1st Edition

In the Best Interest of Students Staying True to What Works in the ELA Classroom

By Kelly Gallagher Copyright 2015

    In his new book,In the Best Interest of Students: Staying True to What Works in the ELA Classroom , teacher and author Kelly Gallagher notes that there are real strengths in the Common Core standards, and there are significant weaknesses as well. He takes the long view, reminding us that standards come and go but good teaching remains grounded in proven practices that sharpen students' literacy skills.Instead of blindly adhering to the latest standards movement, Gallagher suggests:Increasing the amount of reading and writing students are doing while giving students more choice around those activitiesBalancing rigorous, high-quality literature and non-fiction works with student-selected titlesEncouraging readers to deepen their comprehension by moving beyond the four corners of the text-Planning lessons that move beyond Common Core expectations to help young writers achieve more authenticity through the blending of genresUsing modeling to enrich students' writing skills in the prewriting, drafting, and revision stagesResisting the de-emphasis of narrative and imaginative reading and writingAmid the frenzy of trying to teach to a new set of standards, Kelly Gallagher is a strong voice of reason, reminding us that instruction should be anchored around one guiding question: What is in the best interest of our students?

    Chapter 1: Our Students' Best Interest Does Not Always Align with the Current Standards Movement; Chapter 2: Staying True to What Works in the Teaching of Reading; Chapter 3: Where the Common Core Reading Standards Fall Short; Chapter 4: Staying True to What Works in the Teaching of Writing; Chapter 5: Where the Common Core Writing Standards Fall Short; Chapter 6: Using Models to Elevate Our Students' Reading and Writing Abilities; Chapter 7: Sharpening Our Students' Listening and Speaking Skills; Chapter 8: Shift Happens


    Kelly, a baseballoholic and a self-described expert at negotiating airports, is in his 33rd year of teaching at the high school level. He currently teaches at Magnolia High School in Anaheim, California. He believes that there is no greater pleasure than teaching someone something. Teaching is artistic, it matters a great deal, and I can never get the job down perfectly. Kelly thinks that professional development should treat teachers as such - professionals. I know in the classroom that good things happen when my students have meaningful discussions. I know as a teacher myself that my craft sharpens when I am given the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with my peers. And let's have a laugh or two while we are at it. Writing his six books for Stenhouse was a solitary experience. Though I have written outlines prior to each of my books, I have yet to follow any of them step-by-step. That is why I find writing rewarding - because the act of writing itself generates new thinking, and new thinking is always exciting.