For years Mary Tarashuk engaged her students in a rule-making exercise that felt democratic but produced her desired outcomes. Now her strategy is to help kids think more deeply about respect and have them use their insights to guide the classroom community.
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“Future Wise: Educating Our Children for a Changing World” by David Perkins zeroes in on curriculum, pursuing “lifeworthy” learning pursuits, fresh approaches to content and less preoccupation with technology. Principal Matt Renwick likes Perkins’ flexible outlook on the “what” of teaching.
Jake Wizner has done what few teachers would ever attempt – teach memoir writing to eighth graders. Reviewer Mary Langer Thompson admires the book for its use of models and plentiful prompts, Wizner’s ability to relate reading to writing, and his call for teachers to write too.
Close Reading for the Whole Class is easy to follow and designed for “real life classrooms.” Research based and with practical lesson plans, the book takes the angst out of close reading. Great for individual or group study, says reviewer Linda Biondi.
A multitude of authentic classroom examples and strategies make “Vocabularians” a must-have book, says ELA teacher and word nerd Amber Chandler. Author Brenda Overturf also provides realistic ways to bring schoolwide vocabulary immersion to the middle grades.
Mary Tarashuk is packing for her trip back to Room 106 and her new class of fourth graders. She shares her pre-flight checklist and her new student-centered theme for the year: “In Class 4-T We DO Learning.” Along the way she includes middle grades resources.
In his ELA classroom, David Sebek focuses on four aspects of what it means to be a “good citizen” – truthfulness, justice, equality and responsibility – and uses whistleblower stories and dystopian fiction to explore the elusive definition of citizenship.
If you could design your ideal social studies curriculum for middle school, what would it look like? After surveying area high schools, Jody Passanisi and Shara Peters decide to focus on skills development. Here’s their draft scope & sequence for grades 6-8.
Lori G. Wilfong knows how to write for teachers: concise, conversational and filled with practical ideas. In Writing Strategies That Work: Do This–Not That!, she presents current best practices for teachers of all grades and content areas, says Anne Anderson.
Ivannia Soto guides educators teaching oral language skills and writing in the content areas to integrate CCSS writing goals with strategies that deepen learning among English language learners. Literacy coach Glenda Moyer recommends the book highly.