If you’re like teacher Dina Strasser, you may be wondering if your online classes add up to teaching. Yes, she says. You’ve adapted on the fly – suddenly providing virtual school to students who just weeks before greeted you at the classroom door. See if her real-life snippets match your experience.
Category: The ELA Ally
“Covid-19 is a red contrast dye,” writes Dina Strasser. “Dumped into the cauldron of schools, it shows us the cracks and flaws that were already there.” Even so, as her students slowly figure out their tech, “they are coming alive to me and for me in ways I never could have predicted.”
At home with her teens, ELA teacher Dina Strasser discovers how to create a compromise between parents who need (and ought to be) “captains of the quarantine ship,” and teens who need to be respected and loved as individuals. Their much-discussed home schedule is a start.
Acknowledging that as a white woman of privilege she cannot fully experience the depth of meaning in Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, ELA teacher Dina Strasser shares four takeaways from her limited perspective as an educator and lover of speculative Young Adult fiction.
Where were the authors of color in Dina Strasser’s recent recommended list of speculative fiction for YA readers? Dina revisits her December post and considers why she overlooked women of color. Her commitment to being more inclusive includes new titles and future reviews.
Speculative fiction – apocalyptic, dystopian or fantasy – continues to grab the attention of middle and high school readers. ELA/EL teacher Dina Strasser also sees an opportunity for educators to explore current social issues that may be difficult to address otherwise.
Dina Strasser finds more poets are writing about climate change and other social justice issues. Such poems can provide alternatives to middle schoolers when themes aren’t too entangled in complex structures. She suggests some options students can “hook into easily.”
We can no longer avoid teaching about climate change because it’s not in our content area or curriculum guide, writes teacher leader Dina Strasser. Educators can’t shield children from “eco-anxiety,” but they can give them hope and the knowledge and skills to take action.
Meaning well and teaching well are not the same – a painful truth that ELA teacher Dina Strasser’s exponential learning about race has helped her realize. She uses the story of her unit based on Gary Paulsen’s “Nightjohn” to underscore the difference between intent and impact.
Finding the rationale to bring news discussions into class can be tricky. Veteran teacher and current events advocate Dina Strasser shares her strategy – double dipping. Here’s how to have “productively messy” conversations in 5-10 minutes without losing curriculum focus.