Teaching Writing in the Middle School: Common Core and More

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9781475805406: Teaching Writing in the Middle School: Common Core and More
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More than 670,000 middle school teachers (grades 6-8) are responsible for educating nearly 13 million students in public and private schools. Thousands more teachers join these ranks annually, especially in the South and West, where ethnic populations are ballooning. Teachers and administrators seek practical, time-efficient ways of teaching language arts to 21st-century adolescents in increasingly multicultural, technologically diverse, socially networked communities. They seek sound understanding, practical advice, and proven strategies in order to connect diverse literature to 21st-century societies while meeting state and professional standards like the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. This book offers strategies and resources that work.

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About the Author:

Anna J. Small Roseboro has 40 years’ experience in public and private schools and she earned the National Board Certificate in Early Adolescent/English Language Arts from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards in 1998. In 2008-9, Anna was a faculty leader at the NCTE Affiliates Leadership Conference, served as Master Teacher for the San Francisco Bay Area Teachers Center. She facilitated Early Career Educators in Leadership Institute, was awarded the California Association of Teachers of English 2009 Distinguished Service Award, in 2012-2013 served the Conference on English Leadership as mentor in their Emerging Leaders Fellowship Program, and in 2016 was presented with the NCTE Distinguished Service Award.

Review:

[T]his is a practical guide for a beginning teacher to use over the course of the entire school year.... I am planning to pass this book on to one of my new middle school teachers! (MiddleWeb)

With the landscape of education changing rapidly, we need sound wisdom to help guide emerging teachers who often struggle with multiple teaching assignments and little support. Presenting the art of successful teaching and learning as a journey, Roseboro opens her book by providing strategies to help teachers create a strong learning community. Her voice as the knowledgeable guide is realistic and practical, sharing successful instructional techniques with activities and standards-based lessons that can be adapted to any classroom. An invaluable resource for all English language arts teachers, Roseboro’s book should be required reading for anyone who will be teaching middle school language arts. (Joan Williams, professional development director, mentor for early career educators in California’s beginning teacher support program (BTSA) since 2000 and former English department chair and classroom teacher)

Teaching is a messy, imprecise, fantastically exciting and spectacularly demanding job but in these pages, Anna doesn’t shy away from any of this. She’s blunt, funny, practical, ambitious, demanding, gentle and inspiring. She asks teachers to reflect, she shows teachers how to use best practices and she prods teachers working in a world of “standards, standards, standards” to remember that we are teaching real human beings in our classrooms. Real kids who laugh, get distracted, crave leadership but demand independence... sometimes all within the same hour. From building classroom libraries to grading, from recognizing the challenges of adolescents to validating the impact of whole-child learning on academic performance, this text offers a banquet table of idea, tools, stories and strategies which are sure to benefit new and veteran educators alike.
American schools would be much better off if we had a photocopy machine that could replicate more Anna Roseboro’s for our academic world. Alas, this text is the next best thing. (Alan Sitomer, author, teacher)

As Head of Middle School at a small, private, independent school, I would happily recommend this book not only to my middle school faculty and colleagues but also to teachers of language arts at any level. The thoughtful analysis of language arts teaching that Roseboro provides would, no doubt, be of value to any teacher who values literacy and, more importantly, values literacy learners. Confident but not arrogant, witty but not cloying, informative but not preachy, Teaching Writing in Middle School: Common Core and More should take a prominent, accessible position on every language arts classroom’s reference shelf. (Rudolph Sharpe, Jr. Head of Middle School,Lancaster Country Day School, Lancaster, PA)

Roseboro offers an invaluable section that details the essence of teaching as more than telling...and on behalf of student and teacher assures us that test prep....is a “no brainer”. Having students "understand" what they are to be assessed on and in what way...as well as supplying reasons for measurement boosts their self-confidence and likelihood of their success lets them know that you are their advocate - not there to do a "gotcha".

Her use of color coding is brilliant...as a primary teaching tool and as a means of making room for "peer instruction"...Beautiful use of the personal stories to alert the new teacher to the essence of individuality regarding learning styles. With regard to "critical reading"...and conferencing...what a wonderful opportunity to have students compare their earliest work - prior to introduction to a particular concept or concepts...to their most recent .or final work...discussing either orally or in writing (or both) their progress. Foremost, I love the idea of connecting personal writing to current events in their lives.

In summation, Roseboro has created a practical guidebook for success as a neophyte teacher as well as a refreshing overview of personal practice as we monitor and adjust veteran approaches to “effective teaching”. (Marilyn Gross, Pennsylvania retired reading specialist, 30+years. accelerated, developmental, corrective, remedial K-12 & university levels)

Anna Roseboro’s book is grounded in an over-arching philosophy of the relevance of teaching individual students in the seamless circle of an English classroom how to be successful and joyful while acquiring the tools of the mind and applying acquired skills to understanding texts and for producing them. Her writing style is an on-going conversation of ideas, practical, detailed, focused, and tested ideas, and of how to teach students to acquire, cherish, utilize, and hunger for knowledge.
She provides a treasure trove of resources, including those within the wider community, and fresh day-to-day activities. These activities and resources energize collaboration and personal successes within the matrix of core standards, system-wide mandates, and standardized tests. She challenges rookie as well as vintage teachers, whether we are careered in a middle school, high school, or university, to create a balance between the awe of teaching/learning and the hard work for both the students and teacher, and she nudges us to remember that the journey of learning for all of us is on-going and ever-growing. (Nancy Genevieve Perkins, professor emerita of English, University of Illinois Springfield; Co-author, “Adult Literacy in Writing;” editor and poet)

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