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This Social Studies Compendium Is a Keeper

The authors of the Social Studies Teacher’s Toolbox have constructed a research-based “honest, human guide” to helping students understand and care about what they learn. You will dig through and dog-ear it, and your students will be the richer for it, writes Sarah Cooper.

Picture Books Set the Stage for Middle School Learning

In Part 2 of a series on using picture books in middle school, Jennifer Sniadecki and Jason DeHart focus on “the simple power” of stories with minimal text to set the stage for lessons, provide background knowledge, and make efficient use of daily class time. Example: Eva Bunting’s Terrible Things.

Picture Books: Perfect for Middle Schoolers

Students at ages 9-13 still want to hear their teachers read aloud, want to sit on the rug, want to engage in stories. Jennifer Sniadecki and Jason DeHart share evidence that picture books are also an effective way to teach figurative language and other ELA standards.

Media Literacy: Video As Primary Source

Video documentation is a powerful tool in news reporting, whether it’s done by professional journalists or by ordinary people with instant access to video cameras. Frank Baker looks at the history of news video as a “primary source” for historians and middle grades teachers.

Fun Weekly Challenges Kept School Spirit Alive

How can we keep a positive school climate and culture during remote learning? Chris Edwards, the 7th grade assistant principal at Kreps Middle School, created a grade-wide Google Classroom for students and teachers and staged weekly competitions best described as crazy and fun. It worked!

Leadership Planning for Uncertain Times Ahead

Looking ahead to the new school year, it’s critical that school leaders have comprehensive plans ready for implementation if more large-scale remote learning is required. Ron Williamson and Barbara Blackburn underscore the need to fully involve parents and teachers in the process.

Talking Frankly with Our Middle Grades Kids

Creating opportunities for frank and healthy student conversations about social issues is especially significant as we face a global pandemic that affirms our humanity. Middle grades teacher Nancy Costanzo’s read alouds and writing ideas can help online and in class.