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.
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.”
When youth in the middle know their “sparks” – their inner energizing interests – they’re more likely to stay engaged in school and develop a sense of purpose. Expert Susan Ragsdale shares motivational research & activities to help uncover those sparks.
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.
When ELA teacher Ariel Sacks wrote a book tying the teaching of novels to student empowerment, her hopes for reader interaction were modest. Now she’s become part of a community of connected educators, digging deep into everyone’s ideas.
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.
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.”
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.
Technology allows us to record and reflect on the writing process in ways that pencil and paper could not, says digital writing expert Troy Hicks. The MS teacher turned college prof demonstrates with a video demo’ing how we might teach sentence combining.
“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.