As the school year approaches and lesson plans are being written, we are inspired by Sarah Fordyce, a science teacher in Los Angeles who wants students to belong, interact, and grow in her classroom. She writes about teaching science and the magic of teaching middle school on her blog www.happyteacherheart.com.
I love to talk books, and I am constantly on the hunt for books that will get students talking. I know I have found a winner when my younger students break into applause at the end or my older students create a list for who is next to borrow a chapter book.
The following recommendations are a few of my hot-off-the-press favorites, all published in the last two years, and books my students keep talking about. A holiday break is around the corner – a time just begging for a new book. These would all make excellent holiday gifts or great finds at your library.
Whether you enjoy it or not, reading is an integral skill for educational success. When I was teaching middle school, my colleagues used to refer to the science and social studies tests as “the other reading tests” because in many ways, the student scores reflected more on their reading ability than their actual subject area knowledge. Almost every class a child takes will have a reading component: written texts, written instructions, written feedback, and written assessment questions. The stakes are just as high after graduation, where almost every real job requires reading comprehension skills.
If you are the parent of a school-aged child, you likely have a pile of paper in your kitchen that everyone is trying to avoid. That ominous pile is the summer work assigned by your child’s school – work that is traditionally put off throughout June and July, until suddenly August arrives with a deadline. Cue the tears and panic. Like its cousin, the science fair project, summer work tests the mettle of the strongest family, but it doesn’t have to be awful.