TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE resources for teachers and #GIVEAWAY!

Educator's Guide cover

It is with great excitement and gratitude that I give you this list of amazing educational resources that wonderful educators and designers have compiled to go along with TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: IT’S ALIVE! and, hopefully, make it easier–and more fun–for teachers or librarians to put to use in the classroom!


Educator's Guide for teachersFirst up is the Educator’s Guide to Support Information Literacy, written by amazing 5th grade teacher Melissa Guerrette, M.Ed., NBCT. This guide is chock full of tips teachers can use to teach students how to evaluate sources and fact-check any materials they may encounter, whether they are reading the stories from TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE or just about anything else.
It includes a printable Fact or Fiction note-taking worksheet teachers can use to help readers analyze a text to determine if it is true or false and record evidence of their thinking processes along the way.
It also has a list of the Common Core State Standards supported by the activities in the guide, AND an impressive collection of additional resources for teachers of information literacy concepts.
Download the PDF of the guide HERE.

TTL Stem Game for teachersBut wait, there’s more! Awarding-winning Library Media Specialist and STEM Coordinator Suzanne Costner partnered with Curious City DPW to create a STEM Card Game and companion research activities. “As a school librarian with a passion for STEM topics, I saw this book as an opportunity both to explore interesting stories and to develop crucial information literacy skills,” says Suzanne. Using scientific topics pulled from the book’s sidebars, they created a 52-card card deck that teachers can print out for their classroom. In Round 1, Player 1 reads a statement to Player 2 from a card. Player 2 decides whether the statement is a “Truth” or a “Lie.” In Round 2, players choose a research topic from their amassed cards and make three game cards of their own – two truths and one lie on their chosen topic. In Round 3, players try to outwit each other with the game cards they have created. Each new game in the classroom grows the game deck with new STEM material!
Download the PDF of the Truth or Lie? STEM Card Game HERE.
Suzanne and Curious City DPW also put together the Two Truths and a Lie: What’s Your Source?, which provides teachers with links for students to explore for topic validation and gives them the chance to compare and cross-check the information before making their final decision on whether the stories in TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: IT’S ALIVE! are fact or fiction; Two Truths and a Lie: Reaching for Resources, which provides educators with links connected with the book’s chapters to build information literacy lessons upon, and the Two Truths and a Lie: Rationale, Curriculum Connections & Grading Rubric.


To go along with all of this excitement, for a limited time Curious City DPW is hosting a GIVEAWAY! Read all about it and ENTER HERE, but hurry! Winners will be announced December 5, 2017!


I’m super excited about how these might spur classroom discussions around STEM topics and information literacy. If you use either of them with students, please let me know! I’d love to hear about how teachers are putting into practice and any suggestions for how it could be improved. And, of course, pictures would be fantastic!

Changemakers in the classroom

I’ve been hugely gratified by the responses I’ve gotten from teachers around the country about using BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS in their classrooms. The very first of these was a lovely 8th-grade ELA teacher from a private Catholic school in Louisiana. She reached out to me before the book was even released, and let me tell you, her enthusiasm was a much-appreciated soothing balm for all of my pre-release jitters!
She is using the book for her students’ “20% projects,” an idea adapted from the corporate world where companies allow employees to spend 20% of their time working on a pet project that interests them. They’ll be using the books throughout the school year to choose self-directed projects and bring them to life. Isn’t that exciting? I sure think so!

8th graders in class 1 with their new books
8th graders in class 1 with their new books

As part of her curriculum, she was able to purchase a copy of the book for each and every one of the students, and she even got them personalized! It was a huge pile of books for me to sign, and such an incredible honor for me to write each student’s name in his or her own book.
8th graders in class 1 with their new books
8th graders in class 2 with their new books

These pictures are from the day she handed the books out to all of the students. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I do!
The students also watched a video I made for them to help kick off their project. I posted about that video earlier this week. Check it out here if you missed it.
I can’t wait to hear about these students’ ideas and follow their progress throughout the school year. I’ll post updates here as I get them so you can follow along, too.
I love hearing about young people using the book, whether on their own or through a class or other organization, so if you’re using (or thinking about using) BE A CHANGEMAKER on your own or with your students, scouts, children, youth group, etc., please let me know! My email address is at the bottom of this page, or you can reach out on my Facebook author page or on Twitter.

Teaching Social Issues in Elementary School

In my most recent issue of Social Studies and the Young Learner (Volume 23, Number 4, March/April 2011) from the National Council for the Social Studies, there’s a brief article entitled “The Uncompromised Curriculum: Videos of Teachers Teaching Social Justice Issues,” by Debbie Sonu. Debbie talks a bit about how difficult it for today’s teachers to include social justice lessons despite narrow, test-focused curriculums. She took videos of three of these determined teachers in action, and they are nothing short of inspiring.
Watch the videos here.
These are classrooms I would’ve loved to be in as a child (heck, I’d love to be in them now!), and you can see how engaged the kids are with the different topics. What I love most about all three of these approaches is the respect each of the teachers has for her students. In the first, the teacher tells her fifth graders that it’s okay to let their discussions wander where they will and not stick to the prepared question list. In the second, the teacher tells her first graders they are not asking first grade questions, they are asking college questions. And in the third, the teacher asserts that all children–gifted or not–have the ability, and in fact the need, to discuss these kinds of issues.
Kudos to these teachers, and to Debbie Sonu for sharing them with us!

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