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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.

Donna Wilson, Ph.D.March 12, 2014

Editor's note: This post is co-authored by Marcus Conyers who, with Donna Wilson, is co-developer of the M.S. and Ed.S. Brain-Based Teaching degree programs at Nova Southeastern University. They have written several books, including Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice.

Incorporating exercise and movement throughout the school day makes students less fidgety and more focused on learning. Improving on-task behavior and reducing classroom management challenges are among the most obvious benefits of adding physical activities to your teaching toolkit. As research continues to explore how exercise facilitates the brain's readiness and ability to learn and retain information, we recommend several strategies to use with students and to boost teachers' body and brain health.

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Monica BurnsMarch 11, 2014

Poetry can take so many forms, and sometimes it's hard to know where to start when planning a unit of study. You might focus on figurative language with third graders, you might want seventh graders to look at rhyme sequence, or you might simply want to introduce classic pieces to high school students.

There are some great tools on the web for teachers gathering resources to use with their students. Here are a few worth checking out.

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Andrew MarcinekMarch 11, 2014

There is no doubt that finding the time to integrate technology is an overwhelming task for anyone. Throughout the course of a day, teachers find themselves pulled in many directions. However, technology is already integrated in nearly everything we do and nearly every job our students will encounter. So how do educators find an ideal balance for learning about and eventually integrating technology? It begins with a focus followed by good instructional design -- but ultimately, a healthy balance.

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Leah HirschMarch 11, 2014

For 12 weeks, sixth graders in my class embark on a learning adventure based on the misadventures of a fictional character called Dr. Smallz. The class is a hands-on, inquiry-based, integrated science and math course. Students get a chance to be scientists, designers, makers and players as they learn all about human body systems, cellular functions, and the ability of the human organism to maintain dynamic equilibrium. The Dr. Smallz Mission is a great example of the type of game-like learning experience that creates a powerful "Need to Know" in students, leaving them hungry to learn more.

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Terry HeickMarch 11, 2014

Students need a voice.

By voice, I mean the ability to recognize their own beliefs, practice articulating them in a variety of forms, and then find the confidence -- and the platform -- to express them.

The platforms part can go a long way toward serving the confidence part. Introverted students (who may be gifted with self-reflection) might find the openness of a social media channel like Twitter intimidating, but they might also love the idea of long-form blogging, or even communicating indirectly through the creation of mini-documentaries, podcasts or music videos.

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Tara JeffsMarch 10, 2014

The sandbox of today has gone digital and is filled with dynamic touch screens that permeate the play area with brilliant colors, music and animation. These devices provide opportunities to increase engagement, participation and social interactions. Parents, educators and related service providers seek out activities that ensure young children can reach their potential. The brilliant colors and unique interface of today's technologies offer young learners the opportunity to explore and learn in brief-yet-powerful, on-demand learning intervals with increased focus and motivation.

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Maurice EliasMarch 10, 2014

With National Poetry Month just a few weeks away, you may have already started planning. Exposing our students to the powerful words and images of Maya Angelou's poetry builds their skills in reading, character education, vocabulary, civics, history, and humanity. Deeply exploring the topics and themes found in Angelou's poetry can be inspiring to students, and even life changing.

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Andrew MillerMarch 10, 2014

Being a mentor teacher to a teaching candidate is quite a privilege and honor, as you are integral in nurturing and helping that new teacher to reflect and improve upon his or her instruction. I recently reached out to fellow mentor teachers and asked them about their advice and best practices, not only for teacher mentors, but also for new teachers in the field. Here are some great quotes and points from these practicing mentors.

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Todd FinleyMarch 10, 2014

Planning a unit of instruction demands skill and mental exertion -- a fact that is not apparent to parents and legislators who believe that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) tell instructors how and what to teach. Despite advocacy groups' arguments to the contrary, the CCSS is, for the most part, a destination, not a roadmap.

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Janice DoleMarch 7, 2014

In part one of this series, I shared how I use freely available video in my reading and literacy methods course to help my preservice teachers understand close reading instruction at a level that could not be attained through reading and discussion alone. In part two, I shared my curated collection of videos for general Common Core info, as well as videos to teach the close reading, text complexity and informational texts standards.

Below is my curated collection of videos of exceptional professional websites for reading teachers that feature videos and resources on word generation, explicit instruction, graphic organizers and text difficulty, among other topics.

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