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Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Middle and High School ELA
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Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Middle and High School ELA
Five to Thrive [series]



July 2022 | 160 pages | Corwin

“Matthew Johnson, Dave Stuart Jr., and Matthew R. Kay have written a book to help navigate the burning questions early career teachers long to understand. From ways to build a community of learners to motivational instruction to feedback that works for students and teachers alike, these inspirational teachers share what it takes to craft a career for the long haul.”

- Andy Schoenborn, co-author of Creating Confident Writers: For High School, College, and Life

Your guide to grow and learn as an ELA teacher!

Let’s face it, major shifts over the past decade, including pandemic-related challenges, have rapidly changed our ELA classrooms. New and experienced teachers can benefit from guidance on the fundamentals of what excellent teaching and learning of writing can look like. Friendly and practical, this book is a reminder of the things that matter most.

Part of the Five to Thrive series for early-career educators, Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Middle & High School ELA offers solutions for any teacher who wishes to refresh their practice. Questions and answers are organized into five areas that will help you thrive in your classroom: 

  • How do I build a brave, supportive reading and writing community?
  • How do I cultivate motivation?
  • How can I ensure that my feedback and assessment are efficient, effective, and equitable?
  • What does strong ELA instruction look like?
  • How can I keep doing this for my whole career?

The authors, all practicing ELA educators, provide solutions to the most urgent challenges teachers face in providing student-centered and efficient instruction. With an emphasis on equity, culturally responsive practice, and intrinsic motivation, the book focuses on the wellbeing of both students and teachers.

You’ll find accessible tips for immediate use woven throughout. Strive to be the best ELA educator you can; your students are counting on it!

 
Introduction
 
CHAPTER 1: How do I build a brave and supportive reading and writing community?
 
CHAPTER 2: How do I cultivate motivation in an ELA classroom?
 
CHAPTER 3: How Can I Ensure That My Feedback and Assessment Are Both as Efficient, Effective, and Equitable As Possible?
 
CHAPTER 4: What does strong ELA instruction look like?
 
CHAPTER 5: How can I keep doing this for my whole career?
 
References

Every new professional needs a mentor, and beginning teachers benefit from the kind veteran teacher down the hall. Johnson, Kay, and Stuart give us just that: the helpful voices of wisdom and experience. They welcome us into the best professional conversations with each other and leaders like Penny Kittle and Thomas Newkirk.
Their advice is sound. John Hattie’s research provides the underpinning, and the authors show how to set up and run classrooms truly responsive to students.
Their advice is so practical! They offer multiple techniques, such as many ways to quote students in your classroom and how to leverage the grading load.
Best and most rare of all, their advice models learning. Pointing us toward online sources like the Cult of Pedagogy and the National Writing Project, they share how they have evolved as teachers, even creating language (buzzwordified!) and crackling the prose with concepts like literacy evangelism.
If I can’t teach down the hall from these three, this book is the next best thing.

Gretchen Bernabei
Teacher, Consultant, and Author

Johnson, Kay, and Stuart are asking great questions that will lead to life-giving, sustainable ELA teaching and learning. The practices they describe in their own rooms leap off the page because of their authenticity and dynamic delivery. We need more books like this by teachers who love students and have a passion for building our profession by inviting others into their classroom practices in ways that allow educators and students to flourish.

Jonathan Eckert
Author of Leading Together: Teachers and Administrators Improving Student Outcomes

Reading this book is like having three experienced mentors give you all the answers on the ELA teacher test! If you are looking for teaching moves, engaging assignments, and resources to cultivate a true learning community, get ready to be inspired. Truly a gift for early-career teachers looking for ideas, midcareer teachers who need a boost, and veteran teachers who are ready to be refreshed. Johnson, Kay, and Stuart shine a united voice of optimism on teaching in today’s classrooms.

Carol Pelletier Radford
Author of Teaching With Light: Ten Lessons for Finding Wisdom, Balance, and Inspiration; Mentoring in Action: Guiding, Sharing, and Reflecting With Novice Teachers; and The First Years Matter: Becoming an Effective Teacher

Matthew Johnson, Matthew Kay, and Dave Stuart have hit a home run with their new book Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Middle and High School ELA. Their practical suggestions for cultivating classroom community and instructional ideas are valuable for not only the novice educator, but the seasoned one as well. I found myself thinking of ways I could use their suggestions in my own university literacy teaching! This trio has crafted a text that ELA folks will want to keep on their desk so they can quickly reference these easy-to-implement classroom ideas.

Rebecca Harper
Author of Write Now and Write On, Grades 6–12

Johnson, Kay, and Stuart have written a book to help navigate the burning questions early-career teachers long to understand. From ways to build a community of learners to motivational instruction to feedback that works for students and teachers alike, these inspirational teachers share what it takes to craft a career for the long haul.

Andy Schoenborn
Coauthor of Creating Confident Writers: For High School, College, and Life

Matthew Johnson, Matthew R. Kay’s, and Dave Stuart Jr. book Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Middle and High School ELA is an excellent resource for teachers looking to implement best practices in classrooms immediately. New teachers will find inspiration and resources as they plan and implement ELA curriculum in both the middle and high school English classroom. Johnson, Kay, and Stuart detail common challenges in the ELA classroom and provide practical strategies and solutions for the new and experienced teacher.

Theresa Walter
English Teacher, Nationally Board Certified Teacher (NBCT)

Johnson, Kay, and Stuart have written a book that would seem to answer every question I asked myself in the last year. They not only answer the questions with immediately useful suggestions one could apply to their class on the spot, but they also offer responses that are grounded as much in research as they are in optimism and joy. Though they began this book with beginning teachers in mind, they realized, as we all have in the last few years, that we are all new teachers who need the wisdom and practical strategies these three generous teachers offer us to do our job. My wife and I, because of the overwhelming demands of our personal and professional lives in the last few years, started getting one of those meal kits
delivered a couple of days a week. I was reminded of those kits and how much they have helped us be a bit more healthy and balanced as I read Answers to Your Biggest Questions, which Johnson, Kay, and Stuart would no doubt appreciate, for in their introduction, they say we should use and think of their book “as a serious cook uses a new cookbook.” This book will help any teacher cook up lessons that are as consistently delicious as they are healthy—both for students and their teachers.

Jim Burke
English Teacher, Middle College High School and Author of The Common Core Companion series

Under the weight of overwhelming expectations and intimidating systems of power, ELA teachers can ease their heavy load by hitching up with Johnson, Kay, and Stuart. From each of their unique teacher zones, the authors provide do-able options—rather than do-it-all presumptions—to help teachers strengthen learning communities with empathy, engagement, and equity. Answers to Your Biggest Questions offers a hope, clarity, and practicality needed to make this work lighter and brighter.

Erica Lee Beaton
Author of The Good Enough Teacher

In Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Middle and High School ELA, three great yet distinctive teachers have put together a book that hits that rare balance of big-picture inspiration and down-home practical advice. Matthew Johnson, Matthew Kay, and Dave Stuart make their teaching visible in a way that will work both for early-career teachers and (as Matthew writes) “anyone who wants to be new.” Most importantly, they keep it real: real questions, real dilemmas, and real responses full of options and activities. ELA teachers will want to keep this one close at hand.

Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
Executive Director, National Writing Project

Answers to Your Biggest Questions About Teaching Middle and High School ELA pools together the extensive classroom experience of Matthew Johnson, Matthew R. Kay, and Dave Stuart Jr. There are moments from their classrooms, their best strategies, and their favorite resources, all contextualized by powerful mental framing to help teachers of English language arts narrow their focus, work more efficiently, and make sure our valuable minutes with students move them forward as learners. Open up the book to any page, and you’ll find something you can use now—for example, my students have already considered the authors’ meaningful list of five reasons to read. This book will invite you to imagine better possibilities for you and your students.

Sarah M. Zerwin
High School Language Arts Teacher, Instructional Coach, and Author of Point-Less: An English Teacher’s Guide to More Meaningful Grading

Sample Materials & Chapters

Sample Pages


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ISBN: 9781071858042
£23.99