Showing posts from March, 2017


Many common games are good for your students' brains. But problem-solving games are the best. Problem-solving games increase neural connectivity, the number of glial cells, and overall brain mass. Problem-solving games must have content that requires different ways to solve the problem, They must be challenging yet non-threatening. And problem-solving games must stimulate a variety of emotions. When choosing a problem-solving game to play with your intervention class, look to traditional games for ideas: Monopoly, Clue, Trivial Pursuit, Chutes and Ladders.  Here's an example of an adapted game: use Monopoly as a graphic for your students. After read the text, have your students work in pairs to substitute, alter, and re-label the game. As the brain learns new material or a new reading strategy, it stimulates cells to grow branch-like extensions called dendrites. Each dendrite is another neural pathway by which cells can connect to each other. What we call going deeper with a p…


CCSS Language 9 says, "Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches that authors take."
Comparing complex text is the highest form of analyzing a text. It is what we call synthesizing texts and information found within that text.

In order to teach my students to analyze a complex text, we must first chunk and scaffold the text for them. I learned the hard way why this is so important for struggling readers.

My 7th and 8th graders were reading the short story "A Crush" by Cynthia Rylant. The basic plot is a mentally challenged 33-year-old man has fallen in love with Dolores, a local hardware store worker whom he's never met. The problem with my students' misunderstanding stemmed from the fact that the story begins at the end--with everyone in town wondering why Dolores, of all the women in town, was getting flowers from a secret admirer. My students couldn't understand the flashb…


Graffiti are writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or painted illicitly on a wall or other surface, often within public view. Graffiti range from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and they have existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.
Check out this resource for using graffiti boards in the classroom.


March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.
The achievement scores of 4th and 8th grade students in reading have barely budged since 1992. Reading ability is the barometer that measures the success or failure of students. Middle school students who are deficient in reading are most likely to be deficient in other curricular areas as well. 
So what does it mean to teach reading in the middle school classroom? The culture of most schools and classrooms is primarily one of standards-driven, whole-group instruction. Increased student and teacher accountability is attributed to high-stakes assessments. Because of this, most teachers primarily engage in whole-group instruction. We need to make sure that students can independently read and understand grade-level assessment, or those scores will never budge.

The most asked question should be--what type of instruction is the most effective for the struggling or at-risk students in our classrooms? There are four types of instruction--…