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In the Best Interest of Students

Staying True to What Works in the ELA Classroom

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What is in the best interest of our students? Is it teaching to the newest standards movement, like the Common Core? Teaching that prepares students to take a test? Or is it something more meaningful and authentic?

In his new book, In the Best Interest of Students, Kelly Gallagher notes that there are real strengths in the Common Core standards, and there are significant weaknesses as well. He takes the long view, reminding us that standards come and go but what remains constant is the need to stay true to what we know works in the teaching of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Instead of blindly adhering to the latest standards movement, Kelly advocates:

  • Dialing up the amount of reading and writing students are doing.
  • Balancing rigorous, high-quality literature and non-fiction with high-interest, student-selected titles.
  • Giving students much more choice when it comes to reading and writing activities.
  • Encouraging readers to deepen their comprehension by moving beyond the "four corners of the text."
  • Using modeling to enrich students' writing skills in the prewriting, drafting, and revision stages.
  • Helping young writers to achieve more authenticity through the blending of genres.
  • Resisting the de-emphasis of narrative and imaginative reading and writing.
  • Planning lessons that move beyond Common Core expectations.
  • Providing students with more opportunities to sharpen their listening and speaking skills

In this provocative and insightful new book, Kelly surveys the teaching landscape since the publication of his highly regarded book Readicide, and finds that although some progress has been made, more needs to be done. Amid the frenzy of trying to teach to a new set of standards, Kelly Gallagher is a strong voice of reason, reminding us that instruction should be anchored around one guiding question: What is in the best interest of our students?

About the Author(s)

Kelly, a "baseballoholic" and a self-described expert at negotiating airports, is in his 30th year of teaching at the high school level.

He currently teaches at Magnolia High School in Anaheim, California.

Table of Contents

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Chapter 1: Our Students’ Best Interest Does Not Always Align with the Current Standards Movement
Chapter 2: Staying True to What Works in the Teaching of Reading
Chapter 3: Where the Common Core Reading Standards Fall Short
Chapter 4: Staying True to What Works in the Teaching of Writing
Chapter 5: Where the Common Core Writing Standards Fall Short
Chapter 6: Using Models to Elevate Our Students’ Reading and Writing Abilities
Chapter 7: Sharpening Our Students' Listening and Speaking Skills
Chapter 8: Shift Happens
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Product Details

Media: 248 pp/paper
Year: 2015
Item No: WEB-1044
ISBN: 978-162531-044-6
Grade Range: 5-12