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Radcliffe, Barbara J. – Voices from the Middle, 2012
In middle school, the focus of writing instruction shifts away from narrative writing to more academic writing. In the process, many students become less engaged as they respond to inauthentic prompts; additionally, their writing becomes stilted and formulaic. This article addresses the role narrative writing plays by acting as a springboard to…
Descriptors: Writing Instruction, Teaching Methods, Persuasive Discourse, Expository Writing
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Morgan, Denise N. – Voices from the Middle, 2012
Writing needs to be taught, not assigned, but teaching writing well within a 43-minute period is a daunting task. This article describes how three 8th-grade teachers implemented a unit of study approach to teaching memoir writing in their language arts classes. Teacher and student decision making are highlighted in this inquiry process. ["Teaching…
Descriptors: Language Arts, Teaching Methods, Units of Study, Writing Instruction
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Hagood, Margaret C. – Voices from the Middle, 2012
New literacies are affecting the ways that we choose to spend our time in teaching and learning. In this article, Hagood describes the work of nine middle grades teachers' explorations of new literacies, including digital technologies and pop culture, and their implementations in their content area instruction. She also highlights some of the…
Descriptors: Popular Culture, Content Area Reading, Risk, Rewards
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Leland, Chris; Ociepka, Anne; Kuonen, Kate – Voices from the Middle, 2012
As adolescents spend more and more time engaging in various on line activities, teachers are questioning the role that language arts curricula might play in helping them become savvy technology users. In this study, an eighth-grade teacher responded to her students' unauthorized participation on MySpace[TM] by initiating an inquiry into social…
Descriptors: Grade 8, Literacy Education, Social Networks, Early Adolescents
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Costello, Adrienne – Voices from the Middle, 2012
Young adolescents are immersed in 21st century literacies in their daily lives, and they bring into schools a level of appreciation and expertise that often goes untapped. This article presents an eighth-grade English classroom's experience with digital video composing and informal classroom drama as multimodal literacy practices. Students in this…
Descriptors: Video Technology, Drama, Teaching Methods, Adolescents
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Nichols, Phil – Voices from the Middle, 2012
In an effort to expose students to a wide array of 21st century literacies, it is easy for teachers to forget the equally important role of leading students in critical inquiry regarding "when" and "why" particular media ought to be used. This results in students who possess knowledge of how to use a medium but lack the wisdom to truly understand…
Descriptors: Audiences, Criticism, Literacy, Evaluation
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Ivey, Gay – Voices from the Middle, 2011
Based on her experiences with the transformation of 8th-grade reading in one school, Ivey advocates for a substantial shift in what students read in English class and what is available to them in school. Middle school classrooms are in dire need of a book makeover, and this should be the first order of business when considering what to do for…
Descriptors: Middle Schools, Intervention, Reading Interests, Books
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Annamma, Subini; Eppolito, Amy; Klingner, Janette; Boele, Amy; Boardman, Alison; Stillman-Spisak, Stephanie J. – Voices from the Middle, 2011
The authors interviewed 17 middle school reading and language arts teachers as part of a larger study on an evidence-based intervention called Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR). CSR is a multi-component reading instructional model combined with cooperative grouping and peer discussion. We show from the teacher interviews that CSR has benefits…
Descriptors: Learner Engagement, Evidence, Middle Schools, Oral Language
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Shanklin, Nancy; Gaynor, Paige – Voices from the Middle, 2011
Pursuing student voice in your design of curriculum helps students take more ownership of their learning. Gaynor and Shanklin developed an open-ended survey to gather information about students' growing understandings of the purposes for reading and writing and to solicit feedback about the year's activities. The survey is presented here, along…
Descriptors: Feedback (Response), Reading Achievement, Student Attitudes, Academic Achievement
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Hubbard, Janet – Voices from the Middle, 2011
When the author offered the option of writing an article for "Voices from the Middle" to her seventh- and eighth-grade language arts classes, some students were unwavering in their preference to stay on the steady, familiar ground of writing a letter to a peer about a book they had read and loved. Noah McCord, Tobin Feldman-Fitzthum, and…
Descriptors: Language Arts, Teacher Role, Grade 8, Grade 7
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Rose, Suzanne M. – Voices from the Middle, 2011
When asked to discuss their middle school language arts classes, talented eighth graders identified concerns and made suggestions for their teachers. Students voiced desire for choices in selecting reading materials, writing topics and genre. They preferred having extended periods of time to engage in reading and writing activities, rather than…
Descriptors: Language Arts, Grade 8, Middle Schools, Middle School Students
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Chiaravalloti, Laura A. – Voices from the Middle, 2010
There is a relationship between the structural supports teachers set in place to foster academic discourse in their classrooms and the quality of learning that is realized by their students. Research suggests that students who are given frequent and equitable opportunities for academic talk will be more likely to make academic gains. In this…
Descriptors: Feedback (Response), Academic Discourse, Group Discussion, Second Language Learning
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Johnson, Danielle – Voices from the Middle, 2010
Attempting discussions about social justice issues in a junior high classroom can be a daunting but critical task. Uncertainty about how to get conversations started, along with fear about where such talk might lead, can make the task easy to dismiss. In this paper, one teacher tells her story of inviting rich discussion about a variety of…
Descriptors: Social Justice, Reading Improvement, Grade 9, Gender Bias
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Wirsing, Janice – Voices from the Middle, 2009
A classroom teacher reflects on the benefits of professional development leading to improved and energized student writing. Although traditional professional development sparked interest and encouraged modifications, the support of a teacher inquiry group as ongoing professional development provided the impact needed to effect significant change…
Descriptors: Faculty Development, Inquiry, Teacher Improvement, Writing Skills
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Heard, Georgia – Voices from the Middle, 2009
Georgia Heard spent a week with students in New Mexico, encouraging their search for "self-portrait poetry"--poetry in which they saw themselves. She witnessed courage, pain, tragedy, and hope in the choices and writing of those struggling students, and came to learn that at least one among them had found a life-changing outlet.…
Descriptors: Pain, Poetry, Self Disclosure (Individuals), At Risk Students
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