Harvey "Smokey" Daniels received all of his degrees--B.A., M.A. and Ph.D.--from Northwestern University, which finally urged him to leave campus and get a real job.
He began teaching at Westinghouse Vocational High School on Chicago's West Side, later moving to Lake Forest High School. Smokey is currently on leave from National-Louis University in Chicago to work with schools and teachers around the country on literacy-centered school improvement projects. In these efforts, he serves as a guest teacher in classrooms, leads seminars and workshops for teachers, and consults with school leaders on long-term change efforts.
Smokey has authored or coauthored thirteen books on language, literacy, and education. Among these are Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in Book Clubs and Reading Groups and Teaching the Best Practice Way. Smokey has been struck by the range of the "book club boom" that his book helped initiate. "Not only have literature circles spread through U.S. schools," he notes, "they have taken root in schools around the world, including Japan, where there is no cultural precedent of adult reading groups to build on. In fact, some Japanese parents are now learning about book clubs from their school age kids and starting reading groups of their own. That's pretty amazing."
After living in Chicago for many years, Smokey and his wife, Elaine, recently moved to New Mexico where they enjoy seeing the sky again, walking the desert at dawn, and hoarding green chili peppers for the winter.
What's The Next Big Thing With Literature Circles?
Copyright 2006 by the National Council of Teachers of English. Reprinted with permission.
Marilyn Bizar teaches at the Center for City Schools of National-Louis University in Chicago. A former public school teacher, Marilyn and Harvey Daniels now collaborate with a network of twenty-five schools seeking to implement progressive teaching methods. Along with a team of six full-time teacher-leaders, they offer classroom consulting, staff development workshops, and leadership development for parents and principals.
In 1995, they helped found the Best Practice High School, a new 400-student Chicago public school where methods do matter - to kids, teachers, and parents. Between them Harvey and Marilyn have authored or co-authored nine other books, including Best Practice: New Standards for Teaching and Learning in America's Schools, Thinking in Context, and Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in Book Clubs and Reading Groups, second edition. In the summer, Harvey and Marilyn help lead the Walloon Institute in Petoskey, Michigan, which gathers progressive educators from around the country to review and renew classroom practices.