While teachers often lead a vibrant learning community within their classroom’s four walls, those walls can also be professionally isolating, says 6th grade teacher Kevin Hodgson. “Being part of a larger network…is empowering in ways that is difficult to put into words. Connections make you feel anchored to a movement. Seeking help is a show of strength.” The Nerdy Resolutions (#nerdlution) hashtag community, he says, is a prime example.
Teaching and learning in grades 4-8
Reviewer Linda Biondi says Aimee Buckner’s new Nonfiction Notebooks “has been my friend, companion, teacher, and guide as I begin to navigate a new curriculum,” taking the angst out of teaching informational writing and replacing it with confidence.
Reviewer Susan Shaver recommends Igniting Your Potential to help adolescents develop into responsible & successful adults. The conversational writing & organization make the book good for sharing with parents & teens or in guided class discussions.
In her new book Teaching in High Gear, middle school teacher Marsha Ratzel describes a transformational journey, marked by a gradual shift toward student-driven learning and energized by a global network of collaborators. In this excerpt, Marsha describes how her development of a “coaching mode” helped students become more self-reliant learners.
A Thanksgiving visitor (a student from 16 years past) offers our Kids on the Cusp blogger – 4th grade teacher Mary Tarashuk – a good hook for her latest look at New Jersey’s mandatory self-assessment rubrics for teachers. This time she reflects on what Family and Community Outreach means to her teaching.
What makes Jim Burke’s The Common Core Companion so valuable to teachers? The layout, says reviewer Anne Anderson. The 2-page spread gives teachers a big picture view of standards, “what they say, what they mean, and how to teach them.”
Reviewer Elisa Waingort highly recommends Student-Driven Learning to those who want to move toward a classroom where students are in the driver’s seat. The authors show how teachers can analyze current practice and begin leading students on hops, drives, and journeys toward ownership of learning.
Whether it’s Grandma’s biscotti recipe or a lesson plan, adding new ingredients (like digital tools) shouldn’t distract from the end result you seek, says teacher and technology consultant Mike Fisher. “The modern mindset is really about willingness, not digital knowledge. It’s about trying new things and exploring new tools and avenues for instruction WITH the students rather than FOR the students.”
Inner city middle school teacher Aaron Brock describes how he scaffolds the writing of a thesis-driven history essay with good results for students.
Too many manic, even eruptive meetings? Reviewer Lyn Hilt recommends the preventatives and interventions crafted by these authors to promote productivity.