Elena Aguilar

Blog Posts

Tags Social and Emotional Learning
October 4, 2012

When we started ASCEND, the K-8 school in Oakland, CA., that I've written about here at Edutopia, we asked our students to practice six habits. We called them the "Ways to Ascend," although later students remembered...

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Tags Student Engagement
September 27, 2012

Last week, my son's third grade teacher sent home what at first glance looked like a long homework assignment -- three sets of survey questions with many lines for his responses. After reading the directions, we learned that I was to ask him the questions and transcribe his responses. Each night...

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Tags Student Engagement
September 12, 2012

I knew I wanted to get to know my students. I wanted to hear about their lives, look through their eyes, experience the sounds of their world, and survey their emotional landscapes. I also knew I needed to do this in order to be a more effective teacher: I could tailor instruction to draw...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
August 30, 2012

If I could, I'd lay money on the claim I'm about to make: If you do the one little thing I'm about to suggest, you will have a great school year. Here it is:

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Tags New-Teacher Support
August 20, 2012

When I first started teaching and was overwhelmed by the demands and complexity of the job, my survival strategy was simply to take all the advice that came my way and implement it. So when my wise mentor suggested that after the first day of school I call all of my second grader's parents, I...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
July 16, 2012

A student I taught 12 years ago (when she was in the sixth grade) emailed me recently sharing that in the fall, she will become a middle school English teacher. "That was the best year of school for me," she said, "I just want to help other kids have an experience like that." I was thrilled;...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
July 6, 2012

When people ask me if I'm taking some time off while school is out, I respond, "a little," being intentionally vague. I'm embarrassed, actually, that I'm taking so few days off this summer (a total of eight, really).

"It's my choice," I add. "This is self-imposed." But is it, I wonder...

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Tags Social and Emotional Learning
June 11, 2012

On June 12, Anne Frank could have celebrated her 83rd birthday had she not died in a Nazi concentration camp. It's not a stretch to imagine that she would have been surrounded by loved ones, celebrated for her literary contributions, and acknowledged for her compassion and contributions to peace...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
June 1, 2012

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

--Proverbs

Does your school have a mission or a vision? Does it mean something and inform decision-making? Or is it just something posted on some wall/paper/handbook that you vaguely remember? Do you have a vision for yourself as...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
May 30, 2012

One of my favorite summer activities is reading -- I relish those long afternoons (and mornings and evenings) on the couch (or beach or bed) when I lose myself in a book. I remember vacations by what I read; travels get surreal overtones because of the confusion with the interweaving of...

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Equity, transformation, social justice, leadership, coaching, listening, mindfulness.