Teaching and learning in grades 4-8

Bring Your Personality and Humor on Day One

We might think a new school year should start off with solemnity. But that’s not the message teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron has garnered from her survey of 6-12th graders across the country. Students learn more when teachers share their humanity and their humor ASAP.

Apps to Help Teachers Hit the Ground Running

As the new school year approaches, explore a selection of digital tools recommended by teacher educator Curtis Chandler that can help you streamline lesson planning, create secure class websites, connect with families, and gather information on how your new students like to learn.

How We Become Skillful Math Teachers

Tracy Zager’s professor told students it would take five years to become a skillful math teacher. In this message to beginning educators, Zager shares insights that can help push the process. Most important: “Become addicted to listening to students’ mathematical ideas.”

Strategies to Energize School Staff and Culture

School Culture Recharged is a good mix of philosophy, research, and practical strategy. Rita Platt recommends that “school and district leaders read it to get a handle on the what’s, how’s, and why’s of developing school cultures that help bring about success for all.”

Teach Workshop Writing with K-6 Mentor Texts

In the 2nd edition of Mentor Texts, Lynne Dorfman and Rose Cappelli help put a gradual-release focus on purposeful planning, finding stories to engage young readers, and using the book’s readings to support strong writing by students, says Erin Corrigan-Smith.

Three Fun Activities to Keep Students Writing

Writers get better by writing, says author and ELA teacher Marilyn Pryle. “It’s our job to have students write regularly, genuinely, and with ownership.” She shares three fun writing tasks (including directions, a model and a prewrite activity) that get the job done!