Jul 16, 2014 -   No Comments

Building a Bridge: Connecting Language Arts and Social Studies

This week,  July 17 – 19, we are honored to be presenting at the 2014 Whole Language  Literacies for All Summer Institute in Pasadena, California.   Our presentation Making Meaning:  Bridging Language Arts and Social Studies will engage the audience in  inquiry based activities that involve students in reading, writing, listening and speaking as tools for learning social studies content.   We will showcase our flagship activity, Elmtown, which focuses on the events that lead to the American Revolutions in a role-playing format.

Earlier in July  we conducted a similar workshop with a group of about 14 Chicago Public School Teachers.  Their passion for their work and their students was invigorating.   They inspired us to create a users blog for Elmtown.  Below our the handouts that can get you started with Elmtown.  It is a work in progress so we are always adding and hopefully just making it better.  If you would like additional support in trying this with your students this year just let us know.  It might be fun to have all our students blogging with each other.

Elmtown Resources

Feb 27, 2014 -   No Comments

The Good Mentor

What more appropriate topic to begin with as we launch our website,  write2learn.com,  than to blog about  our colleagues who have had a positive and enduring impact on our professional career.  They were not assigned to us as part of a traditional mentoring program.  They are relationships that bloom spontaneously.   We had the good fortune of coming across these people as we moved through our teaching careers.

Just about ten years ago,  Becky and I walked into our principal, Bhavna Sharma-Lewis’s office,  to suggest that we become 5th grade teaching partners.   Bhavna listened, and we like to think she realized the wisdom of our request, and so it was granted.    Principal leaders like her don’t come along often.    We thank her for her support and leadership.  Soon after that we had the fortune of having Mary Greska  join us as the building’s library media specialist.  She keeps us laughing everyday.

Enter Dr. Tom McCann who at the time served as the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum.   After taking  a two week  summer writing class with him he volunteered to come into our classrooms.     Eight years later  and  in a new position as an Associate Professor of  English at Northern Illinois University he is still returning to our classes to mentor us and to work with our students.  Thank you for your time.  Tom also encouraged us and walked along side of us as we began taking our work outside the walls of the district.  We hope we made you proud last year at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)  conference.

Our circle of professional friends grew when we took a leap of faith and attended the three week Illinois Writing Project  (IWP) summer leadership institute.  We continue to enjoy being an integral part of the IWP and leave the monthly meetings energized.  Thank you Steve Zemelman  and Pat Braun for welcoming us into your group.

So, now we invite you to blog with us and share with the mentors and colleagues  who have  touched your lives.


Feb 26, 2014 -   No Comments

Poetry Starts Here Now


Photo courtesy of theatlantic.com

Every school year we planned to teach poetry, and you could say we did.  But,  it usually went like this.  OMG it’s April,  National Poetry Month, let’s get some books from the public library to enhance the school library collection.   Unfortunately, these were the same thoughts that all the other elementary and middle school teachers in our town had.   So, here’s how  it  went:   Boys and girls, here’s a haiku, now let’s write one,  how about some concrete poetry,  then the serious lesson on figurative language, followed by reading some classic poetry.  We did get some good poems, but each year we promised ourselves next year we will do better.

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Feb 25, 2014 -   No Comments

Press Release: Poetry Story Box



Elmhurst, IL:  Edison Elementary teachers,  Becky D’ Angelo, Nancy Galas  and Mary Greska will be recipients  of the Children’s Poetry StoryBox.   The StoryBox project is an international arts and literacy initiative created in 1995 by  Kevin Cordi, a professional storyteller and a professor of education at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus Ohio. The project promotes the art of sharing stories and storytelling, and has elicited stories from more than a million people. You can learn more about the project at  www.storyboxproject.com .

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Feb 24, 2014 -   No Comments

Hannah and the Power of Poetry

Hannah and the Power of Poetry by Baylee Royise and Amy Lantz in celebration of The Children’s Poetry StoryBox


This is an original story of a young lady named Hannah who does not like poetry. This soon changes as she talks with adults who uses poetry in their lives. We encourage you to use this video to spark poetry conversation and writing. The story was created for the Children’s Poetry StoryBox Project. This is a nation-wide effort started by Dr. Kevin Cordi to encourage and invite children (and adults) to engage in the poetry experience. Over 23 nationally known poets has sent unfinished poems that are being finished by children all over the world.

Find out more at storyboxproject.com

Feb 23, 2014 -   No Comments

Celebration of the StoryBox Project

Kevin Cordi StoryBox Poem

This is a celebration of The StoryBox Project. Since 1995, a physical box of stories, poems, messages have traveled around the world and back again. Learn more at www.storyboxproject.com