Category: Articles

Writing Workshop Ideas for the Middle Grades

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.

4 Keys to Helping Students Annotate Texts

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.

Every Student Has an Epic Hero Inside

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.

SEL & the Brain: Every Student Has a Story

For those with positive stories, social-emotional learning helps reinforce the skills they need to succeed. For those with stories of trauma, SEL can help balance negative experiences with positive ones. Author-educator Marilee Sprenger shows how brain research can help.

Adapting Rigorous Work to Remote Learning

As teachers work to offer SEL support during remote learning, they can also adapt assignments to provide students with academic challenges that engage them in higher order thinking and teamwork. Barbara Blackburn and her colleagues share examples across content areas.

The Awesome Power of Simple Questions

How can we stretch younger students’ excitement for inquiry into the middle school years? After tutoring a 9-year old this summer, MS teacher Mary Beth Nicklaus hopes the power of pursuing their simple questions will energize the quiet kids among her 6th graders this fall.

Teach Math by Diving Deep Into Real Data

Rather than approach math using only a curriculum that follows textbook lessons, we can boost learning by teaching math as a science. Middle grades educator and NBCT Kathleen Palmieri is learning how to incorporate data studies to help students relate math to the real world.

Jen Serravallo: Let Go and Gain Engagement!

The more we try to exert control in the online classroom, the more stressful it can be for us and for students, writes author and literacy expert Jennifer Serravallo. Six shifts will give learners more ownership and flexibility, increase engagement, and boost learning.

Conveying Your High Expectations Remotely

How do teachers’ behaviors reflect our expectations in a remote classroom? For example, teachers tend to probe students more if they have high expectations of the students, writes Barbara Blackburn. She suggests strategies to challenge all students, even at a distance.