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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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.
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.
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.
Kelly Owens suggests ways to promote more engagement and motivation in class by using a HEAD, HEART, HANDS lens. She includes her team’s strategies for creating a student-centric learning environment, increasing opportunities for self-reflection, and decluttering the classroom.