Category: Articles

Guest posts by expert educators

Freeing Students to Write What They Know

In an era of ‘writing to text’ and responding to prompts, students may not eagerly respond to our invitations to “write free!” ELA teacher and cartoonist David Lee Finkle uses an interest based mapping strategy to convince his writers they have something worth writing about.

Use Text Sets to Benefit Bilingual Students

High interest text sets tied to essential questions and in varied formats help emergent bilinguals stick with a particular topic as they learn how to read strategically. Elizabeth Hagan and her colleagues brought Malala Yousafzai to students’ attention with a range of sources.

Teaching Students When to Abandon a Book

Students choose books with different purposes in mind and learning how to make good choices is an important life skill. But what about making the choice to abandon a book? Lynne Dorfman has teaching tips to share with readers when a book just doesn’t spark their interest.

Grammar Instruction the Safe and Social Way

“Let’s face it, adolescence isn’t plump full of safety and confidence. It’s a developmental stage in which students want and need to be connected and valued.” No wonder middle schoolers dread the “correction” approach to grammar. Jeff Anderson and Travis Leech have found a better way.

Planting the Seeds of Reading Enthusiasm

To encourage her seventh graders’ reading, Katie Durkin finds herself constantly searching for new ways to keep books in the hands of students. She shares four sustainable practices she uses throughout the school year to plant the seeds of reading with her students.

Leading Genius Hour with 2 Middle Schoolers

When his two middle schoolers wondered about a tree house, principal Matt Renwick’s bright idea was to engage them in an at-home Genius Hour project. His three take-aways from the experience can help us understand the teacher’s role in creative learning and risk-taking.

Boost Literacy Learning with Podcasts Kids Love

Similar to the benefits of class read-alouds and independent reading, podcasts can be incorporated as a way to increase students’ understanding of stories and information, with kids often making “text to self” connections. Kathie Palmieri includes sources and favorites.

Deep Learning Strategies for Online Math Classes

Pandemic teaching has led grades 5/6 math teacher Mona Iehl to adapt proven practices from her regular classroom for her virtual teaching. Using the Nearpod app, she prioritizes community building and discussion while simplifying lesson designs. Her video shows her strategies in action!

Students Have Hybrid Tips for Teachers

Middle schoolers share what they think teachers need to know about hybrid learning, with tips for improving learning in the mix of in-person and online classes. It’s the experiences at home – being heard, having time to use tech properly – that garner the most criticism.

Providing Constructive Feedback to Teachers

For Ron Williamson and Barbara Blackburn the most important work principals can do is practice instructional leadership. Principals who invest time and attention on improving teaching can significantly impact student learning. See their 7 keys to constructive feedback.