The Bottom Line By the way, one of the most interesting things to discuss with students is the reason, the driving force, behind persuasive writing. What’s the goal here? Is it (a) Getting someone to agree with you, or (b) Persuading someone to take a specific action? What do your students think? What do you think? I would argue that it is both of those–but that neither is the primary purpose behind this complex genre. The real purpose of persuasive writing is to guide the reader through a complex set of issues so that he or she can make a good decision. Lindstrom’s article does that very well, by the way. I will never shop the same way again–and that’s quite an outcome, considering he only had one page to win me over.
In middle school, we ask students to dissect texts and perform literary analysis. However, that does not mean that we have to limit how we assess their understanding of the books. If the desired learning objective is for students to . .
Demonstrate understanding of the plot elementsExplore the role of tone and themeIdentify significant scenes or events and their impact on the storyAnalyze a character and show an understanding of that character's motivationsExplain the relationship between the author's life and the story
Do your students struggle to write with detail? Are their descriptions limited, lacking in specifics or uninformative? If so, you can help your students write more engaging and elaborate pieces by teaching the following strategies for elaboration.
Because we believe professional development should be immediately relevant and actionable, we have also prepared a set of 18 lessoncasts on teaching reading strategies to middle school students, including handouts and lookfors. Enjoy our gift to you!
With many schools now taking a look at their curriculum and assessing how to best meet the needs of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) one of the most poignant realizations is the increased demand for critical thinking.
Google Custom Search allows anyone to create his or her own search engine. The benefit of this is that you can create a very subject specific search environment. One such use that I found through The Whiteboard Blog is a SMART Notebook search engine. As you would expect from the name, the SMART Notebook search engine is designed to help you find resources designed for teaching with SMARTBoards.
There is a new digital divide on the horizon. It is not based around who has devices and who does not, but instead the new digital divide will be based around students who know how to effectively find and curate information and those who do not.
"Word Sense is a neat little service that is one part dictionary and one part thesaurus. When you enter a word into Word Sense it will show you the definition(s) for the word as well as the connections to associated and similar words. You can see any of the definitions of the connected words by simply clicking on them to pop-up a definition."
Literature in Lexile Harvard Crimson To the credit of the CCSS for English, “quantitative dimensions of text complexity” are only one third of the CCSS methodology of text evaluation—the other two are qualitative dimensions of text complexity and...
If the issue is teaching reading, then matching text complexity with student reading levels is NOT the issue. That’s where guided reading and similar schemes go wrong.Placing students in more challenging books is a good idea because it increases opportunity to learn (there is more to figure out in challenging texts). This is important since our kids do not read effectively at high enough levels.Increases in text difficulty levels need to be coordinated with increases in the amounts and quality of scaffolding, support, encouragement, and explanation provided by the teacher.
"Rigor is a fundamental piece of any learning experience.
It is also among the most troublesome due to its relativity. Rigorous for whom? And more importantly, how can you “cause” it?
Barbara Blackburn, author of “Rigor is not a 4-Letter Word,” shared 5 “myths” concerning rigor, and they are indicative of the common misconceptions: that difficult, dry, academic, sink-or-swim learning is inherently rigorous.
Myth #1: Lots of Homework is a Sign of Rigor Myth #2: Rigor Means Doing More Myth #3: Rigor is Not For Everyone Myth #4: Providing Support Means Lessening Rigor Myth #5: Resources Do Not Equal Rigor"
"As e-readers grow in popularity as convenient alternatives to traditional books, researchers at the Smithsonian have found that convenience may not be their only benefit. The team discovered that when e-readers are set up to display only a few words per line, some people with dyslexia can read more easily, quickly and with greater comprehension."
"Emphasizing students need to learn proper grammar can sometimes feel like we are talking about 20th century skills because, in this day and age, we seem to focus on STEM, the 4 Cs and 21st century technology skills. I appreciate the importance of all these topics.. but being able to communicate effectively through writing is truly a basic life skill every person in this world needs. Being able to utilize good grammar is absolutely essential..."