from Rethinking Schools.

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