Articles

Countdown to Launching the Lingo of Math – Education Article

By Pam Koutrakos Perpendicular. Ratio. Integer. Function. Simplify. Math, like every part of our day, is laden with lingo. For some students, this makes problem solving intimidating. When we see students trying to tackle this challenge, we need to take action. We can strategically teach middle grades learners to talk and jot about their math thinking with expertise and confidence. Like a rocket launch, there will undoubtedly be plenty of ongoing, personalized checkpoints. However, here is a streamlined, easily replicable…

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Middle School Students Thrive on Place-Based Learning – Education Article

By Sarah K. Anderson As eleven-year-olds, my friend Tammy and I decided to follow the river behind my house downstream about a mile towards town. By the time we hauled ourselves up the riverbanks and into the general store to buy candy, we came to see ourselves as adventurers who understood the river in a way that no one else did. Around this time, my friend Kristen and I wrote and published a town newspaper, which we sold at the…

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A Different Way to Learn about Your School – Education Article

By Ronald Williamson and Barbara Blackburn School leaders have access to lots of data about their school. Most of that data consists of numbers – things like test scores, graduation rates, student demographics, or survey results. But what about data from direct observation? Many leaders recognize value of a more authentic data source, one that provides insights into how students experience their school’s program day to day. One popular authentic data collection tool is the student shadow study. Shadow studies…

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Teach Current Events by Double-Dipping Lessons – Education Article

By Dina Strasser If you grew up in the 70’s like me in a fairly rural neighborhood with a singular Tastee-Freeze or Dairy Queen, you’ll know that one of their most scrumptious offerings to a kid was the double dip – usually cherry and chocolate for me. This was where a soft serve ice cream cone was deftly swirled into two separate vats of quick-hardening candy shell liquid, one after the other, and handed to you with a flourish and…

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Writing Historical Fiction for the Middle Grades – Education Article

Ever consider writing a book of historical fiction for kids? Like to hear how someone else did it? Malayna Evans is the author of the new Jagger Jones series, beginning with Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh. Read on to learn some of what Malayna learned, including why holding a PhD in Ancient Egyptian History from Chicago’s most scholarly university was not as helpful as you might think! By Malayna Evans To those of us who are passionate about history,…

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How to Get Your Students to Ask More Good Questions – Education Article

By Jackie Walsh Why don’t students ask more questions in school? The short answer is that most students believe it’s their job to answer, not ask, questions. What’s more, many think that asking questions might lead teachers to believe they’re not smart or suggest to their peers that they’re not cool. Others simply don’t know how or what to ask. Even our learners who are willing to take risks may let a good question go. The teacher controlled, fast-paced rhythm…

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How Voice and Choice Evolved in My Classroom – Education Article

By Brent Gilson Student voice and choice are popular topics on teacher social media these days. Educators are paying more attention to student input as we plan our learning tasks. But it wasn’t always that way. I remember back to when I was a student in junior high – it was a drama class and my friends and I wanted to write and perform our own play about junior high life. In today’s world of education I think most of…

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“You Gotta Get to June” – Education Article

By Laurie Lichtenstein School in Spring. Freedom so close you can taste the poolside popsicles. Teachers open their windows for a waft of fresh air, crisp at 7:30 AM and fragrant by noon. Birds drown out the band.  Sunny dispositions abound. Students squirm but they learn. Except, this is middle school. In Spring. The reality is much, much darker, think a co-ed Lord of The Flies or if television is more your thing, Survivor. Everyone’s just trying to get off…

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How to Improve Your Questioning Techniques – Education Article

By Barbara R. Blackburn Asking and answering questions is an everyday occurrence in most classrooms. Sometimes it happens orally, sometimes in writing, but it is one of the most common classroom activities. Good questioning helps students build understanding, but poor questioning can deter students from learning. How can you create questions that will help all students learn? First, let’s look at common mistakes we make with questions. Questioning Mistakes Questioning is a basic and critical part of your classroom. But…

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Well-Designed ‘Do Nows’ Set the Pace for Learning – Education Article

By Sarah Tantillo When you ask teachers what they would call Do Nows if they couldn’t call them that, they come up with terms like warm-up, quick review, and first steps. My favorite is brain defibrillator. The point is, people come up with different titles because they have different perspectives on the purposes of Do Nows (or whatever you want to call them)—and for good reason. Do Nows can be used for different objectives: to review material, introduce new material,…

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Teaching about Climate Change in Middle School – Education Article

By Angela Duke In the days of selfies and social media mania, it is often a difficult job getting middle schoolers to look up instead of down. When I first introduced the topic of climate change to my students, the reactions were mixed. But, most importantly, several heads looked up. Climate change in the classroom has gained great momentum and for good reason. What more real of a problem can there be than the state of our planet? And what…

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In the Heat of Learning, Good Questioning Is Powerful – Education Article

By Jackie A. Walsh In the heat of a game, coaches call time-outs to stop the action and provide feedback to players to enhance their future play. These pauses afford opportunities for coaches to reinforce positive performance, activate their players’ prior knowledge/skills, and assist team members in customizing what they know to fit a current situation. Time-outs also provide players an opportunity to stop, reflect, and identify gaps between what they have been doing and what they know how to…

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