Teaching and learning in grades 4-8

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Reinvent Summer Learning: Make It Up!

STEM by Design blogger Anne Jolly knows summer time can be productive learning time. In this letter to parents and caregivers, she shares fun ideas about Maker projects that encourage curiosity, creativity, persistence and teamwork. Resource links included.

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The Glories of a Year-Round Calendar

Since his fast-growing district shifted to a year round schedule, teacher and PD consultant Bill Ferriter finds himself “more focused and productive as a practitioner,” more rested, and more able to pursue professional opportunities beyond the classroom.

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Understanding How Kids Think about Math

Math teachers wondering how their students came up with wrong answers will find lots to use in Children’s Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction. Videoed children explain their solutions and so reveal teaching insights, says reviewer Maia Fastabend.

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Hope, Help and Wisdom for Novice Teachers

Although “You Can Do This” is targeted to 1st year teachers, experienced educators & new administrators can also benefit from reading about a novice teacher’s experiences through the lens of an accomplished instructional leader, says reviewer Jason Gordon.

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Taking Poetry Writing into Digital Spaces

Using Google Slides for poetry writing proved to be a win-win for Kevin Hodgson and his 6th graders, who tried out various poetic forms, used technology to publish original writing, applied elements of web design, and learned to attribute the work of others.

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Don’t Let Class Tech Be Just a Garnish

Teacher Cheryl Mizerny is not anti-tech, just anti-bad pedagogy – the kind that crops up when the garnish of tech overshadows the deep learning that can happen when teaching is “brain based, not screen-based.” Make the app fit the lesson, she says, not the other way around.

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What School Should Really Be About

It remains unclear to Mary Tarashuk how rampant standardized testing is actually helping her fourth graders become successful and enthusiastic learners. As she prepares for her own evaluation, Mary shares pushback from parents, students, and HBO’s John Oliver.