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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.

For the last ten years, we've worked one-on-one with students from elementary school through graduate school. No matter their age, no matter the material, when you ask what they're struggling with, students almost universally name a subject: "math," "English" or, in some instances, "school." Doubting that all of school is the issue, we then ask to see their last test. After some grumbling, the student digs down, deep into the dark, dank recesses of his or her backpack, and pulls out a balled-up, lunch-stained paper that, once smoothed out, turns out to be the latest exam.

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Andrew MarcinekMarch 19, 2014

The term professional development (PD) has taken on many incarnations during the time I've been involved in education. When I first starting teaching, professional development was constructed in a very traditional format. It usually came in the form of a speaker, and the staff listened. More often than not, PD was an extremely passive experience.

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Chris Hare, PMP, CSMMarch 19, 2014

This question -- "Mom, what is project management?" -- was posed to me by one of my sons last year. It's a simple query, but crafting the answer to accommodate a child's lens of my career was a bit more challenging. So here was my response:

"It's the profession of planning, organizing and managing many things, including people and projects, for example."

A follow-up question by my other son within earshot was, naturally, "What's a project?"

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Ben JohnsonMarch 19, 2014

After a hard day of teaching, I often plop down on my desk chair at home and gaze up at a framed drawing hanging on the wall above my desk that a dear friend of mine gave me. It is a detailed depiction of a pair of wood ducks serenely floating on a calm pond. One of the ducks is male that has brightly colored feathers and beak; the other is female that is plain gray and nondescript. Yet both are at peace and comfortable with each other.

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David WestMarch 18, 2014

"School is boring." There is no place for that statement when teachers are creative, engaging and promote genuine learning. But how do teachers make their classes the opposite of boring?

When I began teaching high school business courses four years ago, I was just 23 years old. Because I had recently lived through traditional high school and college instruction, I knew there had to be a different way -- a better way.

Inspiration struck one night, months into my first year of teaching, while watching what was then a new TV show called Shark Tank. Here, entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to millionaire and billionaire investors in the hope of securing funding to start, grow or save their business. When I showed my business students one episode, they begged to watch more. At that point, I knew I had something. So, to capitalize on my students' enthusiasm, I created a project out of it.

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Elena AguilarMarch 18, 2014

During the month of March, in many educational settings, women's history is addressed. Images of famous female leaders are pulled out to decorate walls; special assemblies are held; picture books are read; girl power is acknowledged and celebrated. This is all good, but there are some next steps that educators (both men and women) need to take if we're going to truly empower girls and set them up for leadership roles. We need to offer expanded definitions of leadership, take on the "Lean In" vs. "Recline" debate, and walk the talk.

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Josh WorkMarch 18, 2014

After participating in an exciting webinar on Libraries, Technology, and Implementing Common Core provided by AASL, I began to think about how the role of the school-based media specialist is evolving. The implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and rapid integration of technology in schools around the country has created a shift in instructional design and practice. I have found the most valuable school-based resource for brainstorming, discussing, planning and implementing anything to do with technology has been my school's media specialist. Following are a few ways that your media specialist could help you, and how the CCSS has impacted their roles.

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Stacey GoodmanMarch 18, 2014

Recently, I showed a group of students in my high school art class a film called Ma Vie En Rose (My Life in Pink), about a seven-year-old boy named Ludovic who identifies as female. Ludovic has an active imagination, but is bullied by both adults and other kids who are unnerved by his desire to wear dresses and play with dolls. The film challenged my students to broaden their understanding of gender and identity and led to a discussion about ways in which our imaginations are limited when we are forced to be who we are not. It also reminded me of other examples in which character is forced to choose an identity, such as the movie Divergent, based on the popular trilogy of novels by Veronica Roth.

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Ben JohnsonMarch 17, 2014

Like magic, the fish turn into birds and then back into fish. M.C. Escher's tessellations have a way of grabbing your attention and forcing your mind to make sense of the impossible figures on the paper. The Merriam dictionary describes tessellations as, "a covering of an infinite geometric plane without gaps or overlaps by congruent plane figures of one type or a few types." A geometry book I have on hand describes tessellations as geometric forms that make use of all available foreground and background space in two dimensions by repeating one or more different shapes in predictable patterns.

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Ainissa RamirezMarch 17, 2014

Marshmallows can predict your future.

In the 1960s, there was an experiment with marshmallows. Children at the nursery school on Stanford’s campus were placed at a table and had the option of having one marshmallow now -- or getting two marshmallows if they waited 15 minutes while the researcher left the room. Children used many tactics to distract themselves while waiting, like kicking the floor, pulling their braids, and covering their eyes. Only about 30 percent of the children could hold out long enough to get the reward. But more importantly, it was found that those who could resist the marshmallows as preschoolers performed better in school later in life. Researchers found that self-regulation was a better predictor to success than IQ.

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