Happy 39th Birthday to Dr. Santresa L. Glass

Dr. Santresa L. Glass

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Santresa L. Glass

As you continue to celebrate life, including your own life, I wanted to take a brief moment and wish you a Happy Birthday! I’m so grateful to have you as a best friend. In fact, you’ve become more than a best friend; you’re my sister.

Through you, I’ve learned what a true best friend is and what one is not.

Thank you for being you and thank you for teaching me so much about authentic love and friendship.

Have the greatest day!

Love ya,

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Dropping Everything to Read? How about Picking Some Things Up! by Jennifer Serravallo: A Summary

Jennifer Serravallo Reading Strategies

Photo Credit: Heinemann

In “Dropping Everything to Read? How about Picking Some Things Up!,” Jennifer Serravallo (2017) posits that teachers need to be intentional about how they engage students in independent reading. For Serravallo, it’s not simply about students reading whatever they want and however they desire; it’s about teachers creating independent reading experiences that lead to successful student learning outcomes and reward experiences. Independent reading time for students, if executed effectively and thoughtfully by teachers, Serravallo argues, can lead to the evolution of “a reading life” (p. 24).

Be Intentional about Independent Reading 

If teachers desire to see their students develop “a reading life,” the scholar asserts that they have to think strategically about how they engage them in independent reading. Serravallo recommends teachers to use “whole-class lessons that offer students strategies for focusing their attention and building their stamina” when reading (p. 24). Also, she contends that these strategies can be employed to instruct small groups “in strategy lessons, which are essentially conferences for two or three students at a time” (p. 24). In these strategy lessons, students are given a strategy to support their work or reading, and then teachers provide individual “coaching” while the other students in the group read or work independently.

Booktalks 

Another strategy Serravallo offers is using booktalks to trigger the interest of students in trying new authors, series, and/or genres. She recognizes that many teacher deliver these booktalks to the whole class, but she encourages them to use these strategies in small groups as well. Although whole class booktalks permit teachers to incorporate interests of their students, small groups are easier to tailor these booktalks to students’ interests. Also, the scholar divulges that booktalks in small groups allow teachers to select books appropriate for the reading level of each student.

Serravallo’s 5 Strategies for Supporting Reading Engagement

Longer texts and shorter texts take different kinds of reading attention and focus. It may help you to plan stopping places in your longer book and have some texts at the ready for briefer break reads. Articles, short stories, and poems are good texts for this kind of reading.

When you get distracted, stop and notice where your attention first started to drift. Go back to the last thing you remember not just reading but really understanding. Reread from there to get back into your book.

Being engaged means keeping not just your eyes but also your mind on the book. As you read, be aware of your attention shifting. When it does, back up and reread. If you notice attention shifting very often, consider whether the book isn’t a good fit or something in your environment is causing you to become distracted.

It’s crucial that you are always sure that you’re making sense of what you’re reading about. Check in with meaning by asking yourself, What’s happening, who is in this scene, and where are they? Can I see what’s happening? Am I thinking about, having feelings about, or reacting to what’s happening? If you feel like anything is fuzzy, back up and reread to make sure you’re understanding.

Engage your mind by asking questions as you read. In fiction you might ask, What comes next? Why did the character do that? In nonfiction, you might ask questions about the topic. Read on to answer your questions.

Setting Reading Goals in Reading Conferences 

Serravallo explains that teachers need to set a reading goal(s) for students while they are enjoying their books. The reading goal(s) should be generated with students’ input during reading conferences. For the plot and setting, she suggests students can engage in “understanding cause and effect, identifying problems and solutions/resolutions, retelling the most important information within a chapter or across a book, and visualizing where the story takes place” (p. 25). In examining characters, she recommends “working to understand main and secondary characters’ traits, feelings, and motivations; relationships between characters; and character change” (p. 25). To explore themes and ideas, the scholar encourages “interpreting lessons and messages in stories, being alert to symbolism and inferring the deeper meaning behind the symbolism, and considering how social issues are present in the text and relate the book’s themes” (p. 25).

The main idea of a book should be investigated to understand what it is mostly about and to learn the author’s angle on a topic. When examining key details, teachers can involve students in “collecting and synthesizing relevant facts and information related to the main idea from across the main text and text features” (p. 25). She recommends that teachers engage students in identifying text features to learn important information the text reveals. Exploring text features extends opportunities for students to make valuable connections. The scholar champions giving students opportunities to analyze vocabulary closely, including “inferring the meaning of those words and phrases” (p. 25). Every effort should be made to involve students in conversations about the books they read, including advocating for them to extend the conversations into a book club.

When a student reads, Serravallo asserts that students need to write about what they have read. For the scholar, teachers should develop “a repertoire of ways to respond to reading with purpose and intention, including short in-the-moment jots and longer responses to reading” (p. 25).

Overcoming Reading Conference Challenges in Middle School 

Recognizing that middle school classes are often short, and teachers often have many new classes of students across a day, reading conferences can be challenging but Serravallo encourages teachers to have students write to reflect on their strengths and possibilities for next steps. A questionnaire connected to each possible goal is one method of writing she suggests that can be used. The questionnaire enables teachers to have shorter reading conferences with students.

Establishing Conferences as a Regular Instructional Practice

Serravallo recommends that teachers establish a regular conference practice with students. Constant and substantive feedback is critical to high student achievement, and a regular conference practice prioritizes feedback in the classroom and gives it an authentic home, an authentic space in the classroom. Small group strategy lessons during independent reading time also give teachers a space to deliver ongoing and substantive feedback.

The scholar acknowledges that many teachers will feel uncomfortable with students reading different books, books that they probably will not have read, but this reality should not alarm them. When having conferences with the students, make them feel like conversations, balancing the talking time between students and teacher. Even though a teacher may not have read the book the student is reading, teachers know a significant amount about books in general, including about young adult literature. Teachers, therefore, should enter into the conversations with this confidence.

In each conference with students, Serravallo likes to introduce a new strategy to students or revisit a previously introduced strategy. When introducing the strategy, she places an emphasis on the “how” and the “why” of the strategy. After introducing the strategy, Serravallo gives students an immediate opportunity to practice the strategy in front her so that immediate feedback and support can be given.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

NKJV Ancient-Modern Bible: A Brief Review

Thomas Nelson’s New King James Version Ancient-Modern Bible is an excellent bible that aids the reader in gaining a solid understanding of Scripture. Throughout the text, the reader has an opportunity to engage with commentary offered by some of the leading Christian thinkers about much of the text. For those readers who struggle to understand verses after they have read them, this text will give them great confidence in their reading and study of Scripture. One should not, however, consider this a study bible; it’s not. At the beginning of each book of the bible, an introduction is provided that will assist in establishing an overview and context for each book.

The bible is well-designed, fusing a traditional style with a contemporary style. It has a nice, readable typeface and print in general that invites the reader to spend hours reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word. This hardcover edition of the bible is durable, attractive, and easy to carry around. Even though it is a hardcover book, I love how it feels; it has a really soft, comfortable feel to it.

This bible could offer more significant study aids for the reader, but it does not present itself as a study bible.

Although I generally like bibles that offer far more study aids than this bible does, I do recommend the Ancient-Modern Bible. Even without the study aids I typically appreciate, the commentary of ancient and modern leading Christian thinkers throughout the text makes this a resourceful bible to read.

To assist in composing this honest review, BookLook Bloggers supplied a complimentary copy of the Ancient-Modern Bible.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Vines Expository Bible by Jerry Vines: A Brief Review

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Thomas Nelson’s New King James Version Vine’s Expository Bible: A Guided Journey Through the Scriptures with Pastor Jerry Vines is an excellent comprehensive study bible that provides readers with significant study aids throughout that enable them to gain a greater understanding of the Word of God. This bible assists readers with useful introductions to all 66 books. Throughout the text, one has the opportunity to engage with unpacked key vocabulary words/concepts that permit a stronger understanding of Scripture.

Jerry Vines leads readers through the bible with 200 “Presenting the Messages,” which are detailed outlines that allow them to gain a rich understanding of often complex and/or misunderstood portions of the Scripture. Also, he includes 200 “Applying the Message” entries that aid readers in seeing how Scripture is relevant to their spiritual walk with Jesus.

Many will appreciate the 100 “Living the Message” articles included in this expository bible that present vivid illustrations of true Christian living.

For those looking for a bible to serve all of their needs, this bible is sure to satisfy most (if not all) needs. This hardcover edition of the bible is durable, attractive, and comfortable to carry.  The typeface and print are inviting, making you want to spend hours in serious study of God’s Word. The commentary Jerry Vine offers throughout this text is grounded in biblical truths; therefore, it supports an accurate understanding of Scripture rather than impeding it.

I highly recommend purchasing this bible, even if you already have a bible, considering the aforementioned features of this text will assist you in achieving deeper comprehension and analyses of the most important book ever written: the bible.

To  compose an honest review of this bible, BookLook Bloggers gave me a complimentary copy.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison  

  

Is the American Healthcare System Near a Labor Crisis?

Healthcare

With advancements in healthcare leading to longer lifespans, medical personnel have to deal with a surge in the number of patients. Although healthcare workers are committed to providing the best care for patients, the current backlog of patients may be more than they can handle. According to current research, there could be a shortage of as much as 104,900 medical staff members by 2030.

Is Healthcare Experiencing a Labor Crisis?

According to College America, the healthcare industry is an increasingly fast-growing job industry in the United States and is in high demand for qualified, hard-working, and caring individuals to join the workforce. Healthcare workers today have their pick from any number of well-paying clinics or practices. But despite this, the situation on the ground shows that we are heading toward a labor crisis. Currently, a large number of nurses and physicians belong to the baby boomer generation. Within the next few years, most of these workers will retire and leave the healthcare industry with fewer employees.

Below are other factors that suggest we are heading toward a labor crisis.

Training Duration

The situation is likely to grow worse since training in health professions takes a significant amount of time. For a person to become a registered nurse, he or she has to work and study for two or more years, while studying to become a doctor or surgeon takes more than nine years, and is incredibly stressful. And to top it off, many healthcare professionals need to invest significant amounts of money into their training and career. Even after school, they need to pay for certifications. For doctors, they will need to oversee not only malpractice insurance, but specific disability insurance for their specialization. It can be overwhelming for many individuals. Unresolved issues exist in our current training of medical professionals. This means it will take some time to replace the retiring nurses and doctors.

State Laws

We should also not forget the fact that healthcare is governed by different state laws. Even if a doctor wanted to go help in another state, he or she would have to check that his or her license would work with a certain regional accreditation. Some states require physicians to be accredited internally before they can practice. This scenario also contributes to the current shortage of healthcare workers because the mobility of physicians is limited.

Turnover Rates

Another factor that shows healthcare is heading for a labor crisis is the high turnover rate, which is higher than other industries. Many healthcare professionals are quitting their jobs at big hospitals and going into the consultation business. Others are just enticed by better offers from other hospitals. An insanely high demand for healthcare workers exists in the United States, and it doesn’t look like the situation is going to ameliorate.

Conclusion

We are on our way to a labor crisis in the healthcare industry. Physicians and nurses are demanding better salaries to compensate them for the increased workload. Going to medical school is becoming more expensive, and few can afford the fees, limiting the number of doctors in training.

If you want to read more related content, be sure to check out similar articles here!

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Don’t Be Easily Broken: Develop an Indomitable Spirit

Image result for A Black Woman Crying

Although everyone experiences challenges and problems in this present world, one has to make a decision whether he or she will allow those challenges and problems to defeat him or her. Life will continue to present one challenge, one problem, after another; this is an unavoidable fact of life. Understanding this reality, it’s unacceptable to perceive every challenge or problem that emerges as a crisis. You can talk about “you don’t know my story” and “you don’t know the things I’ve gone through,” but, at some point, you must be frank with yourself: these statements have become self-defeating crutches. By no means am I lacking empathy and undervaluing “your story” and the “things you’ve gone through.” Here’s my question: when are you going to stop using your past in ways that inhibit your growth?

And I mean true growth.

Growth is not waking up one morning with optimism and the next with pessimism; optimism the following morning and pessimism the next—a truly depressing vicious cycle. Real growth begins when you truly start holding yourself accountable for your part in why you’re not progressing and your part in why you’re breaking or broken. Stop focusing on what others are and aren’t doing to and for you. Just concentrate on what you need to heal and grow. In fact, authentic self-care commences when one discontinues investing time in critiquing others and invests more time in developing an indomitable spirit.

How are you engaging in authentic self-care and you’re worried about everyone else? Worried about what everyone else is or isn’t doing to and for you. That’s not self-care—that’s being undisciplined.  

You know you’re on a path to developing an indomitable spirit when you no longer feel it necessary to concern yourself with how others are doing and have done you wrong. One gives himself or herself a chance to operate with an indomitable spirit when he or she takes ownership of what is necessary to own, and when he or she focuses on what is essential to be the best version of himself or herself and what is essential to achieve one’s dreams and aspirations.

If everything defeats you, if every challenge or problem overwhelms you, then you’re going to have to face a harsh truth: you’re going to continue to operate with a defeated spirit until you’ve truly had enough of it.                

One of the most effective ways of overcoming a defeated spirit is to first acknowledge that you have one, and then start living a life of real gratitude. Living a life of true gratitude begins by appreciating every moment and finding the goodness in every moment. An indomitable spirit is rooted in gratitude. When certain thoughts arise and when you start to make certain comments, ask yourself a critical question: are these thoughts and/or comments rooted in gratitude?

Liberate yourself from a defeated spirit by resolving to live a life centered on gratitude. When you’re intentional about living a life centered on gratitude, you’re well on your way to an indomitable spirit.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

6 Things We Need to Teach in Our Classrooms

K-12 Teaching

Subjects like English, Science, and Mathematics are commonplace in American classrooms. These traditional subjects are important, but many of them don’t offer any value when it comes to life’s most useful lessons. Many people believe the classroom should incorporate some more practical subjects that can be employed long-term. Here are some topics that many students wish they had learned while in school:

Basic Finance

Most American K-12 schools don’t provide students with training in financial literacy. Unfortunately, according to CrediReady, many Americans don’t understand the basics about building credit scores, homeownership, investments, savings, insurance, or retirement and how these issues can impact their overall health and well-being. Many schools are advocating for more personal finance coursework and training to help curb some of these issues and ensure Americans are well-equipped to take control of their own financial destiny.

Tax Codes

Taxes are an inevitable part of life, but you’d be surprised to learn that the average American misses out on several thousand dollars of tax credits each year. Many Americans are uneducated when it comes to tax codes, and many can’t do their taxes without the aid of technology. As a result, most Americans won’t claim their full refund unless they enlist the assistance of a tax professional. A little training in this area can save great heartache and distress in the future.

Mental Health

Mental health issues have been a taboo topic for decades, especially in large parts of the black community. Unfortunately, the hush-hush nature of this subject has led to a debilitated society where those in need of help fail to seek it. Schools should invest in training that assists students with healthy coping mechanisms and encourages them to seek help when needed. According to Connections Academy, it’s important to encourage teachers and school counselors’ support in case students have issues with bullying, communication skills, or questions about their futures.

Time Management Techniques

Time management is important in both work and play. Many employers are looking for students who can balance the demands of home and work with ease. In today’s structured society, many students enter the real world with no concept of how to manage their own time. Courses in time management can be quite useful in curbing anxiety and propelling students to the next level.

Networking

It’s great to make friends and it’s great to keep them, but you also want to keep in touch with certain people you never really got to know. Why? They might just be that references you need to land a job, or to be introduced to a great employment opportunity. If you’re a senior in high school, you might want to add your friends and peers on a variety of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as you never know what opportunities they can open up for you. Additionally, plenty of groups and forums exist that are useful when looking for a job or internship. Perhaps the more valuable lesson to learn from this is not exactly to specifically network with people, but to be open to meeting and befriending new people.

Self-Defense Techniques

Self-defense techniques can be taught in a physical education class or a special elective and can be beneficial in the long-term. Physical safety is a no-brainer when it comes to an educational package, and many schools are opting to include this kind of coursework in their curriculum.

Today’s children have the most benefit in learning these principles early, and yet we are severely hindering them from being prepared for the future. Our education system should reinforce the skills and knowledge pertinent to a successful life, such as mental health awareness, cultural sensitivity, and financial stability. We owe it to our future generations to have all of the tools available to them from the beginning, not wait until it’s already too late.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison