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.

Whether you're a softie who jumps at any opportunity to tell everyone around you how much you love them, or a curmudgeon who thinks February 14th is a holiday manufactured by Hallmark and the candy industry to make everyone spend money, Valentine's Day gets a rise out of almost everyone. I confess to being the former, so I couldn't help gathering a collection of videos to celebrate the art, the science, and the mystery of love. As always, please preview anything you want to share with students -- there are some mentions in this playlist of topics not appropriate for the littlest ones. Enjoy!

Read More
Lisa Michelle DabbsFebruary 14, 2014

"Read along with me: the best is yet to be." - Lisa Dabbs (adapted from Robert Browning)

When I first became a teacher, I was excited to begin sharing the love of reading with my students. I grew up loving to read and couldn't wait to open up the children's literary book club pick that my Dad had on monthly order for me.

The time I spent with books transformed my life and sparked my imagination. I wanted to create a similar experience for my students, but I found that it was sometimes a challenge due to their home life circumstances. In the end, though, it was well worth the effort.

Read More
Matt DavisFebruary 13, 2014

The importance of early literacy cannot be understated. Countless studies have shown that students who start reading earlier are better prepared for the academic road ahead. Not to mention, early readers are much more likely to become lifelong readers.

Read More
Linda S. LevstikFebruary 13, 2014

When I was an elementary and middle level history teacher, my students investigated worldwide human patterns and variety. They examined how shadows of the past stretch across the present, influencing ideas about what it means to be human and to live humanely in a community. In the process, I noticed that early adolescents started with some surprising misconceptions about human intelligence, innovation and agency, especially in the most distant reaches of the human past. These misconceptions present challenges for preservice teachers in my middle level methods course, especially when they teach the deep past -- the period for which we lack written documentation.

Read More
Bob LenzFebruary 13, 2014

Good news for students and schools: A new study, released last week by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE), looks closely at four schools that are achieving positive outcomes for low-income students of color. The Stanford findings provide independent evidence that deeper learning strategies and student-centered practices increase academic achievement.

Read More
Ainissa RamirezFebruary 12, 2014

February is a time when Americans reflect on the tremendous contributions of people of African descent. While names like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks are known, names of famous black scientists and inventors are not as common. Well, not until now. Let's examine some notable men and women who made great achievements in science, technology and engineering. Here are some examples of giants on whose shoulders we stand.

Read More
Monica BurnsFebruary 12, 2014

When it comes to solving word problems in the math classroom, children should be able to explain their thinking. This includes identifying the strategies they used and the thought process behind their decisions. Students should use grade-appropriate math vocabulary and models that demonstrate the steps they took to solve a problem. In this post, we're going to take a look at how screencasting can be used in a fourth grade classroom to meet a Common Core State Standard while addressing a 21st century skill: communicate clearly.

Read More
Antony SmithFebruary 11, 2014

Needs and Responses

As a reading instructor and former elementary school teacher, I understand the importance of instructors learning to respond to students' needs and interests. To foster adaptive teaching, I provide opportunities for preservice teachers to work with individual students through tutorial experiences embedded in my methods course, BEDUC 410: Knowing, Teaching and Assessing in Reading, Writing and Communication. During part of six class sessions, my preservice teachers meet one-to-one with third grade student buddies at a local school and engage in informal reading conferences to explore five dimensions of reading.

Read More
Rick BrennanFebruary 11, 2014

History is the greatest story ever told. However, what makes history so compelling a story too often gets lost in translation in the classroom. As a result, students start tuning out social studies -- sometimes as early as middle school -- despite their teachers' best efforts.

Read More
Donna Wilson, Ph.D.February 11, 2014

Editor's note: This post is co-authored by Marcus Conyers who, with Donna Wilson, is co-developer of the M.S. and Ed.S. Brain-Based Teaching degree programs at Nova Southeastern University. They have written several books, including Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice.

Enhancing Student Commitment

Explicitly teaching students about neuroplasticity can have a transformative impact in the classroom. A central facet of our work as teacher educators is teaching about how the brain changes during learning. Many teachers have told us that these findings have had a positive effect on their expectations for their students and on students' perceptions of their own abilities.

Read More