Teaching and learning in grades 4-8

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Tools for Schools with Instructional Coaching

Jim Knight’s Unmistakable Impact: A Partnership Approach for Dramatically Improving Instruction focuses on school leaders working with an instructional coach in a partnership model, says principal Matt Renwick. But he finds value in the book for other leaders who lack a coaching model.

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A Book to Enliven Family Reading Night

Family Reading Night gives schools everything they need to present enjoyable monthly reading and literacy activities for young students and their families. Reviewer Mara Southorn notes this 2nd edition includes Spanish translations of activities. Middle schools may need to adapt.

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The Eight Essentials of Good Student Feedback

Quality feedback – written and oral – is crucial for students to continuously improve their work. Author-consultant Barbara Blackburn summarizes eight characteristics of good feedback that she believes “are essential practices for effective teaching.”

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Teaching Vocabulary in Word-Rich Classrooms

Students can learn difficult vocabulary when they are immersed in a rich array of words, says reading expert Janet Allen. In this excerpt from her new book of vocabulary teaching tools, Allen describes ways to create a word-rich environment. Includes reproducibles.

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Cracking the Code for Student-Driven Learning

As Mary Tarashuk’s fourth graders took part in the Hour of Code this past December – assuming then switching roles as drivers and navigators in a code writing exercise – she considered how she might play the navigator more often in her own classroom.

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A Rich Colonial Times Resource Collection

Working to bring America’s Colonial Period to life in the classroom? Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis’ new toolkit will help history teachers engage students with primary sources, digital links and visual guides. “A gold mine!” says reviewer Linda Biondi.

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Good Tools for Analyzing Fiction and Nonfiction

Stressing the need to provide wide fiction and informational text choices, the authors consider the needs of all readers while offering extensive activities for all classrooms. Reviewer Jenni Miller found the book “wonderful” – both informative and encouraging.