Mary Ann Cappiello and Erika Thulin Dawes talk about trusting the process, text sets, and the magic of working on multiple projects.
Often times we think our process isn't valid. This could be because it doesn't look like someone else's or because it doesn't look like we think it should look or because we haven't reached the goals we hoped to obtain. But Mary Ann and Erika talk about how important it is to trust the process, whatever that looks like for each writer, whether the two of them are collaborating on a new book, writing on their own, or coaching their students as they craft their own work.
What does it mean when we talk about a text set? Many people may think we're talking about various books. And while books are definitely part of a text set, they're not the whole picture. When Mary Ann and Erika talk and write about Text Sets in Action, they're talking about multi-modal, multi-genre text sets. To help teachers understand the various ways text sets may be utilized in the classroom, they have developed various visual models such as the solar system model or the tree ring model. My favorite is the tree ring model because it centers the main text and examines the sources the author used to create the text.
In addition to thinking our process isn't valid, sometimes we superimpose rules on ourselves that limit our creativity such as I should only work on one project at a time or I'm too busy to balance another project right now. But both Mary Ann and Erika feel when they work on multiple projects at once that not only are they more productive, they are also able to uncover solutions that would have remained buried if they were only working on a single project.
For elementary classrooms, Mary Ann and Erika Thulin Dawes recommend the following books:
Whale Fall by Melissa Stewart and Rob Dunlavey
Mary Ann talks about how a teacher, a former student of hers, raves about Whale Fall and the powerful impact on her elementary students. I just read Whale Fall in my class, and my students loved it, too. I loved watching them point and hearing them ooh and ah at each new sea creature they learned about as they feasted on the whale fall.
Berry Song by Michaela Goade
Erika loves books that celebrate our natural world. Not only does Berry Song invite readers to interact with nature, the text offers multiple opportunities to discuss social and environmental justice.
Ablaze with Color by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Loveis Wise
This book has been bringing Erika joy. She's been using it in one of her students' preschool classrooms and the preschoolers love it.
On Mary Ann and Erika's website, Teaching with Trade Books, they have a ton of curated recommendation lists.
If you would like to win a copy of Text Sets in Action or a thirty-minute coaching session on how to use text sets in the classroom, leave a comment below.
Remember to sign up for our next Chalk + Ink Chat on April 26th with Lisa Stringfellow and Michael Leali to talk about their debut year and DEI in middle grade novels.
On the next episode, I'm looking forward to discussing Hanh Bui’s debut picture book, The Yellow Áo Dài.
Many thanks to Sarah Brannen for Chalk + Ink’s podcast art. Congrats to Sarah on her latest book sale. I’ll echo another critique group member and say I can’t wait to see Lolly on the ice and on bookshelves.
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