Here you can expect to find news related to my work, those projects I am involved in (and through which I often discover resources to share), and our work at large. In the sidebar you will find links to many of the resources I rely on most for news about education in general and English in particular. I will update these resources when I discover better ones; otherwise you can trust me to limit each list to five links worth your time.
The Teacher’s Companion for They Say/I Say Now Available!
For much of the last year I have been working with W. W. Norton and authors Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein to help bring They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing to high school classes. I am thrilled to announce the release of The Teacher’s Companion for They Say/I Say. Contact W. W. Norton or your regional representative for more information about both the high school edition of They Say/I Say and my Teacher’s Companion for it. This is a substantial companion, approximately 140 pages long, that offers extensive support for using the book and teaching each chapter in high school classes.
Appointed Chief English Language Arts Advisor to the College Board
I have been grateful for the opportunities I have had in the past few years to work with the College Board, specifically in the development of the new Advanced Placement English Literature Framework as part of the AP Course and Exam Review Commission. My relationship with the College Board has recently extended to include being appointed as the 6-12 English Language Arts Chief Advisor. This appointment provides me a rare opportunity to contribute to and learn from a range of projects in the coming year, including the New SAT, the Springboard program, and Advanced Placement program. There are some interesting new projects coming out soon from the College Board, most notably the AP Capstone Project.
Review: “Jim Burke’s Common Core Companion Series — Here’s Why It’s Awesome,” by Dave Stuart
Here’s what I find most useful about the series:
It’s a thoughtfully annotated list of the standards in my grade range, and it expects me to write in it
Let’s take a look at the book itself. Beneath each photo below, I’ll describe what I’m trying to show you in the photo. If you’d like better quality images, I’d encourage you to head over to Amazon and use the “look inside” feature to take a look at some sample pages. Read more…
New Release: “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (HS Edition)
3.31.2014 The high school edition of “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein is just out from W. W. Norton. Click here to find out more or to order a review copy of the book. What can you expect in the coming months related to They Say/I Say? I wrote the preface for this first high school edition and am in the final stages of completing a substantial Teacher’s Companion that will accompany the Teacher’s Edition of this book. I was in New York City all day 3.31 working with the editors who bring such a remarkable commitment to every detail of this book and its future versions. I am grateful to Norton and Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein for inviting me to be part of this project going forward. Very excited about all that Norton is doing to help English teachers (and, more to the point, students) in the coming year.
Interview: School Leadership Briefing
3.31.2014 Click here to listen to an interview I recently did on the Common Core for Michael Mantell at School Leadership Briefing: Jim Burke, author of The Common Core Companion book series, joins us to talk about the CCSS and how school leaders should be leading and engaging with it. A winner of numerous awards, Burke currently serves on board for PARCC and offers a great perspective on the Common Core for school leaders because he is an active teacher.
2014 CATE Distinguished Service Award
2.15.2014, San Diego Tonight the California Association of Teachers of English honored me with its highest award, the Distinguished Service Award, at its annual convention here in San Diego. The award means a great deal as it comes from the very people to whom I feel I owe so much, many of whom were in attendance at the ceremony.
Two New Common Core Companion Books Coming Soon!
I am thrilled to announce that the Common Core Companion series I am publishing through Corwin will soon add Companion books for teachers in grades K-2 (by Sharon Taberski!) and 3-5 (written by Leslie Blauman). These two remarkable authors and educators have taken the same easy-to-use design I created for the 6-8 and 9-12 Common Core Companion books and adapted it to meet the needs of teachers in the elementary school grades. Leslie Blauman and Sharon Taberski bring so much wisdom to the project and experience gained from their work with teachers all around the country. The books will be available soon for pre-order through the Corwin website. I will share more information as I learn of it!
Quoted in Education Week regarding the Common Core and EQuIP
New Tools Gauge Fidelity of Lessons to Common Core
by Catherine Gewertz February 4, 2014 The 53 teachers gathered around tables here have been called to a new kind of jury duty. But they won’t be deciding whether a fellow citizen is guilty of a crime: Their charge is to pass judgment on stacks of instructional materials. Amid papers and coffee cups, they pore over a 90-page curricular unit on constitutional freedoms. In Socratic rounds of discussion, they explore the high school unit from dozens of angles, looking for fidelity to the common core. Read more…
Book Review: Making Sense of the Common Core Standards by Mary Alice Anderson January 3, 2014 I recently participated in a discussion with a group of media specialists who met virtually to engage in some conversation with a few HS librarians who are actively teaching to the CCS with their teachers. Sharing was facilitated by author/speaker and former school media specialist Toni Buzzeo. School media specialists want to be involved and work with teachers, but many are overwhelmed. They want to know how to collaborate with teachers and what to do to get started. Several shared what they are doing. Examples include focusing on standards, what resources will support them, and meeting with teachers. Others are updating media center web sites to meet new needs, aggressively updating collections, and acquiring more resources to meet the CCS informational text requirements. Throughout our discussion I thought of how this is not that different from what we’ve long been doing– collaborating with teachers to integrate and infuse information literacy throughout the curriculum. I would apply my “work with the living” philosophy and reach out to those who are interested in trying new things and using new resources such as digital primary resources from the Library of Congress. But, what may be familiar is not all the same. High stakes testing and the emphasis on accountability in the classroom and media center place a greater importance on successful and educational meaningful collaboration and integration. The CCS standards are more complex and more far-reaching than the others. After our discussion ended I came across The Common Core Companion: The Standards Decoded, Grades 6-8. It’s a very practical book that makes CCS very understandable. Read more…
Education Week: Teacher Interview
“We Can Do Better”: An Interview with Jim Burke
by Larry Ferlazzo November 29, 2013 Today, I’m publishing a special post — an interview with educator and author Jim Burke. Jim has written more than 20 books and is the founder of the English Companion Ning –the largest online community of English teachers in the world. He teaches at Burlingame High School, Burlingame, CA. His latest books are The Common Core Companion:The Standards Decoded, Grades 9-12: What They Say, What They Mean, How to Teach Them and a similar one for grades 6-8. LF: How would you summarize — let’s say, in five bullet points or less — the key strategies, goals or emphasizes that would be helpful for teachers to keep in mind as they move towards aligning their teaching to Common Core Standards? Read more…
Learncentral Web Event
Jim Burke on Teaching English and Social Networking
Mon October 25, 2010 Sponsored by Elluminate Join Steve Hargadon for a live and interactive FutureofEducation.com webinar with Jim Burke, author, teacher, and the creator of English Companion Ning: “Where English teachers go to help each other.” Watch the Elluminate recording of this event: Jim Burke on Teaching English and Social Networking
An Interview with Courtenay Stewart of Ning Creators
Jim Burke on finding your niche and collaborating with your members
Feb. 4, 2010 Creators.ning.com Posted by Courtenay Stewart Jim Burke, High School English teacher and Ning Network Creator, recently won the 2009 Edublog Award for Best Educational Use of a Social Networking Service. When I came across this article announcing the Edublog Award, I was interested to hear what inspired Jim to create English Companion Ning and what he learned along the way. With over 11,000 members, it is clear that English Companion Ning created a much-needed space for High School English teachers. Jim discusses how he found his audience, and uses his audience to build and maintain a successful environment. Thank you Jim, for sharing this advice, and congratulations on the Edublog award! Read the Interview >> Visit the Ning Creators network >>
Jim Burke Joins Shmoop.com as Special Adviser
Make learning and writing more fun and relevant for students in the digital age
Shmoop provides lively Learning Guides and Teaching Resources lovingly written by educators and doctorate students at top universities (primarily Stanford, Harvard, and UC Berkeley). Our guides have a deep, fun approach that hits students in the intellectual and cultural gut. We provide multiple points of view and we hope to provoke, spark, and inspire students as they come up with original ideas. We dig deep into pop-culture, current events, and the Internet to bring these budding researchers face to face with the relevance of what they study. As a result, you’ll find at Shmoop some truly dynamic, lively, and entertaining guides that will help you make the classroom live and breathe.
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Congratulates Author Jim Burke
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Author Wins Prestigious Award for Best Educational Use of a Social Networking Service
Jan. 11, 2010 Business Wire Press Release excerpt: SACRAMENTO, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Houghton Mifflin Harcourt today announced that author Jim Burke, who teaches English at Burlingame High School, has won the 2009 Edublog Award for Best Educational Use of a Social Networking Service. The award, sponsored byEdublogs Campus and Classroom 2.0, was given to Burke for his creation and management of the English Companion community on Ning. The English Companion Ning, created in December 2008, boasts more than 10,000 members and serves as a destination where teachers can meet virtually to discuss education issues, ask peers questions and offer best practices for instruction. “Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a leader in educational innovation, and recognizes the value of utilizing social networking services for teacher collaboration and ongoing professional development. We congratulate Jim for his accomplishment,” said John Sipe, K–12 Vice President for HMH’s California Region. “Our organization believes in providing opportunities to connect teachers with the authors who developed the textbooks they use in the classroom.” The English Companion community was created for high school English teachers and provides a consortium of collaborative opportunities including discussion forums, content sharing, event promotion, professional development topic exploration, blog writing and relationship building with colleagues and peers. Ning is a social networking platform that houses more than 1.8 million Ning Networks and 39 million registered users, and provides people the opportunity to create niche networks that serve as interactive websites formed on common professional goals, hobbies or a variety of other shared interests. Read the full press release >>
Larry Ferlazzo’s Blog Websites of the Day for Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL An Interview with Jim Burke
By Larry Ferlazzo Jan. 4, 2010 Larryferlazzo.edublogs.org Interview excerpts: How and why did you become a teacher? I became a teacher by accident, in many respects. One summer, when I was 19, I had two job opportunities: pull tree stumps in 110 degree heat in Chico where I would earn a lot of money; or work as a camp counselor near Santa Cruz for 300 dollars a month (working for about 15 hours a day!). Somehow kids won out, though I had not worked with them before. This led me to study cognitive psychology at UCSB where, as part of my degree, I had a practicum at a school for kid with developmental disabilities (the Devereaux Foundation) where I ended up working with kids who had to be taught 1:1 because they were too violent. From here, I entered the Peace Corps where I helped create a school for developmentally disabled kids in a mosque in the small town of Menzel Temime on the Mediterranean coast of Tunisia. When I returned, I realized I needed new challenges beyond behavior issues. I had spent the whole time in Tunisia reading voraciously and writing, so when I returned it made sense to become an English teacher. As a student teacher at SF State I wrote my first published piece on a Day in the Life of a student teacher. I sent in a 5000 word article and the man at the SF Chronicle said, “I think you have a really good 500 word piece in there.” He helped me cull out those words and I think from that point on I was a writer. . . . What might be three important lessons you’ve learning in your career that others might find helpful in their own teaching? Find and cultivate deep relationships with real mentors who will teach and support you, who want to learn with you. These people embody the notion of life long learning and a love of the profession. Stay away from the naysayers and the others who want to complain. Even when things are terrible, the great ones just find it another set of challenges, like some new level of difficulty in a game, to try to work around. Read! We make time for what matters most to us. Nothing—nothing! Has made a bigger difference on my teaching, my emotional and intellectual health than the commitment to just keep reading for myself all the time. No matter how busy. I get the New Yorker and read something in it every week, even if it is just the cartoons, but usually more than that. Read the entire interview >>
Dec. 18, 2009 edublogs.org
The winners of the Best Educational Use of a Social Networking Service 2009 …
- Winner: English Companion Ning
- First Runner Up: EFL Classroom 2.0
- Second Runner Up: RSC Access and Inclusion Ning
Blogs nominated in alphabetical order:
- Beth Still ISTE/ NECC Newbie Project
- Classroom 2.0
- Country Day School Ning
- Digiteen Ning
- Educator PLN ning
- EFL Classroom 2.0
- eLearning Professionals on Facebook
- Elementary Tech Teachers ning
- English Companion Ning
- Fireside Learning: Conversations about Education
- Independent School Educators Network
- LearnTrends Online Conference
- MSP2 Maths & Science Pathways Online Social Network
- Principles of Biology
- RSC Access and Inclusion Ning
- Second Classroom
- Technology Integration in Education
- The Assistive Technology Ning
US Department of Education’s Doing What Works: Research-based Instruction
Engaging Students in Reading: Building Academic Literacy Through Text Discussion
US DOE’s Doing What Works: Research-based Education Practices Online Dec. 5, 2009 ED.gov Resource overview: Listen to high school English teacher Jim Burke describe the importance of providing opportunities for adolescents to discuss text. He explains how he establishes a supportive environment for discussions and describes note-taking organizers he uses to help students prepare for text discussions. Audio and more
Ed Week Blog The Book Whisperer Reflects on Convention Costs
The Book Whisperer: Is a Ning Enough?
By Donalyn Miller Nov. 22, 2009 EdWeek.org Blog excerpt: Last night a few of the folks from Jim Burke’s English Companion Ning met. In person. Donalyn and I arrived early. A few folks were there ahead of us. By the time Jim arrived, there were about 50 people. There were a lot of “so-great-to-meet-you” hugs going around. Jim thanked everyone for helping to grow the Ning. He shared a few stories of teachers connecting online—the funny ones (“help, the stack of papers on my desk has been sitting there for months…ungraded”) to the not-so-funny ones (“a student of mine was killed in a car wreck and I need support”). He also said that publishers are loving the ECN book club. (Hmmm…wonder why?) There were a lot of handheld devices—half the room was tweeting the meeting, fingers flying over the key pads. Most popular device in the room? Iphone. Most frequently seen device at the conference? Iphone Jim started the Ning just about a year ago, following NCTE’s convention last year. At NCTE last year, someone from NCTE told him that attendance was lower. A point of comparison: The Ning is about to hit 10,000 members. Convention coordinator Millie Davis told me about 10 days ago that 6,000 had preregistered for this year’s conference. Later I joined about 10 educators for dinner. There was talk about reading, but there was also talk about the role of professional teaching organizations today. Read more
Ed Week Chat Examines the Role of Teacher Social Networking
Social Networking and Teacher Professional Development
Chat hosted Nov. 12, 2009 by EdWeek.org Moderator: Elizabeth Rich Guests: Jim Burke, Karl Fisch Online chat excerpt:
- Moderator Elizabeth Rich: Were you surprised at how quickly your Ning grew? You’ve got members from at least 5 continents last time I checked.
- Jim Burke: At first, totally! I came back from the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) convention last year and thought: New teachers just are not joining these sorts of orgs, getting the journals, etc. They need something online, so I created the ning in five minutes between grading papers. Next day, had 100.
- Question from participant:How effective is social networking without a moderator or facilitator? Does the discussion stay focused, especially if the topic is sensitive or a difficult one such as test scores used to evaluate teachers, for example?
- Jim Burke: I would distinguish between certain types. On the Ning, people fall into groups or communities of interest and thus tend to govern themselves pretty well. There is no need for appointed leaders in, for example, the AP Literature group.
Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy Reviews EC Ning
Professional Resources Reviews: English Companion Ning
By Jeana Terry Rock, Amanda J. McCollum & Gregory Hessee September 2009 Vol. 53, No. 1 Professional resource review excerpt: Social networking sites such as Facebook have been recently growing in popularity among adults as they have discovered the advantages of maintaining connections with “friends” in other places. Ellison, Lampe, and Steinfield (2009) discuss how the two levels of personal networking sites—interpersonal and community—work. On the Ning, members have a personal page where they can post personal data such as photos, books they are reading, videos, and blog entries. This personal information allows participants to find connections with people they might not have reached otherwise. At the community level, participants can join focused groups where they can unite to share insights, discuss ideas, debate issues, or take action on a specific topic. The English Companion Ning has a similar format … read more Download a PDF version of the article
Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook Explores Reaches of EC Ning Community
The World’s Largest English Department
A Ning group for English teachers reveals the potential of online social networking to break the culture of professional isolation.
By Elizabeth Rich Published Oct. 1, 2009 This spring, 10 days after completing her bachelor’s degree in secondary English education from the University of Tampa, Laura Abercrombie was hired to teach 8th grade language arts. Anxious about what might be awaiting her in the fall, Abercrombie did what any self-respecting digital native would do: She took her troubles to the Web. She searched “language arts” and stumbled upon The English Companion Ning, whose tag line read, “where English teachers meet to help each other.” Having created a Ning network in ed school, Abercrombie was familiar with the social networking platform and excited by the materials and ideas on the site. “I saw all these amazing YA literature resources, which I needed to know for my job,” says Abercrombie, referring to books for the young adult market. But staring at pages of groups, forums, curricula, and multimedia resources, she also started to panic. Without the benefit of any guidance, it was like being dropped in a foreign country without a map. “I didn’t know who to talk to or who could help me,” she explains … read more
National Writing Project Features EC Ning
English Teachers Find an Online Friend: the English Companion Ning
By Grant Faulkner Published Mar. 31, 2009 If you ever question the maxim, “Build it and they will come,” check in with Jim Burke, a high school English teacher in Burlingame, California. Burke, who might just be the busiest English teacher in the nation—not just in the classroom, but with his blog, website, books, and Twitters—started a Ning, English Companion, for English teachers to congregate and talk about teaching. Almost overnight, membership exploded to over 3,000 teachers, and he estimates that it could reach 10,000 by year-end … read more
Ed Week Blog Highlights EC Website, Ning
The Ultimate Social Networking Tool for English Teachers
By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo Dec. 12, 2008 EdWeek.org If you’re an English teacher and you don’t know who Jim Burke is, I just have to wonder where you’ve been for the last decade. Burke, an English teacher at Burlingame High School, outside of San Francisco, has been sharing his professional insights with colleagues around the country through numerous books and a popular listserv he has moderated for years. His Web site is a treasure trove of resources for novice and veteran teachers alike. Now Burke is trying to use social-networking tools to build an even more vibrant online community for English teachers … read more