Teaching and learning in grades 4-8

Use Maps & Mapmaking in Your ELA Classroom

Maps and mapmaking can help bring visual “connector points” to ELA lessons, says teacher Kevin Hodgson, serving as writing prompts, aids in teaching novels, reflection/assessment tools, and more. Learn some of the ways he uses both digital and hand-drawn maps in class.

An Excellent Writing Companion for Teachers

Ralph Fletcher’s approachable book offers useful, practical guidelines on how to implement effective writing teaching. ELA teacher Erin Corrigan-Smith notes his emphasis on choice, voice, purpose and play will help students enjoy the daily writing he recommends.

10 Engineering Projects Sure to Excite Students

STEM engineering – in class or after school – can come alive when young students encounter the 10 projects in McBride and Gonzales’ Engineer This. Reviewer Linda Biondi expects students will gladly accept their mission to solve interesting problems in creative ways.

Put Yourself in the Shoes of a Middle Grades Writer

Middle graders are unique, often unpredictable writers who are thirsty to refine their own personal voice. To help them succeed, literacy consultant Patty McGee recommends offering adolescent writers individual feedback that is present, empathetic, and choice-filled.

Picture Book Biographies for the Middle Grades

What’s one of the most fun ways to introduce students to a new science concept, a historical era, or a math idea? A picture book biography! NBCT and media specialist Christina Dorr suggests tying them to standards, using them as read alouds, or for individual student motivation.

30 Days to the Co-Taught Classroom 

Paula Kluth and Julie Causton offer a book that uses everyday language, is punctuated with wit and humor, and genuinely addresses many of the obstacles that face co-teachers in their real-world classrooms, says special education lead teacher Laura Von Staden.