Teaching with Primary Resources

Great resources for strategies to teach with primary resources.







Closure Ideas from Edutopia

I can plan plan great lessons, but closure activities are something that I struggle with. This is a list that I will be using from now on.


Public Speaking

I teach bright students who can learn just about anything I put in front of them quickly and with ease; however, public speaking is something the majority of my students struggle with getting up in front of their peers.  Over the past few years, I have started forcing students to do things like sharing their writing, narratives and speeches, with their classmates.  Last year, one student would do a great job sharing only to put his head down and cry as soon as he sat in his chair.  My students NEED to develop these skills because many of them will have jobs where they will be presenting to groups of all sizes.  I want them to be confident in their own ideas and abilities.

This year, I found out about TED Ed Clubs and have just started using them with my advanced classes. Students are getting release forms signed, I will send them in, and we will start working through the process that will lead to students having written and presented their own TED style talk about a subject they are passionate about.  I can’t wait!

Here are some things I found on the importance of teaching public speaking skills specifically.

“Why is Public Speaking Important?” Stenhouse blog

“Now, let me make a radical statement: the mission of education should not be to make students better at school but rather to prepare them for life.”

“While speaking skills may have been somewhat underemphasized in schools, they have not been underemphasized in the real world.”

“Further support for the value of speaking skills comes from a study of 104 Silicon Valley employers. Silicon Valley is the home of many of America’s high-tech firms, and you might expect that they would place a high value on math and engineering skills, right? Company representatives were asked several questions about desired qualities in prospective employees. The question “What additional business communication skills would you like to see in your recent college graduate new hires?” produced interesting results: Employers sought improved oral presentation skills more frequently than they did written skills. Their comments expressed a need for stronger skills in public speaking, enhanced interpersonal skills, increased confidence, and improved interviewing skills. Several wrote that students needed more presentation skills, highlighting the ability to use software tools like PowerPoint. This was surprising, because the popular press talks more about a lack of writing skills among college graduates than about insufficient oral skills. (Stevens 2005,7; emphasis added)”

We Should be Teaching Public Speaking in School” The Washington Post 

Teacher’s Guide to the Middle School Public Debate Program




I need to reread the report and think about the recommendations some more, but I can definitely see my practice changing to include more implicit instruction in some of these areas.

From the Report:

The Recommendations

Eleven Elements of Effective Adolescent Writing Instruction
This report identifies 11 elements of current writing instruction found to be effective for helping
adolescent students learn to write well and to use writing as a tool for learning. It is important to note
that all of the elements are supported by rigorous research, but that even when used together, they do
not constitute a full writing curriculum.

1. Writing Strategies, which involves teaching students strategies for planning, revising, and
editing their compositions
2. Summarization, which involves explicitly and systematically teaching students how to
summarize texts
3. Collaborative Writing, which uses instructional arrangements in which adolescents work
together to plan, draft, revise, and edit their compositions
4. Specific Product Goals, which assigns students specific, reachable goals for the writing they
are to complete
5. Word Processing, which uses computers and word processors as instructional supports for
writing assignments
6. Sentence Combining, which involves teaching students to construct more complex,
sophisticated sentences
7. Prewriting, which engages students in activities designed to help them generate or organize
ideas for their composition
8. Inquiry Activities, which engages students in analyzing immediate, concrete data to help
them develop ideas and content for a particular writing task
9. Process Writing Approach, which interweaves a number of writing instructional activities in
a workshop environment that stresses extended writing opportunities, writing for authentic
audiences, personalized instruction, and cycles of writingWriting Next: Effective strategies to improve writing of adolescents in middle and high schools
10. Study of Models, which provides students with opportunities to read, analyze, and emulate
models of good writing
11. Writing for Content Learning, which uses writing as a tool for learning content material

Bibliotherapy-A Strategy to Address Students’ Affective Needs

Bibliotherapy is a strong strategy that addresses the affective needs of students.