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Teaching and learning in grades 4-8
Teacher Mary Tarashuk has reasserted her “Irish Zen” following the full frontal assault on PARCC testing in her last post. She describes how her fourth graders had fun learning about Chinese New Year while also practicing for the high stakes test in prescribed ways.
In “59 Reasons to Write” Kate Messner shifts from teaching writers workshop and writing books for tweens to helping teachers build their own writing skills, assisted by more than 30 published authors. Reviewer Wendy Moore plans to try out their strategies.
Reading Nathan Barber’s book, educators can apply a sports coach’s perspective to communicating effectively, harnessing the power of teamwork, making work meaningful, embracing technology, building a winning tradition, and more, says reviewer Joanne Fuchs.
Has your state added a course on English Language Sheltered Immersion to recertification requirements? Kevin Hodgson’s has. He shares his Top Nine Lessons Learned, including “there is no one type of ELL student – each student comes with unique strengths & challenges.”
The Concept Attainment teaching strategy has students analyze an idea by comparing it to contrasting ideas and determining its special characteristics. When Jody and Shara used the strategy, their history students grasped and retained the content better.
CommonLit.Org is a nonprofit organization building a growing collection of supplemental texts, curated by teachers, for teachers, writes founder Michelle Brown. The free and open resource is cross-curricular, organized around themes and essential questions.
Women’s history is no longer in hiding, thanks to scholars who are documenting women’s impact on society. Middle grades teachers can help their students trace that history with these resources, just updated and expanded for Women’s History Month in March.
Thomas Newkirk makes a convincing argument in Minds Made for Stories that narrative is the framework for all good learning experiences, says teacher-reviewer Jenni Miller. This insight about storytelling can be used by teachers to help students learn and retain more in any subject.
Despite some organizational problems, says reviewer Susan Schwartz, “West Meets East” offers many insights into the comparative teaching practices of Chinese and US teachers recognized for excellence and shows that educators have much they can learn from each other, wherever they may practice their profession.
When Cheryl Mizerny invited her 6th graders to pursue a “passion project” of their own choosing, she included the option to help someone in need. The results surprised her. “I greatly underestimated my students’ capacity for wanting to make a difference.”