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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.

Christopher R. FriendApril 3, 2014

Editor's note: This blog describes a hostile act and contains language that some might find disturbing and offensive. We generally avoid such representations on Edutopia. However, it would be difficult for the blogger to make his point without this level of impact, and we believe it is a point worth making.

Years ago, I taught high school in a small suburban community in Florida. After my then-boyfriend substituted in my classes one day, my classroom was vandalized with threatening, offensive messages on the whiteboard, my desk, and the overhead projector and its screen. The contents of my desk were strewn across the room, and some personal property I had brought to my workspace was defaced. Overall, very little physical damage was done, but the event seriously shook my nerves.

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Dave GuymonApril 3, 2014

Education has always been a reflection of broader cultural values. As such, the roles of teachers and students have evolved as our models of education have moved from one iteration to another. Teachers who once traveled to town to instruct a heterogeneous room full of passive learners on matters of rote memorization have come to adopt new roles and philosophies toward learning. As these new models have emerged, educators have been required to hone their skills and adapt to ever changing sets of priorities, needs and expectations.

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Beth HollandApril 2, 2014

What if Dead Poets Society were set in modern times? Would Mr. Keating (Robin Williams' character) tweet Walt Whitman?

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. #significantquote #carpediem

Would the students have created a Facebook group rather than sneak off to a cave? Or would Mr. Keating have told the students to turn off all devices and leave them in their bags, maintaining the traditional classroom setting? I think it would be more of the former.

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Matt LevinsonApril 2, 2014

For many students, the process of learning new material can feel like swimming in an ocean with fish moving in many different directions. Additionally, the information itself can feel like fish swimming in the minds of students -- overwhelming them, causing anxiety, uncertainty and even fear. They can feel as if what they're trying to learn has no order, especially when context is lacking.

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Maurice EliasApril 1, 2014

“But why do I have to go? School is not fun!” That quote is from a first-grade child, asking his mom why he has to go every single day to this place that he was told was going to be a lot of fun, but has not lived up to the hype. If he could articulate further, he might say, "I am only six. I like to have fun, but school is not fun and from what I can tell, it's going to get worse every year, not better."

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Marc AndersonApril 1, 2014

This morning I got lucky . . . I read poems. Not even the blistering wind's roar amidst the frigid temperatures of a lingering winter could keep me from imagining "spring hope."

Spring Hope
And now the weeping willow turns to green.
So brilliant red, the robin’s breast,
Just like the sun, now sinking in the West,
And down the lane more signs of spring are seen.
(M. Jones, Poetry Soup)
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Brian PageMarch 31, 2014

Most high school students are making financial choices now. Many shop, have jobs, pay bills, are eligible for tax refunds if they file, have accounts at financial institutions, make car payments, pay car insurance -- and most importantly, college-bound students are preparing to make a student debt choice. Financial literacy lessons help these kids grapple with the adult choices they already face as teenagers. Following are three lesson principles I apply when preparing my financial literacy lessons.

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Suzie BossMarch 31, 2014

This is the second of a two-part series about the Global Student Leaders Summit in Shanghai that brought together several hundred students from the United States and China in March. Developed by EF Educational Tours, the event offers teens an immersive experience in cross-cultural collaboration. Read about the global education themes that emerged at the summit in in my earlier post. Today, some American students offer their reflections about how experiences like this help to prepare them for the challenges ahead.

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Rebecca AlberMarch 31, 2014

The idea of co-constructing knowledge with students can be a scary thing for many of us teachers. The age-old role of teacher as orator, director, sage has been handed down for centuries and most of us grew up as students looking to teachers in this way. It's hard to shake.

Co-constructing knowledge means giving up the myself and them role of teacher and students and fully embracing the wonder and journey of us.

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Matthew FarberMarch 28, 2014

All games tell stories. Unlike other media (books, television, film), the interactivity puts the player in the role of protagonist. Writing games can be quite complex and involve more than characters and dialogue. To get a better understanding, read this article by Darby McDevitt, lead writer of Assassin's Creed. He explains the prewriting and production process. Students should be surprised (as was I!) at how sophisticated game writing is.

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