Letter to Educators and Anti-Racism Pledge
Our Pledge of Anti-Racism:
In the classroom and in our writing and design process, we are continually challenging ourselves in the difficult but critical work of examining our biases, attitudes, and actions. We recognize that we come from a position of privilege and that this means we must be constantly vigilant to make certain that we join with a diverse spectrum of educators and educational systems as collaborative partners in combating injustice, inequality, and institutional racism.
Language is how we communicate with one another, what has the potential to bring us together in greater understanding. Whether in the classroom, the workplace or on the playgrounds of the world, being able to make ourselves understood is a basic, universal desire. This is why it is imperative to offer students explicit instruction in reading, writing, speaking and listening, so they can make themselves understood.
As educators, we want to help teachers as they work to develop the whole child. We also strive to be respectful of teachers, offering them adaptations, discussion points, student choice, family participation, and opportunities for social and emotional reflections in each lesson. In order to support teachers as they endeavor to meet academic standards, each lesson is tied to essential literary elements that travel across genres. We encourage teacher choice and know you will adapt, expand, or amend the lessons to fit the needs of your students.
By pairing prose mentor text with poems that are fun and age appropriate, students will be engaged, broadening vocabulary skills, building fluency, while expanding background knowledge as they read and reread, focusing on both the nuanced meaning and essential elements of written text.
As writers, we have based our lesson process on our own experience: we start simple, gathering thoughts in a quick prewrite before crafting a Version 1, adding complexity through subsequent revisions. We have both written award-winning trade books for youth and adults as well as teacher professional books. Prior to that, we were business writers, Michael worked as an engineer for 23 years and Sara was in corporate communications.
We feel confident that you will find the consistent lesson format and process benefits all students and look forward to teaming with you to help all students find success and strengthen their confidence and communication skills.
To English language and bi-lingual support teachers and teachers of students with special needs:
We believe as native English speakers, an important part of our work in schools is to lay out the welcome mat for those who want to learn the language. We want learners to be capable and confident in their new language, understanding and being understood. These lessons can be used in an independent EL or IEP pull out curriculum. If you are teaming with a general education teacher, you will find multiple opportunities to reinforce learning as student engage in repeated reading, low risk writing, and audio challenges.
Sara and Michael