Educationally Yours
Education is a field in which we must all agree to toil.
                                                                               Paulo Friere
English Best Practices

11 Qualities of Best Practice in Writing

1. All Children Can and Should Write –Build on Children’s Strengths –Help Them Widen Their Repertoires –Do Not Wait for Reading or Grammar to Develop (allow for experimenting with the written language)
2. Find Real Purposes to Write and Real Audiences to Reach –Children Work Hard and Invest Time and Effort When the Topic Matters –Give Opportunity on Choice of Topic –Allow Them to See How Real Listeners/Readers React •Nurtures the writer’s skills and motivation –Publication of Writing is Vital
3. Students Should Take Ownership and Responsibility –The More Choices the Teacher Makes, the Fewer Responsibilities Left for Students •Students Should Choose Their Topic •Students Should Examine Their Work and Decide Which are Worth Continued Effort
4. Effective Writing Programs Involve the Complete Writing Process –Children Need to Know Writing is a Process With Many Steps •Select Topic, Purpose, and Audience •Prewriting •Drafting •Revising •Editing • •**This Process is Different Depending •on the Writer or the Task**
5. Teachers Can Help Students Get Started –Provide Students With a List of Topics or Questions –Prewriting Activities: •Memory Searches, Listing, Charting, Webbing, Clustering, Drawing and Sketching, Brainstorming, Free-writing, Discussion, Reading and Research Topics
6. Teachers Help Students Draft and Revise –Students Learn That Good Writing is Not Done in One Quick Shot –Need Instruction in How to Revise •It’s About Thinking and Communication, Not Just Fixing Mechanics –See the Words From the Point of View of Reader (word selection and style)
7. Teachers Must Help Students Learn the Craft of Writing –Focus Awareness on Particular Strategies for Expressing Ideas •Ways to Begin and End, Organization, Details that Bring Ideas to Life, Composing Sentences Clearly, Use of Standard English Convention –Done Through the Use of Mini-Lessons Appropriate to the Writing Tasks –Can be Practiced Immediately in Context
8. Grammar and Mechanics Are Best Learned in the Context of Actual Writing –Integrated Into the Later Stages of Writing –Connected to Writing That the Students are Invested In –**Skill-and-Drill Grammar Lessons do NOT Transfer to Writing Performance**
9. Students Need a Classroom Context of Shared Learning –Students Need a Supportive Context for Working Collaboratively –The Classroom Should Be Safe to Try New Approaches –Teach Students to Listen and Respect Other’s Opinions –Help Each Other Critique Themselves and Figure Out Their Own Improvements
10. Writing Should Extend Throughout the Curriculum –Writing Activates Thinking –Ungraded Writing That Does Not Have to Take Much Time or More Work •Activates Prior Knowledge •Elicit Questions •Build Comprehension •Promote Discussion •Reflect on Ideas Covered
11. Use Evaluation Constructively and Efficiently –Writers Grow More From Praise than Criticism •Focus on One or Two Kinds of Errors •Oral Conferences at Various Stages of the Writing •Portfolios or Folder System for Evaluating •Official Grading of Only Selected, Fully Revised Pieces –A list in each student’s folder to show skills and processes accomplished and provide accountability

English Websites

Social Studies Best Practices

11 Qualities of Best Practice in Social Studies

1. Students of Social Studies need regular opportunities to investigate topics in depth
2. Students need opportunities to exercise choice and responsibility by choosing their own topics for inquiry
3. Social studies teaching should involve exploration of open questions that challenge students’ thinking
4. To make concepts real, social studies must involve active participation in the classroom and the wider community
5. Social Studies should involve students in both independent inquiry and cooperative learning in order to build skills and habits needed for lifelong, responsible learning
6. Social studies reading should include engaging real-world documents and not just textbooks
7. Social studies should involve students in writing, observing, discussing, and debating to ensure their active participation in learning
8. Social studies learning should build on students’ prior knowledge of their lives and communities, rather than assuming they know nothing about the subject
9. Social studies should explore the wide variety of cultures found in America, including students’ own backgrounds and other cultures’ approaches to various social studies concepts
10. Social studies should avoid tracking of students because it deprives various groups of the knowledge essential to their citizenship
11. Social studies evaluation must reflect the importance of students’ thinking and help prepare students to be responsible citizens, rather than rewarding memorization of decontextualized facts

Social Studies Websites
American History Writing Prompts