I teach at Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school. Rindge sits in the shadow of Harvard University—one of the best institutions for higher learning in the world. Yet, despite many who insist that my school’s diversity and opportunity are afforded to all students, I know otherwise. Here, students begin the ninth grade on one of two tracks: the (misnamed) College Prep track or the Honors track. The College Prep (CP) track (or “Colored People” track as some students unofficially call it) serves students of color, students with disabilities, students of lower socioeconomic class, and others. The Honors track tends to include students who are white, middle or upper class, and who have parents who are actively involved in their educations.
Students experience education differently depending on their track designation.
A Preview from A Guide to the Reading Workshop: Middle Grades
by Lucy Calkins and Mary Ehrenworth
Over decades of research (1977, 2002), Richard Allington has returned often to the three key conditions readers need to thrive:
time to read,
access to books they find fascinating, and
The first condition, time to read, means examining middle school schedules to make sure students get time to practice. Allington argued, and many other researchers have argued, that above all, students need time to engage in reading in order to get better at reading. Arguing for time for independent reading in schools, Donalyn Miller (2015) likens the situation of students needing to read in order to get better at reading to learning a sport or an instrument. No one ever asks the coach why his players are practicing on the field, and no one asks the music teacher why students are playing instruments during practice times. The only way to get better at doing something is to practice doing it.
In the first two installments of this blog series, we discussed why particularly chosen books matter and how the TCRWP Classroom Librarieswere selected. In this final part of the series, we will explore additional, innovative ways that the team focused on driving reading engagement.
One such way is through the tools and resources that accompany the libraries. A vast collection of brightly colored, attractive book bin labels and book level labels lure kids to bins with irresistible topics. Additionally, student sticky-note pads help promote close, active reading. Students can identify “Must-Reads” and “Watch Out!” sections for others by leaving these helpful sticky notes in the book. Watch the video below to check out these amazing resources:
The new STEM Lesson Guideposts is the companion to the bestselling STEM Lesson Essentials and a practical guide for helping you on your journey of creating integrated, interdisciplinary STEM lessons and units.
Jo Anne Vasquez, Michael Comer, and Joel Villegas (the authors of STEM Lesson Guideposts) have worked with districts, schools, and educators across the country (and around the world), helping them better understand what STEM learning is and how to develop hands-on, integrated STEM lessons and units.
In the video below, Michael Comer talks about how a third grade team in a school with a high population of English learners successfully integrated STEM into their curriculum.
"Where do I begin?" is a question many teachers ask when it comes to STEM teaching and learning. Inspired by this question, the authors of STEM Lesson Guideposts created a planning model with five key guideposts to provide educators with a structure and guidance for conceiving, creating, and organizing STEM experiences that are both rigorous and relevant to students' lives.
In the video below, coauthor Michael Comer talks briefly about the differences between STEM Lesson Guideposts and its predecessor (STEM Lesson Essentials), and how the focus of each book connects with the other.
Middle School Teachers, we have got some wonderful news for you! We are happy to announce that Units of Study in Reading for Grades 6-8 are coming soon. Join the TCRWP community at this week's Twitter chat to hear more. The chat will be hosted by Audra Robb, TCRWP's Associate Director for Middle Schools.