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.

Suzie BossJanuary 17, 2014

I recently visited a school district where teachers are experimenting with Genius Hour. Sometimes called 20 percent time after the Google practice of reserving a day a week for individual research, Genius Hour offers students a regular time each week to tackle projects that reflect their personal interests and passions. (Blogger A.J. Juliani explains the reasoning behind 20 percent time.)

Read More

Of the many ways that technology enhances our lives, one compelling example is assistive technology (AT) -- tools to help people with learning or motor disabilities complete everyday tasks. In schools, assistive tech can mean the difference between a student falling behind or being able to successfully work alongside other kids in an inclusion model. Check out Edutopia curator Ashley Cronin's new roundup on assistive technology for a comprehensive list of resources; to accompany that, I wanted to share some amazing videos I've found about how technology can empower kids with special needs.

Read More
Mary Beth HertzJanuary 17, 2014

This school year I joined the staff of a 1:1 high school here in Philadelphia. Students at the school have access to their own devices, which they take home with them. Although I've taught for many years in classrooms where each student had a school-issued device, the experience of my new students taking their devices home has forced me to reflect on the issue of distraction. How do we teach students to integrate technology into their schoolwork and their learning while also making sure that they're staying focused on the task at hand?

Read More
Tom WhitbyJanuary 16, 2014

About three years ago, while I was teaching education at a local college, I was attempting to do an observation of one of my students at her student teaching assignment. It was my first time visiting that high school, so I found myself running late in traffic. I attempted to call my student on her cellphone to let her know that I might be a little late, but she never answered. I texted her, but she never responded. This forced me to try to make it on time.

As I entered the high school lobby I found a structure inside that resembled Dr. Who's Tardis with a SECURITY sign prominently displayed atop. I approached it and told the uniformed guard why I was there, and that I'd attempted to call my student's phone to no avail. He informed me that it should be no surprise since cellphone use was banned for everyone in the school. However, that did surprise me. What baffled me even more was what I saw when I turned the corner from the Tardis structure -- a gaggle of students texting on their cellphones. It would appear that only the adults were adhering to the cellphone ban.

Read More
Joe HirschJanuary 16, 2014

I recently began to use a certain four-letter word in my classroom. The kind of word that most teachers wouldn't dare say, not unless they wanted to raise eyebrows among colleagues, supervisors and parents. But I use it freely. And loudly. Now my students say it, too -- when they struggle with a worksheet, strike out on the ball field, fumble with the final strokes of an art project. Some of them have even taught the four-letter word to younger siblings at home.

"Grit." A four-letter word that every teacher and student should know and use.

Read More
Rebecca AlberJanuary 16, 2014

Every Monday, my seventh grade English teacher would have us copy a list of 25 words she'd written on the board. We'd then look up the dictionary definitions and copy those down. For homework, we'd re-write each word seven times.

Read More
Rebecca AlberJanuary 16, 2014

When students graduate from high school, there is a collection of important (or core) skills we want them to possess. That's where the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor standards (CCRA) come in. With 32 anchor standards in total in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language, these anchor standards are generalized and quite broad. However, you can find more specific skills for teaching each of the anchor standards embedded within the grade-level Common Core state standards (CCSS).

Read More
Shani LeaderJanuary 15, 2014

Through a multidisciplinary project, students at High Tech High North County explored and addressed an issue of concern in their community of San Marcos, California -- the prevalence of tagging and graffiti. By the end, they had integrated the study of fine arts, social science, language arts and technology.

Read More
Heidi A. OlingerJanuary 15, 2014

A Hunger for Recognition

Greg was among my toughest students in a tough year of teaching high school. Physically he attended class, but academically he was missing. He was a freshman invested in his image with older students he deemed cool, and academic achievement was not a group value. He was disruptive and disengaged. But Greg began to care about school the day that study hall rules changed and he could not leave the classroom -- not even to buy snacks. He quickly became hungry and morose, and, already the enemy, I was doubly so for enforcing the rule. Before me was a hungry boy, so I emptied my briefcase of every snack I had: a soft apple, a Power Bar, Dum Dums. I put these in a pile on his desk and said that was what I had.

Read More
Maurice EliasJanuary 15, 2014

In September, 2013, the Education Advisory Council of the Character Education Partnership published a white paper titled, Integrating Common Core and Character Education: Why It Is Essential and How It Can Be Done. Kristie Fink and Karen Geller, acclaimed educators both, co-chaired the process and I asked them to comment on some of the key points:

Read More