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Voices from the Middle, Vol. 11, No. 3, March 2004

Cover Art for Voices from the Middle, Vol. 11, No. 3, March 2004

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Learning through Technology

  • Plugging In: What Technology Brings to the English/Language Arts Classroom

    Sara Kajder

    Abstract: Technology in the classroom should be a tool, not a goal. Kajder offers 3 questions that drive her choices for classroom instruction, including the use of technology: How does the task at hand help to empower my middle school students to be powerful communicators, rich thinkers, and compelling writers? How does this technology allow us to “do it better”? Is this task a rigorous complement or alternative to existing curriculum? Offering guidelines for teachers and activities for students, Kajder helps teachers ground their incorporation of technology in a logical and productive foundation.

  • Power Chatting: Lessons for Success

    Elaine Insinnia and Eileen Cleary Skarecki

    Abstract: Compelled by student interest and her search for more meaningful class discussion, teacher Elaine Insinnia found support from technology coordinator Eileen Skarecki for introducing chat room discussions about class reading. The results were more engaged students, deeper discussions, and more egalitarian participation. Along the way, Elaine learned useful ways to individualize instruction and develop new options for enthused learning.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Teaching Online Safety

    Hallee Adelman

    Abstract: In spite of the mountain of information and educational resources available on the Internet, there are plenty of dangers awaiting unsuspecting middle schoolers. Educating students and parents about these dangers can protect our students and put adults’ minds at ease. Through pamphlets, informative Web sites, and a series of exercises, Adelman offers students and parents strategies for staying safe and being responsible.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Technology That Powers Up Learning

    Kara Coggeshall and Jim Doherty

    Abstract: A team of seventh-grade teachers tailors their language arts and reading instruction to take advantage of the valuable resources available on the Web, as well as students’ natural enthusiasm for the medium. By designing lessons to activate prior knowledge, offering lists of relevant Web sites, and linking these activities to reading and writing, teachers found that students were more engaged, that they learned more material more quickly than through traditional print alternatives, and that they more willingly incorporated reading into their lives.

  • The Power (Point) of Poetry

    Nicholas Todd Kuroly

    Abstract: A self-proclaimed technophobe, Kuroly takes the plunge with his eighth-grade class. As a group, they learn PowerPoint, research poets on the Web, and record favorite poems, all of which results in a triumphant series of PowerPoint presentations on favorite poets.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Idea Technology and Product Technology: Seeing beyond the Text to the Technology That Works

    Maryanne R. Bednar

    Abstract: Sifting through the myriad idea technologies (such as multiple intelligence theories or Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development) and product technologies (such as PowerPoint or digital cameras) can be overwhelming, but Bednar persuades us that it’s not about having the most recent technology, it’s about using what works for your students in your class. Her point is convincing when we see how an ideological “blueprint” and some low-tech support resulted in engagement with novels that led to “reading beyond” the printed page.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Lessons Learned from Integrating Technology in a Writer's Workshop

    Patricia A. Watson and Jan Guidry Lacina

    Abstract: Two teachers reflect on their combined experiences in teaching middle school, teaching preservice teachers, and teaching online in order to adapt and apply strategies for bringing positive experiences in a computer-based environment to middle grade students. The result is five valuable lessons, each of which is explained theoretically and described practically through a writers’ workshop example.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Inquiring Minds Use Technology!

    Jeffrey D. Wilhelm

    Abstract: The vast potential of electronic technology is often wasted; electronic worksheets are no more effective than paper ones. When that potential enhances an inquiry-driven curriculum, however, we can improve student literacy engagement and achievement. Begin by using the Web sites listed here to teach students to evaluate sites, and give them a tool that will serve learning throughout their lives.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • EDITOR'S MESSAGE: Equality and the Digital Divide

    Kylene Beers

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary


    Howard M. Miller, Chair

    Abstract: 2003 Annual Convention highlights; Steering Committee members; Middle section leadership opportunities

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • THE LITERATURE CIRCLE: Don't Spoil the Ending!

    Harvey Daniels, editor

    Abstract: Use a minilesson to help students refrain from blurting surprises from books being discussed in literature circles. Principles and monitoring techniques are explained in detail.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • WRITERS' WORKSHOP: High Tech, Low Tech: It's the Thought That Counts

    Linda Rief, editor

    Abstract: Technology is great, but it’s not always available where and when we want it. Every teacher, every student must learn to work with what they have. Rief reminds us how important it is to make sure that students understand that computers are tools to support meaningful writing and learning; without meaning, the rest doesn’t matter.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • RESPONDING TO READING: Pencils and Other Technological Wonders

    Robert E. Probst, editor

    Abstract: One flaw in the technology bandwagon is the subtle worry that we may be thinking more about the technology we use to do our writing than about our writing. Probst sends us a gentle reminder that our goals haven’t changed: getting kids to read good literature, reflect on their responses, discuss it, understand it, and ultimately, to understand themselves and their world.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • THE TEACHER'S TOOLBOX: The Four Cs of Academic Success

    Jim Burke, editor

    Abstract: Who succeeds in middle school? Why? Burke had identified 4 areas that seem to address the answer to that question: Commitment, Content, Competencies, Capacities. When formal standards appear unconnected or inflexible, ask yourself if your current activity is furthering a goal in one or more of these categories. The answer will either affirm your instructional decisions or give you the impetus to revise your plan.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • THE WORD MARKET: The Shopping Network for Trading Words

    Janet Allen, editor

    Abstract: Our use of technology is more embedded in our lives than we know—even when it comes to word study. Allen offers Web sites with word games, book talks, vocabulary, Magnetic Poetry—even a Periodic Table of Elements with a poem for each element! Rich resources for rich word study.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • SPELLING LOGICS: Spell-Check This! The Limitations and Potential of Technology for Spelling

    Shane Templeton, editor

    Abstract: We praise the power of software that saves us from our own writing weaknesses, most notably spelling, yet we shouldn’t let our students use these tools without educating them about their limitations. In addition, we must wrestle with the impact of intentional misspellings so common in the world of e-mail and text messaging. Templeton offers some no-nonsense perspective and advice for dealing with these phenomena.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • LITERATURE: ELEMENTS OF STYLE: The Heart and Soul of Literature

    Carol Jago, editor

    Abstract: One cannot identify the elusive “theme” of a piece of literature or a poem without bringing something of one’s own experience and beliefs to the reading. Jago offers a sparkling example of an assignment that starts with the personal and expands to the universal while satisfying traditional educational goals.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • TECH CONNECT: Resources on the Web: A Celebration of Sites

    Nancy Patterson, editor

    Abstract: Got computers? Here are sites filled with engaging lessons, background for lesson planning, and imaginative possibilities for using technology in the language arts classroom.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • PROFESSIONAL BOOK REVIEWS: Bend It, Shape It, Any Way You Want It: Taking Charge of Technology!

    Leigh Van Horn, editor

    Abstract: Reviewed: Technology for Literacy Teaching and Learning; The Tech-Savvy English Classroom; Computers in the Writing Classroom; Real ePublishing, Really Publishing! How to Create Digital Books by and for All Ages; Teaching Youth Media: A Critical Guide to Literacy, Video Production, and Social Change.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • BOOK TALK: Tech-niques for Bringing Kids to Books

    Teri S. Lesesne, editor

    Abstract: Getting books into the hands of young readers, especially young reluctant readers, is a challenge. The appealing books in this column are categorized by “What would happen if . . .?” books, and eye-catching books whose covers will attract even the most hesitant reader.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • STUDENT TO STUDENT: Books: The Original Technology

    Kim Ford, editor

    Abstract: Yes, in this age of technology, we still need books more than ever. Here are books of adventure, fantasy, and adolescent life reviewed by students who loved them.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary


    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

* Journal articles are provided in PDF format and can be opened using the free Adobe® Reader® program or a comparable viewer. Click here to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

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