Humanities News

This website is maintained by James St. Pierre and Dorie Tripp, Humanities Teacher Fellows for the State of Maine Department of Education. Our goals are to provide a practiced-based, inclusive and comprehensive series of newsletters and professional learning workshops that all teachers will find useful and to which all teachers can contribute. This website will include links to all resources provided in the newsletters and recordings of our professional learning workshops, but will primarily focus on commentary, additional resources we've collected, and dates for upcoming events. Please feel free to contact us with any suggestions or to connect with content or resources of your own that you think will be useful to teachers throughout the state.       --Jim and Dorie

students in class

Classroom Resources 

Great Resources for Elementary Literacy
My wife, a primary grades teacher for twenty-five years, is an absolute expert on finding free, helpful resources for her classroom. Her first suggestion was to look through the websites of children's authors. Below is a list with links of her favorites:

Graphics Materials

Graphics can brighten just about anything. I try to incorporate a graphic into everything I create for this reason. But it is important to be mindful of copyright laws. There are two easy ways to avoid violating these laws. The first and easiest way is to use images you've created, such as pictures of your students engaged in specific activities (just be sure parents have given permission to your school for their likenesses to be published). The second is to use royalty-free images which are provided as downloads through many sites. I've listed the ones I've found most helpful below. --Jim

  • Pexels
  • Unsplash
  • Morgue File
  • Pixabay
  • Google has an advanced search function that allows you to search for royalty-free images: find “usage rights” and click “creative commons." 

Poetry

I love working poetry into my class through it is often difficult to do in a meaningful way. Below are a few resources that I found helpful with this. --Jim


Vetting Books for the Classroom

Once students are old enough to study books as a class, teachers are tasked with finding appropriate reads, ones that are both challenging and interesting. This is no small task. I have taught for over thirty years and have, in that time, found fewer than a dozen books that fit this bill. Below are a few that have stood the test of time and have both maintained student interest while also challenging students to think deeply.

For Grades 9-12:

  • The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
    • This is a fabulous murder-mystery resplendent with biblical allusions and relatable characters. 
  • You Don't Know Me by David Klass
    • a compelling story about a teen who feels completely alone
  • Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
    • This verse novel is a winner at so many levels and it is written by a talented woman author about a talented young, Dominican poet in Harlem. 

For Middle Grades:

Please! Send us recommendations!

For Elementary Grades:

Please! Send us recommendations!

students in class
Upcoming Events and Deadlines
September 2023

National Board of Professional Teaching Standards opens for new candidates, September 19. Click here for details.

Beautiful Blackbird Festival: "Celebrating the Children's Literature of the African Diaspora." This Festival gives away over 3,000 children's books to Maine children. September 23 and 24, 2023. Click here for details.


October 2023

Maine Thespian Festival, October 6, 2023 at the University of Southern Maine. Click here for details. 

International Literacy Association Webinar on Dyslexia: What We Know and What We Want to Know, October 10, 2023, 3:00-4:00pm ET. Click here for details

NEH Grants

International Literacy Association Webinar on Adding Encoding to Phonics Lessons, October 12, 2023, 5:00pm-6:00pm ET. Click here for details.

Maine Council on English and Language Arts full day workshop on Exploring the Meaning(s) of Literacy: Finding Interdisciplinary Connections between the Language and Visual. October 21, 2023, 10:00am to 4:30pm. Click here for details

Maine's 2023 Statewide Early Childhood Education Conference, October 27-28, Portland. Click here for details

Maine Council for the Social Studies annual conference, October 30, 2023. Click here for details. 


    November 2023

    Fall Elementary Music Educators' Workshop. November 10, 2023 from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Click here for details. 

    NEH Grant deadlines

    National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention, "Conexiones." November 16-19, Columbus, Ohio. Click here for details.

    Conference on English Leadership (CEL) Annual Convention, November 19-21. Columbus, Ohio. Click here for details. 


      December 2023

       

      About the Fellows

      James St. Pierre is a national board-certified teacher with thirty years of teaching experience at Fryeburg Academy where he has taught courses in English and biology and served as English department chair. In addition to his work at the secondary level, he also holds the position of Lecturer at both Granite State College and White Mountains Community College, where he has taught as an adjunct for two decades. He holds a master’s degree in English Literature from Middlebury College and has presented at state and regional conferences regarding the medium of comics. He is married with two sons and enjoys making comics in his free time.

      Dorie Tripp is a national board-certified music teacher with 14 years’ experience teaching elementary music in Maine public schools. Over the years, it has been her mission to promote music instruction that is developmentally appropriate, inclusive, diverse, and engaging. In her quest to do this, she has taken on many roles as a learner and leader. Dorie spent two terms as Vice President of the Maine Music Educators Association, contributed to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative as a Design Team member, was an active member of the Maine Learning Results writing team for the Visual and Performing Arts, and co-hosted a series of PD sessions for educators during the Covid 19 pandemic. In 2021, she was awarded the MMEA Music Educator of the Year Award. In this next step of her journey, Dorie is looking forward to working with the Maine DOE. She’s excited to practice, share, and support unique learning opportunities for Maine students and educators!

       

      Contact

      James St. Pierre
      Humanities Teacher Leader Fellow
      Email: James.St.Pierre@maine.gov


      Dorie Tripp
      Humanities Teacher Leader Fellow
      Email: Dorie.Tripp@maine.gov