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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.

Rachelle VallonNovember 12, 2013

What if instruction could actually engage students and get them excited about learning? What if school could foster student creativity and support their expanding imaginations? What if educators around the world had the tools to provide students with the 21st century skills to imagine and create their own futures in our ever-changing global society?

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Ashley NahornickNovember 12, 2013

Connecting Design Thinking to Your Area of Expertise

Many of us have sat through long lectures believing the material did not connect to us at all. This should not be the case with design thinking, a process that involves rethinking and reframing problems to make things easier, more streamlined or different. However, many people view design thinking as an insular activity that does not mesh with their specific domain of expertise. This should not be the case. Design thinking can relate to any topic.

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Jason CranfordTeagueNovember 12, 2013

Last month, I attended a Back to School Night for parents, sitting through presentation after presentation by teachers, some with slides that helped make their presentation a delight to listen to, and others . . . well, that's why I'm writing this blog post.

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Ben JohnsonNovember 11, 2013

I tried every trick in the book: framing the lesson, detailed instructions, hands-on learning, proximity, hand signals, rewards, punishment, and ultimatums -- all to no avail. My middle school Spanish students continued to want to chat, throw paper airplanes, get out of their seats, and disrupt instruction. Only two things that seemed to work in getting my students to pay attention were total physical response (TPR) and worksheets.

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Rafe EsquithNovember 11, 2013

Editor's Note: This post is an excerpt from Real Talk for Real Teachers by Rafe Esquith. Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. © Rafe Esquith and Barbara Tong, 2013.

The special activity that has kept me engaged for three decades is the annual production of a Shakespeare play. It did not start out this way. Many good ideas evolve slowly, taking shape over many years and constantly getting better. The backstory of our productions might give you a notion of how your special idea might take shape and become a unique force in the life of your students.

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Maurice EliasNovember 8, 2013

It's time for the leaders of the social-emotional learning (SEL) and character education fields to jump in the sandbox together and create a set of common guidelines for implementation in schools. This is a variation of the "Manhattan Project" called for years ago by Tim Shriver, a founder of CASEL.

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I'll admit, as the mom of a toddler I may be excessively preoccupied with the alphabet. But truly, letters are the building blocks of the English language and early literacy. Since November is National Novel Writing Month, I indulged in sharing a few of my favorite ABC videos. I started this playlist just for fun, and quickly found that the constraints of the 26-letter sequence provide a great framework for engaging lists of all kinds. As an exercise for your students, little and big, ask them to use the letters of the alphabet as a structure to get creative around a topic -- just see what they come up with!

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Elena AguilarNovember 8, 2013

One of the most common complaints I hear from teachers, administrators, and staff working in public schools is something along the lines of, "I don't feel appreciated." I'd like to propose that by simply incorporating a range of practices that allow ourselves and others to express gratitude, we might transform our schools.

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Samer RabadiNovember 7, 2013

As we work toward redesigning Edutopia to be more community friendly, we also want to make sure we spotlight the awesome community contributions that already live on the site. One way to do that is through a blog series documenting the community's favorite discussions and posts. This is the first post in that series.

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Mark PhillipsNovember 7, 2013

Editor's Note: This is a translation of a report submitted by Alkar, Educational Anthropologist, for review by the Planet-Wide Council of Educators on Rakosa V after his return from Sol III (locally known as Earth). His mission: "Analysis of the Process of Educational Reform as Exemplified by What is Named 'Common Core.'"

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