Teaching and learning in grades 4-8

Teach Media Literacy with Super Bowl Ads

Many millions of people who tune in to the 2017 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.

How to Plan For and Use Quality Questions

Quality questions are the “bait” that can hook students into deeper discussions and learning that sticks. Questioning expert Jackie Walsh shares a pair of videos and several templates that will help teachers plan a questioning process that pulls all students in.

Watching My Students Watch the Inauguration

After much discussion, Kevin Hodgson and his colleagues decided to have students watch the Inaugural Address and then respond to it. The 6th graders used sketchnoting to listen, then discussed their observations in the context of earlier studies about civic issues.

Narrative Writing Ideas Built on Mentor Texts

Sean Ruday’s practical ideas and teaching strategies for narrative writing should reduce the stress levels of writing teachers all across the country, writes consultant Anne Anderson. To speed things along, he has included excerpts from the mentor texts he features.

Called to the Middle: A Principal’s View

Called to the Middle is a primer for anyone considering the challenges of middle level teaching. Veteran MS educator Linda Mancia says Joey Eidson’s commitment to adolescent education comes through his relaxed writing style but notes some editorial shortcomings.

Bright Happy Children vs Failing Public Schools

Becoming Brilliant, written by two psych professors, is less about intelligence than about helping children become collaborative, creative, competent, and responsible. Reviewer Rita Platt notes with dismay the authors’ blanket view that public schools are failing.