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.

Monica BurnsMarch 6, 2014

There are so many ways to use mobile devices with students. You can create interactive textbooks for children to read, ask them to explain their thinking through screencasting or help them access informational text using QR codes. Mobile devices can also be used to help students practice foundational math skills and build their math fluency.

Read More
Joshua BlockMarch 6, 2014

The wonderful poet Naomi Shihab Nye first introduced me to William Stafford's idea that no one becomes a poet. She says that we are all born poets, and it's just that some of us choose to keep up the habit.

At times, all of us inevitably get stuck viewing ourselves in static and limiting ways. When I tell students that we will be studying poetry there are always some students who mutter, "I can't write poems."

Read More
Sarah Wike LoyolaMarch 5, 2014

I am embarrassed -- no, actually I would go as far as to say horrified -- that I spent ten years of my career teaching students about the Spanish language. I actually felt proud when they could fill out grammar worksheets with precision. Now, you may be thinking that, as a Spanish teacher, this is my job, but since my enlightenment, I understand that it decidedly is not. I am now certain that teaching them to communicate well in the language is my job. Honestly, who cares whether students can conjugate verbs correctly if they can't tell someone what they need? Getting to this point has required a colossal teaching philosophy transformation, but I've never been more proud of the work that I'm doing.

Read More
Matt DavisMarch 5, 2014

Although students are evermore connected to the social web, many of these networks remain out-of-class digital playgrounds where students congregate. In a recent survey of 1,000 teachers, just one in five said they use social media regularly with students.

Read More
Andrew MillerMarch 4, 2014

It's been many years since I went through my teacher certification and student teaching, and wow! A lot has changed. And yet, there are still some stories of the journey to become a new teacher that remain the same. I recently reached out to my alma mater to speak not only with old professors, but also with current teacher candidates to ask them what it has been like for them.

Read More

At Sammamish High School, we have been involved in a process of culture change that is impacting not only our students but our teachers as well. By giving our teachers the keys to their own curriculum though extended professional learning opportunities and defining core values of PBL instead of a particular method (see my earlier post), we have given teachers their own authentic learning challenge. As teachers have engaged in this real-life, problem-based task, they've drawn on their leadership skills with their peers to create a learning environment that seeks to engage and lift all kids through rigorous, relevant coursework.

Read More
Matt LevinsonMarch 4, 2014

After a two-week winter break, one of my eighth grade advisees returned to school and demonstrated his newfound skill of juggling. He was able to juggle with four balls, go behind his back, and under and through his legs. Quite simply, his demonstration was remarkable and earned the praise of his peers and advisor. We were all curious to learn how he had acquired this skill in such a short span of time, because we recalled that before the break, he was struggling to get even three balls going.

He replied, "I found this great guy on YouTube, and I watched a lot of YouTube over break."

In other words, he was self-taught. He had an interest and a passion, and he put in the time and commitment to master a skill.

Read More

I was excited and honored to be invited to the gala celebration of the first annual White House Student Film Festival last Friday afternoon. Created to showcase the possibilities of technology in the classroom -- and to raise awareness for the ConnectEd initiative -- the White House received more than 2500 entries, from kids around the country, in just three months.

Read More
Matt DavisMarch 3, 2014

Happy 3.14159265358979323846264 Day! That's right, Pi Day is coming on 3/14, and the annual celebration offers a great opportunity for students to explore Pi! (It's also Albert Einstein's birthday. There are plenty of wonderful facts in this online Einstein biography.) Of course, there are plenty of great teaching resources online to help your class celebrate Pi Day, and we here at Edutopia thought we'd help.

Read More
Dave GuymonMarch 3, 2014

Increasingly, educators are acknowledging and welcoming the relative advantages of social media into the teaching and learning process. From creating school Facebook pages to connecting students with experts via Twitter, social media has taken root as a legitimate classroom learning and communication tool. The highly linguistic nature of social media allows us to create and consume ideas and information unlike ever before. Much attention has been given to composing an articulate blog post and condensing our messages to 140 characters or less. However, effective use of this 21st century technology requires that we not only become proficient in textual communication, but also in our ability to express ourselves and interpret others' ideas through visual literacy.

Read More