Blogs on Back to School

Blogs on Back to SchoolRSS
Andrew MarcinekOctober 1, 2013

By now, many new and veteran teachers are settling into the routine of the new school year. Hopefully, the back-to-school anxiety levels have subsided and classrooms are alive with learning. Notice that I said "hopefully." Speaking as someone who spent nine years in the classroom, this was usually the point in the year where I started to feel unorganized and scattered. I had a plan, scope and sequence, but still felt like my organizational methods were beginning to spiral. This feeling occurred in classrooms where I had technology at my disposal and classrooms where I did not. The combination of feeling like you never have a minute to spare, stacks of papers to grade, parents to attend to, and the ever-constant email slowly taking over your precious free time . . . all of this can frustrate even the most efficient teacher.

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Nicholas ProvenzanoSeptember 23, 2013

The school year has started, and teachers across the country are excited to try out all the cool new tools they learned about during their "summer off." It's great to know there are so many educators out there ready to introduce something new and exciting in their classroom, but I have three tips to help you make sure that you get the most out of them.

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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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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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Mary Beth HertzAugust 28, 2013

Many schools will be receiving new technology in a few weeks, and they'll need a plan for supporting and coaching teachers through the process of using this new technology effectively in their classrooms. This week I received an email from a friend and fellow educator who was seeking ideas for a new technology coach position at her school this fall. Here are three pieces of advice I gave her.

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Clara GalanAugust 27, 2013

As we leave summer and approach back to school in a frenzy, the "To Do" list can become overwhelming. As teachers, we find ourselves pulled in different directions -- setting up our classrooms, learning student profiles, meeting with parents, lesson planning, collaborating with administrators -- the list seems eternal! There is one important element that we sometimes forget: focus.

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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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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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