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Monday Headlines

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use Monday Headlines to energize students after the weekend, and get a peek into what’s going on at home.

Literary Analysis: Counterclaims

Christy Rush-Levine shares how to present counterclaims, as well as a video example of a small group exploring counterclaims.

Using If I Stay to Model Literary Analysis

Christy Rush-Levine uses the mentor text If I Stay to model literary analysis, building on her middle school students’ interest in the recent movie.

“Old Age Sticks”: Choral Reading and Reflection

Christy Rush-Levine leads her eighth graders in a choral reading and analysis of the E. E. Cummings poem "Old Age Sticks." This is the second video in a two-part series.

Student-Generated Vocabulary Discussions

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find the key to middle school students attending to new vocabulary during read-alouds is to have students choose the words.

Fact or Fiction? Introducing the Task

Christy Rush-Levine has her middle school students complete a fun and sophisticated reading activity using Muse magazine to sort through what might be fact or fiction. The piece includes a video excerpt from the group discussion.

Fact or Fiction? Discussion

Christy Rush-Levine has her middle school students complete a fun and sophisticated reading activity using Muse magazine to sort through what might be fact or fiction. In this second installment of the video series, students discuss the articles they have read.

Creating Curiosity with Story

Mark Levine finds that the secret to engaging students in what might be perceived as dry historical topics is to create curiosity with story.

The Daily Record

Mark Levine uses the “daily record” to encourage reflection throughout each day’s workshop in his social studies classroom.

Tracking Student Goals

Carly Ullmer transfers a messy goal-setting protocol to her seventh graders, and in the process finds they take on more accountability for individual success.

Student (and Teacher) Risk-Taking

Carly Ullmer ponders what it means to take risks in her middle school classroom as she and her students experiment with different response options.

Book Talk: Boy21

Christy Rush-Levine piques interest in Boy21 through a book talk to her middle school students.

“Old Age Sticks”: Poetry Analysis in Eighth Grade

Christy Rush-Levine leads her middle school students in a choral reading and analysis of "Old Age Sticks" by E.E. Cummings. This is the first installment in a two-part series.

Beyond the Comfort Zone: Books for Our Times

Christy Rush-Levine explains why she stocks some books in her middle school classroom library that can provoke concerns from families, and how she deals with conflicts.

The Pocahontas Ewww: Writing and Inquiry for Context

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.

Better Mondays Through Quick-Writes

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.

Critical Thinking and Captain Underpants

Christy Rush-Levine and some struggling eighth-grade readers consider misogyny in a popular children’s book.

Mentors for Process and Habits

Ruth Ayres shares some of her favorite mentors and mentor texts for developing good writing processes and habits.

Superpowers and a Middle School Classroom Library

Christy Rush-Levine explains how she gradually stocked her middle school classroom library, as well as how she uses student librarians to ensure books aren’t lost.

Reflective Transitions

Christy Rush-Levine helps her eighth-grade students launch the work period with a reflective question that sets a tone for productivity, and then returns to it throughout the morning during transition times.

Transition Time in Middle School

Gretchen Taylor considers how she handles hard transitions as an adult, and questions how she can make transitions more efficient and valuable for her middle school students.

Beginnings, Middles, and Endings: The Power of Baseline Assessments

Carly Ullmer shares how much her seventh-grade students learn from examining their own growth as writers with baseline, midpoint, and final assessments throughout the year.

The Living: Book Talk

Christy Rush-Levine introduces The Living to her eighth graders.

Book Talk: Trouble

Christy Rush-Levine previews the book Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt.

Last Chance Workshop

Christy Rush-Levine breaks her routine of responding to student writing, and instead calls on students to guide and support peers. She shares some surprising results.

Book Talk: When We Broke Up

Christy Rush-Levine piques the interest of her eighth graders in When We Broke Up by Daniel Handler.

Getting Teens Out of Reading Ruts: The Sampler

Carly Ullmer describes the activity she's developed for getting her middle school readers out of reading ruts by sampling different authors and genres.

A Formula for Great Book Talks

Christy Rush-Levine explains her formula for successful book talks in middle school that grab students' attention. We've also included a sample book talk.

Deep Reading of Picture Books in Middle School

Christy Rush-Levine shows the power of using picture books with young adolescents to model close reading and deepen comprehension of sophisticated texts.

SITO: Self-Imposed Time-Out

Christy Rush-Levine takes an oddly shaped unused nook in her classroom and turns it into a charming space where students can choose to take a quiet break with a “Self-Imposed Time-Out” (SITO).

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