Faculty Profile

Education Faculty

Valerie Bang-Jensen, EdD

Professor of Education

Teachers College, Columbia University MA, M.Ed., Ed.D
Smith College, A.B.

Areas of Expertise:

Children's Literature, Nonfiction, Literacy

Courses I Teach:

  • Digging Down to the Roots : The Meaning of Gardens (first-year seminar)
  • Elementary Education Student Teaching Seminar
  • Literature for Children and Adolescents, Making Meaning: Content Area Literacy
  • Nonfiction in the Elementary Classroom (Graduate)

H.A. Passow Scholar , Teachers College, Columbia University, 1994


Senior Class Appreciation Award, Saint Michael's College, 2003

Recipient of 2012 Vermont Governor’s Award for Outstanding Service, Service Learning category, for COTS Book Buddies project.

I am a co-founder of The Teaching Gardens with Professor of Biology Mark Lubkowitz. I study connections between literacy and gardening.

Valerie Bang-Jensen and Mark Lubkowitz, professors of education and biology, respectively, presented a workshop in July titled “Reading a Garden: Discovering Plant Biology in Great Children’s Literature” at the National Children and Youth Garden Symposium sponsored by the American Horticultural Society in Austin, TX.
(posted September 2015)

Valerie Bang-Jensen, associate professor of education, is author of the article, “Books in Bloom: Flowers as cultural, historical and aesthetic themes in picture books: The Dragon Lode,” appearing in the peer-reviewed journal International Reading Association, Spring/Summer 2014 issue. Valerie also co-presented with her Saint Michael’s colleague Mark Lubkowitz, associate professor of biology, at two conferences in the spring: The first, on March 28, 2014 at the Vermont State Department of Education Kindergarten Conference in Burlington, was “Stories and Seeds: How great children’s literature invites scientific understanding.” The second, on May 20, 2014 at the Vermont Library Association Conference on the Saint Michael’s campus, was “Books in Bloom: Read your way to a summer garden,” in the session titled “STEM programming at your local library.” Mark and Valerie also were interviewed by Jane Lindholm on the Vermont Public Radio program Vermont Edition in May about their book Books in Bloom: Discovering the Plant Biology in Great Children’s Literature, published in 2014 by the National Gardening Association.  http://digital.vpr.net/post/books-bloom-shares-botany-childrens-literature
(posted August 2014)

Valerie Bang-Jensen, associate professor of education, and Mark Lubkowitz, associate professor of biology, report that the National Gardening Association recently published their new curriculum book, Books in Bloom: Discovering the Science in Great Children’s Literature.” This illustrated book, written for educators, parents, and anyone involved with environmental education, explores the literary and biological themes in 17 excellent books for children.

Valerie Bang-Jensen, associate professor of education, and Mark Lubkowitz, associate professor of biology, were co-presenters at several academic events this past semester. On October 19, 2013, they were plenary speakers at the Captain Planet Learning Gardens Conference in suburban Atlanta, presenting "Books in Bloom: Inviting children to develop biological and literary lenses to create rich understandings of their world." They also spoke at the 2013 Annual Convention National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in Boston on November 23, 2013, presenting as members of the panel, "Books in Bloom: Integrating Children's Literature and Plant Biology." Here's how the NCTE Convention Web site described the session: "Imagine Miss Rumphius without lupines, or Winnie-the-Pooh without thistles for Eeyore. Explore the relationship between children’s literature, botany, and gardens. Participants will choose a book from our collection and construct a literary desktop garden followed by discussion and guidelines for creating similar projects in their own learning and gardening communities." On December 11, 2013 they presented "Embracing Complexity: Creating a Richer Picture Through Merging Biological and Literary," as part of the Science Speaker Series at Johnson State College. Each fall that college's Department of Environmental and Health Sciences hosts a speaker series on Wednesday afternoons featuring experts on topics in science, and Valerie and Mark made the final presentation of this year's series. (November 2013)

Valerie Bang-Jensen, associate professor of education, has written an article, "How to read a garden: Creating signage grows critical readers and audience-savvy writers" to be published in the Fall volume of the New England Reading Association Journal. (September 2013)

Valerie Bang-Jensen, associate professor of education, was author or co-author of three recent print or online-published articles: “Give us a sign! Third graders interpret their school garden,” in Legacy (July/August 2012), the professional journal of the National Association of Interpretation; and “Reading a garden,” In “Strong Readers All,” Educational Leadership (June, 2012). And, with colleague Mark Lubkowitz, professor of biology, “Books in Bloom,” a monthly column for the National Gardening Association. Valerie and Mark also were part of two recent presentations: “Books and Gardens: Digging Deep,” Vermont State Department of Libraries Dorothy Canfield Fisher Conference, Stowe, VT. May 4, 2012; and “Books in Bloom: Connecting Literature and Botany,” Vermont State Department of Education Kindergarten Conference, Burlington, VT. March 30, 2012. Valerie also received the Governor's Award for Service Learning. She and Mark hosted 35 members of the Burlington Garden Club for a tour on August 22.

Valerie Bang-Jensen, professor of education, presented at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention in Chicago (November 17-22, 2011) on the topic, "How to Read A Garden: A Framework for Garden-Literacy Connections." The convention theme was "Reading the Past, Writing the Future" She also presented during the panel session, "Supporting Students to Transfer Reading skills Ccross Contexts." This combined session invited participants to think about how to get students to connect and apply reading skills in various context areas.

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