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Teaching and learning in grades 4-8
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.
“Perfect Pairs” uses fiction and nonfiction life science books to promote inquiry learning in grades 3-5. The 20 richly detailed, standards-aligned lessons can help any teacher engage students in exploration, fact-gathering and deduction, says 4th grade veteran Linda Biondi.
In “The Writing Strategies Book” Jennifer Serravallo has pulled together 300 useful writing strategies and lessons, coordinated by grade, genre, and point in the writing process. Serravallo’s well-organized and easy-to-use resource is sure to come in handy right away, says reviewer Kevin Hodgson.
The three small, easy-to-read books in The Cooperating Teacher Series will help standardize practices for the crucial-for-success classroom experience of the student teacher. Mary Langer Thompson says the helpful overview also offers essential specifics.
Why use a PBL approach when designing STEM lessons and programs? The answer may be obvious to PBL champions but for the rest of us, Christa Flores’ exploration of science and STEM teaching in a “making” classroom is a valuable resource, says STEM expert Anne Jolly.
Recognizing the need for a reliable, research-based method to test listening comprehension skills, Monica Brady-Myerov at Listenwise has worked to bring an easy-to-use method to the classroom, drawing on curated NPR content to engage students with important stories.
Amber Chandler is pondering testing. Not big league, high stakes exams but the run of the mill end-of-unit kind. When 20 percent of her students stumble over literary terms on The Giver unit test, she opts for a flexible (but controversial) “point buy-back” offer.
Helping students believe in themselves is a critical part of teaching. Consultant Barbara Blackburn shares strategies to help encourage students to reach beyond the limitations they sometimes feel and pursue their dreams. One idea: Write a personal “theme song.”
“Equal parts how-to and shopping list,” teacher Any Estersohn says Ruth Culham’s Dream Wakers will help any middle grades ELA or social studies teacher add more Latino voices and mentor texts – especially in classrooms with a writer’s workshop teaching approach.