Teaching and learning in grades 4-8

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What Makes Something STEM?

As STEM educator Anne Jolly discovered while facilitating a recent online PD class, many teachers still wonder, “Am I teaching STEM?” Here, Jolly offers a clear guide for determining whether projects and lessons meet the STEM acid test. Checklist included!

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Five Ideas to Improve Parent Conferences

Amber Chandler has participated on both sides of the Parent Teacher Conference. Here she offers novice teachers five strategies they can use to establish productive relationships, address parent concerns, and find ways to help parents “do something” for their children.

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A Critical Look at the Close Reading Standard

ELA consultant Mike Fisher urges educators to not be distracted by the so-called “close reading” anchor standard in the Common Core. “Close reading is not a thing. It is not a skill. It is not a big idea.” The true objective, he says, is reading comprehension.

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Costume Design: Part of the Language of Film

As teachers help their students meet Common Core standards through close reading of the movies, they may want to include costume design in their lesson plans, says Frank Baker. In many movies, director Martin Scorsese has noted, “costume is character.”