Blogs on Middle (6-8)

Blogs on Middle (6-8)RSS
Todd FinleyJanuary 28, 2014

Since the 1990s, I’ve mothballed the lecture -- "where the teacher talks and hopefully the students listen" -- with other scorned practices: popcorn reading, multiple-choice quizzes, test-prep drills, lower-level "recitation" questions, crossword puzzles and the like. But the fact is that few practices are completely bad or good given the infinite variety of students, curriculum choices and instructional strengths. Besides, making teachers wrong for professional choices blunts their power. I'll come back to that idea.

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Beth HollandJanuary 27, 2014

Think back 20 years. Pay phones still worked, and only doctors carried pagers. Laptops weighed as much as bowling balls, and few of us had Internet access. In fact, much of what we now consider commonplace -- Google, email, WiFi, texting -- was not even possible. If that was 20 years ago, where are we going in the next 20?

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Petra ClaflinJanuary 24, 2014

For many of us who are intimidated by the idea of "rigor" and exactly what it means to make our lessons more rigorous, thinking about it as a routine can make it more real and doable for us. Because to really raise rigor and push our students, it's not about anything more that we can teach them, it's about setting up the right environment for them to think critically and engage in analysis and problem solving. Discussion is one fail-safe way to do this, no matter the content area. Our math teacher leaders have really been pushing discussion as a key to rigor. Here are some ways to set up a strong discussion routine in your class.

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Matt LevinsonJanuary 23, 2014

It's hard work to parent a teen. In a recent New York Magazine article, Jennifer Senior writes, "It's dicey business, being someone's prefrontal cortex by proxy. Yet modern culture tells us that that's one of the primary responsibilities of being a parent of a teen."

Of course, it's no surprise that the last thing teens want is to have a parent looking too closely into their lives. It's a constant push-pull phenomenon for parents and for teens. One minute, a teenager can descend into grumpiness, isolation and solitude, and in the same breath, that teen wants a hug, affection and a laugh.

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Andrew MillerJanuary 21, 2014

I am of course a huge project-based learning (PBL) nerd and advocate. I am also an advocate for the flipped classroom, yet at the same time I also have my concerns about flipping a classroom. This model still hinges upon great teachers, and engaging curriculum and instruction. So why not combine PBL and the flipped classroom? It can be an excellent match when you consider some of the following tips. Even Salman Khan believes that the flipped classroom can create the space for PBL.

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Mary Beth HertzJanuary 17, 2014

This school year I joined the staff of a 1:1 high school here in Philadelphia. Students at the school have access to their own devices, which they take home with them. Although I've taught for many years in classrooms where each student had a school-issued device, the experience of my new students taking their devices home has forced me to reflect on the issue of distraction. How do we teach students to integrate technology into their schoolwork and their learning while also making sure that they're staying focused on the task at hand?

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Rebecca AlberJanuary 16, 2014

When students graduate from high school, there is a collection of important (or core) skills we want them to possess. That's where the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor standards (CCRA) come in. With 32 anchor standards in total in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language, these anchor standards are generalized and quite broad. However, you can find more specific skills for teaching each of the anchor standards embedded within the grade-level Common Core state standards (CCSS).

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Alicia IannucciJanuary 14, 2014

In my sixth grade integrated math and ELA class at Quest to Learn, students play a board game called Caterpillar to learn about probability and statistics. As a founding teacher at the NYC public school with a unique game-like learning model (currently in its fifth year), I have worked through many iterations of this game and how it affects students' mathematical experience over the years.

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Judy Willis MDJanuary 10, 2014

The shift toward applying more executive function (EF) within learning and assessment will cause some discomfort in teachers and students. The transition will not eliminate the need for memorization, as automatic use of foundational knowledge is the toolkit for the executive functions. Memorization, however, will not be adequate as meaningful learning becomes more about applying, communicating and supporting what one knows.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronJanuary 9, 2014

Since being asked to pilot my school's first iPad 1:1 classroom, I've been working through a paperless project-based learning unit with my eighth graders. It had been going on since the first day of school. And just before winter break, at the end of the quarter, it culminated in classroom presentations.

However, that didn't mean that the audience got to kick back and let their mind drift. Heck no. Instead, the audience of students arguably developed more brain sweat then the actual student presenter.

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