This fall Katie Durkin’s middle schoolers developed a voluntary reading plan using a design thinking process. After modeling her own reading goals, she had students generate and pursue ‘prototype’ goals that helped them expand choice and voice in their reading practices.
For years teachers have used the gradual release model to shift ownership and responsibility by degrees from themselves to students. In a remote setting, gradual release is often even more important, as students need structure to learn. Barbara R. Blackburn shows how.
Amid pandemic learning, we must address virtual PD experiences for teachers, write experts Barbara Blackburn and Ron Williamson. By considering our purpose, the content, and the appropriate platforms to engage teachers, leaders can assure effective professional learning.
When Kathie Palmieri came back to her physical but socially distanced classroom, collaboration was one of her biggest concerns. Drawing on her ‘emergency’ teaching experiences and her new confidence about ed tech, she searched out Google Jamboard “and felt a sense of relief.”
Examining the human impact of climate change through texts allows students to connect climate science to the human cost of climate change, develop empathy for communities impacted by climate change, and discover more about climate justice, writes ELA teacher Kasey Short.
Effective questioning during remote learning doesn’t require new strategies. Consultant Barbara Blackburn suggests building questions with higher order thinking models; including questioning stems; adding cubing for student choice; and having students source their answers.
As you work with your students on grammar instruction, Sean Ruday recommends emphasizing that grammatical concepts are key parts of writer’s craft toolkit. An understanding of the precise purpose of each tool will help them become thoughtful and artful communicators.
Writing workshop can be an exciting part of the day for students in the middle, writes author and workshop expert Lynne Dorfman. Even when middle level schedules aren’t a great fit for extended workshop writing, teachers can nurture “writerly” attitudes with daily quickwrites.
Are your students’ annotated texts hard to make sense of? Do they underline entire sections of a source and write very few comments? This can be a huge impediment to meaningful learning for some kids. Sunday Cummins offers 4 keys to sharpening their annotation skills.
Focusing on the elements of the epic hero, this activity from author and 2019 PA TOY Marilyn Pryle helps students learn about literary elements while reflecting on their own lives, goals, and obstacles as they consider the hero’s backstory, good qualities, flaw, and quest.