Mark Levine is a social studies teacher at John J. Lukancic Middle School in Romeoville, Illinois. You can follow his latest thinking at Levine Writes.
Mark Levine wonders why his most some of his most skilled readers take the most time to get through texts. So he asks them, and gets some fascinating answers he uses to assist struggling students.
Mark Levine has his middle school students “closely read” paired videos as well as texts to ponder the value and accuracy of different historical sources.
Jeff is apathetic and unengaged. To help this middle school learner, Mark Levine needs to understand his history. Mark shows the power of interviews for connecting with struggling teen learners.
Mark Levine realizes explaining expectations for an essay assignment over and over again isn’t working. But when he has students write in pairs for a portion of his workshop, magic happens.
Mark Levine shows how young adult literature is a potent tool to drive learning in his middle school social studies classroom.
Mark Levine finds his middle school students need more time to digest learning from brief articles. Freewriting provides the perfect pause for promoting more reflection and insight.
Mark Levine explains why whole-class reflection is an essential component of his middle school workshops.
Mark Levine explains how picture books are powerful teaching tools in his middle school classroom.
Mark Levine combines reading and thinking aloud in a minilesson to help his middle school students grapple with complex texts.
“What can I do to help my son and daughter stay sharp and not lose momentum during the summer?” When a parent asks this question, Mark Levine offers his Top Six Summer Slide Preventers.
Mark Levine releases responsibility for teaching and assessment to students late in the school year, and hears echoes of learning from previous units.
High-stakes tests weigh on teachers and students through the winter and spring. Mark Levine shares mindfulness strategies for test-taking, explaining how to help students recommit and refocus in the midst of an exam.
Mark Levine explains why high standards can be helpful even for students who are struggling in his middle school classroom.
One student’s request to lead a minilesson is a catalyst for Mark Levine to see the value of student-led minilessons as an assignment for all in his middle school classroom.
Mark Levine finds Russell Freedman book clubs are a great way for his middle school students to deepen understanding of history and empathize with young people who lived through previous eras.
Mark Levine explains why he dives right into work in his middle school classroom, rather than getting-to-know-you activities. And through the work, a community is born.
Mark Levine depends upon a simple meditation strategy during the required moment of silence in his classroom to begin each day with a calm sense of purpose.
Mark Levine capitalizes on what captures his middle school students’ attention with his Stop and Inquire routine.
Mark Levine details a podcast assignment he used with his middle school students to explore civil rights topics, including software options, a template to help students get organized, and a realistic timeframe.
Mark Levine always has a few students each year in his middle school classroom who are stunned by their poor grades, even when they clearly aren't meeting expectations. He develops a rubric to enable students to monitor and reflect on their learning behaviors daily.
Mark Levine wonders if his middle school students are spending enough time reflecting on the L in K-W-L, so he creates a form to help.
Mark Levine finds that the best way to deal with controversial topics like slavery in his middle school classroom is with open and focused whole-class discussions.
Mark Levine finds that the secret to engaging students in what might be perceived as dry historical topics is to create curiosity with story.
Mark Levine uses the “daily record” to encourage reflection throughout each day’s workshop in his social studies classroom.
Mark Levine finds his middle school students are appalled by some of the cultural differences from times gone by, and shares how he fosters more understanding.
Mark Levine uses quick-writes with his middle school students to set the expectation at the start of the week for work together that is independent, thoughtful, and conversational.
Mark Levine helps his seventh-grade students transition to the learning of the day with a "compelling question" posted on the board before each class session.
Mark Levine finds that good seating design in middle school isn’t just about where you place furniture—it’s about negotiating with students.
Mark Levine finds humor is the “secret sauce” in engaging middle school students and including introverts in the classroom community.
Mark Levine has many students who haven’t traveled much more than 100 miles from home. He makes history come to life for them by bringing artifacts into his middle school classroom.
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