Teaching and learning in grades 4-8

Differentiate with the Station Rotation Model

Rotation stations can help differentiate instruction as teachers prepare middle graders for an upcoming unit or topic or support re-teaching and enrichment after completing a unit of study. Dr. Laura Robb details one teacher’s strategies in an ELA classroom with 28 students.

9 Habit-Stacking Tips for Low-Key Summer Prep

You need your break! Don’t fill your summer ruminating endlessly about lessons and classes to come. Instead try the “habit stacking” strategy and prepare for the next school year without getting mired in the weeds. Teacher and coach Miriam Plotinsky shares nine possibilities.

Using Active Learning with Middle Schoolers

When asked to help implement health/biology curriculum, the authors decided to focus on active learning strategies that succeeded in exciting and engaging the adolescent girls in their classes. They conclude that well-designed hands-on learning is worth the extra time and effort.

Teaching Perspective with “Lord of the Flies”

Lord of the Flies by William Golding remains a riveting, relevant book for middle school because of its themes of survival, power, and leadership. Laurie Hornik’s PBL unit also teaches students to appreciate and practice multiple perspectives and be open to changing their minds.

Picture Books Support Summertime Learning

Summer offers time for middle schoolers to select books they’ll enjoy. Media literacy facilitator Jennifer Sniadecki sees a role for picture books to engage them. Diving into several genres, she describes books that will catch their attention. Spiders and memory jars, anyone?

“I Can’t Hear You with All of Your Talking”

Educators tend to fill every moment with our voices, writes teaching coach Patty McGee. Yet the most powerful learning can happen when we are silent, making room for student-to-student communication, customized feedback, and a trusted space for students to reveal what they know.

Mental Time Travel for Student Well-Being

If we can teach kids to think about their futures with more specificity and positivity, then we can have a significant impact on not only their self-image but their well-being – critical work in our anxiety-ridden, social media-saturated times, writes teacher leader Stephanie Farley.

Marrying Metacognition and Reciprocal Teaching

As new teachers and other educators in schools with many struggling readers search for equitable instructional approaches that will accelerate (not remediate) student learning, metacognition and reciprocal teaching strategies can help, write Sonya Murray and Gwendolyn Turner.