Category: Articles

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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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Three Tips for Effective Grading

One hallmark of rigor in the classroom is an effective grading system, says PD consultant Barbara Blackburn. Teachers with ineffective practices often overvalue simple tasks and need to be clear about the “what, why and how” behind their grades. She analyzes a weak social studies grading rubric.

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Student Health: 5 Things Teachers Should Know

The spectrum of health issues our students face is mind-boggling, but our response to their needs shouldn’t be. With forethought and guidance from school personnel, worries about children with health conditions can be reduced, says teacher Beth Morrow.

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As #Ferguson Fades from Our Twitter Feeds

Even though the tragedy in Ferguson is fading from the headlines and our twitter feeds, the issues and social dynamics that led to it remain firmly in place and schools need to address them, says middle school dean Bill Ivey. He suggests an “incredible resource.”

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Have You Tried Making Common Core Lemonade?

The Common Core experience may leave a sour taste on some educators’ palates, middle school ELA teacher Amber Chandler concedes. But she and her colleagues are coping with new challenges and limited resources by making their own brand of CCSS lemonade.

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Use Writing Activities to Bond with New Students

“One of the most important factors in student achievement is a positive connection with the teacher,” says teaching consultant Barbara Blackburn. “An easy way to bond with kids is through writing.” She suggests two activities students will enjoy and you will learn from.