Monday, December 28, 2015

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More about Jeff Anderson

  Author's Website

Jeff grew up in Austin, where he learned to love writing through journaling, a bit of positive reinforcement, and writing stories and dramas to entertain his friends on the phone. He wanted to become a teacher early on, but his parents tried to convince him otherwise. "They wanted me to make more money." During an internship visit to a local elementary classroom, he made up his mind. "When I saw those curious eyes, kids raising their hands, asking questions, I lost all track of time and from that moment on, I was a teacher. I want to create environments that feel safe for learners at the elementary, middle, and university levels and during professional development for teachers. Working together we figure out things, surprise each other, find our strengths, and experience the joy it is to be a learner and teacher. We are students and teachers to each other."Jeff specializes in writing, revision, and grammar. "I love the ability to spark curiosity and creativity and to support students in finding their voices. That's pure joy." When it comes to his own professional development, he wants to explore things that have meaning to him in the classroom. "I want to find out things I didn't know, be affirmed or reminded of what I do know, and be energized by thinking and action, reflection and application. Since that's what I want, that's what I give teachers. Something they can take, shape, and make their own. Something they can use right now."Jeff's first book Mechanically Inclined, came to life from what he didn't know and what he needed to know. "I read, tried things out, played in my head and in my classroom, and read some more, permutating and refining. I thought about what worked and what didn't, as well as what sound pedagogical principles are used in other disciplines."
His other books also came from his work in his own classrooms and those across the United States. The invitational process Everyday Editing is built around was first shared in workshops until teachers wanted another book on grammar. 10 Things was Jeff's chance to share what his experience had taught him are the essential things every writer needs to know and be able to do. In his first collaboration, Jeff and Debbie came together to tackle a sentence combining and its larger effects on revision and writing.
In his free time, Jeff walks his dogs Carl and Paisley or sits on the deck with his partner Terry. When he's not doing that he reads middle grade novels and his new addiction is nonfiction.

Revision Decisions Book by Jeff Anderson and Deborah Dean

Revision Decisions: Talking Through Sentences and Beyond

Revision is often a confusing and difficult process for students, but it's also the most important part of the writing process. If students leave our classrooms not knowing how to move a piece of writing forward, we've failed them. Revision Decisions will help teachers develop the skills students need in an ever-evolving writing, language, and reading world. Jeff Anderson and Deborah Dean have written a book that engages writers in the tinkering, playing, and thinking that are essential to clarify and elevate writing.

Focusing on sentences, Jeff and Deborah use mentor texts to show the myriad possibilities that exist for revision. Essential to their process is the concept of classroom talk. Readers will be shown how revision lessons can be discussed in a generative way, and how each student can benefit from talking through the revision process as a group. Revision Decisions focuses on developing both the writing and the writer. The easy-to-follow lessons make clear and accessible the rigorous thinking and the challenging process of making writing work. Narratives, setup lessons, templates, and details about how to move students toward independence round out this essential book. Additionally, the authors weave the language, reading, and writing goals of the Common Core and other standards into an integrated and connected practice.
The noted language arts teacher James Britton once said that good writing "floats on a sea of talk." Revision Decisions supports those genuine conversations we naturally have as readers and writers, leading the way to the essential goal of making meaning.

Fox Valley Reading Council Winter Event: Jeff Anderson on February 24th

Revision Decisions: An Evening of Talking Though Writing, Revising, and Grammar
Writing is not a mere journey to be right; it’s one of making beautiful meaning. Students have to be able to tinker and experiment with writing to clarify and elevate it. Let's engage writers in the muck of play and thought that is essential to making writing effective.  Let's develop twenty-first century writers with all the flexibility needed to face the myriad of choices in an ever-evolving world. We can effortlessly teach grammar through revision and revision through grammar. The essentials of mentor text, talk, and process will be the focus of our evening together. Jeff will also share a bit from his new middle grade series, Zack Delacruz. Professional books and middle grade novel will be for sale onsite and Jeff will be available to sign them.

Monday, December 7, 2015

10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know

In his new book 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know, Jeff Anderson focuses on developing the concepts and application of ten essential aspects of good writing: motion, models, focus, detail, form, frames, cohesion, energy, words, and clutter. Throughout the book, Jeff provides dozens of model texts, both fiction and nonfiction, that bring alive the ten things every writer needs to know. By analyzing strong mentor texts, young writers explore, discover, and apply what makes good writing work. Jeff dedicates a chapter to each of the ten things every writer needs to know and provides mini-lessons, mentor texts, writing process strategies, and classroom tips.


Zack Delacruz High REZIn fifth grade, I loved reading any book with Henry Huggins in it. The book that hooked me on reading, in fact, was Ribsyby Beverly Cleary (who until adulthood I called Beverly Clearly).

Today my first middle grade novel, Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth (Sterling, 2015) debuts in bookstores across the United States and Canada. Zack Delacruz was borne of a need for books that would speak to my students—the real students who crowded my classrooms for over twenty years. I wanted them to have books that reflected their diversity of culture and experience. I wanted them to have books that made them laugh and think. I wanted them read a book the way I devoured Henry Huggins. I wanted a book in which nothing truly horrific had to happen.

Don’t get me wrong, death and tragedy certainly raise the stakes in a plot and a multitude of books already do that well. A third-grade teacher recently told me about her class comparing and contrasting their read alouds for the year. A girl scrunched up her face and concluded, “If the grandma dies in this book, then someone will have died in every book we’ve read this year.”

Most middle grade children struggle on a regular basis with more than death or tragedy–bullying, invisibility, and other everyday problems that plague middle grade kids. This was my purpose for writing Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth. I’d create a day-to-day romp through middle grade life, using the lens of humor to make sense of it all. While Henry Huggins nourished me as a reader, my experiences as a teacher in Title I urban schools nourished me as a writer. The vibrant talk and worries and exposure to what’s important to middle graders provided more drama than a writer could ask for. In fact, middle graders flare for drama drives the plot of Zack Delacruz.

Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth is not a book about diversity, though the characters are indeed diverse in culture and experience. It’s not an issue book either, though bullying and the over-simplified fixes often given to kids are explored. In the end, I hope readers are entertained—that they laugh and think and pick up another book. I hope they discover at our greatest depths that people are people. We all make mistakes. But what pulls us apart is a small matter when compared to what binds us together.

Everyday reading is for everyday life—I hope to help readers see life clearly now as Beverly Cleary showed me.
biopic2016Jeff Anderson lives and writes in San Antonio, Texas (and in planes when necessary). He has penned a few books on teaching writing and grammar, including Mechanically Inclined and 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know. He loves traveling around talking about writing with teachers and students, and now he hopes to continue that and spend even more time as a fiction writer. Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth is the first in a series of Zack Delacruz novels. Check out the book trailer:

Jeff Anderson & Debbie Dean: Revision Decisions

Watch Now! Jeff Anderson 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Become an Illinois Reads Ambassador

About ILLINOIS READSIllinois Reads

Under the auspices of the Illinois Reading Council, ILLINOIS READS will be a yearly statewide project to promote reading for all Illinois citizens.  Beginning with read aloud books for babies, 6 books will be selected for each additional age band through adult readers.  A variety of topics and themes will be chosen for each age band.  The work of Illinois authors will be especially highlighted.  There will be a mix of hard covers and paperbacks, with several Spanish-language titles and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related books and the work of Illinois authors will be especially highlighted. 

Working with the Illinois State Library, State Librarian, Jesse White, is the Honorary Chair.   The Illinois Reads will focus on reading at home and in the classroom.  Illinois Reads will also emphasize summer reading as a way to not only bring the family closer together but also to combat what is known as “summer learning loss” in children.  Residents from Rockford to Carbondale and from Quincy to Danville will be able to partake in Family Literacy Nights sponsored by their local IRC chapters.

As part of Illinois Reads, which will culminate in a statewide celebration of literacy during Secretary White’s Family Reading Night in November, classrooms, public and school libraries, community groups, and community bookstores throughout the state will feature the titles of 36 books in six separate age groupings.  Please watch the Illinois Reads website for more information to be posted or consider becoming an Illinois Reads Ambassador today!  

Fox Valley Newsletter

Fox Valley Newsletter

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fox Valley Board has just returned from the IRC Leadership retreat. We have many new board members involved this year! In just two days, planning for the whole year has been tweaked and now underway. 

We are excited to announce our first speaker of the year! Camille Blachowicz, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus at the National College of Education of National Louis University. Currently she is Co-Principal Investigator of the Multifaceted Comprehensive Vocabulary Instruction Program. She is also co-director of The Reading Leadership Institute, a professional learning network of literacy staff developers housed at National Louis University. She has researched, written and presented extensively on the topic of vocabulary instruction which is the subject of three of her books including Teaching Vocabulary in All Classrooms and Teaching Academic Vocabulary K-8:Effective Practices Across the Curriculum. 

Camille Blachowicz began her career as a classroom teacher and a reading specialist. As a university professor she directed the Reading Program, was chair of the Department of Reading and Language and was a Fulbright and Spencer Fellow and as well as co-editor of the Journal of Reading Behavior. Dr. Blachowicz has been a board member of the Literacy Research Association and continues to serve on many committees, boards, and commissions for professional organization and state and federal groups. 

Dr. Blachowicz was named to the roster of Outstanding Teacher Educators in Reading by the International Reading Association and is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Register Today!
Peter Johnston is a Professor Emeritus at the University at Albany. His recent research has focused on the consequences of teachers’ classroom talk for the ways children learn and experience themselves and each other, and how engaged reading influences children’s social, emotional, moral and academic development. A member of the International Reading Association’s Literacy Research Panel and the Reading Hall of Fame, he received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activities. His book Choice Words, was recently awarded the P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award by the Literacy Research Association for having “demonstrably and positively influenced literacy teaching in classrooms and districts nationally.” His newest book is Opening Minds.

Opening Minds:  Using language to change lives

Research shows that the classroom talk and student engagement affect children’s learning and development, individually and collectively, and the qualities of the learning community.  The session will show how apparently small changes in classroom practice can affect student learning and leverage larger changes in school behavior, self-regulation, literacy learning, and, among other things, happiness (yes, happiness).