Welcome to the Storyworks Ideabook!
I wish you could come to our New York offices and listen in on some of our discussions (and share some of the delicious coffee we get across the street). Really, all we talk about is YOU. We’re constantly figuring out how we can best assist you in your teaching journey — what problems we can help you solve, what challenges we can help you overcome, how we can make your job a little bit easier and your days more joyful.
And it was during one of these discussions that we realized we wanted to do more to help you use Storyworks (and our brand-new Storyworks Jr.) to its very fullest. We decided to start this new forum, which we call the Storyworks Ideabook, and it’s where we’ll share ways to use our resources in the classroom.
You’ll find the basics — our favorite “recipe” for a nonfiction close read, how to use our Core Skills package to build test readiness, ideas for making the most of our many activities. And we’ll also tell you about some of the amazing ideas we get from Storyworks teachers who are using our resources in effective, creative, and innovative ways.
We hope you’ll share your ideas with us — and that you’ll share the ideas you find here. We are so pleased to be a part of your teaching life, and hope that this new tool will make a difference.
What do you hope to get out of this resource? Let us know in the comments!
Sneak Peek: Storyworks Jr.'s September Issue!
Our debut issue arrived in our office this week, and will be delivered to your classrooms soon. We can't wait for you to get your hands on it! Here's a preview of some of the highlights.
The Snake That's Eating Florida. This narrative nonfiction story is about the Burmese python and how it's basically gobbling up everything in its path in Everglades National Park--even animals many times their size. How did snakes from China even get here? How can they physically eat something so much larger and wider than they are? What's being done to stop them? We answer all these questions and more, honing in on the featured skill of cause and effect. And to make this even more compelling, we'll have our Video Read-Aloud online, where author Lauren Tarshis narrates her story, while authentic footage and photos draw your students in. (More here on the best ways to use our Video Read-Aloud.)
The Big One. I adore this fictional tale of a boy who wants his family to love fishing as much as he does. It's warm, witty, and relatable, and serves as a perfect showcase for character development. Go online for the audio version, read by "The Big One" author himself, Tommy Greenwald.
The Hottest Place on Earth/The Coldest Place on Earth. Our paired texts will help your students understand the jarring conditions in two locations with extreme weather: Dallol, Ethiopia, and Oymyakon, Russia. Check it out:
As you can see, it's the ideal setup for compare and contrast, and a great way to work in important facts about geography and science. Plus, there are lots of fun details about both places, like this: If you toss a pot of boiling water in the air in Oymyakon, it'll turn to snow!
Are Trampolines Too Dangerous? This topic, the subject of this issue's debate feature, hits home: I'm so sure my young daughters will be injured on a trampoline, I don't allow them to go on any. This is a HIGHLY unpopular decision with my girls--made even more so when our new neighbors put up an enormous trampoline 20 feet from our backyard--but I have to stick by it. That said, I think our story very fairly presents both sides of the argument, and while I have a feeling I know which side most of your students will pick, they're sure to learn a few new facts about the risks.
These truly are just some of the highlights in our September issue. We've got so much more: a folktale play, an infographic, a vocab column, a grammar column, and I still haven't listed everything.
A word about the online resources I mentioned: They'll be available in mid-August, just as soon as we've put the finishing touches on our brand-new website. It's going to be amazing, but of course we'll be awaiting your feedback, very eager to know how it's working for you. One aspect of our site we know you'll love: All content and support materials--including video, audio, lower- and higher-level versions, and dozens of activities and quizzes--will be available to you for free this school year. No access code needed! That's how excited we are for everyone to try Storyworks Jr.
In the meantime, enjoy these last weeks of summer!