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Fireside Reads: 20 Favorite MiddleWeb Posts

With the winter “read by the fire” season in full force, we offer a selection of 20 MiddleWeb posts that have garnered thousands of views apiece. They represent the wisdom & expertise of middle grades educators with a wide range of teaching experiences.

Students Often Prefer Low Tech Learning

Today’s students have never known a time when computers didn’t exist. Many are surrounded by digital options in school as well as at home. But teacher Cheryl Mizerny has noticed her 6th graders are often drawn to low-tech learning experiences. She looks at why that might be.

Revisiting Pearl Harbor on December 7

As a collection of primary sources, My Pearl Harbor Scrapbook 1941 is truly a treasure trove, ranging from telegrams to WW II images. Reviewer Jody Passanisi, while noting its dense design and limited personal narration, recommends the book for all ages.

Campaign Ads: Helping Students Find the Truth

If politicians have a “license to lie” in campaign advertising, how are our students going to know who and what to believe? Critical thinking skills are paramount, says media literacy consultant Frank Baker, who shares insights and resources tied to Common Core and social studies standards.

When Shakespeare Meets Pop Culture in Class

Can Pop Culture and Shakespeare Exist in the Same Classroom? The answer is “yes,” says reviewer Judi Holst. All that prior knowledge can help students understand and discuss complex text. The authors show how to make complex text pop.

My Own Personal Treasure Map

Mary Tarashuk shares gems from her history curriculum treasure hunt, all discovered while surfing on the Web during her beach vacation. Her online pirate crew added to her store of resources for the year ahead and helped her strengthen her internet sea legs.

How Leadership Impacts Learning

Linking Leadership to Student Learning draws on a major US study to reveal how school leaders actually impact student achievement, says reviewer Holly Procida. Key finding: Collaborative leadership has more impact than individual leadership.

Building a Culture of Excellence

Reviewer Elisa Waingort finds Ron Berger’s 2003 book, An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students, timeless and timely, with concrete suggestions for building a classroom culture of excellence.