Dear Readers: Our frankly fantastic new MiddleWeb site will launch in early June, with lots of original content and the best in Gr. 4-8 resources. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn more!
Awesome Stories Retools
With over 2.5 million visits in 2011, Awesome Stories has proven its value to educators, parents, and students. The free site, created by attorney Carole Bos, provides multi-faceted stories of people, events and cultures using primary sources in a wide range of media. The 13-year-old website is the first place to go for info that connects the classroom to recent movies, plus the latest on history, the arts, and more. As Awesome Stories retools, you can help by sharing your advice. What do you find useful in the current site? What would you like to see? Take the survey, be entered in a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card, and sign up for the monthly newsletter. (Yes, we love Awesome Stories!)
from Stenhouse Publishers
Have you ever seen a five-paragraph essay outside school walls? Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay explains the pitfalls of this approach, and gives you practical strategies for reclaiming the literary essay and encouraging thoughtful writing in response to literature. Preview the entire book.
Summer, Academically Speaking
Alycia Zimmerman counters ‘summer slide’ with a full-on super send-off for her 3rd-5th graders. In this Scholastic blog post, she describes how she builds excitement about summer reading. She also provides links to Scholastic’s resource packed K-12 Summer Challenge and to parent resources. For later grades: Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer, has interesting summer plans for 6th-7th graders. And the NYT Learning Network is hosting its third annual reading contest for kids 13 and up -- and this year offers suggestions for keeping math alive in summer, too.
DIY STEM for Girls
The number of girls interested in STEM has dropped steeply since the 1970’s. Educators and companies are trying to reverse the trend with events like Dare 2B Digital. The California conference brought together 13-16 year olds to experience the excitement of hands-on science and math. Appearing at the event was the young star of Sylvia's Super-Awesome Mini-Maker Show! You and your students can watch 10-year-old Sylvia’s many DIY videos for project ideas and STEM-spiration.
Helping All the Kids All Year
In this Ed Week post, special educator and NBCT Laurie Wasserman shares strategies for keeping students with IEPs (and others with challenges) on course during the year. The sixth graders at her school have benefited from their general and special ed teachers collaborating closely. They are carefully developing and implementing procedures to keep students up to date and looking at lessons from a student’s point of view. Wasserman also makes a plea for teachers to exert whatever leadership is needed to get the extra planning time this level of student support requires.
Quick Tips to Capture Memories
Capture photos of end-of-year memories -- from field trips and celebrations to project presentations -- and then make them even more memorable with free, easy-to-use photo editing tools. In this post, teacher-librarian leader Joyce Kasman Valenza profiles web-based editing tools she enjoys: Picnik (now at Google+ Creative Suite), PicMonkey, Aviary, iPiccy and more. Be sure to visit her New Tools libguide (a treasure trove) to see these image editors in action.
Worst Things to Say
Mindful that teachers often face lots of end-of-year stress, ‘Get in the Fracas’ blogger Dan Brown shares the “5 Worst Things a Teacher Can Say to Students.” Reading over Brown’s list reminds us that a teacher's words may undermine learning goals, and sarcasm can cause deep wounds. In the comments, readers have added their own phrases to avoid. Some also question #4 on his list. See what you think.
What Engages Kids, in Their Own Words
Heather Wolpert-Gawron asked her eighth graders "What engages students?" She took all 220 responses and developed a "10 ways to engage" list, including: exchanging ideas with peers, using tech, and learning through projects and hands-on activities. Also on Edutopia, Mark Phillips reports the experience of a troubled, introverted student who found no support from his teachers.
MiddleWeb's Quick Links
Didn't find quite what you need? Here's a quick look at some other resources of interest.
• Find out why spiders don’t stick to webs in this Science Friday video. Lots more creatures featured.
• Want to make the case for the arts in a time of budget cuts? The ArtsEdge research database is just what you need!
• Reading Rockets’ Edgar Rice Burroughs writing contest ended May 4, but the writing prompts are still fun.
• Carl Hiaasen comments on reality TV, animal wranglers, and the kids in his new YA novel, Chomp.
• Kids 12 & up can enter WKCD’s Graduation Speech Contest to answer “What makes a nation strong?” Enter by June 1.