Skip to content

Archive for

The Writing Conference in Nancie Atwell’s Room (Part 3)

By Donald LaBranche

This post is the third in a series of reviews of In The Middle, by Nanci Atwell, Third Edition, 2015. Click here to see the previous reviews.

inthemiddleHere’s the first verse from Robert Bly’s poem “Things to Think”

Think in ways you’ve never thought before
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you’ve ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

When the best teacher in the world is a middle school English teacher, folks who do the same thing for a living might want to sit up and pay attention. When she has written book after book for decades telling us how to avoid becoming mere “technicians” and hold true to what is best in the teaching profession we might ask, “Have I heard what Nanci Atwell has to say?” and if the answer is no, then ask, “Why not?” Read more

From the Classroom: Reflection as Looking Back, Looking Forward

By Tricia Ebarvia

The other day I announced to my ninth graders that we were about to begin our very last book of the school year, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Some students were, no doubt, excited about the arrival of summer. Others expressed surprise at how quickly the year had gone by.

The end of the school year always brings mixed feelings for me. Read more

Tools of the Trade: Photography

By Rita Sorrentino

With the abundance of digital cameras and smart phones, most of today’s students have access and opportunity to take, store and share digital photographs, instantaneously.  With the popularity of this practice, it is extremely important for students to become proficient in using these and other tools of technology in effective and responsible ways. Giving students opportunities to learn from and with the tools that they are already using in their personal life, brings authenticity and relevance into the learning environment. Photography in the classroom offers students and teachers the convenience of documenting learning experiences, enhancing visual literacy, and developing critical thinking and analytical skills. Here are some suggestions for engaging students with photography as they use the camera lens to read and interpret the world around them. Read more

Teacher to Teacher: What Can We Do to Support Tomorrow’s Students?

By Lynne R. Dorfman

How will we adapt to the needs of our students in the age of Common Core State Standards?  What should we be doing differently?  What about all the things that are not specifically mentioned in the Common Core but are necessary to achieve global economic competition and to prepare our young people to be the future guardians of our planet? Big ideas such as creativity, curiosity, responsibility, social justice, altruism, and the courage to stand alone, if need be, to defend something you believe in with all your heart.  Will we make time to investigate these ideas and learn more about ourselves, our peers, our community, and our world?  What can we do to support tomorrow’s students? Read more

Monday in the Middle: Roller Girl,

Another installment of Monday in the Middle with librarian and media specialist Gabija Fischer!

RollerGirlCVRRoller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

In Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, Astrid Vasquez and Nicole are best friends. They do everything together, like suffer through Mrs. Vasquez’s Evenings of Cultural Enlightenment. Waiting for one of these “boring” events to begin, Astrid and Nicole goof off, like usual. When the lights dim and the Rose City Rollers skate into the arena, Astrid is mesmerized. At that moment, she knows she wants to participate in a roller derby, but first she and Nicole will have to attend the Rosebuds (the junior Roller League) summer camp to learn the sport. This is all a dream-come-true…except Nicole doesn’t want to go to roller derby camp; she dreams of ballet. Differing interests highlights not only the fading of Astrid and Nicole’s friendship, but also the start of many other changes that accompany the turbulence of middle school. Astrid must develop her identity–as independent, as confident, as athletic. Bumps and bruises along her journey of self-discovery give her an excuse to give up, but she doesn’t. Instead she fights for her dreams learning invaluable lessons along the way, and ultimately she becomes tougher in many respects.  Read more