Teachers will see the standards movement differently after finishing Kelly Gallagher’s “In The Best Interest of Students.” Reviewer Beth Morrow expects readers will have a renewed passion for making a difference in students’ lives with best ELA practices.
We can teach students the value of speaking out on critical issues while meeting curriculum standards, says Mary Tarashuk, who shares her 6-day unit inspired by the 1992 speech of 12-year old environmentalist Severn Suzuki before global leaders.
Plan now for summer reading assignments with the Character Analysis Organizers developed by Sarah Tantillo. Students evaluate two main characters in a selected book by answering questions and then developing paragraphs. More reading, less torture, and a place to start in the fall.
Kevin Hodgson is always on the look out for different ways to engage his 6th graders as storytellers. Recently he introduced Storyteller Cards, a Kickstarter project, and asked them how each card’s character, setting & action might enliven their writing.
In “59 Reasons to Write” Kate Messner shifts from teaching writers workshop and writing books for tweens to helping teachers build their own writing skills, assisted by more than 30 published authors. Reviewer Wendy Moore plans to try out their strategies.
Fourth grade teacher Mary Tarashuk describes how lines from the musical In the Woods, the new Julian chapter of RJ Palacio’s Wonder, and a chance encounter with an anti-bullying article came together to spark some memorable student wisdom about character.
Helping students develop into strong writers is difficult work. Fortunately, as teacher Kevin Hodgson discovered recently, the Common Core emphasis on writing in every content area means there are many more colleagues with ideas to share.
Narrative writing and figurative language are not just for English class anymore, says teacher-author Heather Wolpert-Gawron. “Narrative strategies infuse content with creativity and with an added layer of student personality that aids in ownership.” She shares a science example.
Writing Pathways: Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions can help K-8 educators at the grade, school and district levels develop effective collaborative writing programs, says reviewer Linda Biondi. Teachers will find extensive resources to build student ownership of writing.
For ELA teacher Cheryl Mizerny, the most effective learning strategy often begins with students working collaboratively in small groups. Mizerny shows how this works during a Grammar, Usage & Mechanics lesson and another on the characteristics of personal narrative.