Class Apps, launched in the summer of 2016, captures the passion of former Kansas state teacher of the year Curtis Chandler for free digital tools that make teaching and learning easier and more successful. Curtis, now a teacher-educator at BYU-Idaho, became a regular blogger after several years of contributing occasional tech-oriented articles to MiddleWeb. His articles always include some focus on best-practice research.
Now more than ever, Close Reading the Media is essential for tweens, teens and adults alike. After contributing more than three dozen articles since 2012, media literacy expert Frank W. Baker agreed to begin a monthly blog for MiddleWeb, tapping the name of his latest book project. Frank has set out to reveal just how broad a topic media literacy can be, writing on subjects as diverse as movie-making, commercial advertising, political campaigning, and the news media. The common thread running through it all is the urgent need, in the social media age, for students to hone their critical thinking skills.
Jeremy Hyler‘s column Create, Compose, Connect riffs on the title of his first book and describes his forward-thinking teaching philosophy. He is a Michigan middle school teacher with an English language arts/Science background and currently teaches 7th grade ELA classes. Integrating technology and digital tools into literacy instruction is his special passion, and readers can expect many stories and resources from his classroom. His latest book (with Troy Hicks) is From Texting to Teaching: Grammar Instruction in a Digital Age (Routledge, 2017).
The Future of History blog is written by four contributing social studies teachers with middle grades experience. Three live and teach in the Los Angeles area: Sarah Cooper is a history teacher and instructional leader in La Canada, Calif. and author of Making History Mine and Creating Citizens: Teaching Civics & Current Events in the History Classroom. Jody Passanisi (author of History Class Revisited) and Shara Peters are long-time teaching and writing colleagues. Lauren S. Brown taught U.S. history, sociology and world geography in public middle and high schools, supervised social studies pre-service teachers at Northern Illinois University, and has now returned to the middle school history classroom. (Aaron Brock, a history teacher at inner city Compton CA Unified School District, contributed regular articles during 2013-15.)
Heart of the School was teacher-librarian Rita Platt‘s title choice when we invited her to blog for us in 2017. The title reflected her work as a librarian and media specialist and her advocacy for teacher leadership in all its permutations. In her long career, Rita has also taught English learners and served as a literacy coach. We think her Twitter bio sums up things well: Mom, wife, NBCT teacher, learner, reader, writer, civil rights activist, Springsteen fan. In the summer of 2018, Rita became principal of her school.
It’s Not Easy Being Tween taps into the knowledge and experience of Cheryl Mizerny, a 20+ year veteran who has spent most of her career in middle level classrooms and now teaches sixth grade English Language Arts. Cheryl combines her practical classroom insights with expertise in the fields of special education and educational psychology, where her Master’s degree studies focused on understanding the individual learner as a whole person: cognitively, emotionally, and socially. Also see her other articles at MiddleWeb.
Kids on the Cusp focuses on teaching in the early middle grades – fourth and fifth. Our blogger, Mary Tarashuk, has experience in both those grades and currently teaches a self-contained 4th grade class in an eastern New Jersey public school. Mary is a second career teacher with 16 years’ experience and a flair for writing (she’s a budding novelist). She was an early adopter of The Walking Classroom, which she’s written about here.
Our Meaningful Math blogger, Michelle Russell, brings her experience as both a middle and high school math teacher to her articles, always with the middle level in focus. She began writing for us in the summer of 2016. Watch for her monthly articles about her own restless search for the most effective teaching practices.
To augment our great coverage of STEM topics (see below!) we’ve invited science teacher, content expert and coach Kathy Renfrew to become The Science Lady and write about general science topics from her perspective as a veteran middle grades teacher and early advocate for the Next Generation Science Standards.
STEM by Design blogger Anne Jolly began her career as a lab scientist, caught the teaching bug and was recognized as a state teacher of the year. As a curriculum consultant for an NSF-supported project she helped develop standards-based STEM modules for middle school curricula. Anne loves to engage readers in conversations around STEM subjects. Her book STEM By Design: Strategies and Activities for Grades 4-8 is published by the Routledge/MiddleWeb partnership.
The Unstoppable ELL Teacher aims at the broad audience of teachers who are finding more and more English Language Learners in their self-contained and subject area classrooms. Valentina Gonzalez has been a classroom instructor, an ESL coach, and now a district-level leader for ELL professional development. Her posts are rich in tips and strategies for any teacher who wants to serve English learners at the peak of their learning potential.
Two Teachers in the Room is one of the few blogs on the Web dedicated to exploring the co-teaching experience. It is written by Elizabeth Stein, a middle grades special education teacher, author, and SpEd/UDL instructional coach and new-teacher mentor in New York. Two Teachers champions balanced partnerships in inclusion settings and the potential of the Universal Design for Learning. Elizabeth also co-moderates the Twitter chat #coteachat.
The Flexible Classroom riffs on the title of middle-level teacher Amber Chandler‘s 2016 book, The Flexible ELA Classroom: Practical Tools for Differentiated Instruction in Grades 4-8 (Routledge/MiddleWeb). Readers of her MiddleWeb blog can expect plenty of cutting-edge teaching ideas, with an emphasis on differentiation, SEL, and student-centered project learning. Amber has been contributing popular articles to MiddleWeb since 2014.
For Working Draft we were fortunate to convince sixth grade ELA teacher and writing champion Kevin Hodgson to share his thoughts and his classroom life. Kevin, who tweets @dogtrax and maintains a popular personal blog, Kevin’s Meandering Mind, loves to create graphics and audio to go with his posts. Among his topics: reluctant writers, visual literacy, games and learning, and teaching 6th grade in elementary school.