Engaging Ways to Build Literacy Skills in Middle School

By Vicki Grisanti

Check it out, we’ve got more to offer for the ELA classroom! Are you a middle school educator looking to engage your adolescent learners in practicing literacy skills such as identifying symbolism, writing informative essays, describing critical character traits, and developing deeper vocabulary? Well, say hello to the new littleBits ELA Middle School Unit developed by Ellie Werner at littleBits! 

Each day, more and more creative, inspiring educators are reaching their older students by combining STEM practices with ELA learner targets. See Dan Ryder, who developed a unique lesson, To Solve a Mockingbird: Designing for Literary Solutions with littleBits that led his older students in designing solutions to challenges characters face in To Kill a Mockingbird. 

With our new ELA middle school unit, you too can bring captivating, hands-on exploration in ELA skills development to your learning environment. This unit invites educators to guide their students through 4 distinct, standards-aligned lessons designed to highlight particular literacy skills. These lessons were inspired by creative, teacher-submitted activities tried in the classroom and aimed to engage all students!

  • In Ancient Mythology: Build an Object of Power, students will dive into the world of the Gods and Goddesses from Ancient Mythology and design an object of power that symbolizes a particular god/goddess of their choosing.
  • Build a greater understanding of essential character traits with Tinker with Storytelling, a lesson that calls on students to design a mask that represents characters key qualities.
  • Build writing skills with Reinventing Careers, as students learn the ins-and-outs of different jobs, develop a unique tool to make work easier, then write an informative writing piece on why their tool is important.
  • The vocaBitlary lesson, quite possibly our favorite, offers an exciting way to practice new terms and build objects that represent their meaning.

Just like the ELA for Elementary Unit, each lesson is designed to be taught with the STEAM Student Set, but those who wish to bring coding to their ELA class should not be deterred. Each lesson contains an extension at the end with a sample circuit and line of code for flexible implementation. 

The Curriculum Guide provides more detail on how to easily implement and assess these CCSS, NGSS, and CSTA aligned lessons.

Share pictures and videos of learners in action on social media and tag @littleBits or #littleBits.

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