Room 241: A Blog by

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Middle School (Grades: 6-8)

Rewards work, and we all love them. But let’s face it, filling students with sugary prizes can be a double-edged sword. It’s unhealthy, distracting, and hardly a one-size fits all option. So, we asked Concordia University-Portland’s College of Education students and alumni what alternatives they use to avoid sweet treats in the classroom. When we… Read More

Inclusive Education: What It Means, Proven Strategies, and a Case Study

By Dr. Lilla Dale McManis November 20, 2017

Considering the potential of inclusive education at your school, or, perhaps, are you currently working in an inclusive classroom and looking for effective strategies? Lean in to this deep-dive article on inclusive education to gather a solid understanding of what it means, what the research shows, and proven strategies that bring out the benefits for… Read More

Problem-based learning (PBL): It’s all the rage. PBL is an innovative addition to modern K-12 pedagogy, but it can seem overwhelming for beginners. It doesn’t have to be, though. PBL’s principal goal—meeting students where they are and putting them to work solving real-world problems—marks a significant shift from old educational models. Putting it into action… Read More

Summer is a perfect time for students to engage with the physical world and, quite literally, get their hands dirty as they learn. This is especially true because so many families grow gardens full of herbs, vegetables, fruit, and flowers in the summer. Growing things over the summer gives kids practical skills and helps them… Read More

Sometimes we think theater games belong only in drama classes, but finding ways to apply these activities to your subject area can increase engagement, creativity and critical thinking. It’s also a great way to get students moving around, interacting with each other and having fun with your subject matter. Below are some theater games you… Read More

Music classes give children a special outlet to explore their feelings and express themselves creatively. As a music teacher, you will guide your students through musical practice, giving them a chance to use musical instruments and their own voices and bodies to generate musical sounds, melodies and harmonies. Along the way, you may just instill… Read More

Sure, adolescents spend too much time “glued to their screens,” but why not turn that to your advantage — and theirs? Students’ love of technology can be a powerful force in language arts classrooms thanks to the possibilities of digital storytelling. Students’ beloved smartphones can be essential tools for sharing their unique thoughts and experiences… Read More

Activities that get students moving can keep them engaged and provide an outlet for their pent-up energy. Getting students up out of their chairs makes learning or reviewing content fun and memorable. Just make sure you take a few crucial considerations into account when choosing movement-based activities for your students. Time and space: Think about… Read More

From a young age, students get inundated with images. From advertisements to political cartoons to the pictures accompanying news stories, images are everywhere. Because images convey meaning just as words do, students need to learn the principles of visual rhetoric. This knowledge helps students better understand visual arguments in the world around them, and it… Read More

How to Show Students that Word Choice Matters

By Kara Wyman April 18, 2017

It’s easy to mark up students’ papers with circles and write “WC” or “Word Choice” to encourage stronger verbs and adjectives. But how do we get them to see the value in choosing words wisely? Here are some ideas to expand students’ minds and improve their writing: Show the shift in meaning Looking closely at… Read More

Students need strong critical thinking skills to read and write effectively in high school and college. Furthermore, many jobs require employees to think critically to analyze data, choose the best course of action and act on their choices. The earlier students cultivate critical thinking, the more skilled they will be at producing sophisticated, thoughtful analyses… Read More

A student-centered discussion gives your class an opportunity to take ownership of their learning and truly engage with each other. But young people have a natural tendency toward chaos, so you need a clear structure to make student-centered discussions succeed. Here’s how to create that structure: Set the stage Before beginning, talk with your students… Read More

We all want our students to see pieces of themselves in the stories they read. Novels promoting diversity, inclusion, compassion and awareness help students identify with the experiences and perspectives of people who are much like them — but with a few crucial differences. Here are five powerful novels that can help diversify the worldviews… Read More

Designing a successful project-based learning unit can seem like a daunting task. We want it to be innovative, full of 21st-century learning skills, and so meaningful that our students proudly remember every detail for the rest of the year. But how do we accomplish all this? These eight tips can keep you moving in the… Read More

Whether they’re comparing a book to a film adaptation or contrasting two speeches, students inevitably get many compare-and-contrast essay assignments throughout their academic careers. How can teachers help them write stronger essays and earn better grades? It’s always a challenge because many students simply look for differences and similarities and report them. To succeed, they… Read More