Teaching and learning in grades 4-8

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Five Ideas to Improve Parent Conferences

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.

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A Critical Look at the Close Reading Standard

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.

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Costume Design: Part of the Language of Film

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.”

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On the Fast Road to Academic Success

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!

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Joyful Learning in Science, Math & STEM

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.