Teaching and learning in grades 4-8

100 Affirming Letters from Fellow Educators

Michael McLaughlin reviews Brad Johnson and Hal Bowman’s Thank You, Teacher, a collection of 100 letters written by educators for educators with the aim of uplifting, affirming, and celebrating “the incredible work of our profession.” What could be better for the holiday season?

Let Your Students Figure Out Their Misconceptions

Instead of giving middle graders the right answer after they cling tenaciously to their misconceptions, devise processes that lead them to discover the fallacies on their own. Literacy interventionist Kelly Owens shares some cross-curricular tools and strategies that can help.

How to Boost Learning in the Non-Core Subjects

Every student deserves to be challenged in all areas of learning. Teaching coach Barbara Blackburn shows how rigor can enhance learning beyond the core content areas with examples from health, physical education, computer science, the performance arts and career technology.

How Can We Create a Dynamic Classroom?

Serena Pariser and Victoria Lentfer answer teachers’ questions about how best to establish dynamic classrooms, offering practical ways to build routines, minimize off-task behaviors, and engage students in truly meaningful ways. A great resource, says NBCT Kathie Palmieri.

Teaching Faith-Based Holidays

Facing the ‘December Dilemma’ of how to include winter holidays in the instructional day? This MiddleWeb resource offers a multi-faceted look at religious and non-religious aspects of the season, legal issues, and some ideas for seasonal lesson planning.

Sticky Techniques to Teach Academic Words

Traditional vocabulary strategies are passive exercises that have little impact in the long run, write Lynne Dorfman and Aileen Hower. Students need lots of exposure to a word before they can fully understand and apply it. They need frequent, engaging and meaningful encounters with words.