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.
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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.
Students learn by connecting prior knowledge with new information. Elizabeth Stein urges teachers to meld the insights of Bloom’s Taxonomy and Universal Design for Learning concepts “to create access to higher level thinking and actions in your classrooms.”
Nancie Atwell’s passion for adolescent reading and writing permeates every page of In the Middle, says reviewer Jenni Miller. Reworked with over 80% new material, this classic leads teachers through the intricacies of reading and writing workshop.
Urban ELA teacher Mackenzie Grate found mock trials to be the perfect vehicle to encourage reading, teach speaking & listening, and prepare her 6th graders for their first argumentative writing essay. How-to tips, downloads and lessons learned included.
Teacher Mary Tarashuk has reasserted her “Irish Zen” following the full frontal assault on PARCC testing in her last post. She describes how her fourth graders had fun learning about Chinese New Year while also practicing for the high stakes test in prescribed ways.
Thomas Newkirk makes a convincing argument in Minds Made for Stories that narrative is the framework for all good learning experiences, says teacher-reviewer Jenni Miller. This insight about storytelling can be used by teachers to help students learn and retain more in any subject.
For years Amber Chandler has marched her middle school students through Grammar Bootcamp, believing that grammatically correct language is essential to be college and career ready. Now this year’s 7th graders have convinced her there might be a better way.
Upstanders supports the complex challenge of cross-content literacy with excellent lesson plans, and authors Smokey Daniels and Sara Ahmed also describe a path to develop the most difficult skill for young middle schoolers, learning to be truly empathic.
In Advanced Common Core Math Explorations: Numbers & Operations, Jerry Burkhart offers advanced students challenging activities with increasing levels of difficulty. Math teacher Maia Fastabend finds it well suited to high level readers in grades 7-9.