In her new book Teaching in High Gear: My Shift Toward a Student-Driven, Inquiry-Based Science Classroom, middle school teacher Marsha Ratzel reflects on a transformational journey marked by a gradual shift toward student-driven learning — and energized by a global network of collaborators who shared her vision. In this excerpt, Marsha describes how her development of a “coaching mode” helped students become more self-reliant learners.
A Thanksgiving visitor (a student from 16 years past) offers our Kids on the Cusp blogger – 4th grade teacher Mary Tarashuk – a good hook for her latest look at New Jersey’s mandatory self-assessment rubrics for teachers. This time she reflects on what Family and Community Outreach means to her teaching.
What makes this book so valuable to teachers? The layout! It makes excellent use of the 2-page spread, allowing teachers a “big picture” view of the Common Core standards, says reviewer Anne Anderson. Best of all, it explains “what the standards say, what they mean, and how to teach them.”
Reviewer Elisa Waingort highly recommends Student-Driven Learning to those who want to move toward a classroom where students are in the driver’s seat. The authors show how teachers can analyze current practice and begin leading students on hops, drives, and journeys toward ownership of learning.
Whether it’s Grandma’s biscotti recipe or a lesson plan, adding new ingredients (like digital tools) shouldn’t distract from the end result you seek, says teacher and technology consultant Mike Fisher. “The modern mindset is really about willingness, not digital knowledge. It’s about trying new things and exploring new tools and avenues for instruction WITH the students rather than FOR the students.”
Inner city middle school teacher Aaron Brock describes how he scaffolds the writing of a thesis-driven history essay with good results for students.
Too many manic, even eruptive meetings? Reviewer Lyn Hilt recommends the preventatives and interventions crafted by these authors to promote productivity.
Guest blogger Carolyn DeCristofano shares ways that she and her curriculum writing colleagues have put math square in the middle of the STEM action.
Facing the “December Dilemma “ of how to include winter holidays in the instructional day? This MiddleWeb Resource Roundup offers a multi-faceted look at religious and non-religious aspects of the season and some ideas for seasonal lesson planning.