Mackin Does Some Heavy Lifting So Educators Can Focus On Learning

Jennifer McCarty Plucker

Over the last 22 years as a middle and high school English teacher, literacy specialist, curriculum lead, English Learner Coordinator and Teaching and Learning Coordinator, I have had a tremendous opportunity to engage in transformative change. The driving forces of state test scores, new CCSS, changing demographics and more offered an opportunity to participate in an on-going process of moving away from a traditional approach to education toward a more progressive, student-centered, inquiry-based, and integrated one. As I worked with teachers in creating customized, standards-based inquiry units of study, we wrestled with how to truly provide a rigorous, differentiated, and engaging course for each learner in a way that moved learners toward meeting and exceeding content and literacy standards. We found the best way to do this work was one unit at a time, one PLC at a time. Utilizing the strengths of the individuals and harnessing the synergy of the team, we aimed to create and refine customized curriculum.

We had some struggles:

  • How will we have time to curate the vast amount of information and texts out there to build a rich resource library (both print and digital) to support these unit maps?
  • How will we know that we have the BEST texts out there?
  • How will we balance digital content with print?
  • How can we ensure we have multiple perspectives so we don’t fall into the trap of a ‘single story’?
  • If we do bring in multiple texts (instead of one textbook, one novel, one anthology), how in the world will we keep track of them all?

It was when I discovered Mackin and the expertise of their Classroom Department that I knew we could continue with the work. They were going to answer many of our “how” questions. Mackin built text sets for our teachers to refine them based on our inquiry essential questions, standards. They processed our books with barcodes and labels and packaged them beautifully in bins for our teachers. The materials were delivered to our central receiving areas, marked for ease of distribution. The best part of the process was I felt like Mackin was a true partner in this work. The educators in the classroom department at Mackin seemed to truly care about our kids and teachers whom they hadn’t ever met. I could tell by Mackin’s impeccable work, they understood the research promoting literacy-rich libraries, access to information, and culturally relevant materials.

I now have the opportunity to lead Mackin in expanding their classroom work to provide more professional learning. In addition to all of the high-quality classroom materials and support in building literacy-rich environments, Mackin can now offer districts professional learning on how to engage students as they discover themselves as readers, writers, researchers, speakers, and thinkers. Additionally, we can help with the entire process of developing customized curriculum. In our 21st Century classrooms we need to curate digital and print content to create an environment rich with perspectives and content at multiple reading levels to invite curiosity. We can help schools and districts in their transformative teaching and learning process. We will listen to understand the district/school’s goals and vision. We will research and evaluate the data, and the vast content available aligning to those goals, vision, and high-impact learning theories. We will make recommendations and adjust along the way. We will develop professional learning modules to support implementation of rich resource libraries, and we will revise to ensure the work is customized for each unique learning community.

We can provide keynote addresses, workshops, and professional learning modules (onsite, online, or blended) on topics such as redefining literacy and text, motivation and engagement, the role of digital resources in a literacy-rich environment, high-impact intervention, inquiry, makerspaces, library/classroom collaboration, teacher leadership, and more.

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