MiddleWeb is all about middle school & the middle grades — with a sharp focus on teaching and learning in grades 4-8. Join us, learn about our 5 streams of content, and find out how to get involved.
Teaching and learning in grades 4-8
Ruth Culham’s Teach Writing Well is practical and goes step-by-step through incorporating writing traits into any classroom writing program while undergirding practice with a sense of exuberance and discovery. Reviewer Sarah Cooper can’t wait for fall to try Culham’s ideas.
In 180 Days Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle encourage teachers to meet “hidden standards” focusing on engagement in reading and writing via standards accessed through choice, relevance, and classroom culture. Educator Amy Estersohn finds some elements missing.
Nancy Akhavan encourages teachers to push away from assigned passages with worksheets that require canned responses, and instead promote more freedom in student thinking, and more reflection about their connection to the reading and writing going on in their classroom.
Blending in the arts is not predestined to create a failure of STEM goals, writes noted STEM author and educator Carolyn DeCristofano, who offers four reasons to consider adopting a well-designed STEAM program that protects the integrity of both STEM and arts education.
Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Sypnieski often ask their ELL students to make short oral presentations to a group or a partner “because it is more practical, time efficient, and energizing for students.” The four ideas shared here are easily adapted to any class or subject.
Although some teaching strategies have been around for a long time, not all the “classics” are actually effective at engaging students in authentic ways. Bryan Harris and Lisa Bradshaw, the authors of Battling Boredom, explain why some common practices just don’t work.
Reciprocal teaching (RT) helps students deepen their learning by teaching other students. Curtis Chandler shows how kiddos can tackle new texts and concepts by developing their ability to apply cognitive and metacognitive strategies. He includes helpful videos and online tools.
Glen Pearsall’s Fast and Effective Assessment focuses on making life easier for teachers while improving students’ learning and understanding, writes consultant Anne Anderson. Pearsall includes lots of ideas and efficient tools to create feedback that benefits students.
Stambaugh and VanTassel-Baska focus on purposeful planning, finding stories to engage young readers, and discovering ways to use readings to get the most impactful writing from students while increasing their overall comprehension, says teacher Erin Corrigan-Smith.
Reader’s theatre helps EL students feel more confident “playing” with English and learning to use fixed expressions, intonation, and gesture, writes teacher-author Alice Savage. Explore her 10 ideas for extending the content or language of a script into engaging lessons.