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Teaching and learning in grades 4-8
Novels about school are rare and often feature a lone heroic teacher defying the odds. Instead, NBCT Roxanna Elden’s fictional account of life at a struggling urban Texas school – “Adequate Yearly Progress” – is funny, often moving, and always authentic. Read Chapter 2.
Take time now to do some preliminary thinking about next year’s STEM lessons. Gather feedback from your students before they sign out for summer, suggests STEM expert Anne Jolly, and also consider four key areas that often get short shrift during STEM curriculum planning.
End of year is an optimal time for educators to step out of our comfort zones and try innovative techniques with our students. Don’t fall into “countdown mode.” Think of this time as a gift, without the pressure of state testing. Give Valentina Gonzalez’s strategies a try!
Our students are native digital readers, but they aren’t necessarily logged into their Kindle accounts. Helping middle schoolers become lifelong readers of credible news and information requires proactive strategies. Teacher Jeremy Hyler describes three of his favorites.
Teachers will find everything they need to implement the theory of multiple intelligences in Thomas Armstrong’s book, writes teacher Michelle Voelker. Armstrong addresses MI criticism and provides easy changes that can be made by teachers who want to decide for themselves.
How many minutes? In which grades? What really works? How can family be engaged? These and lots more questions are answered in Cathy Vatterott’s book Rethinking Homework. Educator Brian Taylor says it’s a must for educators who want to bring sanity to homework policies.
Rather than approaching differentiation as “making it easier” for some, Barbara Blackburn suggests a strategy that assures lessons will be rigorous while also giving struggling students the supports they need. Her example involves an informational reading lesson.
Geoff Krall’s valuable new book gets down to math “nuts and bolts,” writes teacher Michelle Russell. It’s not just about theory. It offers detailed strategies and ideas to create the three necessary conditions for students to begin to see themselves as mathematicians.
Reviewing for year-end assessments doesn’t have to be dull, tedious or routine. Ever-creative teacher Megan Kelly describes her favorite ways to offer test prep and review activities that are filled with exploration, fun and inquiry. Be sure to share an idea of your own!
Marilee Sprenger shares the “break-up letter” she read to her middle school students to help them become aware of their emotions and find strategies that will work for them and their individual experiences. She includes follow-up activities to build SEL skills for all.