Learning focused schools have a collective growth mindset and a shared belief that every student can learn and grow. Education leaders Ron Williamson and Barbara Blackburn share six characteristics that define such schools and offer ideas about how to accomplish each one.
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Adolescents are particularly susceptible to circadian rhythms – the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle – writes principal Mike Gaskell. Educators can do more to plan academic lessons and other content to take advantage of peak learning times.
Megan Kelly writes about improvements in her student relationships after trying out strategies adapted from Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain. One key insight: talking with kids about their lives and personal interests can boost in-class learning.
Without good math fact recall, many students become discouraged about building math knowledge and solving equations. Kathleen Palmieri uses song and movement to engage fifth graders in computation fluency. Watch the music and exercise videos that are hits with her kids.
If Regie Routman had to name the most important mindsets and actions for a full and flourishing life, “I’d say gratitude and generosity are at the top and are especially essential for living and thriving in challenging times.” All of which gets her thinking about Thanksgiving.
Facing the ‘December Dilemma’ of how to include winter holidays in the instructional day? This MiddleWeb resource offers a multi-faceted look at religious and non-religious aspects of the season, legal issues, and some ideas for seasonal lesson planning.
Kasey Short recommends offering middle schoolers YA novels with multiple narrators as a way to enrich opportunities for content instruction and SEL. They’re also really engaging and fun for kids to read. Included: sample questions and activities and lots of suggested titles.
Author and master teacher Debbie Silver begins her case for spirit-building humor and laughter in classrooms and schools with a personal story from her years as a middle level educator. “Pay attention to how much you laugh together. Teachers and school leaders who laugh, last.”
Grounded in research and real-world situations, The Social-Emotional Learning Playbook by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher and Dominique Smith supports the social-emotional growth in you, your students and your community, writes Anne Anderson, calling the book “a great PD resource.”
While most middle schoolers can decode text, the crux of any worthwhile lesson is assuring they understand what they’re reading and how it might impact them or the world around them. Peg Grafwallner shares strategies to help embed these literacy skills across the content areas.