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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.

Matt LevinsonMarch 4, 2014

After a two-week winter break, one of my eighth grade advisees returned to school and demonstrated his newfound skill of juggling. He was able to juggle with four balls, go behind his back, and under and through his legs. Quite simply, his demonstration was remarkable and earned the praise of his peers and advisor. We were all curious to learn how he had acquired this skill in such a short span of time, because we recalled that before the break, he was struggling to get even three balls going.

He replied, "I found this great guy on YouTube, and I watched a lot of YouTube over break."

In other words, he was self-taught. He had an interest and a passion, and he put in the time and commitment to master a skill.

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I was excited and honored to be invited to the gala celebration of the first annual White House Student Film Festival last Friday afternoon. Created to showcase the possibilities of technology in the classroom -- and to raise awareness for the ConnectEd initiative -- the White House received more than 2500 entries, from kids around the country, in just three months.

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Matt DavisMarch 3, 2014

Happy 3.14159265358979323846264 Day! That's right, Pi Day is coming on 3/14, and the annual celebration offers a great opportunity for students to explore Pi! (It's also Albert Einstein's birthday. There are plenty of wonderful facts in this online Einstein biography.) Of course, there are plenty of great teaching resources online to help your class celebrate Pi Day, and we here at Edutopia thought we'd help.

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Dave GuymonMarch 3, 2014

Increasingly, educators are acknowledging and welcoming the relative advantages of social media into the teaching and learning process. From creating school Facebook pages to connecting students with experts via Twitter, social media has taken root as a legitimate classroom learning and communication tool. The highly linguistic nature of social media allows us to create and consume ideas and information unlike ever before. Much attention has been given to composing an articulate blog post and condensing our messages to 140 characters or less. However, effective use of this 21st century technology requires that we not only become proficient in textual communication, but also in our ability to express ourselves and interpret others' ideas through visual literacy.

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Mary Beth HertzFebruary 28, 2014

I have met many edtech entrepreneurs through my work in teaching technology to kids, and through working with organizations that support innovation in the field of educational technology. As a co-organizer of the Philly EdTech Meetup, I also get to talk one-on-one to many entrepreneurs on a fairly regular basis. Through these conversations, it has become apparent that there are many things that edtech entrepreneurs can do to stay relevant and be successful.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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:

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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.

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