Teaching today’s secondary ELA students comes with its share of challenges. The post-pandemic classroom return has been a test for both teachers and students. In this podcast series, teachers from the United States and Canada share strategies that are effectively addressing the unique needs of today’s students.
Below is a quick overview of each episode in the series.
Using Centers in the Classroom with Rachel from Uniquely Upper
The podcast episode discusses the advantages of implementing centers, or learning stations, in the classroom, emphasizing their ability to facilitate differentiated instruction for diverse learning styles and abilities. This approach promotes active engagement, independence, and social interaction among students, fostering confidence and collaboration. While traditionally used in elementary education, the episode highlights how centers can be effectively employed in secondary English Language Arts (ELA) to individualize learning, address specific skill gaps, and create an engaging learning environment.
Student Choice with Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog
Discover the educational potential of student choice in my discussion with Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog. We explore how granting choices, whether in reading or essay topics, drives up engagement and completion rates. Kristy offers actionable insights, advocating for scaffolded assignments through choice boards and alternate task formats, effectively personalizing learning experiences and fostering a sense of ownership among students.
Student Accountability with Jennifer from Books, Babbles & Bows
In this episode, Jennifer from Books, Babbles & Bows joins to explore strategies for fostering strong reading habits in middle school classrooms. We discuss methods such as establishing consistent reading periods, employing book trailers and “first-chapter Fridays” to ignite curiosity, offering students the autonomy to choose their reading materials, and utilizing accountability tools like the “Status of the Class” exercise. We discuss challenges like accommodating various literary genres and captivating reluctant readers, while emphasizing actionable approaches to cultivate an environment that encourages reading.
Leveled Writing Labs with Lisa from Mrs. Spangler in the Middle
Lisa from Mrs. Spangler in the Middle, introduces an innovative solution to address pandemic-induced learning gaps in middle school students’ writing abilities. Her program, Leveled Writing Labs, offers tailored writing intervention with nine skill-based levels and seven comprehensive lessons each, empowering students to translate essay concepts into practical skills. By prioritizing individual growth through diagnostic assessments and fostering ownership through self-assessment, Lisa underscores the significance of progress as students enhance fundamental writing elements.
Book Talks with Mary Pat from Just Add Students
Mary Pat from Just Add Students discusses the positive impact of book talks on students’ motivation to read. By having students share their favorite books with peers, these presentations create a reading buzz that nurtures curiosity and a genuine love for literature. Mary Pat details the effective elements of book talks, including hooks, genre introductions, concise summaries, analysis, and selling points, all contributing to a classroom culture of reading.
Digital Escape Rooms with Lyndsey from Lit with Lyns
Lyndsey from Lit with Lyns, discusses her experience crafting and presenting digital escape rooms in her secondary ELA classroom. These interactive activities offer games and puzzles that foster critical thinking and creativity, and can be customized for introducing or reviewing various topics, catering to diverse skill levels. Lyndsey’s success story underscores the effectiveness of escape rooms in motivating students and enhancing their performance, with her test prep escape room leading to significant improvements in state testing results.
Unique Reading Engagement Ideas with Katie from Mochas and Markbooks
Katie Saj from Mochas and Markbooks discusses innovative approaches to foster student engagement in reading. She shares her classroom transformation inspired by a cozy coffee shop, creating an inviting space for students to explore books without pressure. Additionally, Katie introduces creative activities like Book Spine Poetry, where students arrange book spines to craft poems, and highlights techniques like Book Tasting and First Chapter Friday to entice students into the world of reading.