Variety and Spice: Our Top 10 Posts of 2019

We asked Google Analytics to find the top 10 most-read new posts published at MiddleWeb during 2019. Here they are, in no particular order. We love the variety and the solid advice. Every contributor here has been a successful classroom teacher who loves to collaborate with colleagues. We thank them for sharing with us – and with you!

Dina Strasser: Creating Classrooms That Teach the Whole Kid

Respectful, fruitful collaboration among students is not “nice” for kids to master before they make their own way in the world – it is absolutely necessary. It’s especially needed when problems arise. Dina Strasser suggests co-creating norms that serve the whole child.

Brent Gilson: Why I’ve Stopped Using Teachers Pay Teachers

Online teacher marketplaces may seem harmless, but when sellers offer materials that violate copyrights and ignore intellectual property rights of original creators, they set a poor example for kids and the profession, says teacher Brent Gilson, a “reformed” TPT vendor.


Jen Serravallo: Effective 5- to 7-Minute Reading Conferences

To ensure all your students benefit from frequent reading conferences, it’s important to keep them short, focused and effective. Author and literacy consultant Jen Serravallo shares 7 tips for being efficient with your time without sacrificing impact or feeling rushed.

Valentina Gonzalez: English Learners Need to Use Academic Language

For English learners, academic language is much more challenging to master than social language. Specialist Valentina Gonzalez says EL students need “massive opportunities” on a daily basis to practice using content-specific words and phrases. She shares 10 techniques.

Megan Kelly: 11 Provocations You Can Use as Class Starters

We all want our students to begin class motivated to learn and brimming with questions about the topic. To do this, Megan Kelly modifies an IB idea: the provocation, a quick activity designed to engage the students and get them wondering. Check out all her ideas!

Cheryl Mizerny: We Can Do Lots More for Students with Dyslexia

Former special education teacher Cheryl Mizerny says the same techniques used to help kids with dyslexia succeed can benefit all students in the core subjects. Now an ELA educator, she highlights useful tools, instructional techniques, assessments, and SEL strategies.

Michelle Russell: Getting to Know One Student at a Time

How do you get to know all your students in a crowded classroom? Teacher Michelle Russell put a new plan into action this fall in her largest class (28). Selecting names at random, she set out to have a quick chat with one student each day for a month. Discover how it went!

Blackburn & Williamson: How Principals Can Allay Resistance to Change

School leaders have likely dealt with someone who didn’t support a proposed change. But principals need to assure that schools provide students with quality education, a process often requiring change. Ronald Williamson and Barbara Blackburn show how to build support.

Tan Huynh: 3 Keys to Keeping the Rigor High for English Learners

ELs are capable of doing the same kind of thinking that non-ELs can do. They might just have to temporarily show their understanding differently than their peers do. EL teacher Tan Huyhn shows how teachers can focus on the ELs’ thinking and differentiate everything else.

Jackie Walsh: Weaving SEL Into Our Classroom Questioning

Traditional questioning routines can send unintended messages to some students that they are not “smart” enough to engage in classroom conversations, writes author and teaching expert Jackie Walsh. Learn how to weave SEL-friendly questioning into your daily practice.


MiddleWeb is all about the middle grades, with great 4-8 resources, book reviews, and guest posts by educators who support the success of young adolescents. And be sure to subscribe to MiddleWeb SmartBrief for the latest middle grades news & commentary from around the USA.

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