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Teaching and learning in grades 4-8
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.
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.
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.”
ELA teacher Kevin Hodgson finds himself teamed in a PLC with reading interventionists and quickly sees how vastly different their work with students is from his own. He’s developing a new respect for these specialists’ knowledge and unique challenges.
As a 4th grade teacher, Mary Tarashuk is responsible for helping her students begin the transition from early to more independent learning. At Back-to-School Night, Tarashuk talked with parents about why kids will benefit from some academic struggle.
Teachers in grades 3-5 will treasure The Common Core Companion: The Standards Decoded by Leslie Blauman with Jim Burke. The content, the layout and the companion website make clear what the standards say, what they mean, and how to use them.
Among the elements of Suzy Pepper Rollins’ Learning in the Fast Lane that reviewer Carolyn Miller liked best were her references to recent research, her fresh suggestions for making formative assessments, and her close look at student motivation. And there’s lots more to try out!
Social studies teacher Aaron Brock prefers to limit lectures to five minutes in his eighth grade inner city classroom and then shift to cooperative learning activities – giving as much attention to research skills as specific history content.
When youth in the middle know their “sparks” – their inner energizing interests – they’re more likely to stay engaged in school and develop a sense of purpose. Expert Susan Ragsdale shares motivational research & activities to help uncover those sparks.
In “Engaging Minds in Science and Math Classrooms,” Eric Brunsell & Michelle A. Fleming explain in just 55 pages the why & how of joyful learning that supports today’s ed initiatives. Excellent resource for new and veteran STEM teachers, says math teacher/coach Lynne Menechella.