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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Best of Edutopia: Picks for 2013

Best of Edutopia: Picks for 2013

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In December, the staff at Edutopia likes to reflect and share their favorite blogs, videos, and articles on the site. While we're sharing though, we also want to hear from you!

What on Edutopia has inspired and helped YOU? What did you read or see that changed how you approach education?

Together we'll pick the Best of Edutopia 2013!

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Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

I'll kick things off with my two favorite blogs from 2013.

Teachers: Staying Positive in Trying Times

Heather's blog really struck a nerve for a lot of educators. She offers some great advice for protecting and nourishing a positive attitude, and a great discussion sprang up in the comments section.

The Power of the Morning Meeting: 5 Steps Toward Changing Your Classroom and School Culture

Morning meetings are such a simple strategy, but they can do so much! And Lisa offers some concrete steps to help make them happen. The best part is that some of the blog's readers were inspired to use morning meetings to change the culture at their schools!

Ashley Cronin's picture
Ashley Cronin
Digital Resource Curator

As an introvert, I really enjoyed Elena Aguilar's The Power of Introverts: An Essential Understanding for Teachers. I recently read Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking and also found it to be a very validating experience.

In addition to her thoughtful, personal reflection on the book in relation to her own life and career, she offers some helpful advice about teaching introverted students; thinking back over my own experiences in school and reflecting upon the temperaments of students I have taught, I think it's so important for teachers to help students recognize the benefits of their own disposition, no matter where these students fall on the introversion-extroversion spectrum.

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Some of my favorite posts this year include discussions about tech in the classroom including this blog post on Bring Your Own Device vs. One on One:

One of my very favorites have been the discussions abotu girls and STEM:

The Social Media Guidelines for School is excellent:

This is a gem that's been overlooked:
Common Core and Narrative Writing

And I think every teacher and parent should take another look at the 12 conversation starters:

What were your favorites?

Youki Terada's picture
Youki Terada
Senior Associate, Research Curation

Favorite Schools That Work story: Mount Desert elementary.
- I really enjoyed covering this school, because it was such a good example of how social and emotional learning could be integrated into the classroom. You didn't just see better student behavior, you also saw a pretty strong case for how SEL can transform the overall culture at the school and lead to better student learning.

Favorite blog post: Shawn Cornally's "Bacon Apart: A Rigorous (and Delicious) Student-Centered Project"
- Loved this post for how it took something that many kids would be interested about and tied it to so many great questions, like, "Why is bacon so fatty, and why does that fat not gross people out like steak fat?" The best part is that he covered so many competencies and standards, but I'm pretty sure the students had no idea.

Favorite video: VideoAmy's Five-Minute Film Festival on Vine and Instagram Video in the Classroom
- I gotta admit, this one blew my mind. How much science can you fit into 6 seconds? APPARENTLY A WHOLE LOT.

Vanessa Vega's picture
Vanessa Vega
Former Edutopia Senior Manager of Research

I just love the community discussions that are growing everyday on Edutopia and allow us to get into the details of successful implementation, especially the thread about "Assessment," which prompted David Wees to share this incredibly helpful treasure trove of formative assessment examples, Formative assessment is perhaps the easiest and most effective way to make classrooms more engaging and interactive, and these 40 or so examples of formative assessment make it really clear how formative assessment works and how it can take many forms. Along the lines of encouraging and eliciting students to talk about what they're thinking, I also enjoyed Rebecca Alber's post on 5 questions to ask students: It was great to see that the post even inspired a poster!

Mariko Nobori's picture
Mariko Nobori
Former Managing Editor and Producer, Edutopia

Hands down my favorite video from this year, and now a favorite of mine overall, is our SEL overview video, "Five Keys to Successful Social and Emotional Learning" Usually I fall for the more personal stories, but our video team did such a wonderful job making this video both informative and moving. It presents the information in a clear and organized way with pacing that allows you to absorb it, and at the same time keeps you engaged with beautiful clips of all kinds of interactions showing sensitivity, patience, caring, understanding, and joy. Selfishly I also loved it because it had so many clips from Schools That Work schools that I got to visit, it was a fond trip down memory lane.

Jonathan Tuttle's picture

My favorite for the year is a video: Reframing Failure as Iteration Allows Students to Thrive. I like this video for the focus on taking chances and learning from failure, as well as the vehicle. The kids build wild Rube Goldberg-esque machines, which appeals to me as a maker of oddball technology.

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