Blogs on Home-to-School Connections

Blogs on Home-to-School ConnectionsRSS
Mark PhillipsOctober 29, 2012

It was the day before my first parent back to school night as a new teacher. My department chair, a superb mentor, took me aside and said, "You're going to get advice from other teachers to give parents as little time to ask questions as possible. Ignore that advice. Give them time; be responsive. They are potentially your best allies." Not only did I follow his advice, but I also embraced the whole idea of developing close positive relationships with parents. Some of my fondest memories as a teacher are of these relationships.

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Mark PhillipsSeptember 26, 2012

The film Won't Back Down is scheduled to open in wide release on September 28. Yet, weeks in advance of this date, there has been a veritable deluge of extremely strong emotional and critical responses. Both the film and the responses deserve our attention, because they are each symptomatic of the polarization that is plaguing both public education and national politics in this country. Every teacher and parent should see the film, but should also be fully prepared to view it critically.

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Anne OBrienSeptember 24, 2012

Parent trigger laws have been attracting a lot of attention of lately. At least 18 states (some say 20) have considered legislation including parent trigger language over the past two years, with seven states enacting some version of a parent trigger. And a major motion picture set to release on September 28 chronicles a fictional account of a parent and teacher "pulling the trigger" to improve an elementary school.

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With all the media chatter about test scores, merit pay, failing schools, and teacher quality, it's sometimes easy for those outside the school system to forget that it's people -- just everyday people with a calling for education -- who make up that system. Enter the Go Public Project, a labor of love by filmmakers and public school parents Jim and Dawn O'Keeffe. Jim and Dawn sent fifty film crews, both pro and student, into the twenty-eight schools in Pasadena, California to paint an intimate, and very human, portrait of a day in the life of an American public school district.

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Elena AguilarAugust 20, 2012

When I first started teaching and was overwhelmed by the demands and complexity of the job, my survival strategy was simply to take all the advice that came my way and implement it. So when my wise mentor suggested that after the first day of school I call all of my second grader's parents, I did so.

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Dr. Joe MazzaAugust 9, 2012

I recently had an opportunity to attend the first Digital Family Summit (DFS) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Presenters and summit attendees were both parents and students. The "summit" included families from as far away as Canada, Utah, California, and of course those from local states and cities that could make the trip.

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Dr. Joe MazzaJuly 20, 2012

We exist in a world where almost everything in real time is streaming online -- from concerts and sporting events to breaking world news eight time zones away. Technology has truly made the world a smaller place. Yet schools are slow to catch the technologies available for streaming, due to shrinking budgets, personnel cutbacks and training voids.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronJune 13, 2012

Earlier in the year, I had our middle school Parent/Teacher conferences, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that 99 percent of my students (most of whom are Title I) have a computer in the home. However, there was absolutely no oversight of what was going on with the computer, because the only person who even knew how to turn the computer on, many parents claimed through their translators, was their student. The parents knew nothing of the box in the kid's bedroom.

An online colleague of mine, Patrick Ledesma, recently reminded me of the "door to door" law that states it is the school's responsibility to keep students safe the minute they leave their front door until they return home at the end of the day. However, this law now seems to extend to cyber safety and netiquette, making our responsibility to monitor children greater than ever because their world is now ever wider.

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Matt LevinsonJune 7, 2012

In her Wall Street Journal editorial, What's Wrong With the Teenage Mind?, University of California at Berkeley psychology professor Alison Gopnik highlights two key areas of the brain that dictate adolescent and human development: (1) emotion and motivation and (2) control.

She cites Berkeley pediatrician and developmental psychologist Ronald Dahl who uses the perfect metaphor to describe adolescence: "Today's adolescents develop an accelerator a long time before they can steer and brake."

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Mary Beth HertzJune 4, 2012

Back in October, I wrote a post about Teaching Digital Citizenship in the Elementary Classroom. As it is Internet Safety Month, I want to share a sample lesson for teaching Internet Safety to students as young as kindergarten. Yes, you read correctly . . . kindergarten.

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