Recent Blog Posts

RSS

You'll find practical classroom strategies and tips from real educators, as well as lesson ideas, personal stories, and innovative approaches to improving your teaching practice. If you have any thoughts or comments about these blogs, please don't hesitate to let us know.

Patrick Cook DeeganApril 15, 2014

All of us are reliant upon the sun for energy, the earth for food, trees for air, and water for drinking. But when we go about our busy lives, it is easy to take the water, air and plants around us for granted. The practice of mindfulness takes us off autopilot, allows us to pause, experience the present moment and give gratitude for all the elements of the natural world that support our daily lives.

Read More
Andrew MillerApril 15, 2014

Standardized testing is one of the "lighting rod" issues in educational policy debates. Whether it's a group of teachers boycotting a test in Seattle, districts across the United States tying teacher evaluations to test results, the new PARCC or Smarter Balanced Assessments being implemented, the ranking countries with PISA scores, or the SAT trying to revamp itself, the debate and topic of standardized testing simply will not go away. So what is an educator to do? With all these forces in play, whether at the district or federal level, it can be disheartening and daunting for an educator to create learning in the classroom. With all the changes, there is always pressure to teach to the test. But I think we can do better.

Read More
Margaret ReganApril 14, 2014

All good teaching originates from the motive of generosity. To help others understand history, literature, mathematics or science is the ground upon which all learning stands. Fundamentally, education is the transmission of wisdom from one scholar to another.

Read More
Matt DavisApril 14, 2014

Earth Day 2014 is right around the corner, and this year the theme is "Green Cities." Are you planning on incorporating the annual event in your classroom?

Read More
Bob LenzApril 14, 2014

Education is, of course, about so much more than filling minds with facts and figures. Teachers everywhere know that education is about developing minds for all kinds of future experiences: college, careers that will evolve over time, and community and civic life. So how can we know if we are developing minds -- and citizens -- for the future? The right kinds of assessment tell us far more than whether or not students are gaining knowledge.

Read More
Homa TavangarApril 11, 2014

During the first Earth Day in 1970, tens of thousands of Vietnam War protestors took to Central Park in New York and Fairmount Park in Philadelphia calling for peace on earth. Today, the movement has grown substantially and quietly, shifting attention toward the science documenting alarming global environmental degradation and offering young learners a platform for supporting the planet's physical health, ensuring a home for their future.

Read More
Denise Pope, Ph.D.April 11, 2014

Stories of cheating in schools often make national headlines and are frequently met with widespread shock. How could such actions occur on the campuses of elite colleges and high schools? What's going on with kids these days?

Read More

April is National Poetry Month, and since I wrote a Five-Minute Film Fest on poetry in general a few years ago, I thought I'd focus on my favorite style of performance poetry: spoken word. When done well, spoken word has the power to move and enthrall audiences, and it can be an incredible tool for amplifying voices less heard in the mainstream. I've collected a few videos of spoken word poems for you to enjoy -- by teachers, by students, or about issues in schools. Be forewarned: spoken word is known for often including raw language or sensitive themes (in the service of preserving authentic voice). As with any video you plan to use in your classroom, preview first!

Read More
Monica BurnsApril 11, 2014

With so many great resources on the web, teachers are realizing that they can learn just as much (if not more!) from their personal learning network (PLN) as they can from traditional professional development (PD). Educators are connecting with like-minded individuals across the globe, reading about best practices and new trends in education, and sharing their experiences with friends and colleagues. Through social media, popular blogs and webinars, teachers are taking ownership of their learning and finding PD opportunities that weren't possible a decade ago.

Read More
Tom WhitbyApril 10, 2014

I believe that most states require teachers to have a certain amount of professional development (PD) each year. I also believe that most states do not directly pay for this to happen, leaving the funding of any PD up to individual districts. At that point it comes down to budgetary priorities. Some schools have the means, but many others do not. Nevertheless, every school must check off a box on some form somewhere indicating that some degree of PD has been delivered. And so was born the idea of the full-day workshop at least once a year. The impact on the budget is minimal, all of the teachers receive a day of PD to carry them through the rest of the year, and most importantly, the box on the form can be checked. Does this sound familiar?

Read More