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Literacy Education in the Middle School
Articles about reading, literacy and education at the middle school level
Curated by Kim Baron
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Apps That Rise to the Top: Tested and Approved By Teachers

Apps That Rise to the Top: Tested and Approved By Teachers | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
Educators from around the country share their favorite educational apps.
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Student Passion and TEDx Talks

Student Passion and TEDx Talks | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
Culminating a year of students pursuing their passions through 20 Time, one teacher organized a TEDx event to let them share those passions with the world.
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A World of Project Ideas (You Can Steal)

A World of Project Ideas (You Can Steal) | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
To get off to a flying start planning this summer, borrow good project ideas from other teachers and adapt them to fit your context.
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DIY Professional Development: Resource Roundup

DIY Professional Development: Resource Roundup | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
Why wait for a formal workshop environment to start improving your teaching craft, when there are so many opportunities to build your network and learn new skills on your own? We've compiled a list of the best resources for do-it-yourself PD to get you started.
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We Are Teachers

We Are Teachers | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
Find education news, teaching strategies, lesson plans, activity ideas and more on the WeAreTeachers blog. Featuring posts by guest bloggers and teachers as well as WeAreTeachers editors.
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Just Ask: Harnessing the Power of Student Curiosity

Just Ask: Harnessing the Power of Student Curiosity | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
When was the last time you asked your students what they wanted to learn? Take a minute and think about that. In the go-go world of Common Core, Smarter Balance and other assessments, when do we focu
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Five-Minute Film Festival: April Fools Day!

Five-Minute Film Festival: April Fools Day! | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
April Fools Day has a long history of pranks and hoaxes, both large and small. Check out this playlist of fun videos to get your inner trickster laughing.
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How To Raise Happy Kids: 10 Steps Backed By Science | TIME

How To Raise Happy Kids: 10 Steps Backed By Science | TIME | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
When you ask parents what they want for their kids, what’s usually the most common reply? They want their children to be happy. Via Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents: …the well-being of children is more important to adults than just about anything el...
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Seven Ways to Go from On-Task to Engaged

We know that engagement is the key to learning, but we also know that many of our students are bored with the curriculum and activities being offered in classrooms. To battle this problem, much focus and attention has been placed on getting students to be "on-task." Indeed, the link between on-task behavior and student achievement is strong. However, just as a worker at a company can be busy without being productive, a student can be on-task without actually being engaged in the learning. True, long-lasting learning comes not merely as a result of being on-task, but being deeply engaged in meaningful, relevant, and important tasks. We see examples of on-task but disengaged behavior every day: students mindlessly copying notes from a screen, listening to a lecture but daydreaming about what to do after school, robotically completing a worksheet. Some students, particularly older ones, have become masters at what Bishop and Pflaum (2005) refer to as "pretend-attend." They've mastered the ability to look busy, focused, and on-task, but in reality they are disengaged in the actual learning. So, how do we ramp up both on-task behavior and real, meaningful engagement for our students? Here are seven easy ways to increase the likelihood that students are both engaged and on-task: Teach students about the process of focus, attention, and engagement. Tell them about how the brain works and help them to recognize the characteristics of real engagement. When designing objectives, lessons, and activities, consider the task students are being asked to complete. Is the task, behavior, or activity one that is relevant, interactive, and meaningful, or is it primarily designed to keep kids busy and quiet? Ask your students about their perspectives, ideas, and experiences. What do they find engaging, real, and meaningful? Create authentic reasons for learning activities. Connect the objectives, activities, and tasks to those things that are interesting and related to student experiences. Provide choice in the way students learn information and express their knowledge. Incorporate positive emotions including curiosity, humor, age-appropriate controversy, and inconsequential competition. (Inconsequential competition is described by Marzano [2007] as competition in the spirit of fun with no rewards, punishments or anything of "consequence" attached.) Allow for creativity and multisensory stimulation (think art, drama, role play, and movement). Have you noticed that on-task does not always mean engaged? How do you achieve both? Post submitted by Bryan Harris, director of professional development for the Casa Grande Elementary School District in Arizona. He is the author of Battling Boredom, published by Eye On Education. More information can be found at http://www.bryan-harris.com/.
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Can Focus On ‘Grit’ Work In School Cultures That Reward Grades?

Can Focus On ‘Grit’ Work In School Cultures That Reward Grades? | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
Education circles are abuzz with a new concept: that resilience and persistence are just as important as intelligence to predicting student success and achievement. But can "grit" actually be taught?
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Building Good Search Skills: What Students Need to Know

Building Good Search Skills: What Students Need to Know | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
Getty The Internet has made researching subjects deceptively effortless for students -- or so it may seem to them at first. Truth is, students who ha
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Top 12 Summer Tips for Top Teachers

Top 12 Summer Tips for Top Teachers | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
For top teachers, the list of 12 tips for maximizing your summer vacation includes reflecting, connecting, laughing, and coming out swinging in September.
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How They Get It: A New, Simple Taxonomy For Understanding

How They Get It: A New, Simple Taxonomy For Understanding | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
How They Get It: A New, Simple Taxonomy For Understanding: Bloom's Taxonomy, Understanding by Design, Facets of Understanding, Marzano's New Taxonomy
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5 Ways to Make Class Discussions More Exciting

5 Ways to Make Class Discussions More Exciting | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
Classroom discussions have been a staple of teaching forever, beginning with Socrates. I have taught using discussions, been a student in discussions, and observed other teachers' discussions thousan
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Where do good ideas come from?

Where do good ideas come from? | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
We all want to come up with the next great idea. Whether you are an artist trying to craft a beautiful painting or a business person trying to come up with the next great company, we all chase great ideas. Steven Johnson explores the question, "Where do good ideas come from?"
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Six Scaffolding Strategies to Use with Your Students

Six Scaffolding Strategies to Use with Your Students | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
What’s the opposite of scaffolding a lesson? It would be saying to students something like, “Read this nine-page science article, write a detailed essay on the topic it explores, and turn it in by Wed
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Bring on the learning revolution!

Bring on the learning revolution! | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning -- creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish.
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Resources and Downloads to Improve Student Performance

Resources and Downloads to Improve Student Performance | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
Cochrane’s strong PD and its list of ten non-negotiable classroom practices have been critical to the school's turnaround, helping to boost student engagement and double student performance in t
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Seven More Ways to Go From On-Task to Engaged

Last June, I wrote Seven Ways to Go From On-Task to Engaged, which turned out to be one of the most popular topics of the year. In it I spoke about the possibility that students could technically be on-task but cognitively and emotionally unengaged in the actual learning. For decades, much discussion and research in education circles focused on the role of time on-task and its relationship to attention and learning (Karweit, 1983; Prater, 1992). While time on task is important, as is focus and attention, true engagement in learning involves more than external behaviors as measured by time on-task. True engagement involves the mind, the body, and the soul. As educators, we realize that not all on-task time is productive time. John Hattie, in his research synthesis Visible Learning points out that increasing time on task is pointless if the tasks themselves are not productive. Those who call for longer school days and longer school years might be wise to increase the focus on getting students engaged and productive. After all, asking students to spend more time being bored or disengaged isn't likely going to have a positive effect. Because not all tasks or assignments are equal in their ability to effectively engage students, educators should have a variety of strategies and approaches available when they work with students. So, here are seven more ways to go from on-task to engaged: Ask questions that don't have right or wrong answers. Seek student opinions, allow argumentation, encourage persuasion, and teach students how to disagree and debate in a positive way. Strike a balance between praise and feedback. Grant Wiggins, co-author of Understanding by Design points out that praise, "Keeps me in the game, but doesn't help me get any better." While praise may encourage effort, specific feedback is necessary in order to truly learn and grow. Encourage self reflection and the creation of personalized goals. Teach students to track and evaluate their own learning. Some of the most valuable and long-lasting learning comes from the personal insights and "ah-hahs" we discover when learning about ourselves. Increase physical movement. Movement has a positive effect on learning and student achievement. Physical movement wakes up the brain by increasing blood flow, increasing certain neurotransmitters that have an impact on memory, and generally helps students be more alert. Increase the use of celebrations. Bobbi DePorter and her co-authors of Quantum Teaching point out that, "If it's worth learning, it's worth celebrating." Classrooms should be places where there is joy, celebration, and happiness because learning is fun. Stress process over product. Some of our most disengaged and bored students care little about grades, points, or other "motivators" we tend to use in school. Instead of focusing on the outcome of the work (which is typically a grade), focus on the process of learning, the experiences students will have, and the personal connections they can make to ideas and content. Take a risk. Every day, we ask students to stretch themselves to be better, smarter, or more insightful. In essence, we ask them to take a risk and try things that may not be comfortable. Likewise, as educators, we should also be taking risks, trying out new approaches, and stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone. When students see us modeling those same behaviors and attitudes, it can have a tremendous impact. How do you know if students are not only on-task but engaged? What strategies to you recommend? Post submitted by Bryan Harris, director of professional development for the Casa Grande Elementary School District in Arizona. He is the author of Battling Boredom, published by Eye On Education. More information can be found at http://www.bryan-harris.com.
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Doing it Differently: Tips for Teaching Vocabulary

Doing it Differently: Tips for Teaching Vocabulary | Literacy Education in the Middle School | Scoop.it
Every Monday, my seventh grade English teacher would have us copy a list of 25 words she'd written on the board. We'd then look up the dictionary definitions and copy those down. For homework, we'd re
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