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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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.
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.
A just-crafted clay dino from seventh grader Gil reminds Dina Strasser that middle graders need unstructured time under the careful but non-interfering eye of a teacher who is trained to watch, listen and learn. Making room for such time is a challenge that’s seldom met.
Gholdy Muhammad’s Unearthing Joy offers ways to elevate meaning, reflection and joy so readers can offer cultural and historically responsive teaching most effectively. Sarah Cooper calls it “one of the most beautiful, inspiring, actionable books about pedagogy I’ve ever read.”
The authors of Welcome to Reading Workshop explain why student work in small groups is not just one of many teaching options but an essential everyday strategy to reduce teacher-student ratio, personalize learning, give students a voice, review, reteach, and apply new learning.
Lauren Buell’s 8th grade ELA team works with students on a comprehensive unit that helps all participants develop speaking, listening, writing, reading and life skills as they prepare end-of-year TED-style talks. She shares the unit’s impact once students enter high school.
Scaffolding strategies need to be used strategically, writes depth of knowledge expert Dr. Karin Hess. A strategy intended to support executive functioning or language development may not be effective for deepening content knowledge and thinking. See her tips and tools.
Explainer videos are challenging for multilingual learners because of the dense academic language, the rapid speaking pace and the large amount of content covered. Language specialist Tan Huynh shares strategies he uses to help MLs maximize the ‘learning gold’ videos offer.