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Teaching and learning in grades 4-8
Discussing political news in class continues to feel like “walking on glass barefoot,” says Sarah Cooper. She’s drawn toward humorous interpretations of current events to reduce tensions. After some trial and error, Cooper uses four criteria for video selection.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
CCSS ELA middle grade standards specifically address the importance of teaching film techniques and the decisions made by filmmakers. In a new MiddleWeb blog, Close Reading the Media, Frank Baker breaks down the art of movie making and shares lots of resources.
To improve student outcomes, says teacher educator Curtis Chandler, it’s important to invest extra attention in the first five minutes of class. He shares a variety of techy and not-so techy ideas to ignite student interest and energy for whatever else is to follow.
Middle grades teacher Cheryl Mizerny’s favorite way to introduce new concepts in her ELA classroom engages students in “sticky” inductive reasoning and group investigations. Based on Bruner’s Concept Attainment research, the technique can work in any subject.