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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.

Belia Mayeno SaavedraMay 18, 2011

Editor's Note: Today's guest blogger is Belia Mayeno Saavedra, a Community Action Program Coordinator for Youth Radio in Oakland CA.

Please also note that this post examines both student and Internet vernacular. If you are uncomfortable with this type of language, you may wish to read something else. This post first appeared as Sh*t My Students Write and Its Flaws on Turnstyle.

Sh*t My Students Write and Dumb $#!% My Students Say are new meme-sites poking fun at the fumbles and goofs of students. Classroom quotes and essay excerpts are posted by teachers and take the basic meme formula from Sh*t My Dad Says and other quick-and-dirty quotables. But at a time when schools across the country are suffering severe budget cuts, and students enter institutions with increasingly limited resources, what are these sites bringing to the conversation about education?

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Michelle HlubinkaMay 17, 2011

Editor's Note: Today's guest blogger is Michelle Hlubinka, the Education Director for Maker Faire and Make magazine.

Maker Faire is a combination DIY festival and project showcase, sponsored by Make magazine, where "makers" of all ages convene to show off a spectacular array of projects that combine science, art, performance, creative reuse, and technology in varying degrees. Not surprisingly, an increasing number of educators are getting involved in these events which are currently held in the Bay Area, Detroit and New York. There are also many independently organized Mini-Maker Faires around the country. Maker Faire Bay Area is this weekend, May 21 - 22nd.

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Gaetan PappalardoMay 16, 2011

Updated 01/2014

So, I'm sitting in a workshop on vocabulary development listening to a bunch of research as to why kids lack the language to effectively comprehend and communicate. The largest factor (found by this specific research) that determines a child's vocabulary cache is . . . (Drum roll) . . . In-home communication between adult and child using rich language. No talking, no vocabulary -- makes sense, right? The more you hear it, the more likely you're going to use it, the more you're going to "own" it. It's the purest form of contextual usage. It's life. This makes total sense to me. As a teacher, writer, and father of a three-year-old, I'm always exposing my son to strong, healthy vocabulary. It's not rocket science; it just takes some extra effort to recognize those special times to work on vocabulary (I'm not using the term "teachable moment" here because working on vocabulary really shouldn't seem like a formal lesson; it should be as natural as a friendly conversation).

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When we talk about teaching, we are never just talking about a profession, but a passion. Unfortunately, while dodging the bullets of criticism and shielding ourselves behind the mediocrity of the standardization movement, we have found our eagerness to teach being chipped away. Educator Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach challenges us to rediscover our own passion for teaching by helping our students become passionate seekers of knowledge and understanding.

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Larry FerlazzoMay 12, 2011

Editor's Note: Larry Ferlazzo teaches English at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. He writes a popular blog for teachers and is the author of three books. He also supports a blog that shares ideas and resources to improve the school-parent relationship. This post first appeared on edweek.com

This article is adapted from Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers to Classroom Challenges by Larry Ferlazzo, just published by Eye on Education.

A teacher thinks: State testing is done, the weather is getting nicer, and we are all getting spring fever. There are six or seven weeks left of school and students are easily distracted. It's even hard for me to stay focused. I don't just want to "coast." What can I do?

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Holden ClemensMay 11, 2011

Holden Clemens (a pseudonym) is a teacher in Springfield, U.S.A. In today's post, he continues his series on practical tips for working with the gamut of exasperating educational archetypes.

I would like to tell you a story about the Invisible Administrator. I know what you are thinking, "Cool! Holden taught at a haunted high school!" Sadly, I taught at a regular high school, but the infrequency that I saw the principal in my school was plenty frightening.

I taught at a high school for a few years and we had a revolving door of principals and assistant principals. There were different reasons why they came and went, but one stayed around for while and that pleased the school board. Not having to search for a principal saved everyone time and money.

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Elena AguilarMay 11, 2011

Instructional coaching works, or rather, it can work when conditions are right. Perhaps because some principals and district leaders have seen the impact that an effective coach can have, a handful of coaching positions still exist in this era of extreme budget cuts.

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Andrew MillerMay 10, 2011

Editor's Note: Andrew Miller is a consultant for the Buck Institute for Education, an organization that specializes in project-based curriculum. He also creates curriculum and instruction at Giant Campus, which seeks to create 21st century learners using PBL in an online environment.

Let's be honest. Designing PBL for Math can be a different beast. With the pressure of high-stakes testing and a packed curriculum, I often coach teachers who are nervous about giving time to a robust PBL project. In addition, because of the plethora of math standards, it can be difficult to choose the right learning target(s) for the project. Here are some tips for teachers designing individual Math PBL projects.

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Anne OBrienMay 10, 2011

We all know that reading and math standardized test scores do not truly represent how good a school is. But thanks to No Child Left Behind -- the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) -- they are just about all we consider while judging a school's performance.

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