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    Students Starters Enhance Teaching

    Student Starters Now is a good time to plan on releasing more responsibility for learning to your students. The first quarter/semester is when you model reading and writing strategies, making, connections,

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    Thoughts to Share with Students

    Children’s Books Teach Us All We sometimes think children’s book are only for children. But there is wisdom to be gleaned for us all. Invite your students to bring in their favorite children’s

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    Prepare in the Fall for Spring Assessments

    Practice Debates ⇒Argumentative Essays Meeting Common Core State Standards is not the only reason to have students learn to think about claims, reasons, counter-aguments, and evidence.  The four major assessments

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    Maximizing Meetings and Maintaining Morale

    Department chairs regularly seek for ways to use meeting time more efficiently and to keep up the spirits of their department members.  Attached are ideas planned for the “Learning to

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Oral Book Report Prep

Practice together,

Reading and Wriringthen assign students oral reports
on independent Reading Aloudreading books. Adapt the handout for a whole class or small group assignment and have student complete the form based on a book the class has just finished reading.  (Great way to review a book before an end-of-book assignment.)

Then use similar guideline for students to prepare and present 2- 2.5 MINUTE report on book of their choice.


Adapt generalGeneral Grading Guidelines -Color grading guidelines that include







Talk Teaches

Sentence Starters Invigorate Conversation


Thinking - Clip Art

Guided talking teaches students to think, listen, and middle-school-studentsrethink.
Observing students talking teaches teachers what they need to teach next.  Here’s a flyer with SENTENCE STARTERS from I found on Pinterest that may be just what you need to jump start conversations between and among students. Copy and tape to table or desktops.  Or keep in plastic sleeves to distribute when group or whole class discussions are assigned. Consider posting to website for students refer to when journaling, too.

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Reflection and Projection on Practice

classroomAre you a new teacher? A veteran in the classroom? Or a student teacher just starting to plan for and work with students on your own?

Wondering how to get off to a good start in the middle of the school year? Yes, the beginning of the new semester can be great time to start all over again – even if you’re teaching a full year course. Sounds paradoxical, huh? Think about it.

You’ve had a full semester with most of your students and you now know more about them as individual learners and also as groups of learners. Why not start fresh, planning ways to adapt your spring lessons to what you’ve learned about this particular group of energetic youngsters?  How are you progressing on plans to meet Common Core State Standards or whatever curriculum goals you’re charged to meet by the end of the school year?


worried-womanIf you’re a student teacher, you’d like to gain a sense of what the students think about their progress so far and
how you can design lessons that will help you all reach goals that will ask them to show what they know and are able to do.



Consider developing a reflection/projection lesson. You could set aside a class period the opening day of the new semester and ask the students to reflect on what they’ve learned so far and what they can learn by the end of the school year.

There’s no need to leave those as open-ended questions. Instead, you can provide students with a list Black Man Thinkingteacher-at-deskof department grade level objectives and ask the students to rate themselves on a scale of 1-6 on how close they are to reaching those objectives. Then, write a couple realistic strategies for maintaining, raising those rating or setting goals for reaching the remainder of the objectives for their grade level. Keep them encouraged by reminding them they have the rest of the year to reach those goals, improve their skills and expand their learning.

You may use your school standards for your course instead. Pulling this lesson together will refresh your metacognitionmemory, too. It’ll remind you of what you have accomplished and what you still can aim to accomplish before year’s end.

See a sample a self-reflection you could adapt for your students. Here’s a link to one of the Semester I Self-Reflection forms I’ve used. If you’ve never had your students take a “How Do I Learn?” quiz, consider administering one of the on-line versions. Very insightful and enlightening. Here’s one.

 What’s Your Learning Style?  This on line quiz can help reveal how individual students learn, providing teachers valuable information for planning more engaging and effective lessons.



What are your goals for the coming semester? Will it require juggling to meet them?   What advice would you share with educators who see teaching as a juggling act similar to the life James Patterson describes below?  How have you been balancing your personal and professional life?



“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls—family, health, friends, integrity—are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”  Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas



by Anna J. Small Roseboro, NBCT
NCTE Conference on English Education
Commission on Supporting Early Career ELA Teachers, Chair


Also available in NCTE Early Career Community of Practice


Cross Curricular Resources

Computer Cartoon

Interdisciplinary - Cross CurricularUpdate Your List of Lesson Planning Web Resources

Please take a few minutes to explore these resources recommended by Rebecca Muller and Cindy Powell’s Daisy Scouts.

Note some of the sites designed primarily for elementary school may contain just the right resources to assist your below grade-level students in understanding a concept.  The visuals may be particularly helpful with students new to English as a language for acquiring new information.

As always, check them out before sharing with your students. Enjoy!


Online Learning: Math Resources for Kids

Writing and Talking Teach Math
Writing and Learning Groups in Math-Roseboro

ReadWriteThink Lesson Plans


Discovery Education | Classroom Resources

A Kid\'s Guide to Forest Fires

KidZone: Worksheets for Children

And, here is the link to our growing resource bank. We hope you’ll find this useful as well! 🙂
Fun Educational Lesson Plans, Activities and Printables

Fun Facts & Trivia for Kids

Fun Car Facts: Simple Machines in Automobiles

Free K-12 Lesson Plans

Calculators for Kids: Teach Children Math with These Free Calculation Tools

Evaluating Proposed Solutions

Educators today are using blogs as a way for students to practice writing persuasive and argumentative essays based on current events.  Some middle and high school teachers are not sure how to guide their students in ways that will assure the proposed solutions backed by solid evidence.  Some students are unclear about how to evaluate their solutions and to present their arguments in ways that will be compelling to their peers and to other readers of their posted blogs.
See options below and decide which direction you can go to design lessons to add depth to student thinking and clarity to aid others understanding the offered solutions if the students’ writing includes reasons they believe their advocated solution will solve the problems they’re addressing.
Scales - Persuasion
As a start, consider the challenges used in tournament debate.  These will work with pretty solid high school students.  See CRITERIA FOR JUDGING .
Here are some basic questions to ask about solutions offered for problems identified that can work with middle school students:
Is solution DESIRABLE? In other words, who would be helped by this solution? What harm would be diminished?  Says who? (quotes from experts in the field.  Examples of real people helped or harmed.)
Is solution AFFORDABLE? What would it cost to put solution into place? (Quote reliable sources.) Who will pay?  Is solution worth the cost?
Is solution ENFORCEABLE? Who would enforce the solution? Local, state, federal, international forces?
Is solution CONSTITUTIONAL? Quote from the US Constitution some tenet of that document that shows the legality of the student’s proposed solution.
 Even more basic, if there is no time for teaching the above approaches, is to encourage students to write more compelling arguments that appeal to audience (readers or listeners) in there ways.
That means using facts, statistics; stories of real or imagined people; and costs – savings, or worthwhile expenditures. See TO CONVINCE OR PERSUADE.
The value of this kind of instruction is that students will become more critical listeners/readers …. especially during the political election seasons.
To get them started, consider this in-class activity.  SPAR DEBATE
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