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Teaching and learning in grades 4-8
Effective note-taking can deepen understanding, but students rarely develop this skill on their own, writes Curtis Chandler. With a few tweaks we can help middle schoolers transform the painful process of note-taking into a terrific tool for thinking. Tips & links!
Inspired by Donalyn Miller’s game-changing work The Book Whisperer, middle school teacher Cheryl Mizerny has transformed her traditional ELA classroom into a reading community where everyone learns to love books. See if some of her ideas might work for you.
Writing flow, says author and principal Matt Renfrew, is achieved through the habits one builds by regularly participating in the experience. He offers suggestions on how teacher and student writers can establish writing rhythms and find flow in their craft.
In a successfully differentiated class, writes middle grades learning expert Rick Wormeli, “we often allow students to redo work and assessments for full credit.” Several stipulations and protocols make it less demanding on teachers and more helpful to students.
Warren Combs’ book on using constructed responses in everyday instruction “effortlessly demonstrates the power of using short, frequent writing to learn activities that focus on standards across the curriculum,” says literacy coach Laurell Parris. Great for PLCs.
In Hard Conversations Unpacked Jennifer Abrams offers effective strategies for engaging in difficult but necessary dialogue, helping educators grow the confidence and skills to create positive change in varied environments, says literacy specialist Lisa Maucione.
Elena Aguilar’s “The Art of Coaching Teams ” is a practical resource full of proactive thinking gleaned from 20 years as a teacher and coach, says instructional specialist Deserie Bradvica. For those ready to lead teams with “a focus on trust, clarity and purpose.”
Innovation efforts never cease in today’s high-stakes school environment. But effort isn’t enough, say leadership experts Ron Williamson & Barbara Blackburn. Lasting change requires leaders to share ownership and invest long-term in professional learning support.
Hands-on teaching has always involved kids in “making.” But today’s focus on maker spaces is pushing making to a whole new level, nurturing students’ curiosity and creativity. Anne Jolly shows how combining maker activities and STEM lessons can boost learning.
Mindful living leads to effective teaching and even artistry. After a career in education, Linda Mancia has realized that obstacles can be overcome with the simple faith in what we can learn – from our students, from each other, and especially from ourselves.