Back to School Night!

Welcome! If you are a parent stopping by back-to-school night, I’m so glad you could come. If you haven’t already, please stop by my classroom, M-206. If you’d like to know more about Learning Enrichment class, or about the different kinds of learning support offered at AES, you can find out more about that here

If you’d like to know more about me and the other members of the middle school learning support team, you can find that here. You can find out a bit about my philosophy of teaching and learning here. And do stop by and say hello!

Reading Strategy Review

Good readers think as we read; that’s why we say ‘Reading is Thinking.’ There are many ways to think about what we read, but most good readers use a mix of strategies. Today we’ll review some of the ways good readers think about what we read. You’ve probably been hearing about this in Humanities or English, but a little review is always a good thing, since effective reading is one of the most important ‘study skills’ there is.

I’ll demonstrate these a quick read aloud from a book I like by Chris Van Allsburg. He’s great at getting readers to question, infer and predict. Then when we confer about reading today, I’ll ask you what strategies you’ve used.

Just to review, here are some strategies good readers use when reading.

Good readers:

Connect: Good readers use what they know to better understand what they read.

  • ‘This reminds me of something that happened to me.’Reading is thinking
  • ‘This reminds me of something I know from school.’
  • This reminds me of another book I read.

Question: Good readers ask questions as they read.

  • ‘I wonder….
  • ‘Who, what, where, when, why?’

Predict: Good readers use clues to think what might happen next.

  • ‘I predict ____ will happen…’
  • ‘I think this character will____ because….’

Infer: Good readers use clues and what they know to understand things that are not directly stated in a book.

  • ‘I think this means that…’
  • ‘This clue makes me think the character is nervous/sad/happy.’

Visualize and use sensory images: Good readers imagine what a story looks, smells, sounds like…

  • ‘In my mind I see…’
  • ‘In my mind, I hear…’

Determine what is important: Good readers use what is important in what I read so they can summarize it or find answers to what they want to know.

  • ‘This was mainly about….
  • ‘I found answers to what I wanted to know in chapter 5 of this book….’

Synthesize: Good readers pull together many ideas to find the big ideas or themes in what they read.

  • ‘The theme of this book is….’
  • ‘One big idea I see here is that…’

Use evidence: Good readers support my thinking about what they read with evidence or clues.

  • ‘I think this because it says…’
  • Because I know____, and it says ____, I think….’
  • ‘I can tell____, because it says_____’


Welcome to All Kinds of Minds the blog for the Advisory and Learning Enrichment classes in AES, M-206. You can read more about my philosophy here.

We are looking forward to a great year.  We are so glad you are here where we celebrate diversity in learning styles, language and culture; we agree with  Temple Grandin when she says, “the worldneeds all kinds of minds.” We will be working this year to use the strength of our many minds to do some exciting thinking.

Ms. Nathanial, Mr. Singh, Mr. Ho, Ms. Khanna, Mr. Creighton

The middle school learning support team has grown this year, in line with AES’s commitment  to support a wider range of learners. We’ll be collaborating with Michael Howho’s also teaching Learning Enrichment, and Kripal Singh, the Middle School Speech Language Pathologist. 

The team in M-206 has grown as well. Ms. Khanna and I will be joined by Rebecca Nathanial who will be supporting students in a variety of classrooms. Ms. Khanna received a B.A. in Commerce from Delhi University and has four years experience at AES in the elementary and middle schools. Ms. Khanna has completed her teacher training program in IGNOU, Delhi, so she is also a certified teacher. She is one of the most effective educators I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and in my twenty years of teaching, I’ve worked with a lot of good people!

Ms. Nathanial is in her second year at AES. She is a currently pursuing her Bachelors Hons. degree from Delhi University and has recently completed her French Diploma from Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan. She is also working on a Pre-Primary Teacher’s Training Diploma from the Asian College of Teachers. Before coming to AES, she worked as a Teaching Assistant at the US Embassy’s Apple School. 

I’ve been teaching 22 years, and I’ve spent half of my career as a general education classroom teacher and half as a special educator.  This is my sixth year in AES Middle School; I also taught fifth grade here for six years from 2005-20011. AES is a unique school, and one of my favorite places to teach and learn.

My two sons graduated from AES in 2016 and 2018. One is attending finishing his bachelors in New York City this year; the other is starting his studies at the University of Oregon. My daughter is in twelthf grade at AES. Portland is the American city I’m proud to call home. I was born in Iowa, and I still return to the Midwest to visit family from time to time.

Reading and writing is important in my family. My partner is a writer; her third book, Bicycle Dreaming, was published in January, 2016. She now volunteers full time as the director of The Community Library Project, which has its roots in an after-school read aloud program she and I started in 2008 and expanded in 2011 with the help of AES colleagues and fifth grade students. TCLP now runs three libraries in conjunction with local NGO’s, and we’ve helped start several other community libraries that we continue to support. You can read more about the Delhi library movement here.

I volunteer at The Community Library Project every weekend and during summer holidays. This summer, I coordinated an intensive three week reading fluency program for 46 students in Hindi. We can always use more volunteers; let us know if you are interested.

In my spare time, I read and write poetry. My first collection of poems was published by Speaking Tiger in December, 2017. You can read more about my poetry here.

Students, I’d love to hear what kinds of reading or writing you did this summer. Why not leave a comment below? Parents, you are welcome to comment as well, and I hope to meet you all at Back to School Night later this month. In the meantime, if you have any questions or ideas to share, do get in touch. The contact page will show you how.

April is here!

The week back after Spring Break was pretty busy for all of us. Now it’s time to settle down and get back into the swing of things. On Wednesday and Thursday (days 5 and 6) I’ll be conferring with you about your individual reading goals and the reading strategies you’ve been using. On Friday and Monday (days 7 and 8) we’ll be looking at math and setting new goals there.