Category: Articles

Guest posts by expert educators

Of Virtual Classes and 7th Grade Teddy Bears

Middle school teacher and dean Bill Ivey shares the story of his 7th graders, gathering online for the first time. “So much going on around us is frighteningly uncertain. How we go about schooling right now is far more important than the what. Familiarity. Flexibility. Agency. Community.”

The Virtues of Teaching Middle School Online

Middle schools and their students are special. By design 6-8 grade schools are intended to be communities, organized in houses or teams as the kids are exploring themselves and their world. All this helps in the leap to online school, says teacher Laurie Lichtenstein.

Students’ Journals Could Be ‘Primary Sources’

The global pandemic “will be in the history books, won’t it?” Absolutely, 8th grade teacher Lauren Brown told her students. She’s devised a simple home assignment – students create a ‘primary source’ for future historians by jotting down their questions, concerns and observations. See her suggested prompts to get kids started.

How to Fill Our Schools with Eager Readers

Developing a schoolwide culture of reading, like any change initiative, takes commitment, leadership, collaboration, communication and consistency. Literacy leaders Laura and Evan Robb describe a model middle school that is “full of reading” and share 10 starter ideas.

A Math Strategy to Unlock Student Thinking

Math teacher Robert Kaplinsky wanted his students debating about the best way to solve a problem, using strategic thinking and not just the formula. He also wanted to know when students had misconceptions so he could reshape his lessons. His solution? Open Middle Math.

Could Pop Culture Unite Diverse Learners?

Should culturally responsive teaching include “pop culture” as a unifying interest in multicultural classrooms and schools? A.P. Andrew Canlé makes that argument, singling out online competition-based gaming as his example of the engaging pedagogy Generation Z wants.

4 Vocab Steps Help Kids Grasp Information Text

Understanding concept words like ‘innovative’ can help students to make sense of complex sources. Britany Harris and Sunday Cummins share a four-step process to introduce a few new vocabulary words before reading an information text and then focus on them as kids read, talk and write.