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Ideas to Involve Parents in Boosting Literacy

Written from the experiences of two veteran teachers, Empowering Families is the most useful guide in promoting student literacy at home that 4th grade teacher Alex T. Valencic has ever come across. He plans to share its many suggestions with teachers and parents this fall.

5 Reader Activities That Invite Higher Thinking

You’ve taught students to read closely, to annotate, to discuss – now what? Teacher/writer Marilyn Pryle shares five reader-response activities she uses to help students interact with texts in creative ways, inviting higher levels of thinking & understanding.

Making Our Classrooms More Playful and Fun

School technology coach Josh Burker offers eight reasons why classroom making is not only playful and fun but also an effective strategy to build organizational, problem-solving and leadership skills. Included: A MaKey MaKey musical instruments project.

Understanding How Kids Think about Math

Math teachers wondering how their students came up with wrong answers will find lots to use in Children’s Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction. Videoed children explain their solutions and so reveal teaching insights, says reviewer Maia Fastabend.

STEM Programs Must Not Leave Math Behind!

Guest expert Dr. Susan Pruet stresses the need to stretch beyond simple arithmetic to incorporate more challenging math content in STEM lessons. Pruet also cites the supports middle grades math teachers will need to spark student engagement in STEM careers.

Virtual Field Trips Spice Up Learning

In today’s budget-conscious and time-stressed schools, virtual field trips are a great way to excite students without leaving the classroom. Teaching expert Barbara Blackburn shares a sample lesson idea and some good places to hunt for relevant field trips.

How Dialogue Circles Promote Student Growth

Dialogue circles can facilitate brain function and help “increase generosity, trust, intrinsic motivation, social connection, and cooperation so students can work together for a common purpose,” writes inner-city middle school principal David Palank.

How to Create a Student Storytelling Club

Karen Chace knows storytelling can build literacy as well as joy. In Story by Story she explains in detail how to develop students’ storytelling skills and how to gain support for storyteller festivals. Reviewer Kevin Cordi especially values her reports of student engagement.

CommonLit’s Free Texts Help Explore Big Ideas

CommonLit.Org is a nonprofit organization building a growing collection of supplemental texts, curated by teachers, for teachers, writes founder Michelle Brown. The free and open resource is cross-curricular, organized around themes and essential questions.