Frank Buck remembers the joy of playing the Tonette with 4th grade classmates. Today, any teacher with access to a set of iPads and a free app can introduce all students to elements of music, enjoy the kids’ hands-on sound experiments, and build engagement and a more vibrant classroom culture.
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How students feel about what is being taught and what they’re being asked to do works either as a catalyst or a deterrent to learning. Curtis Chandler shares activities and digital resources to help boost engagement and achievement by ’emotionalizing’ learning.
How the news media functions and how it covers the White House are important for today’s students to understand, says media literacy expert Frank Baker. He reviews current controversies growing out of President Trump’s “war on the media” and offers teaching ideas.
Teachers have lots of justifiable reasons to complain about their jobs, says author-educator Jenny Rankin. But “loving your work and experiencing peace and success on a daily basis are certainly within your reach.” Attitude isn’t everything, she says, but it helps to avoid toxic thinking.
Positive and constructive self-assessments are what Mary Tarashuk wants for her fourth graders. Recently they used reflective writing to consider their own progress (and the progress of their class) more realistically, and to learn to set personal goals for growth.
Jackie Walsh shares resources and strategies teachers can use to partner with students and create new roles and responsibilities in classroom questioning. Replace traditional “interrogation” with methods of inquiry that reveal understanding and strengthen learning.
Discussing political news in class continues to feel like “walking on glass barefoot,” says Sarah Cooper. She’s drawn toward humorous interpretations of current events to reduce tensions. After some trial and error, Cooper uses four criteria for video selection.
Quality questions are the “bait” that can hook students into deeper discussions and learning that sticks. Questioning expert Jackie Walsh shares a pair of videos and several templates that will help teachers plan a questioning process that pulls all students in.
CCSS ELA middle grade standards specifically address the importance of teaching film techniques and the decisions made by filmmakers. In a new MiddleWeb blog, Close Reading the Media, Frank Baker breaks down the art of movie making and shares lots of resources.
“Equal parts how-to and shopping list,” teacher Amy Estersohn says Ruth Culham’s Dream Wakers will help any middle grades ELA or social studies teacher add more Latino voices and mentor texts – especially in classrooms with a writer’s workshop teaching approach.