Christopher Danielson used to hate teaching geometry. Now he sees it as a playground of mathematical ideas for middle schoolers, with opportunities for exploration, wonder, and smart conversations. Here Danielson shares ideas and images teachers can use to begin the fun.
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Mary Tarashuk’s perceptive 4th graders take note of the world around them, in fiction and in the news. As they follow and study the US election, they also learn about the power of people helping one another during their Global Read Aloud of Sara Pennypacker’s Pax.
Middle schoolers are “notorious sponges” who soak up the emotional energy around them, says teacher Elyse Scott. In the wake of a divisive election, she recommends an activity that can help kids build collaborative skills, empathy and acceptance of other viewpoints.
Given social media’s popularity as a news source, consultant Frank Baker says students must gain both the knowledge and the analytical skills to distinguish fact from fiction. Baker highlights the pervasive rise of fake news and shares teaching resources.
Russell Quaglia advocates for “principal voice” using a creative Three L’s framework, surfacing our awareness of things that we know are good leadership practices. Former principal Rick Jetter finds Quaglia’s tips and take-aways thoughtful and easy to implement.
By adopting Jonathan Eckert’s Novice Advantage, teachers can harness the enthusiasm of the “new” teacher and capitalize on the wisdom they have to improve their practice, says educator/reviewer Amber Chandler. Eckert’s innovative book offers many real-world examples.
In a culture where we’re always connected, writes digital citizenship consultant Devorah Heitner, the challenges of adolescence are intensified in ways that adults and kids themselves don’t always fully grasp. Tweens and teens need a special brand of mentorship.
Last year 8th grade teacher Brian Kelley began podcasting conversations with his student writers. Through conferring, he says, teachers let adolescents know that their voices matter “and their explanations can make us better teachers.” Kelley shares three samples.
Always on the lookout for opportunities to enrich her 4th graders’ learning, Mary Tarashuk made a test run with the Global Read Aloud’s 2016 choice, “Pax,” and is ready with added resources for October/November’s worldwide immersion in Sara Pennypacker’s book.
When students are busy learning, staying in a single group is stifling. The solution for teacher-author Amber Chandler is a “flexible classroom” where students rotate through strategic groupings to meet differentiated needs at various stages of the learning process.