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January 15, 2013
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
 
  • Why teachers should debate best practices
    Educators need to discuss -- and even argue about -- the best teaching practices needed to change instruction for the better in schools, middle-grades educator Ariel Sacks writes in this blog post. This type of discourse takes time, so administrators need to allow time for the collaboration, professional reading and mentoring that can make better teachers, Sacks writes. "If we do not discuss and disagree about 'best practices,'... others will do the arguing for us, out there in the non-school-based education world, and dominate the discourse," Sacks notes. Teacher Leaders Network/On the Shoulders of Giants blog (1/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Common core guide: Students should read more of everything
    The Common Core State Standards demands a dramatic increase in overall reading, according to a new guide, but does not necessarily mean that nonfiction works will replace the fictional titles that traditionally have been part of the curriculum, education reporter Catherine Gewertz writes in this blog post. "Because literacy is now a shared responsibility among all teachers, reading should dramatically increase in all content areas," the guide states. "While English teachers may use more informational text, students may actually read more literature not less." Education Week/Curriculum Matters blog (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 
  • Other News
Improve Comprehension Across Content Areas
Help resolve comprehension difficulties across content areas with this practical text. Packed with proven, research-based strategies for Grades 6-12, it's ideal for helping students with and without disabilities. Download a free chapter!
  Tweens & Young Teens 
 
  • The way students think affects their resilience
    Teaching students about how beliefs affect resilience to adversity can help students learn positive coping strategies to the challenges in life, social-emotional program developer Renee Jain writes in this blog post. For example, a resilient student thinks a bad grade is not the end of the world and works to improve it. "Optimistic and realistic belief systems combine to create a cornerstone of resilient mindsets," Jain writes. Edutopia.org/Renee Jain's blog (1/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Poll: Student engagement wanes in later grades
    A recent Gallup poll of 500,000 students in 37 states finds that with each year they progress in school, students are less engaged -- with just 4 in 10 high-school students reportedly engaged, down from 8 in 10 in elementary school, Ellen Wexler writes in this guest blog post. Among the possible reasons cited for the decline is the increased focus on standardized testing in later grades and a lack of options for students who are not on the college path. Education Week Teacher/Teaching Now blog (1/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 
This white paper synthesizes 30 years of research about what works for students in understanding mathematical concepts and overlays findings with the power of digital to deepen proficiency. Meeting the Mathematics Needs of 21st Century Students outlines the basis for Math Techbook, launching January 8, 2015. Download Here
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  Classroom Innovation 
 
  • Other News

3-Minute Motivators is revised and expanded with over 200 simple, fun activities for any grade that will help you use "a little magic" to take a quick break, engage students, and refocus them on the task at hand. 150 of the activities are new to this edition! Preview the entire book online!

  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • How teachers can make their websites count
    While more educators are maintaining their own websites, students may have trouble finding them, Canadian educator and blogger Colleen Lee writes. In this post, Lee suggests four ways teachers can help students find the sites online. They include embedding access to required documents on teachers' sites, creating assignments that allow students to interact with their sites and posting homework assignments online. Teachers also can include practice tests or quizzes on their websites and instruct students on where to find them, Lee suggests. Edudemic (1/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Using technology to help students apply what they've learned
    There are digital tools that can help achieve the goal of educational transfer, writes Kristen Swanson, an education consultant. Educational transfer occurs when students are able to use what they've learned in the classroom in new, real-life situations, she writes in this blog post. She also offers three goals for the new year, including the use of less text when designing and consuming multimedia. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • How one school developed school-wide improvement targets
    Middle-grades instructional coach Jackie Flowers in this blog post details how Discovery Middle School in Madison City, Ala., created several drafts of its one-page instructional improvement target, based on Jim Knight's book, "Unmistakable Impact." Part of the Instructional Partners Pilot program, the effort required all teachers, and later student leaders, to come together in grade-level teams to create an evolving school-wide learning target. A+ Education Partnership (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • Teaching students to read visual media
    Today's students need to be able to "read" and interpret the language of film and other visual media, says education consultant Frank W. Baker. In the second of two MiddleWeb guest articles on the topic, Baker describes how he uses the Disney film "Wall-E" and other movies to help middle-grades students sharpen their visual literacy skills and meet two key common core standards in English Language Arts. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How I became a children's author
    New Jersey regional planner and part-time novelist Russel Like shares the story of his evolution from satiric science fiction writer to satiric sf/fantasy writer for children in this new MiddleWeb guest article. Readers will learn how some positive teacher response to his two self-published books -- and fatherhood -- turned this promising author's attention to YA literature and a Kickstarter proposal. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  SmartQuote 
If you can't write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don't have a clear idea."
--David Belasco,
American theatrical producer, director and playwright


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