An Alabama school district plans to prepare all students to take algebra I in eighth grade by restructuring its elementary math classes. The biggest changes will occur in grades 3-5 with an additional 30 minutes of daily math instruction, teachers specializing in math instruction, and an intervention and enrichment period every Friday.
Fifth-graders attending a New Jersey school's summer science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and math program hosted a pet carnival as part of a service-learning unit. Students developed the idea after learning about the problems facing unwanted pets and created the carnival to raise awareness and funds for the issue.
Teaching students to take advantage of feedback they receive about mistakes or wrong answers can help them become better learners, educators and authors Hunter Maats and Katie O'Brien write in this blog post. They suggest that teachers be specific about what students did wrong on tests and assignments, and analyze common errors with the entire class. "The more open everyone is about the mistakes they've made and how they happened, the less significance any student will place on future errors," they write.
Technology can increase learning in a classroom, but no one has all the answers on integrating it into lessons, writes Josh Stumpenhorst, a sixth-grade language arts and history teacher. He offers examples of how his students use technology, such as making movie trailers instead of writing book reports, or recording talk shows featuring people from history. "The key is in how you use [technology] and what you are hoping to accomplish with it," Stumpenhorst writes.
A student's emotional maturity determines what they are ready to read, but the Common Core State Standards offer little guidance for middle-grades educators in this area, middle-grades English teacher Claire Needell Hollander writes in this commentary. Sixth-graders are not ready to question human goodness, but eighth-graders can handle works such as "Macbeth" that address "hard truths," she writes. "The developers of the Common Core also need to grapple with difficult questions, and to engage in a public debate about what middle grade students need to read."