Facilitating Conversations on Difficult Topics in the Classroom: Teachers’ Stories of Opening Spaces Using Children’s Literature
Introduction: Facilitating Conversations on Difficult Topics in the Classroom: Teachers’ Stories of Opening Spaces Using Children’s Literature
Mollie Welsh Kruger, Susie Rolander, and Susan Stires
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Mollie Welsh Kruger taught second grade in a Harlem public school for 18 years and five years prior in a Tremont parochial early childhood classroom. Both positions offered insights across cultural experiences and led Mollie to understandings of culturally sustaining pedagogies. While teaching elementary school, professional development opportunities included learning experiences that incorporated art into academic learning and explored the workshop model of writing and reading, which fold into her work at Bank Street. Mollie’s academic interests include children’s literature, students’ funds of knowledge, the arts in education, and urban education. Currently, she serves as co-chair of the Bank Street College Children’s Book Committee.
Guest Editor Susie Rolander
Susie Rolander began her life as an educator in Sonoma County, California, teaching and learning from amazing kindergarten students in a school where 20 different languages were spoken. In the dual-language program, Susie taught her students exclusively in Spanish, while another teacher taught the English portion. (Her students didn't even know she could speak English!) After moving to NYC, she studied and graduated from Bank Street College in the literacy program. For ten years, she worked in an NYC public school as a literacy specialist where the most delightful part of her job was connecting students with books. She has instructed and learned from graduate students at Bank Street for the past ten years, first as an adjunct, and then as faculty. Consistently, her students' favorite part of class is when she reads aloud a children's book to end the class. #powerofbooks.
Guest Editor Susan Stires
As a faculty member of the Graduate School at Bank Street College,Susan Stires taught writing, reading, language, and children’s literature courses. She was also a lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University, and a staff developer in New York City schools, following 30 years as an elementary school teacher. Along with a book, With Promise, she is the author of numerous chapters and articles on working with young students for whom literacy is often compromised. In her retirement, she has been providing literacy support at Juniper Hill School for Place-Based Education, which was founded by her daughter, Anne Stires, in 2010.