9780804189354By Karen Kingrea, STEM Director at Immaculata Catholic School

Growing up outside Houston, Texas in the ’60s and ’70s, it is no surprise that I developed a love of space exploration and NASA. During my thirty-five years in education, I have furthered this passion whenever possible by attending NASA workshops and conference sessions across the country. Thus, it was with great excitement that I read The Martian by Andy Weir last summer. The book was everything I hoped it would be and more. My only regret was that it was not appropriate for my middle school students to read. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to learn that a classroom edition of The Martian exists. After seeing the movie as well, I knew that Mars would be our theme for the 2016–2017 school year. (more…)

9781101904404“Honesty matters. Vulnerability matters. Being open about who you were at a moment in time when you were in a difficult or an impossible place matters more than anything.” —Neil Gaiman, from the foreword of The Moth Presents All These Wonders

From storytelling phenomenon The Moth, All These Wonders presents forty-five unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the very best ever told on their stages. Carefully selected by the creative minds at The Moth, and adapted to the page to preserve the raw energy of live storytelling, these stories feature voices both familiar and new. Alongside public cultural figures like Tig Notaro and John Turturro, you will encounter: an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrificed to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a “one-hit wonder,” a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill’s “secret army” during World War II, and more. (more…)

9780812978186By Krista McKim, AP® Language and Composition teacher at Rockville High School in Rockville, MD

On March 24, 2018, 40 students from Rockville High School came to enjoy a performance of Ragtime at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Each student received a copy of the book by E. L. Doctorow. They read the book on their own time, and they all came together to talk about it before they saw the play. After the performance, Stephen F. Schmidt, an actor who played various characters and who is also a  teaching artist at the Ford’s Theatre, came to visit and give them a glimpse of the show from behind the scenes. As a result of these experiences, students thought deeply about the choices writers and directors make to bring a book to life.  They analyzed how Doctorow integrated historical and fictional characters, and they learned how a book goes from the page to the stage. (more…)

9780804189934A favorite text for AP® English Language, writing, and journalism classes, Thank You for Arguing is your student’s master class in the art of persuasion. Jay Heinrichs not only teaches how to recognize a metonymy and a chiasmus, but also how to argue effectively without anger. The revised and updated third edition includes extensive new material on persuasive essay writing, tropes, facing bullies, and arguing when people don’t believe the same facts. Plus an expanded “Argument Lab” section to put your students’ new skills to the test.

“Heinrichs is a clever, passionate and erudite advocate for rhetoric, the 3,000-year-old art of persuasion, and his user-friendly primer brims with anecdotes, historical and popular-culture references, sidebars, tips and definitions.” —Publishers Weekly (more…)

By Gillian Schneider, a teacher at Neuqua Valley High School and the recipient of the 2016 Penguin Random House Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry.

maya angelouSitting at the NCTE secondary luncheon in November 2015, I found an application for the Penguin Random House Literacy Awards, including the Maya Angelou Poetry Award. I did not have a concrete idea of what I might propose, but by spring, I decided that I would make every effort to come up with something to support poetry awareness. I asked colleagues to read my application and suggest changes, and I asked students to help me with letters of support and haiku. The grant idea for “So You Want Me to Love Poetry? YES!” began as an appeal to students to stop saying “No” to poetry and start saying “Yes!” Once I submitted all of the required elements, I distracted myself. (more…)

9780812997316By Michelle Kuo, author of Reading with Patrick (Random House, July 2017).

Contact us at highschool@penguinrandomhouse.com with your full school mailing address to claim a FREE advanced reader copy of Reading with Patrick (while supplies last; we are unable to ship outside of the US and to PO boxes).

Every teacher has likely experienced two emotions: the feeling that you’ve gotten through to a student and the feeling that you’ve let him down. In the first, the classroom is a powerful place of human connection, and the lightbulb that has gone off in the kid’s head is hot and radiant. In the second, life proves too complex, too full of barriers and missteps, and the teacher, with regret and perhaps some shame, retraces her decisions, dissecting what went wrong. (more…)

9781101907290By Shaka Senghor, author of Writing My Wrongs (Convergent Books, January 2017).

Although I grew up in the ’80s in a very different era, I can still relate to many of the challenges our youth face today. By the time I turned seventeen years old, gun violence had become a normal part of my life. I watched many of my childhood friends and family members get gunned down in the streets. When I was fourteen, my older brother shot my oldest brother in the neck; at fifteen, my childhood friend was shot to death; at sixteen, my older brother was shot, and years later was shot again, this time leading to his paralysis from the waist down; and at the age of seventeen, I was shot several times while standing on the corner in my neighborhood. By the time I turned nineteen, I had been surrounded by so much violence that I became desensitized to it. (more…)