Category: Articles

Guest posts by expert educators

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The Rise and Fall of Grammar Bootcamp

For years Amber Chandler has marched her middle school students through Grammar Bootcamp, believing that grammatically correct language is essential to be college and career ready. Now this year’s 7th graders have convinced her there might be a better way.

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Black History: The Visions of Gordon Parks

Media literacy expert Frank Baker offers a fresh idea for Black History Month – exploring the life, career and creativity of photographer, writer and director Gordon Parks, whose powerful images from the Segregation Era serve as iconic primary sources.

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Daily Comic Strip Chronicles Teaching Life

Florida teacher David Finkle chronicles middle school life in a daily comic strip for the Daytona Beach News. Here he shares the 15-year story of “Mr. Fitz,” including four sample strips guaranteed to draw chuckles and knowing nods from teachers everywhere.

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Media Literacy: Learning from the Oscars

It’s Oscar season and media literacy consultant Frank W. Baker has ideas about leveraging student interest in movies to teach visual literacy skills and learn about cool careers. Lots of resources, including teacher tools at the Oscars website.

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Keep Parents Connected in the Middle Grades

Middle schoolers push parents away with one hand, says 6th grade teacher Cheryl Mizerny, while wanting their other hand to be held. Mizerny shares a variety of strategies she uses to help keep parents and kids connected as they navigate adolescence, including the Million Words activity.

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Teach Media Literacy with Super Bowl Ads

Many millions of people who tune in to the 2015 Super Bowl will be there to watch the pricey, high-engagement commercials. Media literacy consultant Frank Baker explains how to teach about these “super ads,” approaching them as informational text worthy of close scrutiny and analysis.

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The Eight Essentials of Good Student Feedback

Quality feedback – written and oral – is crucial for students to continuously improve their work. Author-consultant Barbara Blackburn summarizes eight characteristics of good feedback that she believes “are essential practices for effective teaching.”