Room 241: A Blog by
Concordia
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Language Arts

Students working on a writing assignment

How many five-paragraph essays do students write in their school career? A lot. How many standardized tests require an essay? Most of them. How many essays will students need to write after college? Eh, probably not that many. Essays have their function, but they’re certainly not the only academically rigorous form of writing, nor are… Read More

The Power of Storytelling Activities in the Classroom

By Jennifer Gunn January 29, 2019

If you think about it, stories are the very origin of education. The passing down of stories from generation to generation taught us history, culture, skills, and knowledge. “Thinking of teaching as storytelling…encourages us to think of the curriculum as a collection of the great stories of our culture,” says Kieran Egan. “If we begin… Read More

Literacy Strategies: Q&A with Expert Jennifer Serravallo

By Jennifer Gunn December 26, 2018

The state of literacy in the U.S. is undoubtedly alarming with over 36 million adults unable to read, write, or do math above a third-grade level. But with the advent and expansion of technology, literacy instruction is certainly evolving. Literacy expert Jennifer Serravallo is the author of such bestsellers as The Reading Strategies Book and she helps educators navigate this… Read More

There are close to five million English learners in U.S. public schools, which has increased by about eight percent since 2000. Teachers must adjust their teaching styles to fit their needs, and that means they need to be armed with the tools and knowledge to do so effectively. Rachael Hoffert, EdD, who recently earned her… Read More

How to Scaffold Lessons for English Learners in Any Class

By Sarah Knutson November 26, 2018

Being bilingual has many benefits in the long run (cultural awareness, linguistic abilities, job prospects), but English language learners (ELLs) are sometimes stuck between two worlds. In order to best serve these students, schools should seriously consider addressing their needs from a whole-school perspective. To make this approach simpler for teachers like you, here are some… Read More

How Graphic Novels Help Students Develop Critical Skills

By Sarah Knutson October 23, 2018

When novels burst onto the literary scene in the 18th century with Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, they presented something truly new: the idea that a common person and his pursuits could matter. This concept shattered the notion that books needed to focus on high-minded ideals and individuals of high social value. Nearly a quarter of… Read More

English Teachers: How You Can Use STEAM in Your Classroom

By Jennifer Gunn October 4, 2018

The advent and expansion of STEAM doesn’t mean a movement away from language arts. On the contrary, scientists, engineers, technologists, artists, and mathematicians all need literacy skills, an appreciation and understanding of the human experience, and strong writing abilities. English language arts doesn’t sit apart from STEAM. In fact, the two fit nicely together, building… Read More

Strategies for Determining Importance in Nonfiction Texts

By Jennifer Gunn September 12, 2018

The skill of determining importance in a nonfiction text is an area in which students of all ages often struggle. For emerging readers, it can require so much attention to merely get through reading a nonfiction text, that it’s easy not to process what the text actually says, much less pull out the important details… Read More

Crisis Point: The State of Literacy in America

By The Room 241 Team March 5, 2018

The United States is facing a literacy crisis. Yes, crisis. It isn’t new, but its impacts upon our kids, our economy, and our society are far-reaching and expanding. How bad is it? Take a look at some numbers. More than 30 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or do basic math above a… Read More

5 Distinctive Reasons to Choose Concordia’s STEAM Concentration

By Sarah Elliott, EdD January 17, 2018

When you whip up a concoction of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, the results can be utterly powerful. Through STEAM projects, students learn creativity, innovation, practical knowledge, and blue-sky thinking. They seek answers, solve problems, and gain a collection of skills coveted by 21st-century employers. Without question, STEAM is where it’s at. And a… Read More

8 Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching English Abroad

By Kara Wyman, MEd June 21, 2017

Teaching English abroad is a great way to learn more about who you are when you’re outside of your comfort zone. That said, expanding your boundaries in a foreign culture can inevitably lead to blunders that could’ve been prevented if you’d had a proper warning. If you want to spend more time learning and appreciating your… Read More

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Teaching English Abroad

By Kara Wyman, MEd June 13, 2017

Teaching English abroad can be really rewarding, which I can attest to, but it can also be really challenging. You’ve probably considered some of those challenges, but there might be others you haven’t thought of yet. Here are some questions to ask yourself before committing to this type of adventure. 1. Have you taught English… Read More

3 Great Projects to Get Kids Excited About Summer Reading

By Kara Wyman, MEd June 6, 2017

Summer vacation is a much-needed break for staff and students, but encouraging students to continue to read over the break can help their minds stay mentally active. They will also be better prepared when school is back in session. Here are some activities that don’t take too much time but still promote summer reading and… Read More

Each school year is packed with lessons, activities and memorable moments. Encouraging students to reflect on those experiences can help them end the school year strong and give you a chance to fit in one last creative writing assignment that’s purposeful and poignant. Here are four end-of-the-year writing assignments you can try out: Create a… Read More

Many students see the summer break as a time to put off their studies and stop thinking about school for three months. Yet parents and teachers alike know that summer also lets students backslide in their academic development. Summer writing projects offer a chance to slow the slide — letting students dive into subjects they… Read More