The free education site CommonLit has created nearly 1000 document-based lesson plans and a growing collection of differentiated nonfiction text sets. Rob Fleisher, the non-profit’s director of school partnerships, shares some creative ways to tap these rich resources.
With its ready-made product menus and immediate applicability, Differentiating Instruction with Menus is one of those books that won’t gather dust, as teachers will turn to it for quick reference throughout the school year, says ELA and gifted facilitator Kim Rensch.
Mock trials can bring project-based learning alive in English and social studies classes. In Judging for Themselves, David Sherrin provides everything teachers will need to put Galileo, Tom Robinson and others on trial, says social studies teacher Joanne Bell.
How much pre-teaching and context-building should teachers do when they teach novels from other cultural eras? How much is too much in a discovery-based classroom? Amber Chandler’s students helped her find the right balance as they experienced The Outsiders.
Fresh from her middle school’s Falcon Pride Day, Amber Chandler celebrates the joy of a pre-Spring Break event that’s one part competition, one part team building, and one part controlled chaos, noting that kids’ SEL needs are at least as important as curriculum.
Anna Roseboro’s Teaching Writing in the Middle School can serve as a practical handbook to support the work of beginning English Language Arts teachers. Literacy coach Cynthia McKenzie says those new teachers will find many helpful ideas in the year-long guide.
Without turning his classroom into “test prep central,” teacher Kevin Hodgson is working to anticipate what his state’s evolving standardized tests will contain and how best to help his sixth graders prepare themselves with plenty of reading and writing strategies.
If bibliotherapy is an effective way to ease the growing pains of adolescents, writes 7th grade teacher Laurie Lichtenstein, The Outsiders is “the gold standard of therapy in middle grades literature.” It’s the only whole class novel she teaches each year.
Ariel Sacks says teachers who read The Flexible ELA Classroom will get to know “an enthusiastic, skilled teacher” effectively applying “many of the best current teaching trends.” Amber Chandler’s practical, student centered ideas include flexible differentiation, PBL infusion, family involvement and more.
More and more, state and national standards call on all educators to become “teachers of literacy.” ELA teacher Kevin Hodgson shares how he and his 6th grade colleagues in science, social studies and math are figuring out what this will mean in their classrooms.