The life skills students learn in our classes prepare them to thrive in the real world. Middle grades teacher Laleh Ghotbi shares some lessons from her effort to use weekly community-building circles in her classroom to help students learn to respect their differences and focus on common values.
Choice in reading is about student autonomy and motivation. It’s especially effective with kids who don’t like to read. Stephanie Farley’s well-honed system lets 8th graders read any text they choose AND meets standards – even though they never all read the same book.
Compassionate discipline calls us to action, writes SEL & the Brain expert Marilee Sprenger – actions much different from our usual vision of discipline. Showing compassion and managing our behavior can help our students recognize their own emotions and regulate themselves.
To guide middle grades students into paying more attention to poetry – and reconsidering their often negative attitudes about reading and writing poems – author and teacher Linda Rief suggests kids create heart books, do quickwrites and illustrate lines of their own work.
Help your middle graders grow academically and behaviorally with these monthly SEL themes and activities developed by middle school teacher leader Kasey Short and her counseling colleague Janani Buford. Just right for busy teachers to incorporate into their advisories!
While logic and skill are two important elements in advancing math knowledge, students also need to be immersed in the language of math to succeed. Kathleen Palmieri brainstormed with her fifth graders to develop fun strategies that help them understand and apply math terms.
While coping strategies can help those facing burnout, teaching careers are more sustainable when educators also slash workload and stress-inducers. Jenny Grant Rankin looks at the burnout pandemic and urges teachers to reduce grading and focus on planning quality lessons.
Katie Caprino offers three ideas for using Zillah Bethell’s YA novel The Shark Caller to engage your middle grades ELA students in social emotional learning. Caprino’s activities build on how the young characters interact as they face the impact of deaths in their families.
Literacy champions Lynne Dorfman and Aileen Hower join children’s author Frank Murphy in a frank, well-informed review of the book banning controversy. Students need books that help them see themselves and understand others. “The opposite of censorship is intellectual freedom.”
As disinformation proliferates, schools need a better solution than perfunctory media literacy education, say these digital citizenship advocates. When students achieve full “media fluency,” they will not only understand disinformation exists but have the tools to outflank it.