The New Elementary Teacher's Handbook: Flourishing in Your First Year


Kathleen Jonson, Nancy Cappelloni & Mary Niesyn

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  • Dedication

    This book is dedicated to my daughters, Lauren, Lisa, and Dana, who, through the joy of parenting, taught me the true meaning of listening, sharing, learning, and teaching.


    To Joe for his unwavering support and love; to Paige and Madison for all they teach me about life and living; and to my sister Cindi for potluck Fridays.



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    Preface to the Third Edition

    2010 marks a challenging time in the education of children in this nation. The last decade was one that will be recognized by an increase in accountability, practices and policies related to No Child Left Behind (2008), the exciting new uses of technology in the classroom intended to inspire and challenge a new generation of learners, a greater diversity in the ethnic and cultural makeup of our schools, and a new focus on professional learning communities.

    The economic strain we are currently experiencing has taken a toll on the youngest members of our population. Increased cutbacks in school funding have affected all aspects of education for our youngest to oldest students. Reduced class size is becoming a remnant of the past. Teachers are faced with greater academic expectations and an increase in desired student outcomes, continued scrutiny of teacher effectiveness, and greater accountability, while they are being given more students in the classrooms with the expectation to differentiate instruction for all learners.

    The third edition of The New Elementary Teacher's Handbook contains new material taking into account this changing context of education. The Handbook realistically discusses the challenges elementary classroom teachers face today. New resources have been added to the end of each chapter to provide practical, ready-to-use ideas for new teachers. Current references, websites, and book lists add to the relevancy of teaching in today's classrooms.

    New teachers are diamonds in the rough. As new teachers, you bring new energy, enthusiasm, hope, optimism, ideas, idealism, and commitment to the profession. As your experience builds, your teaching becomes enhanced through your experiences and new knowledge. We, as veteran teachers and mentors, need to keep your spirit alive, support you in the best way we can, and realize the enormous value and contribution you make in the education of our most precious commodity—the children in this nation.


    We would like to express our deep gratitude and appreciation to those who have given us the support and encouragement needed during the process of completing this book.

    We are especially grateful for the patience and understanding of our families, who believe in what we do and understand the aspirations we have for ourselves. We are grateful for the many colleagues we have who, through their collective wisdom, guidance, and expertise, have helped and supported us professionally through the years. We would also like to extend our sincerest appreciation to our editor, Dan Alpert, for his continued encouragement and enthusiasm for this book without whom this book would not have been possible.

    Publisher's Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers:

    Juan Araujo, Lecturer

    College of Education

    University of North Texas

    Denton, TX

    Patricia Baker, K-5 Teacher

    Fauquier County Public Schools

    Culpeper, VA

    Anita Barnes, Elementary School Teacher

    Frankfort, KY

    Nancy Betler, Instructional Support Specialist, Pre K-12 Literacy

    Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

    Charlotte, NC

    Emmalee Callaway, Second-Grade Discovery Teacher

    Acres Green Elementary School

    Parker, CO

    Lorie Cook-Benjamin, Professor of Teacher Education

    Fort Hays State University

    Hays, KS

    About the Authors

    In her 40 years as an educator, Dr. Kathleen Jonson, professor emerita, taught at the elementary and secondary levels, and served as a reading specialist, director of staff development, principal, director of curriculum and instruction, and university faculty. She conducted numerous workshops for teachers and administrators on such topics as reading comprehension strategies, writing process, portfolio assessment, peer coaching, and beginning teacher assistance programs. Until her retirement in summer 2009, Dr. Jonson was professor of education and coordinator of the Master in Arts in Teaching Reading program in the School of Education of the University of San Francisco, in San Francisco, California. She published three books with Corwin, including The New Elementary Teacher's Handbook (1st edition, 1997; 2nd edition, 2001), Being an Effective Mentor: How to Help Beginning Teachers Succeed (1st edition, 2002; 2nd edition, 2007), and 60 Strategies for Improving Reading Comprehension in Grades K-8 (2006). Dr. Jonson and her husband divide their time between California and a small island north of Seattle, Washington.

    Nancy Cappelloni, EdD, has taught at the elementary level and in early childhood education for the past 20 years. Currently, she is an adjunct professor in the teacher education department at the University of San Francisco, teaches kindergarten, and conducts numerous professional development workshops for teachers and parents on topics such as early literacy, self-regulated learning, and kindergarten readiness. Dr. Cappelloni is an educational consultant, working with young children with learning challenges, and she works collaboratively with the child's family and school to create an integrative intervention system and partnership. Dr. Cappelloni is the author of a children's cookbook, Ethnic Cooking the Microwave Way, and a book on cranberries, Cranberry Cooking for All Seasons. Her management experience as the director of Tiburon/Belvedere's Park and Recreation Department and as a dance/movement therapist working with children with special needs brings her a unique perspective of diverse educational environments, community programs, and children with special needs. Dr. Cappelloni is a member of a number of professional affiliations and memberships, including Phi Delta Kappa International and the American Educational Research Association. Her research interests include self-regulated learning strategies, kindergarten readiness, early learning standards in early childhood education, and emergent literacy.

    Mary Niesyn, MS, is an elementary teacher, a teacher consultant for the Bay Area Writing Project at the University of California, Berkeley, and a part-time faculty member in the School of Education for both the University of San Francisco and Dominican University. In her role as elementary teacher, she has been a mentor teacher, a master teacher, and a beginning teacher support and assessment (BTSA) provider. She is also a trained assessor in California's Teacher Performance Assessments (TPAs). For over a decade, she has facilitated numerous workshops and professional development seminars focused on best practices in early literacy. As a writing consultant, she has provided professional development on writing instruction to educators both nationally and internationally. In addition to coauthoring this handbook for teachers, she is the author of a professional development in-service guide (2009) and publications for academic journals. Her research interests include best practices in literacy instruction, teacher education, and professional development.

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