In this unprecedented school year, as teachers and school leaders set goals and decide what to keep and what to change, Lynne Dorfman and Aileen Hower argue that “it is social-emotional learning – not academics – that should be the focus for the first month of school.”
When we transform a text into a multitasking mentor text, we increase the instructional mileage we can get from one power-packed teaching tool, writes veteran teacher and literacy consultant Pam Koutrakos. She includes five “energy star” ideas and a text set to get started.
Reading and writing experts Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher detail how to use essays, book clubs, poetry and digital composition to support student literacy and build student agency. Reviewer Helene Alalouf says your students will thank you for bringing the book’s ideas to class.
National Poetry Month is here! If you’re once again rushing to pull together some poetry lessons – or perhaps feeling a bit guilty because you’ve put poetry aside in favor of more high-stakes ELA topics – take a look at these easy-to-use resources.
Novels in verse offer quicker reads with instant character connections, vivid imagery, pathways to complex issues, strong narratives, and much more. ELA teacher Kasey Short shares how to use them in class and introduces lots of titles for your middle graders.
New YA books by Amanda Gorman, Lois Lowry and Margarita Engle are all written in verse, says Katie Caprino, yet each tells a story in a different way. One is a poem to America. Another is memoir. And the third is historical fiction, set in 1990s Cuba, with a singing dog.
Teaching poetry can give students a sense of connection, collaboration, and creativity as they express themselves and read the expressions of others. During National Poetry Month, teacher-author Marilyn Pryle shares fun activities from her classroom that touch on all three.
Whether your classes dive into poetry in April or throughout the year, teacher Megan Kelly has lots of activities to enrich your students’ experience. Her latest unit has kids collaborating on visual analysis, horoscope haiku, matching teachers to their poems, and more.
Dina Strasser finds more poets are writing about climate change and other social justice issues. Such poems can provide alternatives to middle schoolers when themes aren’t too entangled in complex structures. She suggests some options students can “hook into easily.”
If every elementary, English and history teacher did even one of the book’s activities each year, our understanding of our students would deepen immeasurably, as would their appreciation of their families and their communities, both local and global, writes Sarah Cooper.