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Use Elevator Pitches to Explore Critical Issues

Students need to explore critical questions about topics relevant to their lives, writes Kasey Short. In the past she’s organized debates, but hybrid teaching prompted her to try ‘elevator pitches.’ Kids enjoyed researching issues, doing bias checks and creating short videos.

Mentor Texts Can Help Kids Grasp Grammar

In The Elementary School Grammar Toolkit Sean Ruday shows how to use mentor texts as a tool to help kids connect with engaging material as they learn proper writing conventions. Teacher Kathie Palmieri says the book will enrich writing in the intermediate grades and beyond.

Helping Kids Design Personal Reading Goals

This fall Katie Durkin’s middle schoolers developed a voluntary reading plan using a design thinking process. After modeling her own reading goals, she had students generate and pursue ‘prototype’ goals that helped them expand choice and voice in their reading practices.

Every Student Has an Epic Hero Inside

Focusing on the elements of the epic hero, this activity from author and 2019 PA TOY Marilyn Pryle helps students learn about literary elements while reflecting on their own lives, goals, and obstacles as they consider the hero’s backstory, good qualities, flaw, and quest.

SEL & the Brain: Every Student Has a Story

For those with positive stories, social-emotional learning helps reinforce the skills they need to succeed. For those with stories of trauma, SEL can help balance negative experiences with positive ones. Author-educator Marilee Sprenger shows how brain research can help.

Teach Math by Diving Deep Into Real Data

Rather than approach math using only a curriculum that follows textbook lessons, we can boost learning by teaching math as a science. Middle grades educator and NBCT Kathleen Palmieri is learning how to incorporate data studies to help students relate math to the real world.