Nix the Assigned Whole-Class Novel? -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- March 9, 2017

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

March 9, 2017  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

DeVos reads to students

Guest Reader DeVos Excites Students With Read Aloud

The White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for African Americans celebrated Read Across America Day last week with a reading party. Secretary DeVos served as a guest reader to students from Washington, D.C.’s Center City Public Charter School and Perry Street Public Charter School. Students were full of energy and happy to celebrate with a read aloud from Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen, illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

Celebrating Middle Level Education Month

Middle level education month

Through coordination with several education groups, including the Association of Middle Level Education,  National Association of Secondary School Principals, and The National Association of Elementary School Principals to name a few, educators and families across the country are invited to focus on students ages 10 to 15 and celebrate middle level education. Topics for this year's celebration, articles, and resources for the month can be found online.

Book Tasting

Literature Circles with a Twist

Middle school students are a unique group in need of especially patient teachers. English and Math teacher, Jenna Smith, knows she has to keep her build-up to lessons fun and interesting if she’s going to inspire a love of learning. She hosts book tastings for students to choose their literature circle assignments and breaks down her process in this short and sweet blog. Her quick break down may be what you’re looking for to spice up your literature circles. 

agriculture students

New York City High Schools Train Next Gen Farmers

The "Aggies" at urban high schools like the students at John Bowne High School in Flushing, QueensFood and Finance High School in midtown Manhattan and Harbor School on Governors Island are learning what it takes to have a career in the booming agriculture field. Students in rural areas have long pursued ag-degree programs, but more are needed. The USDA sees almost 60,000 new jobs open up in the U.S. every year (Nargi, NPR).

Time to Nix the Assigned Whole-Class Novel

It may be controversial and not very popular, but change can be hard. Blogger and long-time librarian, Leigh Collazo, makes a strong argument for secondary teachers to abandon the practice of reading whole-class novels noting that even the best of teachers didn’t read these novels when they were in school. You may have the same gut reaction we did (WHAT?!?), but read the blog and see if you don’t leave with a changed mind. 

A Lifetime of Sharing My Parent with Other Kids

Contrary to popular myths, teachers do not live in the school or disappear from existence when they're not teaching. In fact, many spend hours after school, on the weekends, and all summer, grading, preparing lessons, and communicating with families. Besides the teachers themselves, no one knows this better than their families. Lora Peterson pens a deeply personal and realistic picture of the dedication, sacrifice, and attention that teachers provide their students year round and how it feels to have a parent in the teaching profession (Odyssey). 

Transforming Practice Through Coaching

Coaching Beginning Teacher

"Coaching isn't telling, coaching is walking with someone and helping them understand where to step next," reflects Joshua Parker, instructional coach for English Language Arts at Dunbar High School (Washington, D.C.). Watch as Parker supports a beginning teacher through each phase of the coaching cycle, paying special attention to how this coaching impacts students in the classroom (The Teaching Channel). 

Principal Lopez Visits

Knock, Knock - It's the Principal 

Carroll Magnet Middle School Principal Elizabeth MacWilliams (Raleigh, N.C.) was recently featured on NBC News due to her incredible plan to visit every one of her 1,003 students in their home this year. Featured on their "inspiring America" segment, she says she does it to connect with parents. “We mistake their absence for a lack of interest, and I found that’s not the case”she said (Hui, The News & Observer).

STEM learning

Preparing Students for Success

A new study of STEM learning in 11 states from The PEAR Institute at Harvard University and the Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis & Policy at Texas Tech University highlights how young people in STEM-focused afterschool programs are showing greater interest in science topics and careers and a greater belief that they are capable of succeeding in STEM-related activities (Hinton, Education Week).

Slice of Pi on March 14

Pi Day

There are lots of ways to make math fun, but none so much as celebrating Pi (3.14…) Day with students. And, teachπ.org is assisting with resources for music, books, and activities that any teacher can use to help make the day fun and foster a love for math. And, Pi Day isn't just for math teachers, get the whole school involved and create cross-curricular activities for everyone.  

Resources to Use

What We Heard from Educators This Week

5. "When we feel safe then we're able to take risks, as adults and children." Principal, Oregon
4. "I like teaching middle school because the kids get my jokes." Teacher, Montana
3. "Teaching middle school is like solving a Rubik's know there is a solution behind the colorful controlled chaos and you live for the beauty of its challenges and triumphs." Teacher, Florida
2. "Teaching middle school is a step above herding cats, but not quite." Student teacher, Montana
1. "Teaching middle school is like putting together a puzzle on a table that is too small, and also the pieces are on fire." Teacher, Minnesota