Blogs on All Grades

Blogs on All GradesRSS
Beth HollandSeptember 5, 2013

Introducing new technology into the classroom, especially iPads, can be overwhelming -- even daunting. When first getting started, the technology may seem like more of a distraction than a learning opportunity. So how do you begin?

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Jason CranfordTeagueSeptember 4, 2013

Although modern syllabic languages are far more complex than the hieroglyphic languages of the ancients, a well-placed pictogram (or icon) can still come in handy when you need to communicate a complex concept in a small space. The problem is that finding good icons -- images that don’t look like cheap clip art -- can seem daunting.

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Matt LevinsonAugust 30, 2013

Benjamin Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, has a wonderful talk on how to give an A to students. On the first day of class, he tells all of his students that they will receive an A, and all they have to do for it is write him a letter -- from the perspective of the end of the year, looking back -- explaining what they did to earn that A. He marvels at the insights students share in these letters and the way that they fall in love with the person they have become. He also shares that, by putting the A up front, he has taken steps to build relationships with his students. For Benjamin Zander, it's all about how he views his students, starting from a place of asset and not deficit. He starts with the A.

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It's been nearly two years since I first wrote up "Resources for Understanding the Common Core State Standards," Edutopia's roundup page for all things Common Core, and the demand for tools and resources only grows as we get deeper into implementation. Like any major (and mandated!) educational initiative, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have their fans and their detractors, but if you're in one of the 45+ states that have signed on, they are here to stay. I highly recommend reading an excellent recent opinion piece from The New York Times, by Charles M. Blow, "The Common Core and the Common Good," which provides a compelling and succinct summary of the potential problems and the opportunities around the Common Core.

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Terry HeickAugust 29, 2013

Back-to-school content is usually focused on teachers and students, and as these two groups will have the largest workload ahead of them, that makes sense.

But for students, the ultimate support system is not an expert teacher, but an informed and supportive family. One of the most significant challenges facing formal education in the United States is the chasm separating schools and communities. The more informed a family is, the more seamlessly they'll connect to so many other edu-constructs, from extracurricular activities and tutoring to reading programs and school-related events.

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Lisa Michelle DabbsAugust 28, 2013

"When you're authentic, so is your art." - Sarah Breathnach

When I was a new teacher, I came to my first teaching position with a tremendous sense of excitement. I was ready to embrace all that the work had to offer. I had many ideas about how I wanted to set up my classroom, which included a playhouse, blocks and easels. I wanted to teach concepts in new and authentic ways. Sometimes I couldn't slow down enough to get to sleep!

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Beth HollandAugust 27, 2013

School is just about to start, or has already started, and you have been armed with iPads for this year. Whether your students will be 1:1 or you have access to a handful of shared devices, the expectation now exists that these tools will be put to good use. So now what? How do you get started? What can you do in the first five days of school to get going on the right foot?

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Elena AguilarAugust 26, 2013

His nickname was "seizure boy" -- not a nickname he welcomed or ever wanted. Once, while waiting for the school bus, he collapsed in a seizure and while on the ground, in the dust, the bullies kicked him until a younger neighbor intervened. His teachers weren't much better. Most of them were intolerant, indifferent, or uninterested. He dropped out of high school in the first week of his senior year.

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Ainissa RamirezAugust 26, 2013

No one likes failure, the F-word, no matter how you sugarcoat it. But failure is a part of life. Sometimes things don't work out. Sometimes you don't get what you want. Stuff happens. But if we recast these situations right, we learn to create a new normal, to persevere, to learn to be more flexible, or to redirect our energies.

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Maurice EliasAugust 26, 2013

Martin Luther King, Jr., said, "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." Educators realize that this is true of classrooms and schools. So, to begin this school year, take some time to build your students as a caring community of learners and as a problem-solving team. You can do this grade-level wide, in individual classrooms or advisories, or for the greatest benefit, school wide. It's time well spent.

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