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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.

Suzanne Acord, PhDJanuary 29, 2014

As summer approaches, do you find yourself daydreaming about how you will spend your long summer months as a civilian? I enjoy enriching the minds of students for ten months, but as summer draws nearer, I yearn to act as the learner, preferably at someone else’s expense.

A plethora of travel opportunities await educators each summer. Fellowships, workshops, seminars and service travel can provide you with intellectually stimulating learning opportunities while on the road. If you plan to take advantage of the many travel options available to teachers, you'll need to explore your options and get started on your applications -- pronto. Deadlines are quickly approaching, and invitations are competitive.

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Maurice EliasJanuary 29, 2014

The hardest job in America? Being a teacher, so said Sargent Shriver on October 13, 1972, in a speech given as part of his vice presidential campaign with George McGovern. Forty-two years after this remarkable speech, his words bear sharing.

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Todd FinleyJanuary 28, 2014

Since the 1990s, I’ve mothballed the lecture -- "where the teacher talks and hopefully the students listen" -- with other scorned practices: popcorn reading, multiple-choice quizzes, test-prep drills, lower-level "recitation" questions, crossword puzzles and the like. But the fact is that few practices are completely bad or good given the infinite variety of students, curriculum choices and instructional strengths. Besides, making teachers wrong for professional choices blunts their power. I'll come back to that idea.

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Ainissa RamirezJanuary 28, 2014

Science role models were key to my journey. A pinnacle moment was when I watched a show on PBS called 3-2-1 Contact, which featured a segment with a teenaged black girl solving problems. When I saw her doing science, I was irrevocably hooked.

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Anne OBrienJanuary 28, 2014

There is a lot of misinformation being spread about the Common Core. And some of it the public believes. The 2013 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Towards the Public Schools found that of those who had heard of the Common Core, 49 percent of respondents agree with the false statement that the initiative will create standards in all subjects, and 39 percent agree with the false statement that the Common Core was developed based on a blend of state standards.

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Monica BurnsJanuary 27, 2014

There are so many ways that iPads can be used in the classroom, and one of my favorite things about these tablets is the ability to use iBooks with students. Although there are tons of great options available in the iBookstore, there is a program for MacBooks that let users create their very own interactive books for iPads. This free program gives teachers the ability to create iBooks that can be shared with students by adding them to individual devices or published to the iBookstore to share with the world.

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Beth HollandJanuary 27, 2014

Think back 20 years. Pay phones still worked, and only doctors carried pagers. Laptops weighed as much as bowling balls, and few of us had Internet access. In fact, much of what we now consider commonplace -- Google, email, WiFi, texting -- was not even possible. If that was 20 years ago, where are we going in the next 20?

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Petra ClaflinJanuary 24, 2014

For many of us who are intimidated by the idea of "rigor" and exactly what it means to make our lessons more rigorous, thinking about it as a routine can make it more real and doable for us. Because to really raise rigor and push our students, it's not about anything more that we can teach them, it's about setting up the right environment for them to think critically and engage in analysis and problem solving. Discussion is one fail-safe way to do this, no matter the content area. Our math teacher leaders have really been pushing discussion as a key to rigor. Here are some ways to set up a strong discussion routine in your class.

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Rebecca AlberJanuary 24, 2014

What's the opposite of scaffolding a lesson? It would be saying to students something like, "Read this nine-page science article, write a detailed essay on the topic it explores, and turn it in by Wednesday." Yikes -- no safety net, no parachute, no scaffolding -- just left blowing in the wind.

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José VilsonJanuary 24, 2014

My last piece about the anniversary of Wu-Tang Clan's 36 Chambers started a bit of controversy on social media, mostly around the relevance of the album to the work we do as educators. The thrust of the piece was mostly comical, because who thinks an organization like Edutopia would embrace the RZA, the GZA and the ODB with such fervor? Yet, in the piece, I left a few gems about taking classrooms to the next level, especially with students who might otherwise feel disengaged from subjects that don't often reflect their personal experiences.

If we don't find a way to connect with children whose culture is different from ours, how do we expect to teach them at all?

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