Kelly Owens suggests ways to promote more engagement and motivation in class by using a HEAD, HEART, HANDS lens. She includes her team’s strategies for creating a student-centric learning environment, increasing opportunities for self-reflection, and decluttering the classroom.
Recounting her visit from a grandfatherly apparition grabbed the attention of Stephanie Farley’s students and launched a study of storytelling. Putting “stunt teaching” into action – sometimes with colleagues – builds engagement and opens the door to choice, challenge and play.
Students in the middle grades think in polarities and will go to great lengths to avoid embarrassment, writes author and school counselor Phyllis Fagell. But with the right supports, they can learn to take risks – asking questions, joining discussions and learning more.
What can you and your students accomplish the last few weeks of school? In this MiddleWeb Resource Roundup educators share activities that align learning with fun, offer ideas for responding to stress, and suggest strategies to help sustain your classroom community.
Incorporating the odd and unusual into everyday instruction can capture students’ attention. And middle graders do enjoy knowing something bizarre! Anne Anderson shares calendar celebrations (Artichoke Day?) from March, April and May to surprise them. Teaching ideas included.
Intentionally introducing humor, curiosity, enthusiasm, and optimism into each class is a low-tech, high-impact method to build resilience and attention. Stephanie Farley shares ways she’s engaged middle schoolers with elements like (live!) rolling mice and kid-made symbols.
Lorena Germán easily weaves her personal experiences into the presentation of her Textured Teaching framework, holding our interest as she invites us into a deeper reflection about what it means to grow a culturally sustaining teaching practice and how we can bring that about.
If students develop executive function skills – focus, planning and organizing, self-monitoring – classrooms will run more smoothly, there will be fewer interruptions and repetitions, and teachers will have successfully bridged the SEL/academics gap, writes Marilee Sprenger.
If you are teaching in a low-performing, high-poverty school, Eric Jensen’s Teaching with Poverty and Equity in Mind is a must read, writes Anne Anderson. Jensen begins with the process of teachers adopting an equity mindset and offers proven tools to support all students.
Working together in small groups using a book club model has helped sixth graders in Sara Kugler’s K-6 school shift from passive and disinterested to engaged and self-reliant. They’re eager to read and ready to “talk books,” writes the literacy coach and co-teacher.