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Voices from the Middle, Vol. 12, No. 4, May 2005

Cover Art for Voices from the Middle, Vol. 12, No. 4, May 2005

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: From Trial to Triumph

  • EDITOR'S MESSAGE: Finding the Triumph between Fear and Frustration

    Kylene Beers, editor

    Abstract: A suggestion from a colleague triggered an early memory from Beers’s first year of teaching, and eventually led to this theme on teaching special needs students in and out of the regular education classroom.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • A HAND UP: What I Wouldn't Give to Be That Good

    Chris Crutcher, editor

    Abstract: Crutcher laments the current educational crisis wherein standardized testing eliminates the most motivating factor in learning: creativity. Through examples from his experience as a psychologist, he emphasizes the need students feel for respect and for teachers who not only know their subjects, but know them.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Resisting the Specter of Fierce Neatness

    Susan Ohanian

    Abstract: Having taught both mainstream and special needs middle school students and in an alternative high school, Ohanian resists the concept that all children are capable of doing the same work. “[F]or readers in crisis, extreme measure are needed.” She contends that we must teach students what they are capable of learning, no matter what book or assignment that might involve, and that when we bow to the dictates of Standardistas, we abandon our students to political abstractions.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • The Odd Fish Story

    Roger Essley

    Abstract: Essley was a “different learner,” and now he works in schools showing teachers how visual/verbal tools can help all students, including their “different learners,” succeed. One valuable tool is storyboarding, a process by which students build a story through visual stages—drafts, conferences, revisions—before writing even begins. Essley shares the story of one special needs student who found new confidence and success by participating in this process with “regular” seventh graders, all of whom demonstrated increased comprehension, more engaging writing, and a greater recall of classroom content.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Letter Writing and Book Listening: Advice from Special Education Teachers

    Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld and Venina Carr Haley

    Abstract: In the first part of this article, Chenfeld introduces us to Ronni Spratt, a special education teacher with high energy and high expectations. Ronni asks each of her students to write (carefully written and revised) letters to the teachers of classes where they will be mainstreamed, offering tips on how they learn best. Then, Haley shows how using tools that work for special needs studentsin this case, books on tapecan also benefit “regular” students.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Interrupting the Failure Cycle: Revaluing Two Seventh-Grade Struggling Readers

    Jennifer L. Wilson

    Abstract: Two boys from a special education class worked with Wilson to improve reading. Using Miscue Analysis to assess their reading strengths and weaknesses, Wilson engaged the boys in analyzing their miscues (Collaborative Retrospective Miscue Analysis), which led to their increased confidence and use of additional reading strategies.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Teachers Offering Healthy Escape Options for Teenagers in Pain

    Joan F. Kaywell

    Abstract: “[T]wenty-five percent of today’s teenagers have inordinate emotional baggage beyond the normal angst of adolescence.” This burden can lead to unhealthy escapes, including substance abuse, sexual activity, violence, eating disorders, and suicide. One healthy escape, however, lies in books, where students can read about teenagers living in painful circumstances who make healthy choices. Kaywell provides an annotated list of books categorized by the healthy alternatives they represent.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Reader's Theater and Storyboarding: Strategies That Include and Improve

    James Doherty and Kara Coggeshall

    Abstract: Doherty and Coggeshall combined their two classes—one regular education and one special education—and, agreeing on the value of reader’s theater and storyboarding for all students, embarked on a team teaching effort that resulted in improvements for all students, and unprecedented success for “special” students. A template for storyboarding is included.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • What If They Can't?

    Vicki L. Mueller

    Abstract: A class of reluctant readers and writers responded positively when topics were discussed orally before writing. As writing improved, Mueller introduced “Coffee House”—themed settings for oral performance of student writing. After modeling her own writing, Mueller invited students to perform, gratified when even the most reticent student shared an emotional reading and was buoyed by his peers’ positive responses. Eventually, students created picture books for younger readers (“Bugs and Insects,” “Prepositions,” I Spy,”), which motivated students to get their words and their presentations “just right.”

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary


    Howard M. Miller, Chair

    Abstract: This column brings you the latest from the Middle Level Section by way of the Section Chair, including notices about policies, initiatives, events, elections, and awards.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • THE WORD MARKET: Making Word-Learning Special

    Janet Allen, editor

    Abstract: All students, including special needs students, must be immersed in words—all kinds in all ways—to reach the point where those words are a part of their language base. Here, two teachers use word walls, shared reading, and graphic organizers in addition to traditional reference tools to achieve that goal.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • TEACHER'S TOOLBOX: Structured Response Notes

    Jim Burke, editor

    Abstract: Burke offers a graphic organizer that helps students evaluate, analyze, organize, and synthesize information as they read, engaging the use of multiple academic skills.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • THE LITERATURE CIRCLE: Are Literature Circles on Your IEP?

    Harvey Daniels, editor

    Abstract: Daniels outlines the advantages of using Literature Circles with special needs students.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary


    Carol Jago, editor

    Abstract: Characterization may be the single most important element of literature, giving a story a human face, a point of view, and a reason to care. Here, Jago gives us one way to enrich characterization in student writing.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • WRITERS' WORKSHOP: Going Out on a Limb

    Linda Rief, editor

    Abstract: A shop teacher finds a way to help all students succeed through a Tree House Project that allows them to show their knowledge and creativity in a way that levels the playing field for many.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • FROM THE COACHES' CORNER: What Makes an Effective Literacy Coach?

    Tracy Coskie, LeAnne Robinson, Marsha Riddle Buly, Kathy Egawa, editors

    Abstract: No matter what the teaching situation, good coaching has several basic characteristics: it provides teacher support, develops content knowledge in literacy, demonstrates skill in literacy teaching, and fosters a professional learning community. An “Essential Skills” checklist is provided.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • TECH CONNECT: Technology and the Exceptional Learner

    Nancy Patterson, editor

    Abstract: Even with schools full of computers, teachers don’t necessarily have the training to fully integrate the technology into their classrooms. Patterson explains “Universal Design,” a concept that speaks to individual learning differences and flexible curriculum, and she offers two technology-based activities that give students control and allow them to create.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • PROFESSIONAL BOOK REVIEWS: With Literacy and Efficacy for All

    Leigh Van Horn, editor

    Abstract: Reviewed are: What Do I Do about the Kid Who . . .? 50 Ways to Turn Teaching into Learning by Kathleen Gould; Uphill Both Ways: Helping Students Who Struggle in School by Crystal M. England; Working Together: Reading and Writing in Inclusive Classrooms by Marilyn C. Scala; Teaching All the Children: Strategies for Developing Literacy in an Urban Setting edited by Diane Lapp, Cathy Collins Block, Eric J. Cooper, James Flood, Nancy Roser, and Josefina Villamil Tinajero

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • BOOK TALK: The Beginning of the Middle: Books for Our Younger Middle Schoolers

    Teri S. Lesesne, editor

    Abstract: Six books that will appeal to younger middle schoolers are reviewed, and the Newbery, Caldecott, King, and Printz winners and honor books are announced.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • STUDENT TO STUDENT: Sometimes "Triumph" Is in the Pages of a Book

    Kim Ford, editor

    Abstract: Students’ annotated recommendations of The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, The Pinballs, A Corner of the Universe, The Princess and the Pauper, Catalyst, The House of the Scorpion, Walk Two Moons, Lord of the Flies, and The Princess Bride

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • INDEX: Volume 12, September 2004-May 2005 [FREE ACCESS]

    Abstract: Abstract for this article is currently not available.

    Keywords: Middle, Secondary

  • Call for Manuscripts - Voices from the Middle - May 2005

    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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