Thanksgiving is a good time to express our affection for those great and goofy middle grades kids and the special breed of educators who relish teaching them. Here are six MiddleWeb posts pinpointing their unique qualities and ways we can support them as they grow.
Do your students know that when they watch docudramas, they’re not watching history as it actually happened? Do they understand movie makers’ “artistic license” for condensing history into 2-hour films? Frank W. Baker suggests media-oriented films and teaching strategies.
If demoralizing teachers worked, then our educational system would already have reached a state of perfection. Instead, says reviewer Jenni Miller, policymakers can find a true roadmap for change in Richard DuFour’s “In Praise of American Educators And How They Can Become Even Better.”
Especially to build awareness of the SEL needs of gifted students, but also to enrich the education provided to ALL students, I’m Not Just Gifted is a welcome resource to any teacher determined to make education socially and emotionally relevant, says principal Deb Hubble.
In Teaching Outside the Lines, Doug Johnson addresses the need to start helping students to be creative and innovative rather than conformist. He includes strategies and tools to help teachers overcome reluctance to make the shift, says teacher leader Laura Von Staden.
Genius Hour is an inquiry-driven, passion-based strategy designed to excite and engage students around the unrestrained joy of learning. Teachers Denise Krebs and Gallit Zvi make a case for the weekly time investment and share tips for getting started.
Dale Russakoff’s The Prize recounts what happens to Newark NJ schools when Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Cory Booker and Supt. Cami Anderson take a $100 million gift from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and invest in corporate reform. Matt Renwick says it’s a must read.
Nancy Butler Wolf addresses how teachers can help middle schoolers solve authentic math problems, stressing rich tasks and converting textbook problems into challenging learning. Maia Fastabend recommends the book to newer teachers and those seeking clarity.
The social-emotional concerns addressed by Tom Conklin are long overdue for guided discussion by today’s adolescents. Mary Langer Thompson appreciates his inclusion of foundational thinkers and his instructional materials for middle schoolers.
Because of the powerful way school culture shapes the activity of students, teachers, and administrators, it’s worth investing the effort to assure it sends a positive message. Ron Williamson and Barbara Blackburn suggest leadership actions to build values.