WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
New Teachers: Resource Roundup
From classroom management to working with parents, lesson planning to learning environments, this compilation of blogs, videos, and other resources provides an array of tips and advice for teachers just starting out.
Originally Published: May 10, 2013 | Updated: April 9, 2015
- The 5 Critical Categories of Rules by Richard Curwin (2014)
Curwin believes that rules and limits, while necessary in a classroom, are subtly shaded in meaning and use. He defines five critical categories of rules: academic, social, procedural, cultural, and personal. Also from Curwin: "When Choices Are Disguised Threats."
- Classroom-Management Strategies for Elementary Teachers by Gaetan Pappalardo (Updated 2014)
Pappalardo offers advice on how to answer common questions in the classroom that may seem trivial but can easily stump the amateur teacher.
- 7 Tips for Better Classroom Management, by Tyler Hester (2013)
Hester, teacher and professional development coach, offers seven compelling tips -- and one amazing video -- about the roots of better classroom management.
- Positive, Not Punitive, Classroom-Management Tips - Part 1 and Part 2, by Larry Ferlazzo (2013)
In these two excerpts from his latest book, Ferlazzo offers some classroom-management tips that are positive, not punitive.
- 5 Quick Classroom-Management Tips for Novice Teachers, by Rebecca Alber (2012)
Alber presents five management strategies new teachers can begin using immediately in their classrooms.
- Classroom Guide: Ten Tips for Classroom Management, by Edutopia Staff (2011)
This resource guide provides examples and strategies for K-12 teachers to help improve student engagement and build a positive climate for learning.
- For more classroom-management resources, visit Edutopia's Classroom Management page.
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Lesson and Curriculum Planning
- Planning the Best Curriculum Unit Ever, by Todd Finley (2014)
The good curriculum is in the details, so focus your teacher super powers on the granular aspects of planning ahead for the new school year. Also from Finley: "9 Ways to Plan Transformational Lessons."
- Open Educational Resources (OER): Resource Roundup, by Edutopia Staff (2013)
This educator's guide to open educational resources (OER) includes information about online repositories, curriculum-sharing websites, sources for lesson plans and activities, and open textbooks.
- Reframing and Refining the Worksheet, by Andrew Miller (2013)
Miller assures us that "worksheet" doesn't have to be a dirty word, even in a PBL project.
- Five-Minute Film Festival: 10 Sources for Free Lesson Plans, by Amy Erin Borovoy (2013)
Exploring free lesson-planning resources can be overwhelming. Here, VideoAmy shares a list of 10 of her favorite lesson-planning tools, as well as a playlist of videos to help teachers utilize them.
- New-Teacher Academy: Lesson Planning, by Lisa Dabbs (2012)
Dabbs and teacher Matt Ray offer some suggestions about lesson planning in this post from the "New Teacher Academy" series.
- Lesson Planning and Common Core: A Unit Based on TED.com, by Heather Wolpert-Gawron (2011)
Wolpert-Gawron shares a blended genre unit where students research and write their own persuasive speeches in the TED.com format.
- For more related resources, visit Edutopia's Curriculum Planning and Lesson Plans pages.
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Cultivating Learning Environments and Communities
- 7 Learning Zones Every Classroom Must Have, by Veronica Lopez (2014)
As you plan next year's curriculum and activities, consider how you'll use your classroom space. Here are seven learning zones to help focus your students. Also in this series are: "Tips for Creating Wow-Worthy Learning Spaces" and "8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom."
- A Place for Learning: The Physical Environment of Classrooms, by Mark Phillips (2014)
Phillips suggests that a critical piece of student learning is the physical environment of the classroom itself. He offers examples of and resources for turning impersonal spaces into student-friendly havens of learning. Also from Phillips: "Creating an Emotionally Healthy Classroom Environment."
- Five-Minute Film Festival: Classroom Makeovers, by Amy Erin Borovoy (2014)
How can a classroom be set up to maximize learning? Get inspired by this video playlist from Edutopia's VideoAmy with tips and ideas teachers can use to makeover their classrooms.
- Climate Control: 6 Ways to Improve Your School Environment, by Allen Mendler (2013)
Mendler suggests six ways for any teacher to help build a positive school climate.
- Building a Positive, Trusting Classroom Environment, by José Vilson (2012)
Vilson shares three suggestions for building a positive, trusting classroom environment.
- 20 Tips for Creating a Safe Learning Environment, by Rebecca Alber (2011)
Alber provides 20 tips for helping teachers create a safe learning environment.
- For more resources on classroom environments, visit Edutopia's Learning Environments page.
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Working With Parents
- 7 Questions to Ask Parents at the Beginning of the Year, by Elena Aguilar (2014)
Seven questions teachers can ask parents at the start of the year with the intention of building a partnership to support their child's learning. "The Power of the Positive Call Home" and "20 Tips for Developing Positive Relationships With Parents" are other useful blogs from Aguilar.
- 8 Tips for Reaching Out to Parents, by David Cutler (2014)
Cutler offers eight tips for engaging with parents, from avoiding confrontation and communicating clearly, to earning their trust on back-to-school night and coaching their children's after-school activities.
- Home-to-School Connections: Resource Roundup, by Edutopia Staff (Updated 2014)
Getting parents engaged in their children's education can be beneficial for everyone. We've compiled some tips to help improve the connection from home to school and expand parent involvement.
- 12 Conversation Starters on What Parents Want You (Teachers) to Know, by Joe Mazza (2013)
Mazza looks through the lens of his school's parents and suggests 12 conversations that all teachers should be having with their students' parents.
- 5 Resources for Parent-Teacher Conferences, by Matt Davis (2013)
Davis curated this list of resources to improve parent-teacher conferences, including ideas for highlighting student progress and questions every parent should ask.
- Engaging Parents: An Elementary Teacher's Field Guide, by Gaetan Pappalardo (2011)
Pappalardo offers tips and advice on how teachers can make a real difference by engaging with parents more deeply.
- For more resources on involving parents, visit Edutopia's Home-to-School Connections page.
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Building Relationships With Students
- Back to School: 3 Question Activities to Connect Students, by Maurice Elias (2014)
Elias describes three classroom activities for team and trust building with students.
- Relationship Building Through Culturally Responsive Classroom Management, by Todd Finley (2014)
Hone your skills like curiosity, listening, cultural sensitivity, and humor to provide all students with equitable opportunities for learning.
- 3 Ways to Make Meaningful Connections With Your Students, by Nicholas Provenzano (2014)
Provenzano believes there's more to teaching than dispensing curriculum, and he shares three practices that lead students and their families to trust him on a personal level.
- Fostering Relationships in the Classroom, by Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski (2012)
Teachers Ferlazzo and Sypnieski share six activities that help build and maintain positive relationships in the classroom.
- Student-Teacher Relationships Can Be Built Five Minutes at a Time, by Dan Ouellette (2009)
Ouellette, a former educator, shares his experience with connecting to kids in a busy inner-city classroom.
- Developing Students' Trust: The Key to a Learning Partnership, by Ben Johnson (2008)
To empower students who are willing partners in education, teachers must learn to trust them, writes Johnson in this blog post.
- For more resources on engaging students, visit Edutopia's Student Engagement page.
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Preparing for the First Year
- Back to School: Preparing for Day One, by Rebecca Alber (2014)
Alber provides six tips for helping both new and veteran teachers have a successful first day of school.
- 7-Step Prep: Make a Weekly Plan for YOU!, by Maia Heyck (2014)
Advance planning is essential for a week of effective teaching, yet the most effective planning system will let you incorporate and track those on-the-fly changes. Also from Heyck: "5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Non-Teaching Time."
- Time Management: Planning for the Adventure, by Clara Galan (2013)
Galan, former Edutopia social-media marketing specialist and former teacher, looks at managing time, that most precious of commodities, through the lens of a pirate's spyglass.
- You Only Get One "First Day of School", by Lisa Mims (2013)
Veteran teacher Mims reminds us that we only get one "first day of school"' (even we've already been there 28 times!) and offers seven tips for making a good impression on our students.
- 7 Tips for New Elementary Teachers to Save Energy, Time, and Tears, by Otis Kriegel (2013)
Get great advice on how to get off to a good start and be more effective on day one.
- Cheat Sheet for the First Days of School, by José Vilson (2012)
Vilson suggests three simple habits to ease teachers' transition from summer vacation to the start of a new school year.
- For more year-one planning resources, visit Edutopia's New Teachers page.
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