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.
In “Read Talk Write” Laura Robb provides strategies that can grow students’ ability to have rich, accountable conversations, leading to productive, engaging writing. Reviewer Linda Biondi especially appreciates the mentor texts, detailed lessons, and reproducibles.
Recognizing the need for a reliable, research-based method to test listening comprehension skills, Monica Brady-Myerov at Listenwise has worked to bring an easy-to-use method to the classroom, drawing on curated NPR content to engage students with important stories.
Sibberson and Szymusiak are back with a fresh look at reading instruction in the early middle grades. Literacy coach Pam Hamilton says “Still Learning to Read” will help teachers fine-tune classroom libraries, organize groups, and support still-developing readers.
Nancy Dean’s “Finding Voice” will help teachers in grades 4-6 supplement their studies of complex text using brief, compelling mentor texts as they study word choice, detail, imagery, figurative language and tone. Reviewer Linda Biondi likens it to “a GPS system.”
Reviewer Mary Langer Thompson believes every writing teacher needs Meigs-Kahlenberg’s The Author’s Apprentice, whether to expand their thinking of what writing can be or to put a year’s worth of strategies and ideas into action now. Writing novels with 7th graders?!
Always on the lookout for opportunities to enrich her 4th graders’ learning, Mary Tarashuk made a test run with the Global Read Aloud’s 2016 choice, “Pax,” and is ready with added resources for October/November’s worldwide immersion in Sara Pennypacker’s book.
Inspired by Donalyn Miller’s game-changing work The Book Whisperer, middle school teacher Cheryl Mizerny has transformed her traditional ELA classroom into a reading community where everyone learns to love books. See if some of her ideas might work for you.
John Spencer’s book on tools for language acquisition will likely be most useful to teachers who are new to working with ELLs but not new to using technology in their lessons. ESL educator Susan Schwartz would have liked fuller explanations for various strategies.