Jennifer Dryden

Native American Heritage Month: The Removed

Native American Heritage Month: The Removed

The way authors structure their books is sometimes jaw-dropping. So impressive that by the end you hug it tight, knowing it taught you something, or touched your life in some way. The Removed by Brandon Hobson is one of those books.

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Native American Heritage Month: Identity & Storytelling

Native American Heritage Month: Identity & Storytelling

Many lessons ran through my mind while reading There There by Tommy Orange. We could talk about the parallel plot text structure; we could talk about the characterization of Native Americans; we could talk about mental health and addiction. So really, however you use this book with your students, you can’t go wrong.

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Mental Health Awareness: Your Brain Needs a Hug

Mental Health Awareness: Your Brain Needs a Hug

The words are never right. The time is never perfect. And life keeps piling stress after stress onto the people we love. What do we say to someone who might be struggling with a mental illness? I usually ask if I can help in any way or send them their favorite junk food with a heart-felt note. But does it really...

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Mental Health Awareness: Are u ok?

Mental Health Awareness: Are u ok?

Being a teenager means a lot of things, but starting to date and get into romantic relationships or friendships sticks out as a huge milestone. The thing most teens need is guidance to make a healthy choice when choosing with whom to be friends or more than friends. Many students have seen toxic relationships...

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Mental Health Awareness: Kind of Sort of Fine

Mental Health Awareness: Kind of Sort of Fine

A bright part of every teacher’s day is getting to the class that your star student is in. You know the one. We see them reach for the sky every time we ask the class a question, they volunteer their personal time to help us staple packets, and they befriend the quiet kid during partner activities. They are just...

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Mental Health Awareness: Girl in Pieces

Mental Health Awareness: Girl in Pieces

To be mentally healthy requires work, and many youth and their families turn to some kind of therapy, counseling, or inpatient program to aid in that work. Sometimes it’s just a friendly listening ear or an elder who might have been in their shoes once. Whatever the outlet or regimen recommended, people with mental...

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Mental Health Awareness: Writing as a Healthy Outlet

Mental Health Awareness: Writing as a Healthy Outlet

Mental health is just as important as our physical health, and many educators understand this. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (51.5 million in 2019).” Depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, the list goes on and on, but one thing...

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Real to Reel: Backwards Writing

Real to Reel: Backwards Writing

It’s not very often that TV shows or movies come before the book version, but it does happen sometimes! The art of writing is alive in visual media with scripts and screenplays, but turning those scenes, characters, and situations into chapters in a book sounds more difficult than turning a book into a movie, right?

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Real to Reel: Dystopian Societies

Real to Reel: Dystopian Societies

Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ have taken over much of the television industry by taking popular and enticing books or comics and creating a TV series counterpart. This allows writers and directors to focus on details deeper than a single two-hour movie and create more complex character arches. The talent of the...

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Real to Reel: Textual Evidence

Real to Reel: Textual Evidence

Code-switching is changing something about yourself to fit a certain situation or audience. The way you might talk to your friends versus talking to your parents by using two different tones of voice is an example of code-switching. People code-switch to make tone, wording, and appearance fit the situation. In the...

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