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Persuasive Pamphlets

Erin Ocon and her middle-school students observe some political activists passing out pamphlets outside the building for a few moments. Voila – the pamphlet project is born.  Pamphlets are the perfect genre for teaching persuasion and summary, two key skills highlighted in the Common Core.

Pamphlets on Books (Part 2 of the Persuasive Pamphlets Series)

Erin Ocon finds pamphlets are a terrific format for teaching her middle-school students persuasive writing and summary skills.  In this essay she explains how to use pamphlets for book recommendations.  This is the second installment in a two-part series.

Characters I Know Too Well

Books with themes of sexual abuse may be the most difficult for many of us to grapple with, if only because the issue horrifies us. Yet for some abused teens, a book may be the needed catalyst for breaking their silence about what's going on outside school.  Andie Cunningham shares an annotated booklist on this tough topic.

Getting and Giving Student Feedback

How can we help students be more reflective in our classrooms, giving us the feedback we need to make them better places for learning? Heather Rader has suggestions.

Sarcasm Is a Useful Teaching Tool — NOT

How does sarcasm hurt students? Heather Rader counts the ways.

Letters in the Middle School Classroom

First-year teacher Erin Ocon finds an old-fashioned way to build rapport with some of her struggling middle school students – she writes letters to them. This brief article would be a good reading for a middle school team meeting or new teacher group.

Fairy Tales for Middle Grade Readers (BOOKLIST)

This booklist is on fairytales, and there are a range of reading levels and styles to support readers of different ability levels.

Middle School Readers at Mid-Year (SURVEY TEMPLATE)

Katie Doherty finds surveys of student reading habits and preferences are really useful in the winter, after she knows her students and they’ve settled into a routine.

Middle School Classroom Makeover Part I

In this first of a three-part video series, “The Sisters” (Gail Boushey and Joan Moser) help 7th grade teacher Erin declutter and rearrange her classroom.

Quick Take: Advice from Katie Doherty on Starting a Middle School Reading Workshop

In this one-minute quick take video, Katie Doherty has advice for middle school teachers who are thinking of launching a reading workshop in their classrooms.

Middle School Library Makeover Part I

In this first of a two-part video series, “The Sisters” (Joan Moser and Gail Boushey) work with students, a librarian, and a principal to makeover a middle-school library. This first installment features the creation of a “cozy area” and new book browsing displays.

Middle School Library Makeover Part II: Stacks and Recap

The Sisters (Gail Boushey and Joan Moser) collaborate with a middle school librarian, principal, and team of students to makeover the school library. In this final segment of the series, they redo the stacks and meeting area, and then talk with students about the transformation of the entire library.

Middle School Classroom Makeover Part III

In this third installment of a three-part video series, “The Sisters” (Gail Boushey and Joan Moser) help 7th grade teacher Erin declutter and rearrange her classroom. This installment focuses on the challenges of classrooms with very little storage space.

Middle School Classroom Makeover Part II

In this second of a three-part video series, “The Sisters” (Gail Boushey and Joan Moser) help seventh-grade teacher Erin declutter and rearrange the media area of the classroom, creating a cozy library space.

Designing Comprehension Constructors: Helping Adolescent Learners Develop Reading Strategies (E-GUIDE)

Comprehension constructors are a terrific tool for helping teens record their understanding.

The Read-Around: Raising Writers

If there was a centerpiece to teaching writing that also brought students closer together, wouldn't you want to know about it? Read on about the Read-Around.

Let’s Get Some Attitude

Shirl McPhillips recalls a junior high experience that promoted serious "attitude" and an uproar among her peers.

Common Core Conversations: Increasing Argumentative Writing

Teachers continue to puzzle over and sort through the terminology in the Common Core related to opinion and persuasive writing. Amanda Adrian and Heather Rader consider terms and teaching strategies.

Creating a Safe Space in Middle School

Christy Rush-Levine ponders what it means to create a safe space for all of her middle school students, and then makes some changes.

Strategic Seating

Mark Levine finds that good seating design in middle school isn’t just about where you place furniture—it’s about negotiating with students.

Reading Conference: Connections to Home

In this conference in Christy Rush-Levine’s eighth-grade classroom, Jaden is reading a book that mixes math with basketball, an activity he enjoys at home.

Keeping Parent Communication Open in Middle School

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find that they have to change the way they think about connecting with families once students reach middle school.

Observing Skilled Readers

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.

Sparking Ideas for Realistic Fiction

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills explain how they use examples from YA authors of how to mine everyday life for powerful ideas. They then help students move from ideas to blurbs as they start their realistic fiction drafts.

Conferring over Motivation and Genre

Christy Rush-Levine confers with Griffin over his reading responses. They consider the differences between Dystopian literature, realistic fiction, and what motivates characters.

Building Interest Through Artifacts

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.

Studying Craft and Punctuation in Sentences from Read Alouds

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share the power of teaching writer’s craft in bite-sized chunks, through careful study of mentor sentences in read alouds.

Using Skype in the Classroom

Katherine Sokolowski has suggestions for Skype use in classrooms, covering everything from student etiquette to special events.

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