Blogs on All Grades

Blogs on All GradesRSS

Is there anything as mysterious and intriguing as the human brain? It's at the center of everything we do and everything we've created, and yet we're just beginning to understand how it works. Brain Awareness Week is coming on March 10th - 16th -- a campaign to promote the value of brain research -- so I've gathered some fascinating videos to help us explore how we're wired. I'm no scientist, but I do know that as the field of neuroscience advances and new discoveries are made, the implications for teaching and learning get more compelling. So enjoy this little primer on brains and get your thinking caps on!

Read More
Rebecca AlberFebruary 28, 2014

There's a lot that I like about the Common Core standards. For one, as a former high school English teacher, I'm thrilled by the literacy standards for secondary math, science, and social studies. I also think the standards for speaking, writing, listening and reading build nicely from kinder to twelfth grade, creating a space for teachers to talk and plan together across grade levels.

Read More
Vicki Davis @coolcatteacherFebruary 27, 2014

Is Social Media Relevant? Take the Quiz

Before we talk social media, let's talk about the relevance of social media by taking a quiz. Which of the following is most likely to be true?

Read More
Larry FerlazzoFebruary 27, 2014

Editor's Note: This blog was co-authored by Katie Hull Sypnieski. Portions of this post are excerpted from their book, The ESL/ELL Teacher's Survival Guide: Ready-to-Use Strategies, Tools, and Activities for Teaching English-Language Learners of All Levels.

Helping English-language learners develop proficiency in academic language has always been a priority for K-12 educators, and its importance has only been heightened with the advent of the Common Core. To better understand academic language, let's examine the distinction between two terms introduced by Jim Cummins, basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP), that have impacted both policy and practices in second-language education:

Read More
Anne OBrienFebruary 27, 2014

Educators know the important role that parents (and other family members and guardians) play in academic success. And when it comes to advocating for education policies that benefit all students, they know that parents are important allies.

Read More
Elena AguilarFebruary 26, 2014

Instructional Rounds are a process for school improvement that are based on the Medical Rounds model. It brings groups of educators together to look at what is happening in their schools, develop a collaborative learning environment, and improve student learning. This year, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) where I work has taken Instructional Rounds to scale: Every school in the district will host two Instructional Rounds, over 800 classrooms will be visited, and the learning experience of some 10,000 children will be observed. The broad focus for Rounds this year is on academic discussions.

Read More
Ben JohnsonFebruary 26, 2014

Have I let "instructional weeds" infest my classroom?

I went out into my backyard today and was astounded about its condition. The hibernating Bermuda grass was yellow-brown as it should have been, but salt-and-peppered throughout the yard were bright green dandelions with the "I dare you to stop me" fluffy white seed flowers that had not been there in the fall.

Read More
Nicholas ProvenzanoFebruary 24, 2014

Too often, I've heard teachers talk about how helpless they feel when it comes to reaching out to their students. The days of being the person whose job it is to exclusively provide students with an education -- and nothing more -- are long over. Honestly, some will say those days never existed. I've never wavered in my belief that teachers are much more than people passing out curriculum. For some students, school is the best part of their day because it offers an escape from their life at home. As teachers, it's important for us to understand that there is so much more to students than the life they lead in class, and it is important to show interest in a student outside of the day's homework. Here are three simple things a teacher can do to connect with students and let them know there is more to school than just a report card.

Read More
Russ SkibaFebruary 24, 2014

Disruptive behavior continues to be one of the most challenging issues that schools face today. Even one seriously incompliant student can threaten teaching and learning for the rest of the class. And though exceedingly rare given the large number of schools throughout our country, incidents of deadly violence shake our confidence in school safety.

In the 1990s, amidst similar circumstances and fears, schools adopted "get tough" philosophies of discipline: increased suspensions, expulsions, school arrests and zero tolerance. By cracking down on all transgressions, school leaders hoped to send a message to students that misbehaviors would not be tolerated, and also make classrooms safer for learners that remained.

Read More
Monica BurnsFebruary 20, 2014

Every year at Hollywood award shows, we see fantastic movies celebrated for their rich storytelling and dynamic performances. Your students can become moviemakers, too, thanks to some powerful apps for mobile devices. With these tools, your children can take videos and edit their work to make professional quality movies using iOS devices (iPads and iPhones) and Android tablets.

Read More