Thursday, August 9, 2012

In The Middle

During my undergraduate reading course I was required to read a few chapters from the book "In the Middle" by Nancy Atwell.  I'm now reading the textbook over again to see what I can learn about teaching middle school language arts.  What I've taken from the book so far:

1) An idea to introduce students to the classroom is to provide a scavenger hunt of classroom supplies instead of just pointing them all out to them.

2) Require students to write a letter to me at least once a week about what they are reading and then reply back to them.  I will be making sure that each student has a one subject notebook for this purpose.

3) Nancy Atwell structure her daily schedule to include a writing workshop and a reading workshop everyday. I most likely won't have the time for both but I do like the idea of having word work as a bellringer, followed by a mini-lesson and then either a reading or writing workshop which I can alternate each day.   I also like how she emphasizes the importance of read alouds which I think I will end each day with.

4)  "In the Middle" offers many ideas for topics for mini-lessons.  Some suggestions for the beginning of year include:
 -Expectations for writing or reading
 -Conferring with peers: where, when, how
 -How to use an editing checklist for writing
 -Classroom literary resources
 -Procedures for booktalks
 -Setting goals for reading and writing

If anyone else has read "In the Middle" and used Atwell's approach I'd love to know how it has worked for you.

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