By Anna Starecheski

In our endless brainstorming sessions here at Storyworks Jr. HQ, we always strive to choose a topic that will really grab students and also teach them something important. The play in the February issue of Storyworks Jr., The Day Mrs. Parks Was Arrested, definitely fits the bill! The great thing about this particular play is that not only does it build fluency and confidence, it's also about a very important topic: The Civil Rights Movement. In honor of Black History Month, we wanted to give you a few ideas for ways to keep the learning going on this vital teaching topic...

By Meghan De La Rosa

Editor's note: Meghan De La Rosa of New Jersey is a bilingual teacher for students in grades K-2 and a trusted Storyworks Jr. adviser. We hadn't expected her to use the resource with her 1st-grade English Language Learners, but she did—with great success. Her techniques drive home one key point you all know: Engagement is everything. 

By Anna Starecheski

Hello, teachers! In addition to my work as assistant editor of Storyworks Jr., I also coordinate social media for all of our wonderful ELA classroom magazines. One of my favorite things to do is to simply search "Storyworks" on Twitter and see what comes up. I LOVE seeing pictures of how you teach with our resources—from lesson planning to performing readaloud plays, and all the creative wonderfulness in between...

By Allie Curtis and Shannon Seigler

Editor's Note: Allie and Shannon, two ELA instructional gurus from Walton County, Florida, use Storyworks in amazing ways. We've been aching for their contribution to the Ideabook, but these ladies are busy. See below for their first installment: a delightful vocabulary approach that will have your students thinking about cotton candy while they learn new vocabulary in context. They've given you all the tools to give it a try in your classrooms—even the cute carousel music!

By Thomasine Mastrantoni and Deborah Goldstein, the Link Ladies

Editor's Note: Enjoy this 21st-century twist on the old-school "Wanted" poster for a super-fun, easy-to-try approach to help students share their thinking and practice text evidence. The Link Ladies, library media specialists in Harrison, New York, explain how they'll use the paired texts in the February issue of  Storyworks (about unlikely invasive species), offering up a great website and a 5-step lesson for skill-building support. 

By Erin Burns

Editor's note: Both Storyworks and Storyworks Jr. feature debates in every issue. We try to tackle topics that kids really care about—and the debate from the December 2016/January 2017 issue of Storyworks about whether schools should ban chocolate milk definitely fits the bill! We love seeing creative ways you teach our debates, and we just had to highlight this amazing, effective strategy from New York teacher Erin Burns. The best part: You can use it with ANY debate. Without further ado, here's Erin's 4-day debate plan...