Blogs on Teaching Strategies

Blogs on Teaching StrategiesRSS
Vicki Davis @coolcatteacherDecember 18, 2013

Editor's note: Looking back on 2013, Edutopia has had a fantastic year. With more than 650 blog posts, 6700 comments and thousands of daily interactions with educators on our social media channels, we're thrilled to be connecting with so many talented and hard-working teachers, administrators, parents and students.

To close out the year, we asked one of our newer bloggers, Vicki Davis, for her roundup of our ten most trafficked posts -- some of which were written in previous years -- and why they're still resonating with educators.

Looking at the ten blog posts that really grabbed our attention 2013, I'm struck by how many of these are timeless topics for teachers. It's obvious that teachers, rather than being told what to do, prefer clear examples of how it's being done successfully today. Every one of these posts revolves around big-picture concepts with specific how-to's. (It is also clear that teachers love lists!)

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Dr. Richard CurwinDecember 10, 2013

Classroom discussions have been a staple of teaching forever, beginning with Socrates. I have taught using discussions, been a student in discussions, and observed other teachers' discussions thousands of times -- at least. Some have been boring, stifling or tedious enough to put me to sleep. Others have been so stimulating that I was sad to see them end. The difference between the two is obviously how interesting the topic is, but equally important is the level of student participation.

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Margaret ReganNovember 22, 2013

Imagine the intentional focus you would bring to crossing a rushing creek. Each stepping-stone is different in shape, each distance uneven and unpredictable, requiring you to tread with all senses intact. The simple act of traversing water on stones is an extraordinary exercise in concentration. Now think of how, with all the tweeting, texting and messaging that technology has given us, our attention is frittered away by the mundane. The speed of communication undermines the continuum of thought. That rushing creek is much harder to cross.

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Lori DesautelsNovember 18, 2013

Driving my 15-year-old daughter home from cross country, I asked her where she learned to study. She replied, "Mom, I have never been taught how to study, we just do it because teachers have way too much to teach! They assume we know, and Cornell Notes are their idea of teaching us how to study!" I thought about this conversation and began to create a template that can hopefully assist students to organize, plan and create capacity in their working memories to learn content for the long term.

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Ali ParrishNovember 5, 2013

Editor's Note: A version of this post first appeared on Techie Teacher and Character Coach.

"But Miss Parrish, I can't think of anything to write!"

Haven't we all heard similar lines in our classrooms? We see hesitant writers sit with a pencil in their hands and a paper on their desks, almost as if they have been handicapped by the task we asked them to do.

How is it that some students have so much to say when talking out loud, but when a pencil is put into their hand they suddenly hesitate, struggle and have nothing to say? How can you help those hesitant writers eliminate the "handicap" or barrier that suddenly appears when asked to write?

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Alfred PosamentierNovember 1, 2013

Motivating students to be (enthusiastically) receptive is one of the most important aspects of mathematics instruction and a critical aspect of the Common Core State Standards. Effective teachers should focus attention on the less interested students as well as the motivated ones. Presented in this blog post are nine techniques, based on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, which can be used to motivate secondary school students in mathematics.

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Joshua BlockOctober 28, 2013

Early in my teaching career, I viewed students' struggles as a temporary phase that would end once they started working harder and "figured it out." Students would come to me with questions, or I would notice their confusion and talk with them, but I was very careful not to give them too much information. I was a progressive educator, and if I shared too many ideas, the work would be mine, and not theirs (or so I told myself).

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José VilsonOctober 22, 2013

It's easy to say that students lie to teachers all the time. Frankly, everyone, including teachers, has a lie in them, and these untruths keep the schooling process rolling along. When adults say, for instance, that they develop rules with the students, chances are that students often develop rules that teachers already thought of anyway. Or, when adults say that a student can't use the restroom during certain parts of the day "Just because," rather than "Because the hallways is crowded, and I don't want you distracted from the lesson in the classroom,” that's just one more micro-fib in a collage of fibs that we tell children.

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Jennifer CooperSeptember 30, 2013

Makerspaces, STEAM labs and fab labs are popping up in schools across the country. Makerspaces provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering and tinkering.

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Ainissa RamirezSeptember 18, 2013

The New York Times dubbed 2012 as the Year of the MOOC. In case you are Rip van Winkle waking from a long, deep slumber, a MOOC is a massive open online course, which can have enrollments in the thousands. It's easy to calculate that one MOOC can reach more students in one semester than in an entire teaching career. (And I'll be the first to admit there are pluses and minuses to this format. But that is another discussion, another blog.)

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