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Center of Excellence • 2017 Summer Institute

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2016 COE Fall Workshop




Gerry Brooks


2016 FALL WORKSHOP • Nov. 7, 2016

Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty

Keynote Speaker – Gerry Brooks

“Spreading Humor Through the World of Education”

The Fall Workshop was a huge success! Everyone enjoyed Gerry Brooks presentation.

More than 950 attendees re-registered for the Hurricane Matthew-delayed workshop

held at River Bluff High School Performing Arts Center in November.

Event Photos (click to enlarge)

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Spring Research Consortium

2017 Center of Excellence Spring Research Consortium

March 14, 2017

Location:  SC Department of Archives & History • 8301 Parklane Road, Columbia, SC  29223

Keynote Speaker: David C. Berliner

David Berliner is Regent’s Professor of Education Emeritus at Arizona State University. He is the winner of numerous awards, most notably the Brock award and the AERA award for distinguished contributions to education.  Professor Berliner has authored more than 200 published articles, chapters and books. Among his best known works is the book co-authored with B. J. Biddle, The Manufactured Crisis, and the American Education.   His most recent book, 50 Myths and Lies that Threaten America’s Public Schools, was co-authored with Gene V. Glass and students, and published in March, 2014.  We are excited to have him with us for the Research Consortium.

2016 COE Summer Institute

THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this year's 2016 event!

The Summer Institute continues to improve each year and your participation is a large part of that success!

If you missed this year's event and want to review the schedule to see the quality of our sessions and speakers

or if you just need to review the schedule once again, you can follow the link below.

View the FMU COE Summer Institute 2016 Schedule & Directory.

Downloadable Materials from the Speakers at 2016 Summer Institute

tomlinson_keynote_4 tomlinson_strategies_for_diff tomlinson_di_rubric kafele_closing_attitude_gap_pdf gerry_brooks_ppt

Carol A. Tomlinson


Carol A. Tomlinson


Carol A. Tomlinson

DI Rubric

Baruti Kafele


Gerry Brooks


Facebook Research & Readings PDF Print E-mail

Poverty in America is Mainstream: Contrary to popular belief, the percentage of the population that directly encounters poverty is exceedingly high.

Common Core and Disadvantaged Students: The common-core standards offer the potential to raise the achievement of struggling students from low-income backgrounds.

Rethinking Parent Engagement: Common Core presents a historic opportunity to rethink the way that schools and parents engage each other.

Should Teachers Be More Mindful?: An initial study of CARE For Teachers finds that the program increases well-being, efficacy, and mindfulness for teachers while helping them cope…

What Schools Can Do to Help Boys Succeed: If boys are restive and unfocused, we must look for ways to help them do better.

PBS Documentary Focuses on Six Latino Students Who Made the Grade:“The Graduates” is a two-part PBS documentary highlighting the dropout problem among Latino students, and six young people who overcame the obstacles and beat the odds.

School leaders at Jenkins White hope innovation leads to academic growth: Jenkins White launched a fine arts infusion in its curriculum this year as a strategy to boost achievement and enhance social learning.

High School Dropouts: More than Loss of Money: The negative financial ramifications of dropping out of high school cannot be denied but the way they are over-emphasized seems like a worn-out…

Real World Classrooms: Home: Backpacks to Briefcases is a step-by-step guide to creating a College & Career Ready learning environment in K-6 classrooms.

ASCD Express 9.02 - How Differentiation and Assessment Work at Forest Lake Elementary:

Tailoring Evidence-Based Reform to Different Problems:

Social-Emotional Programs Target Students' Long Term Behavior: Teachers using social-emotional learning to manage student behavior say they are encouraging more than just compliance - they’re identifying feelings

Response: Getting Students to Read at Home by "Building a Daily Habit":(This is the second post in a three-part series on this topic. You can see Part one here) Elizabeth W. Riveroasked: If teachers assign reading as homework and the students are not completing the reading at home, what do you do to get them to do it, other than assign questions?

The Science of Early Childhood Development - Whole Child Education: We call on educators, policymakers, business leaders, families and community members to work together on a whole child approach to education.

Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K: A Stanford psychologist found that affluent children had learned 30 percent more words from 18 months to 2 years of age than children from low-income homes.

How Soft Skills, Passion and Connection Can Promote Learning, Competence and Employability: Schools traditionally place the majority of value on the academic skills students acquire in school.

ASCD conference on Educational Leadership Preview: Turning High-Poverty Schools into High Performing Schools: 12 Strategies That Make the Difference: Two words-expect success-characterize how high-poverty schools become high performing. Educators in high-poverty/high-performing (HP/HP) schools expect students who live in poverty to succeed.

Study: Almost Half of Public School Students Are Now Low-Income: A new study reminds us that poverty is the giant backpack dragging down Americans students.

Study Finds 'No Place to Get Away' From Deep Poverty in South, West Schools: Nearly half of all American public school students now live in poverty, and state supports have not kept pace with significant and rapidly rising majority of poor students in their classrooms.

Simple Activities for Exemplary Learning:

Creating classrooms that are developmentally responsive, challenging, empowering, and equitable can be tricky considering most classrooms serve students with a wide range of abilities, from learning disabled to gifted to standard and everything in between.

A Tip for Teaching Tenacity and Teamwork:

A clever idea for improving classroom efficiency and students’ self-determination.

Social-Emotional Programs Target Students' Long-Term Behavior:

Teachers using social-emotional learning to manage student behavior say they are encouraging more than just compliance-they’re behaviors.

The Seven Verbs of Teacher Leadership:

Wendy Pillars discusses what it means to be a teacher leader through the action words that define the role to her.

Response: Writing Instruction &The Common Core- Part Three

(This is the final post in a series on this topic. You can see Part One here and Part Two here) Anjilla Young and Lori DiGisi both asked a similar question: What can we do to prepare for the Common Core writing skills, in our classrooms? In part One of this series, I shared some of my suggest resources.

Students document 'A Day in the Life" of the Buffalo River with hands-on science in local waterways:

At a glance, the eighth-graders from Maryvale Middle School in Cheektowaga looked like they were just having fun, walking through the warm, shallow water of buffalo Creek behind the Burchfield Nature and Art Center, poking at vegetation, lifting rocks and netting small fish and insects. Having hands-on experience this is part of a new program to document “A Day in the Life” of the Buffalo River.

Rollout of School Meals Option Popular, Report Says:

A new school-meals-eligibility option is proving popular with high-poverty schools, and is boosting participation in lunch and breakfast programs, two anti-poverty groups find.

New Campaign Aims to Unite Voice of Fragmented Rural America:

The 10,000 Friends of Rural America is looking to rally support for a social media company to unite the voice of America.

Remember the ABC's of Adolescent Math Learners\ ASCD Inservice

Lisa Medoff, teacher in the program in human biology and the School of Education at Stanford University, shares insights from her article “Getting Beyond ‘I Hate Math!’” in the September 2013 issue of Educational Leadership about teaching to adolescent students.

Survey Finds Half of Parents Struggle With Their Children's Homework:

A new survey finds almost 50 percent of parents struggle to help their children with their homework.

6 Ways Teachers Can Use Google Hangouts--The Journal:

Andrew Marcinek, the director of technology at Gorton-Dunstable Regional School District in Groton, MA, shares his half-dozen favorite applications of the free video chat service that enables one-on-one chats and group chats with up to 10 people at a time. Hangouts provides a new way to connect students beyond the four walls of the classroom.

Looking at Executive Functions:

It was bright orange and boxy. I had used it repeatedly to "catch air," plowing over snow piles at high speed in school parking lots during the winter. Doing these stunts was safe, I reasoned: It was the family sedan, a Volvo, and at 16, I was invincible.

Supervisor or Colleague: How Can Principals Create a Culture of Collaboration?:

Principals know that fostering effective collaboration among their staff is one of the most powerful things they can do to elevate the level of learning (adult and student) in their building. But as administrators, supporting and especially participating in collaboration can be tricky. Finding the time and other resources for educators to engage in deep conversations around teaching and learning is only the beginning. Beyond those structural issues of budgets and schedules lie even more challenging cultural questions.

PCHS students' engaged with iPads:

A class that inspires students to learn on their own while learning from – and about – each other may seem routine.

First Day of School: Talking Back to Harry Wong:

What students want most is to know that they belong somewhere, that they’ll be accepted and valued by their classmates.

How Skype Became The Ultimate Free Teaching Tool:

When I arrived at Loyola Elementary School in the Silicon Valley area, I was met by Ellen Kraska, a Technology Integration Specialist who helps teachers in Los Altos bring all sorts of digital projects--movies, digital storytelling, music--into the classroom.

Despite Benefits, Recess for Many Students Is Restricted:

Aside from keeping obesity at bay and providing a way to blow off steam, daily physical exercise has benefits that go beyond getting out the wiggles. But despite this, and many other benefits, finding time for recess has been a big hurdle for many schools.

 Thoughts of A 'Good" Teacher!:

Interesting thoughts on how to become a ‘good’ teacher! (Also, for those of us who have been teaching for a long time!)

R.I.P. Sage on the Stage:

Are you sometimes a sage? Let us lay to rest this summer a teaching practice that has outlived its usefulness. RIP sage on stage.

Obesity rates Rise In County Schools:

Obesity continues to be a major problem in high poverty schools. How does your school encourage healthy eating habits? By the time students in Forsyth County reach high school, more than 40 percent of them are overweight or obese, according to a BMI study released by Winston-Salem/ Forsyth County Schools.

Summer Bridge Schooling Kicks off In Pinnellas County:

Palm Harbor — "This is reading," the principal said as she opened the door to a classroom where every child looked up from a laptop.

Leadership Requires Asking Essential Questions:

Leadership has refined their questions in the feedback conversations associated with new evaluation processes.

Tips for Beating the Clock in the Classroom:

In Texas, there are 180 days of instruction, taking away 30 days for state testing so that leave 150 days for instruction. Let's say that a teacher gives a curriculum-based test once every two weeks and the district benchmark test three times a year.That is 21 less days of instruction or 129 days. Now, schools typically have three days of teacher in-service. Five special assemblies, two holiday parties, two half days, four emergency drills and three sick days takes away 15 more days bringing it to 111 days.

Response: Best Homework Practices:

 An award-winning English and Social Studies teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif., Larry Ferlazzo is the author of Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers To Classroom Challenges, The ESL/ELL Teacher's Survival Guide, and Building Parent Engagement In Schools. He also maintains the popular Websites of the Day blog. In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, he will address readers' questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers.

Featured Teaching Channel Videos:

Part of a new editorial partnership, this page features a weekly selection from the Teaching Channel, a nonprofit organization that provides high-quality videos on inspiring and effective teaching practices. Watch and share with colleagues.

Creating Classrooms We Need: 8 Ways Into Inquiry Learning:

Inquiry opens minds. If kids can access information from sources other than school, and if school is no longer the only place where information lives, what, then happens to the role of this institution?

In Common Core, Teachers See Interdisciplinary Opportunities:

Educators around the country are exploring innovative ways to teach the new common-core literacy standards, and some are calling attention to an approach they say is working well: interdisciplinary thematic units.

Are You Working On School Climate?:

School climate is hard to quantify but very palpable when you are in the same place every day. It is such an integral part of the daily experience and is largely determined by the leadership, your colleagues and a host of other influences, but it is primarily about feeling appreciated for what you do -- and it begins with you.

No Kid Hungry Starts with Breakfast- Whole Child Education:

We call on educators, policymakers, business leaders, families and community members to work together on a whole child approach to education.

5 Classroom Management Apps Every Teacher Needs To Know About:

The more students there are in a classroom, the more time teachers are going to spend on classroom management. Therefore, it makes sense that teachers need to have as many classroom management tips and tricks at their disposal as possible in order to get the focus away from problem students and back to the lesson at hand. There has been an increase in numbers of students in the classroom can be tempered with increased classroom technology. Classroom management apps provide a way for teachers to work on keeping their students engaged and their classrooms under control.

21 Simple Ideas To Improve Student Motivation:

The best lessons, books, and materials in the world will not get students excited about learning and willing to work hard if they are not motivated. Motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic, is a key factor in the success of students at all stages of their education, and teachers can play a pivotal role in providing and encouraging that motivation in their students. Of course that’s much easier said than done, as all students are motivated differently and it takes time and a lot of effort to learn to get a classroom full of kids enthusiastic about learning, working hard, and pushing themselves to excel. Even the most well-intentioned and educated teachers sometimes lack the skills to keep kids on track, so whether you’re a new teacher or an experienced one, try using these methods to motivate your students and to encourage them to live up to their true potential.

High School Graduation Rate at Highest Level Since 1974:

Recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics found that 78% of students nationwide are graduating from high school in four years -- the highest rate since 1974. However, the data from the 2009-10 school year show that while minority students have made progress, gaps still remain in graduation rates of African-American, Latino and other groups of students and their white peers.

An Open Letter to Ed Majors (Guest Blog Post):

For all FMU (and other Schools of Education) Education Majors.Just wanted to share one of the replies to my blog post on “Why I Teach”. Elizabeth brings up some powerful points. I was surprised that this reasoning is STILL pervading the College of Education. What might WE do to help offset this issue?

Parents and Community Can Play Key Roles in School Success:

Educators enlist outside partners in formal and grassroots efforts that boost morale, achievement and student’s sense of security.

7 More Ways to Go From On-Taskto Engaged Readers

Bryan Harris, author of 75 Quick, wrote the following post & easy Solutions to Common Classroom Problems and Battling Boredom: 99 Strategies for Common Core Mathematics and various other texts.

Start Smart- The Path To School Readiness:

Education does not just begin when a child reaches kindergarten it begins at birth. Over the years, The School Foundation has prided itself on supporting and contributing to FSD1's K-12 teachers and students. With the creation of the Start SMART program, we have added a brand new goal assisting parents in preparing their children for kindergarten.

TN Student Speaks Out About Common Core, Teacher Evaluations and Educational Data:

If you have not had an opportunity to listen to this kid’s view, please do so. What do you think? Tennessee high school student Ethan Young took the podium at a Knox County School Board meeting earlier this month and rallied against Common Core education standards. This video was recorded at the Knox County School Board Regular Meeting November 6, 2013. 

PD Case Study: Interview with Eric Jenson- Mindsteps Inc.:

Have you read Eric Jenson’s new book? Here’s an introduction to this must read for all teachers and school leaders in high poverty schools.  I recently sat down with Eric Jensen to talk about his new book Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement. If you haven’t come across Eric Jensen’s work before, you’re missing out. He reads between 200 and 300 peer-reviewed studies per year and has a great way of taking research and making it really practical and accessible for real teachers in real classrooms. Not only does he have a compelling personal story, he has a contagious passion for educating children that manages to balance a bracing understanding of the reality we face with a boundless optimism for the miracles we can create in the classroom each day.

Schools That Separate the Child From the Trauma:

Every single teacher and school leader needs to read and share this information! We must teach and guide with the brain in mind! Punishing children for misbehavior, they do not know how to control only adds to their suffering.

How Can Students Be Successful in a High Stakes World?:

A MUST-READ! What can we learn and use from this…even in our traditional schools? High school students increasingly see school as something to “do,” not a place to learn. How can parents and educators reframe success to allow schools to become a place of deep engagement and real learning?

8 Education Quotes to Transform Your Day- ASCD In-service:

Need inspiration this Friday? These 8 quotes offer powerful guidance for today and every day forward. Each quote is taken from an ASCD book published earlier this year.

35 High Schools Worth Visiting:

Is your school (or your school’s focus)on this list? Last year we published a list of 14 high schools worth visiting. We've visited and profiled some great new schools this year so it was time to update our list. Following are 35 schools that personalize and blend learning; they challenge students with real work and ask them to show what they know. Time to hit the road!

Great Teaching Draws in Families:

An excellent piece by Steve Sheldon! If you are not familiar with the TIPS project, (Johns Hopkins’ National Network of Partnership Schools) Please read article. It is imperative for schools and policymakers to work with teachers to include family-involvement and practices, Steven Sheldon says.

Teaching Secrets: Start With the Exit Ticket:

LOVE exit slips, and this piece gives great advice on their most effective use. An instructional coach discusses how giving students exit cards can help teachers determine what students know and redirect their instruction to the assessments.

Teachers Share Advice on Classroom Management:

Good classroom management advice: practicing teachers reflect on the best piece of classroom-management advice they have ever received.

Promoting A Growth Mindset For All Students:

What if we gave a test and everyone passed? That should be the goal! If that happened, however, instead of celebrating that success, policymakers likely would have the test-makers create harder tests. The reason is clear: standardized tests primarily are for controlling education, not educating students.Standardized tests measure student performance, identify “failing” schools and help evaluate teachers, all with the goal of increasing student achievement.

Galleries on Education:

A good video on the power of engaging parents with connecting school, home and supporting parents to build student achievement. At the Bronx Parent Center in New York, professors are training parents to play a more active role in their children's schooling, teaching them strategies for helping their children build academic, behavioral, and social skills.

The Power of Student-Led Conferences:

The passage from childhood to adulthood is a road of dependence to autonomy. To gain independence, a transfer of responsibility must take place, from adult to child, and this impacts all areas of life from exploration of the world to learning about it and our place in it. Yet, for many young people, this shift happens all too suddenly instead of in increments. One way educators can help accomplish this is through student-led conferences, which help us achieve a new level of independence as well as a few other key conference tasks.

What the Mind Needs to Do to Read Nonfiction:

ELA teachers need this as a ready resource especially with the new expectations embedded in the Common Core Standards. It’s a great resource!

Five Game Winning Plays for Tackling Informational Text:

These are some great ideas for informational texts beyond ELA classes. This is for every content area teacher.

Mindful Moments: Teaching Students Self-Awareness:

Teacher Brett Bohstedt discusses a program he created to teach mindfulness to students using breathing, body awareness and positivity.

Instructional Coaches Dissect Classroom-Management Challenges:

This is a good piece that breaks down in practical terms the essential elements of classroom management strategies that work and those that don't.

The Pathway from Fortress School to Partnership School:

Another WOW for the morning! GREAT Prezi for everyone involved in SIC or other family and community engagement stakeholders. What are the defining characteristics of a school that is fully engaged in partnerships with families? The illustration is by Anne T. Henderson (content author) and Bob Dahm (illustrator) explores that question.

Report Details Unequal access to American Dream:

Opportunity Index reveals that a child’s future economic mobility may be tied to the individual’s zip code.

Are We Really Getting Them Ready?:

David N. Cook is the Director of Innovation and Partner Engagement at the Kentucky Department of Education. Does Danville get it or have they missed the boat completely? Read on about the Danville Diploma! POWERFUL!

Response: Recover From Bad Days by Seeing 'Disasters as Opportunities’'

This is Part One in a multi-part series on this topic). This week's "question-of-the-week" is: What do you do when you're having a bad day in the classroom?  How do you get over feelings of frustration? Who among us doesn't have a bad day now-and-then?

Top Teachers Retained Effectiveness after Transfer, Study Shows:

Read on about how these teachers react to transfers to low-achieving schools. Top elementary teachers who transferred to low-performing schools under a bonus program boosted their students' learning significantly, according to a federally financed experiment.

Change the First 5 Years and you Change Everything:

If we invest in programs that promote learning beginning at birth, the statistics will change, the stories will change and our future will change.

U.S. Education Department Finds Salary Gap in Poor Schools:

More state and local dollars are spent on salaries in higher-income areas, the Federal Department of Education found.

ING Unsung Heroes

Are you an educator with a class project that is short on funding but long on potential? Do you know a teacher looking for grant dollars? ING Unsung Heroes® could help you turn great ideas into reality for students.

Screen Time Higher Than Ever For Children:

Children under 8 are spending more time than ever in front of screens, and an “app gap” is emerging between children in affluent and low-income households.

Teachers Increasingly Use Home Visits To Connect with Students' Families:

Read about the value of home visits and a way to connect with students and their families. Debbie Polhemus and Yun-Chi Maggie Hsu, both Wakefield teachers, were reaching out to the Nunez Alvarez family in a manner once considered out of bounds but now increasingly common in the Washington area and across the country.

Educator: The 20 Biggest Teaching Mistakes I've made:

Perhaps the biggest mistake is not recognizing when a mistake has been made, but what you do to change to make it better. Associate English professor and former school teacher Todd Finley writes that teachers make nearly one instructional decision every minute and he shares 20 mistakes he has made in his teaching career.

Managing Project-Based Lessons:

Education consultant Andrew Miller offers 20 tips on managing project-based learning for students. Among other things, educators should take advantage of social media tools to manage projects, continuously reflect on the project's driving question, and carefully group students to build the most successful teams.

20 Projects To Engage Students in Learning This Year:

The start of the school year is a good opportunity to begin engaging students with project-based lessons, writes journalist and author Suzie Boss. She suggests 20 project ideas, including a digital update of the popular Flat Stanley project -- meant to inspire communication and promote literacy -- to projects that investigate concepts such as climate science and zero gravity or that promote empathy and service learning.

Is "SpongeBob Squarepants" Bad For Kids' Brains?:

Four-year-old children who watched the cartoon "SpongeBob SquarePants" for nine minutes performed worse on memory tests and attention exercises than children who watched a Public Broadcasting Service cartoon or played with crayons for the same amount of time, a study finds. The researchers suggested the show's quick scene changes hurt kids' ability to concentrate.

The Whole Child Podcast:

Families are a central source of children's learning and development, and their influence cannot be ignored. Engaging with families can inform, complement, reinforce, and accelerate educators' efforts to educate the whole child. Without strategic and continual connections between families and educators, we cannot ensure that students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Harvard Education Letter:

 We hear a lot about how important the inquiry process is to learning. This excellent article simplifies the process of question-development for students of all ages.

Motivating Black Males To Achieve In School and In Life:

We must improve the 47% graduation rate of black male students in the U.S. Author BarutiKafele suggests strategies for schools and teachers. I know the challenges that black males face and the amazing things they accomplish," said ASCD author and renowned school leader BarutiKafele when asked what inspires his groundbreaking work. In his newly released professional development DVD for educators, "Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life."

Grants by KaBOOM!:

One of the biggest challenges facing any community-build playground project is fundraising. That is why KaBOOM! offers communities occasional grant opportunities to begin or complete playspace projects. KaBOOM!is not a direct grant-making foundation, nor do we act as a fundraising agent, seeking contributions for specific projects. Occasionally, however, we are able to administer challenge grant programs thanks to our dedicated and generous Funding Partners.

Brain Foods Help Send Kids To The Head Of The Class:

 After all, school performance depends as much on solid nutrition as on study routines. Eating nutrient-dense meals and snacks at regular intervals and avoiding processed, sugary foods can boost brain development, improve concentration and give children the energy to make it through a long school day, according to nutritionists and dietitians. Kids' brains are developing and churning out information at all times. It's important to feed their little brains and bodies with the most high quality, vitamin and mineral packed foods possible.

Four Simple Tips to Start The Year Strong:

Here are four easy tips to create an awesome first day experience and start the year strong.

Back-To-School Facts- The Washington Post:

Here is everything you ever wanted to know even things you didn’t know enough to know that you wanted to know about the back to school season, compiled by our friendly Census Bureau.

Educational Leadership: Best of Educational Leadership 2010-2011: What At-Risk Readers Need:

Former Center of Excellence Keynote speaker Richard Allington writes that 'we could teach almost every student to read by the end of 1st grade. So why aren't we doing it?'

KIDS COUNT Data Center:

The 2011 Kids Count Data Book is out. South Carolina continues to rank 45th in the nation for child well-being based on their 10 key indicators. Most startling is that approximately 260,000 children, one of every four, are poor; (approximately 520,000) half of all South Carolina's children, live in low-income families below twice the poverty line.

The Guide to Award Winning Project Ideas - Kids In Need Foundation:

Ready to apply for a classroom grant? Here is a grant place to start! A national nonprofit providing free school supplies to children and teachers.

How Two Rural Schools Prepare Kids for College;

DietteCourrégé Casey is an education reporter for The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C. She has lived in small towns and big cities, and she's made her home in the Lowcountry covering a mix of rural and urban schools.

Wordle - Beautiful Word Clouds:

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Reading With Mom Can Boost Kindergarten Readiness:

Poor kids tend to be less prepared for school, but having books at home can help, study suggests.

Educational Leadership: Intervention: What's Working:

Are you already thinking about next year? This issue of Ed Leadership feature’s a variety of articles that focus on successful interventions.

Research Traces Impacts of Childhood Adversity:

Many of the stresses associated with poverty exact a lasting toll on children’s health and learning.

ASCD Express 8.02 - What Really Matters: Six Characteristics of Outstanding Teachers in Challenging Schools:

How many of these characteristics are top priority in your classroom?Countless homeless, foster, low-income, and abused students are enrolled in K–12 schools nationwide. When students with special needs, English language learners (ELLs), and students who've been suspended from school are added in, it's apparent that being a teacher isn't easy, especially now when teachers are expected to raise test scores at all costs. In fact, today teacher morale—particularly in high-needs schools—is at a 20-year low. Nevertheless, it's still possible for teachers to work effectively with "challenging" students.

Connecting With Students Requires "100 Repetitions":

Working with challenging students -- from drug-addicted students to traumatized children in elementary school -- has shown a need for patience, writes educational consultant and coach Jeffrey Benson. "Our role as educators is to align with the healthy potential in each student and hang in while they gradually find shelter in our expectations and caring, in our structures and hopes. It's not a straight line. It may take 100 repetitions."

Three Ways Principals Can Teach Data-Driven Instruction:

Teacher usage of data can be structured in a way that provides a clear path for student achievement," writes class of 2012 ASCD Emerging Leader Jessica Bohn. In a recent ASCD EDge blog post, Bohn explains how fellow principals can teach educators to navigate data-overloaded environments, focusing keenly on RtI, PLCs and professional development.

Teachers View Tapes of Their Work to Master New Skills:

How long has it been since you viewed your own teaching? It is a powerful way to improve! Like a football coach guiding players, Mark L'Esperance, an associate professor at East Carolina University, tapes teachers' classroom performances to show them their strengths and weaknesses in applying a new curriculum. Brunswick County Schools in Bolivia, N.C., hired L'Esperance to guide teachers, so they can implement a new curriculum and teaching methods more quickly. "Sometimes teachers learn a concept, but learning it might be different than applying it.

A List of 16 Websites Every Teacher Should Know About:

As part of their preparation for the new school year, teachers try to look for new web resources and materials they can use to help them with their teaching. This is definitely not an easy task for one needs to live online in order to be able to keep up with the new releases and sift through the tsunami of web tools available online. In this regard, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has recently started posting a series of articles featuring some of the best free web resources for teachers across different educational spectrum.

Back To School: Preparing for Day One:

I've had first days in the classroom that were pure poetry and others that were pure... well, you know. There's things out of our control that can make that first day a tough one for sure. But there's also things we can do beforehand to set the stage for success.

The Power Of The Positive Phone Call Home:

 Good news phone calls can transform classroom culture. Transformational leadership coach Elena Aguilar in this blog post explains why, as an elementary- and middle-school teacher, she wrapped up the first day of class every year by calling the parents of each of her students to make a positive comment about each student's first day -- and then followed up those initial calls with many more throughout the year. "If every teacher allocated 15 minutes a day to calling parents with good news, the impact could be tremendous," Aguilar writes.

Five Practices for Building Positive Relationships With Students:

A high school math teacher shares the strategies that have worked for her in developing strong connections with her students. 

Students Start the Day off With In-Class Breakfast:

What special meal programs are in your district? A Tennessee school district will use a grant to expand its Breakfast in the Classroom program to 17 more schools this year. The program, now in place at five schools, is credited with giving students increased access to breakfast -- a meal too often skipped by students. "What it does is it expands the opportunity for students to be able to eat a nutritionally balanced breakfast in the morning, which then improves academic performance, improves attendance, improves tardiness and reduces disciplinary referral," said Jon Dickl, the district's director of school nutrition.

Start the Year off Right With Innovative Seating Strategies:

Eighth-grade teacher Sandy Merz recommends teachers abandon traditional ways of determining classroom seating, such as by last name, and instead use "seating challenges" to determine the best arrangement. Merz writes that he gives his students a series of team-based activities that allow him to gather information on how his students will learn best. Activities include allowing students to seat themselves in birthday order or alphabetically. Teachers should observe how students work together, interact with each other and handle tension.

Seven More Ways to go From On-Task to Engaged:

"Increasing time on task is pointless if the tasks themselves are not productive," reiterates professional-development director and author Bryan Harris in a guest Inservice blog post. Following up on his popular 2011 post that shared seven strategies for taking students from on-task to engaged, Harris offers seven more. He encourages colleagues to seek student opinions by asking questions that don't have right or wrong answers and suggests using celebrations to emphasize, "if it's worth learning, it's worth celebrating."

What Would A School Designed By Your Brain Look Like?

In a recent Inservice blog post, neurologist and educator Judy Willis shares her vision of an ideal school. It's a place where brain research informs learning structures so "learning takes place in mixed age groups with flexibility of time and work areas suited to their activities" and "students in both indoor and outdoor spaces learn through online games chosen by students for knowledge and skill-sets they want to acquire."

Classroom Management That Creates Harmony Instead of Hostility:

Although many experts oppose punishment-and-reward systems, they are still used in almost every classroom. Teachers are often required to adopt a school-wide classroom-management system, or they may institute their own out of a need for structure. But given these realities, you can still incorporate classroom-management levers that are tied directly to learning goals and that reinforce expectations, rather than simply punishing so-called "bad" behavior. In doing so, you can foster inclusiveness rather than divisive competition in the classroom

Teaching as Leadership: Demystifying the "Natural Born" Teacher:

Characteristics of ‘truly gifted teachers’: Distinguishing an exceptional or truly gifted teacher from all the others is relatively easy. We immediately know one when we see or experience one but articulating the distinction is somewhat elusive business. Over the years Hollywood has supplemented, or even more likely, constructed the ways in which we conceive of teachers. Countless films have produced this ubiquitous, misty-eyed, self-deprecating freedom fighter part teacher, part miracle worker capable of shaking up the education system and surmounting the insurmountable.

The 5 Worst Things A Teacher Can Say to Students - Get In The Fracas:

Does it really matter what teachers say to students? It is much easier to destroy than to build. Teachers work with young people, and they are fragile works-in-progress. A rash or unfeeling word can undo so much of the trust and growth that we strive for. As the year, winds down and spring fever kicks in, some of us may be feeling weary. Yet no matter what happens, there are some words so destructive that a teacher should never utter.

Hunger Games Mini-Unit Engages Students In Brainstorming About Worlds Problems:

Do you have any students interested in Hunger Games? If so, this activity could be done in the classroom with your students. A 1-week mini-unit based on the wildly popular book and movie, The Hunger Games, challenges students to infer what events led to the post-apocalyptic world in the story and to analyze how we can avoid a similar fate.

Educational Attainment Is Growing Slowly In Rural Areas:

Improvements are seen in educational attainment among rural Americans over the past four decades, but the educational gap between those in rural and urban areas is growing, a new study shows. The study found that residents that are more rural are earning some sort of post-secondary education -- 27.4% in 2010, compared with 7.8% in 1970. However, the gap between students from rural and urban areas, who have earned only a high-school diploma, is at its widest in 40 years.

Common Core State Standards for Math Webinar: Shifts and Instructional Implications:

Do you want to learn more about the Common Core Math Standards? Register here for free ASCD- sponsored webinar. Join Student Achievement Partners' Sandra Alberti for a free webinar about the overarching priorities of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics Tuesday, April 17, at 3 p.m. EDT. Learn about the instructional shifts associated with the new standards and explore ways to implement change in thoughtful ways.

Educational Leadership: Reading: The Core Skill: Every Child, Every Day:

"Every child a reader" has been the goal of instruction, education research, and reform for at least three decades. We now know more than ever about how to accomplish this goal. Yet few students in the United States regularly receive the best reading instruction we know how to give. Instead, despite good intentions, educators often make decisions about instruction that compromise or supplant the kind of experiences all children need to become engaged, successful readers. This is especially true for struggling readers, who are much less likely than their peers to participate in the kinds of high-quality instructional activities that would ensure that they learn to read.

Revisiting Cell Phones Bans in Schools:

Twenty-four percent of K-12 schools ban cell phones altogether, and 62 percent allow phones on school grounds but ban them in the classroom, according to the most recent national data available. However, it is about time for those schools to rethink those bans.

Herff Jones: Your Account:

Registration with Herff  Jones provides access to free white papers. Recent publications focus on value-added models, the power of tradition, and technology.

Students Lack Internet Access: Students Lacking Internet Access At Home Struggle:

How many of our students struggle to complete home assignments because of lack of Internet access? Every time 15-year-old Eduardo Pérez is assigned an online project at school, he and his mother scramble to a family member's home, library or Wi-Fi hot spot because they can't afford Internet access at home. The Lee Middle School eighth-grader often depends on his 4G smartphone to do research, but the 4-inch screen is a strain on his eyes. Computer labs at public libraries fill quickly, and finding a nearby Wi-Fi-enabled café in the low-income area of west Orlando's Lake Mann Estates is a challenge.

On target- NMSA Web-Based Resource Collections of Information in Middle Level Education byTopic:

Do you need quick access to information and research with a focus on middle level education? On Target is a free, Web-based resource that provides collections of current information in middle level education.

The Seven C's of effective Teaching:

How Many C’s do the effective teachers you know use regularly? I recently attended an educational assessment conference in which Ronald Ferguson from the Harvard Kennedy School was the keynote speaker. He is an educational researcher who presented his work on teacher effectiveness. This research shows that there are seven C’s that make a difference in the learning environment. The most interesting part of his presentation was his work on the Tripod project with Cambridge University in which they survey children about their teacher to assess whether or not students agree with a variety of statements designed to measure these seven teaching practices.

Response: What Principals Look For In A Prospective Teacher:

An award-winning English and Social Studies teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif., Larry Ferlazzo is the author of Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers To Classroom Challenges, The ESL/ELL Teacher's Survival Guide, and Building Parent Engagement In Schools

Five Quick Classroom Management Tips for Novice Teachers:

Classroom management is identified as the most challenging part of teaching. Blogger Rebecca Alber presents five management strategies new teachers can begin using immediately in their classrooms.

How Do We Know When Students Are Engaged?:

Are your students really engaged in the classroom? Great checklist of student behaviors that indicate engagement.Blogger Ben Johnson defines student engagement and describes what it looks like in the classroom.

Educational Leadership: Reading: The Core Skill: Taming the Wild Text:

Ten actions for creating a reading culture --even with vulnerable readers.

Income More Important Than Race in Achievement Gap:

Why it should be front-page news that income plays a more important role than race in the academic achievement gap is beyond me ("Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say," The New York Times, Feb. 10). Studies have consistently shown that poverty is the single most important out-of-school factor in predicting student performance. In 2010, for example, The Century Foundation found that socioeconomic obstacles are seven times as large as those associated with race in performance on the SAT (Rewarding Strivers, Century Foundation Press).

Good Instructions Activates Prior Knowledge and Uses Authentic Assessment:

This aligns with Center of Excellence star strategies. Check it out? Blogger Elena Aguilar explains the importance of activating students’ prior knowledge and using authentic assessment.

New Teacher Academy: Classroom Management:

Probably the #1 concern of less experienced teachers is classroom management.

Connect Your Stars through Constellational Leadership:

Inspiring piece for school leaders: While looking at the night sky one evening, I saw a starry man looking down at me. Orion, with his familiar belt of stars, and his arms and legs outstretched in the darkness, hovered above me just beyond the urban glow. In that moment, I realized that I had taken him for granted—until I put him in the frame of middle level education and leadership.

Looking at Executive Functions:

Please take 3 minutes and then share with everyone you know. We must understand and accommodate for immature executive functions that are absolutely normal in adolescents and teenagers!

Promoting A Growth Mindset For All Students:

A focus on growth mindsets could literally change the world! Read on about this mind-changing research from Carol Dweck:What if we gave a test and everyone passed? That should be the goal! If that happened, however, instead of celebrating that success, policymakers likely would have the test-makers create harder tests. The reason is pretty clear: standardized tests primarily are for controlling education, not educating students.

Set the BarHigh With a Lot of Cushions Under It:

Red Sox fan or not, this is a great story about how schools can use the B-Sox formula to grow a culture of success.The recent success of the Boston Red Sox has much to teach us about how to educate students. Their success emerged out of an environment/culture designed for optimal learning and success. Amy Edmondson, of the Harvard Business School, has found through her research that such an environment has high levels of psychological safety combined with high levels of accountability. I refer to this combination as “setting the bar high with a lot a cushions under it.” With the common core learning standards designed to raise the bar for learning, schools need to address the other condition for optimal learning: psychological safety.

Rethinking Arts &  STEM:

Stem plus ARTS! Does it make sense to incorporate the Arts into STEM studies? Despite STEAM’S growing popularity, blogger Anne Jolly finds resistance on both sides.

School Suspension: Supporting Students During a Challenging Time:

Tips for how to handle school suspensions. What should you do before the student leaves? How do you stay in touch? And how to welcome them back into the classroom? How will your relationship with that student move forward in a productive, positive way?

Wristbands provide incentives for better performance at Land O'Lakes High School:

A good way to motivate high school students.Land O’Lakes- Tyler Minnick showed off his school-issued yellow rubber bracelet with pride. 

How to Fight Poverty --and Win:

Someday I'd like to write a book on anti-poverty efforts, and I hope it might have the title above. Understanding that my knowledge about this vast topic is still limited, here's a first cut at the basic outline. I think you'll agree that there are quite a few items on the list about which we can agree.

Should Teachers Be More Mindful?:

Mindful teaching…what do you think?

15 Ways Principals Can Improve Communication with Students:

Last week we shared five tips to help principals better communicate with students, parents and teachers. We’d like to continue the conversation, but focus specifically on improving communication with students. As you well know, intergenerational communication can be tricky business. Nonetheless, we believe there are simple steps principals—and any educator for that matter—can take to bridge generation gaps.

What Schools Can Do to Help Boys Succeed:

Interesting research on boys. Do you think they are considered “defective girls” when it comes to school and learning? If boys are restive and unfocused, we must look for ways to help them do better. Here are three suggestions: bring back recess, turn boys into readers and work with the young male imagination. .

Rural Schools Face Barriers, Promise by Moving to Blended Learning:

Rural Idaho teachers who have used blended learning for at least one semester say it benefits their instruction and students' learning, according to a new study.Still, the majority of teachers surveyed hadn't used blended learning in their classrooms yet, and they said a lack of time, technology, training and administrative support were the biggest issues they faced. Blended learning is when students learn part of their lessons online and have some control over when and where that happens. Blended learning requires that some learning happens digitally, and is intended to be a complement to, rather than replacement of, traditional instruction.

11 Virtual Tools for the Math Classroom:

More and more classrooms are gaining access to technology that can be used with students. Whether you're modeling a lesson, creating stations or working in a one-to-one classroom, virtual tools can promote student engagement while increasing academic success.Here are some free apps for iPads -- along with a few other tips -- that can transform your daily lessons and are definitely worth checking out!

After-School Program With Focus on Mentors Leads to Academic Gains:

The data continues to roll in on the value of mentors and mentoring programs. The Higher Achievement programs in Washington produced substantial and sustained academic gains in math for disadvantaged youth.

Mentoring Interventions to Affect Juvenile Delinquency and Associated Problems: A Systematic Review:

This is a heavy-duty research article, but it points out the positive impact of mentoring:

A systematic review has been published by the Campbell Collaboration examining the effects of mentoring interventions on juvenile delinquency and related problems, such as school failure. The review found modest effect sizes across four outcomes: academic achievement, drug use, delinquency, and aggression. The authors found stronger effects when emotional support and advocacy were emphasized and when professional development was the motivation of the mentors for involvement. Although the results suggest that mentoring can be effective for high-risk teenagers, the authors highlight the fact that the studies lacked information about what exactly the mentoring programs comprised and their implementation features. The authors say there is a critical need for concerted efforts for substantial and probably large-scale evaluations.

How Soft skills, Passion, and connection Can Promote Learning, Competence and Employability:

When you think about the skills and knowledge today's students will need most in the future, what comes to mind? Schools traditionally place the majority of value on the academic skills students acquire in school. Employers, however, often cite communication, collaboration, critical and creative thinking, ingenuity, innovation, and risk-taking as the most sought after skills in new hires. Now, think of the things that a young person can do to promote those qualities. Three things came to mind when I asked myself this question: Gaming, athletics, music.

Language-Gap Study Bolsters a push for Pre-K:

Words Matter!!The new research by Anne Fernald, a psychologist at Stanford University, which was published in Developmental Science this year, showed that at 18 months children from wealthier homes could identify pictures of simple words they knew — “dog” or “ball” — much faster than children from low-income families. By age 2, the study found, affluent children had learned 30 percent more words in the intervening months than the children from low-income homes.

Character Council Promotes Values in School and Community:

Character Council for middle grades: Do you want to do more with your advisory period? Maybe you want to bring students and the community closer, or maybe you are looking to change a negative school climate into a positive one. You might want to try R Character Council, an advisory program developed at Ridgewood Middle School in Arnold, Missouri.

We Are Teachers:

Find lesson plans and teaching resources and apply for teaching grants on WeAreTeachers. There are good videos and other resources for early childhood teachers.

What Does It Feel Like to Be A Student In Your Classroom?:

Some of the most powerful questions that, as teachers, we should ask and answer every day.What does it feel like to be a student in your classroom? Have you ever asked yourself that question? We spend a lot of time getting the classroom prepared at the beginning of the year. We start the year putting structures and systems in place that will hopefully help our students achieve the results we’ve been mandated to produce. We work hard at getting to know our students, the curriculum, and the standards. All these things are important.

Case Study: Motivating Reluctant Learners:

We were recently leading a 2-day intensive on motivating reluctant students. The participants were completing a GAP analysis we designed to help them identify the institutional, instructional, and internal factors that affected their students’ motivation. School teams worked together to identify their key barriers to motivating students and developed plans to increase their students’ motivation and investment in their learning. Then we introduced the 5 Why’s. The 5 Why’s is a strategy we use with many of our clients to help them get closer to the root cause of their challenges so that they can develop better and more effective solutions. We started by selecting one large challenge revealed by the Gap Analysis. Then, participants asked why 5 times to get to the root cause of their challenges.

School Poverty- More Than Race- Affects Students' College Going:

Is this what you would expect? High-poverty schools sent significantly fewer graduates to college in 2012 than higher-income schools, regardless of the schools' geographic location or racial makeup, according to a new study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Yet in the long run, more students may be making it to college than previously realized. Schools with more than half of their students in poverty had lower rates of enrollment and lower rates of persistence in two- or four-year colleges than did higher-income schools, but these high-poverty schools looked very similar to each other, in terms of college-going patterns, regardless of whether they were located.

Daily Assessment with Tiered Exit Cards:

This is definitely worth 5 minutes of your time! (Especially 6-12 grade teachers) One way to do daily assessment of your students is with Tiered Exit Cards. This allows teachers to provide quick and effective reteaching for the next day. This strategy offers immediate feedback to students and differentiated support.

Rethinking Early Education & Why It Matters:

Guest post by Kimberlee Kiehl. As I sit working in my D.C. apartment, shut out of our school at the Smithsonian because we are deemed "non-essential," I am thinking about how this phrase in many ways applies to how we see early learning in this country overall. After being away from the field professionally for 12 years I returned last year to a world that essentially looks the same as it did before I left. President Obama has started to talk about this issue. Overall, though, not much has changed. We still pay these professionals way below what we pay K-12 teachers; we still call it "day care" even though we spend our time educating children rather than caring for days; and we still have very little respect for those adults who choose to spend their days in the company of young children. I've been thinking about this issue for years and I think that in order to really make any change we need to address four fundamental underlying beliefs.

True Grit:

Teaching for Triumph: So how do we teach ability like perseverance?

Part of it has to do with posing more challenges that are complex to our students. If a problem is easy, it's embarrassing to get it wrong. If a problem is so complex even the teacher has not figured out the answer yet, failure becomes a step toward success. Kids are more likely to spend hours instead of minutes working on these kinds of challenges, because they are worth the effort they take to solve.

The Especially Deserving Poor:

A good many of our policies and programs should be designed to help people with the drive, work ethic, cenacity and motivation to rise.

Why Resilience Is Critical in a Learning Environment-Whole Child Education:

Resilience is a life skill that all teachers should focus on throughout students' education careers. Resilience is so important for all children, however our under resourced children often, unfortunately, have many more opportunities to practice this. We call on all educators, policymakers, business leaders, families and community members to work together on a whole child approach to education.

5 Tips for Engaging Parent Volunteers in the Classroom:

Engaging parents: Do you find yourself wanting (more) help parent volunteers, but are either not getting it, or not getting the kind of help that would be truly useful to you and your students? Is managing parent volunteers time-consuming or burdensome.

Character Council Promotes Values in School and Community:

Would Character Council work at your school? Do you want to do more with your advisory period? Maybe you want to bring students and the community closer, or maybe you are looking to change a negative school climate into a positive one. You might want to try R Character Council, an advisory program developed at Ridgewood Middle School in Arnold, Missouri.         R Character Council is a 48-minute elective class that is taught by our team of three regular classroom teachers. We organize 60 students into 15 different committees, run as cooperative groups, which do great things for the school and the community.

Schools learn to lean on library's homework help centers:

Great partnership with the local library! At some branches of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, it’s not unusual for 90 kids to pack into a homework-help center after school. The Columbus City Schools are now tagging into the potential of the city’s library system on a large scale.

Four ways to Think Like a Scientist with Science Notebooks:

EVERY student can be a scientist! Thinking about using science notebooks? In this classroom, they become more complex as students gain more understanding of how data is collected and being recorded.

NASCAR camp gives teachers creative math, science lessons:

Math and Science through NASCAR: Don Schlater and Colin Crandell sat in the “Monster Bridge” that extends over the track at Dover International Speedway, race cars thundering below them.

Calvin Fourth-graders challenged to meet '100 Days of Homework' goal:

Could your students meet this goal with the supports they have put into place?

Brianna Falvey has a simple rule for her fourth-graders at Colvin Elementary School: Do your homework. Do it every night, no exceptions. Turn it in the next day. That simple directive has turned into a tide of excitement at the school in Planeview, one of Wichita’s poorest, where nearly 98 percent of students are low-income but where Falvey has challenged them to a collective goal she’s convinced they can achieve: All the students in her class – every single one – will complete their homework for 100 consecutive days.“Most news that comes from this neighborhood is negative,” Falvey said. “What is going on in my fourth-grade class is far from negative. … If you believe in students and tell them you believe in them, it’s amazing what they can do.”

Closing the achievement gap in a high-poverty school:

High poverty.High performing. These are two phrases that describe Hattie Watts Elementary today but it wasn’t always that way. In 2006, there were large gaps between the performance of our white students and our black students and economically disadvantaged students. One reason was a persistent lack of belief in our students. Our kids face challenges at home and at school. To dispel this negative stereotyping, our leadership team and faculty told our school community it didn’t matter if our students came from an impoverished or affluent community. If you show children you believe in them, they can and will achieve. By being a part of this school, it set out to instill that belief school wide. As a result, we have made significant progress and continue to earn accolades today.

Key and Peele and Classroom Management:

A Comedy Central show explores what teachers who shift between vastly different school climates experience. NOTE from the Center of Excellence: This video contains unsuitable language for children or any public place where kids are around.

How Do You Help Young People Care About School?:

Educational Leadership: Resilience and Learning: The Significance of Grit: A Conversation with Angela Lee Duckworth:

GRIT Matters! For the last 11 years, Angela Lee Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania has been conducting groundbreaking studies on grit—the quality that enables individuals to work hard and stick to their long-term passions and goals. In this interview with Educational Leadership, Duckworth describes what her research has shown about the relationship between grit and achievement, and she reflects on the importance of helping students develop grit and other noncognitive traits. The theme of this issue, as you know, is "Resilience and Learning." How are grit and resilience related? Is there a difference between the two?

Common Core What Lies Between Standards and Tests?:

The beginning (standards) and end (tests) are getting all of the attention. What happens in the middle? New paper explores the work of a state, a district and a technical-service provider in putting the common core into practice.

The Best Resources For Beginning To Learn What Twitter Is All About:

Are you thinking about how Twitter might be useful for you? This is a GREAT resource.

Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration & Reading (WICR):

Good video piece that demonstrates the interconnectedness of curriculum. Learn about WICR, or Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration & Reading. This is the basis of AVID, but can be used in every classroom, as these are skills students need to learn for academic success.

Smart Strategies That Help Students Learn How to Learn:

What is key to effective learning? One intriguing body of research suggests a rather riddle-like answer: It’s not just what you know. It’s what you know about what you know.

Who Cares About At-Risk Student?:

A new documentary follows troubled teenager Kelsey Carroll on her difficult road to graduation, and the help that schools can offer even in the toughest predicament.

How to Trust Your Students:

Education is catastrophically deficient in trust. Pro-accountability education reformers presume that, absent carrots and sticks, classrooms would be overrun with lazy and incapable teachers. Traditional instructors presume that, absent carrots and sticks, classrooms would be overrun with lazy and incapable students. Both viewpoints emerge from a noble desire to make classrooms high-performance spaces, but in actuality, they suppress excellence.

How to Help Kids Find Their Aspirations:

A lot of kids have big dreams about what they want to do as adults — whether that’s become a professional athlete or a teacher — but no idea of what it takes to get there.Dreaming about the future is important, but without a plan, it often ends with just that — a dream. Here are ideas on how to help them find their aspirations.

Instructional Leadership: Walking The Talk:

FOR EVERY LEADER: Becoming a Great High School: 6 Strategies and 1 Attitude That Make a Difference

Bronx Partnership Aims to Build Parent- Engagement Skills:

Engaging parents is one important way to increase student achievement in a school. Mercy College’s education school in New York City has opened the Bronx parent Center aimed a training parents to become advocates and active partners in their children’s schooling.

Middle Level Journeys- Episode 2:

This is NOT for middle level teachers only! Listen as AMLE talks with Melinda, a third year principal, about the hopes she has for her school, her students and herself as the school year begins. Continue to follow Melinda’s journey as we keep the conversation going throughout the school term.

Encouraging Educator Courage:

Teachers need to stand up to their principals, even if it means being labeled as troublemakers.

The Key to Success: GRIT:

Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.

Relationships Matter: Transformation Through Wayside Teaching:

There's no getting around it—we teach who we are. By our presence in a classroom, it is inevitable that students learn about us. We teach who we are, so who we are matters.Who we are becomes evident through our relationships with students. Wayside teaching—making the most of sometimes seemingly inconsequential connections with kids—is one way of optimizing our influence as teachers.Wayside teaching is all about relationships.

Response: Practical Ideas To Help Students & Teachers Stay Organized:

This week's question is: What are the best ways to help students keep their work organized and for teachers to keep their classroom organized? Today, I'll be sharing guest responses from three educators -- Julia Thompson, Ariel Sacks and Gini Cunningham.

Group Work: Getting Into Formation:

Need more ideas on how to make groups work in your classroom?Middle grades teachers whose students are the most engaged in learning and the least disruptive are the teachers who make the most of student grouping. The most effective teachers in our building have four group default settings that they use continually. Their students know each formation by name and can fall into each at a minute’s notice. If you’ve been teaching for a couple of years, you’re probably using at least three of these configurations, but to improve your instruction, you should master all four.

Recasting At-Risk Students as Leaders:

How will your at-risk students be lifted up as leaders?

The edWebEt47-The A-List Collection by Michelle Luhtula:

50 great APPS for students! Check this out and share.

What I Learned After Taking a Homeless Mother Grocery Shopping:

Please take a few moments to read this powerful piece. Learning about this reality is an important part of understanding it. Remembering that statistics represent real people is a vital part of wanting to do something about it. We need to do more than stand aside and shake our heads, grateful it isn’t us. The hungry, the homeless, the poor. These are complicated social problems. They’re big and overwhelming, hard to look at and even harder to know where to start.

How We Can Strengthen Schools Serving Low-Income Children:

How are you building supportive school communities for low-income children?Changes in the American economy pose enormous challenges for America's public schools and the dream of socioeconomic mobility for low-income families. By upgrading the skills required by hundreds of middle-class occupations, technology has increased what the nation asks of its schools. At the same time, growing income inequality has affected where families live and how much money they can spend to nurture their children's abilities.

Multigenerational Programs Aim to Break Poverty Cycle:

How is your district working to support both students and their families? New efforts are looking to help both children and their parents get a leg up and a better look on a future in education.

Poverty Has Spread to the Suburbs (And to Suburban Schools):

Where is poverty in your state?More Americans are living in poverty in the suburbs than in urban or rural areas, a dramatic demographic shift that has occurred since 2000, a new report by the Brookings Institution finds. It's a finding that won't be a surprise to plenty of suburban superintendents, who've seen that residential change reflected in the enrollment makeup of their schools.

7 Tips for Re-doing the Student Re-do Process:

HBO: Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert:

Principals in U.S. Are More Likely to Consider Their Students Poor:

Principals in American schools believe that many of their students come from socioeconomically disadvantaged homes. Perceptions of disadvantaged may play a role as American students from low-income families struggle more than counterparts in many other countries.

Making Connections with Advisory:Relationships Are Among the Most Important Elements of Student Success:

Great ideas for making homeroom (or advisory) more than just a beginning point in the day. Read more.

Honor Roll? Really?:

I look at the 16 students in my classroom. On any other day, 35 students would be looking back at me, but today the other 19 are eating cake and being honored at the morning's honor roll assembly. Honor roll in middle schools serves little or no purpose, and it actually hurts the progress of some students. It is the antithesis of middle schools' mission.

School Spotlight: Foam Boards Help Students Understand Math:

The foam board models of dream homes created by seventh-grade students at Glacial Drumlin School in Cottage Grove sported extra features like swimming pools, an airplane and the “world’s biggest hot tub.”While they were busy conceptualizing their fantasy homes, the students were using math as they learned how to create something to scale.

To Make Science Real, Kids Want More Fun:

Are American kids being adequately prepared in the sciences to compete in a highly competitive, global high-tech workforce? A majority of American parents say no, according to a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. Nearly one-quarter of all parents said their child's school today doesn't put enough emphasis on science curricula. And 30 percent of parents with children in kindergarten up through fifth grade say there's too little emphasis on science.

Twelve Tips All Educators Must Know About Educating African American and Latino Students:

In order to achieve success in the classroom with African American and Latino students, the educator must understand the population that he/she teaches, as well as consistently analyze if his/her teaching practices are effective. If you do not understand the population of students you teach, your success in the classroom can be greatly minimized. With all the recent debates on ways to reach the African American and Latino student population, here is a list of twelve tips all educators of African American and Latino children should know. Some of the tips can apply to all students.

Who’s Poor In America? 50 years Into The ‘War on Poverty,’ A Data Portrait:

The Per Center looks at poverty today....50 years after the "war" began. The War on Poverty was arguably the most ambitious domestic policy initiative since the Great Depression. But the overall effectiveness of the War on Poverty remains hotly debated.

When Bell-Ringers Go Bad: My Quest to Deepen Start-of-Class Activities:

This is a great reminder of how opening activities can change a class for the better (or worse). This piece is especially noteworthy for teachers of writing.High School English teacher Kim McCready offers three micro-exercises that she’s found can help improve students’ vocabulary and sentence patterns.

How Do Teachers Want Students to Cope with Boredom?:

Would your students say they are bored? Is it because of low control or low value? Daniels and Tze write, "Research shows that cognitive-approach coping results in the biggest decrease to student boredom while sustaining student effort, enjoyment, and achievement (Nett, Goetz, & Daniels, 2010; Tze, Daniels, Klassen, & Li, 2013)." Read more for specific strategies…

Learning ‘Menu’ Lets Students Personalize Class Requirements:

The students in Bridget Ebenhack’s science classes have an opportunity that administrators hope will become available to more students at Hilliard Darby High School.Choices really to encourage student engagement. Read about the choices in this science class.

Differentiation: It Starts with Pre-Assessment:

Without pre-assessment, how can you differentiate. This piece gives a great description of how to make this work (and why it matters so much). If teachers want to create flexible groups that address students' needs, they need to pre-assess.

Timeline: The War on Poverty:

In the 1960s and today, children under 18 are the most likely Americans to live in poverty. While many of the initiatives launched under President Lyndon B. Johnson's massive social programs were designed to reduce poverty through education and child health, wide disparities still exist in the opportunities and outcomes of children in poverty—and differences in the demographic makeup of poor children challenge policymakers' ability to address those disparities today.

Don't Underestimate the Power of Pleasure Reading:

When students crack open a book of questionable literary merit in their free time, teachers and parents should see it as a valuable exercise, not a waste of time, write Jeffrey D. Wilhelm and Michael W. Smith. I suspect this is not news to our colleagues in ELA, but what an important reminder for everyone who works with every aged student! Read on!

The Art of Thinking Like a Scientist:

The arts encourage observation, visualization, and perseverance in a design process—or, why STEM should really be STEAM. Read more!

Inquiry-Based Instruction Explores, Then Explains:

Do you need a lesson plan example that is grounded in inquiry-based instruction? Read more here!

Orphans' Lonely Beginnings Reveal How Parents Shape A Child's Brain:

Every day, every way, parents are shaping their children's brains. Read this piece by a Romanian orphan...powerful!IzidorRuckel lived in a Romanian orphanage where children were neglected. Scientists say that lack of attention can damage a child's brain. ButRuckel thinks his adoptive parents' love saved him.

Seven Simple Steps to Better Student Writing:

Teaching clearly, explicitly and modeling pre-writing strategies will help teachers in all subjects improve student writing, writes Sarah Tantillo, educator and author of "The Literacy Cookbook." Among her seven teaching strategies are to explicitly teach students and guide them through the pre-writing and writing process several times. "Students who haven't seen enough modeling tend to struggle with their independent work," she writes. Read more.

Passion-Based Learning Week 4: How to Do One Thing Really Well:

The Power of Passion! Read more about the ways that passion-based learning can change students as learners.After several weeks of trying out a variety of web tools and games, principal Matt Renwick and his teaching partner decide the afterschool enrichment club may need a little more focus. They propose that students learn screencasting by developing a free web-based tool.

5 Reasons Reluctant Readers are Reluctant:

Big reminders of big reasons that some students struggle as readers:They respond to texts differently than you do. One of the most exhilarating things about teaching reading and discussing texts is that they can be viewed through a variety of lenses. Texts, like language, are malleable: they mean different things to different people. Read article for more information.

The Right Questions, The Right Way:

MUST READ!The Right Questions, The Right Way Dylan Wiliam:

According to Dylan Wiliam, the traditional classroom practice in which a teacher asks a question, students raise their hands, and the teacher calls on a volunteer does not actually provide much useful information—and it may even impede learning. When teachers ask questions in this way, they're only engaging the most confident students in the discussion, they're only getting information on what a handful of students know, and they're often relying on spontaneous questions that do not reveal student misunderstandings. William offers three suggestions for improving questioning in class.

How can schools create a positive homework culture?:

What is your homework culture? Read more from ASCD. Penalties for uncompleted homework many times are more severe than those meted out for struggles with in-school work, according to author and clinical psychologist Kenneth Goldberg. In this article, Goldberg offers tips to help principals create a homework culture that supports student motivation. He suggests schools adopt a homework philosophy that includes fixed times for homework, penalty reduction and greater respect of parental authority.

Controlled Chaos: Project Based Learning:

Are you thinking about PBL for your high school classes? Read about sophomore English classes that are moving forward with deep learning facilitated through PBL.

Formative and Summative Assessments in the Classroom:

Just in case you missed this….Printable article Successful middle schools engage students in all aspects of their learning. There are many strategies for accomplishing this. One such strategy is student-led conferences. As a classroom teacher or administrator, how do you ensure that the information shared in a student-led conference provides a balanced picture of the student's strengths and weaknesses?

8 Ways to Use Music in the Language Arts Classroom:

How can music be used to support learning? #1 Songs to Teach Academic Vocabulary (heard of the Princeton Review Vocab Minute?!) and /or #5 Developing Playlists to Teach Narrative. Read the article for the other six ways.

Pointing To Your True North:

Good reminders of the makings of great programs.Instructionally savvy educators know that personalized learning is the heart of student success.  As schools strive to customize education through instructional design, technology efforts and professional learning, highly successful schools know that these initiatives in isolation are not nearly enough to improve and sustain student learning. 

"Formative Assessment: What They Didn't Teach You in College":

Interested in formative assessment. Follow the link below for a webinar entitled "Formative Assessment: What They Didn't Teach You in College" presented on April 30 by Dr. Leslie Grant. This is a recording. Just download and listen.

How To Get the Most Out of Teacher Meetings:

As a former teacher and administrator, I have participated in countless faculty meetings. With precious little time for conversation and a wide range of areas to address, faculty meetings often take on a rushed feeling. The agenda moves quickly from point to point, with little time for processing and input. Even when teachers do weigh in with questions, comments or opinions, they rarely result in meaningful conversation. More important, these meetings lack energy and fun and become a real drag for an already overworked and stressed staff.Yes, faculty meetings can sometimes (well, oftentimes) be less than what we might hope that could be. Read this administrator's ideas for making the most of that time we spend together.

If I Knew Then: A Letter to Me on My First Day Teaching:

What would your 'letter to me on my first day of teaching' say? PLEASE SHARE with every teacher you know who deserves to be acknowledged for a life in service! (This especially goes out to all of the new FMU and UNCP teachers who are about to enter their first year!)In honor of teacher appreciation week, SoulPancake and Edutopia asked teachers to write a letter to themselves on their first day teaching. What teacher do you appreciate? Share this video with them to let them know #TeachersMatter!

One Family's Story Shows How The Cycle Of Poverty Is Hard To Break:

Desiree Metcalf's story is heartbreaking, but among the 46 million Americans who are poor today, her story is not unique. Metcalf along with her three daughters is one of many poor Americans who find themselves trapped in a system meant to help. Why Poverty Matters!!

How can teachers inspire learning? By empowering students | eSchool News | eSchoolNews:

Why learning should be "noisy" and other ways to inspire students.Teachers at a recent professional-development event in Texas shared their ideas and learned that the key to inspiring students is to engage them in the learning process. "A teacher's main role should be inspiring students to become lifelong learners," said Arvin Ross, director of professional development for the iSchool Initiative. High-school English teacher Nick Provenzano, who spoke at the conference, advised teachers to let learning get "noisy," while others spoke about the ability of technology to personalize education. Read more.

Teaching the Brain to Learn:

Here’s how educators can use the latest neurological research to help improve math and science instruction.Many educators have heard the old maxim, “If all learning is 0 to 10, then 0 to 1 is the most important.” Brain research backs up this nugget of wisdom, and neuroscientists such as Bruce E. Wexler, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT, believes nurture may play a larger role than nature when the test scores are tallied.

GoNoodle Helps Kids Focus, De-stress, Exercise In Class:

Have you discovered GoNoodle?! This is a great program that fights toxic stress, learning weariness, and other roadblocks to learning. Check out the video.

Rich Hill: The Rural Poverty-Schools Resource Mismatch:

A must read article. A school superintendent in a rural Virginia community writes about the challenges facing teachers and administrators in poor districts.

The Day a Seventh Grader Gave Me the Bird:

NOT what you might be expecting! Take a few minutes to read this excellent piece that teaches us plenty about our students.I'll never forget the time a seventh grader gave me the bird. When I caught him and the gesture, it changed me as a middle school teacher. And somehow it reminded me of the middle school characteristic that states, "Educators value young adolescents and are prepared to teach them." What I hadn't expected is what this student taught me that day.

Chico’s Charitable Giving:

GRANT ANNOUNCEMENT: If you have a Chico’s store in your community, then you are eligible to apply: Private Funder: Chico's Charitable Giving Program; Opportunity: The program has two funding categories: (1) Women and Children Grants & (2) Community Grants; Funding Focus: Women, children, health, empowerment, K-12 education, domestic violence; Geographic

Focus: National (nonprofits must have a Chico's in their community);

Eligibility: 501(c)(3) nonprofits; Deadline: Grants are reviewed in January, April, July and October.

Purpose: The women's clothing company focuses funding on improving the lives of women and children in the communities where they do business. Women & Children Grants go to improve health care, self-sufficiency, domestic violence and K-12 education program, including early education. Community Grants support neighborhood, arts and green space programs. For more info visit the website.

Dick's Sporting Goods: Sponsorship & Donation:

Private Funder: Dick’s Sporting Goods;

Opportunities: Community Organizations and Events Sponsorships and Donations and Sports Team Leagues Sponsorships and Donations; Funding Focus: Environment, physical activity, children, youth;Geographic Focus: National (communities must be close to a Dick’s Sporting Goods location);Eligibility: 501(c)(3) nonprofits, youth sports teams and leagues, youth outdoor programs, athletes and outdoors enthusiasts;Funding: Multiple awards; Deadline: None.Purpose: The sporting goods chain believes sports contribute to a better world and that people who take part in sports will learn essential life skills like leadership, discipline and integrity. The company supports programs that inspire and enable sports participation.

What Your 1st-grade Life Says About The Rest of It:

Worth the time to read!A study over decades of young Baltimoreans offers insight into who succeeds and who does not quite make it through life of living in poverty as a child.

Want to Take Over My Class? Be My Guest!:

How a journal project draws students' interest, boosts skills within the classroom. English teacher Vivian Maguire in this blog post shares how she cultivated students' interest and choice in speaking and writing topics through a journal project. Maguire writes that she has asked students to bring an object or something else to talk about with the class, and then the presenting student gives peers -- and Maguire -- the topic for their journal entry, such as a student who performed a rap asked everyone to write about their passion.

Motivation is Messy-ASCD In-service:

Rick Wormeli reflects on the importance of thinking carefully about what will motivate our students. Check out his article, “Motivating Young Adolescents,” in the September 2014 issue of Educational Leadership.

Motivating Young Adolescents:

"Adolescents aren't always interested in the topics adults consider important for them to learn," writes education consultant Rick Wormeli. In his September Educational Leadership article, Wormeli lists the top de-motivators of 10- to 15-year-olds and lays out six mindsets and practices that lead to eager students. Read more.

The Learning Myth: Why I'll Never Tell My Son He's Smart:

"Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it, the more it grows. They’ve found that neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones. What this means is that our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail. “This bold claim was made by Salman Khan in his article, "The Learning Myth: Why I'll Never Tell My Son He's Smart". Along with the article is an entertaining and informative 90-second video, "You Can Learn Anything." Check it out.

Three Ways to Connect Schools and Families Through Social Media:

"Building and sustaining relationships with your families is the best thing you can do to support the children in your classroom," writes educator Tisha Shipley. In a recent Inservice post, Shipley explains why it's so important to connect with your student's families. She shares three ways educators can connect with parents and caregivers in traditional and nontraditional ways. Read on.

Florence Organization Looks to Decrease Homelessness:

A new organization has stepped up to the plate to try to decrease the number of homeless, indigent and hungry children in Florence School District 1. Homelessness is a growing problem in every school district.

Students' Help-Seeking Strategies Offer Clues for Educators:

Researchers say teachers and policymakers can learn a lot about students' mindsets and school climate by watching how students get the help they need in class. Read the article for more details.

Leaders: Get Out of Your Office!:

This is an awesome, practice piece for school leaders, especially. Please share with friends and colleagues.  Today's guest post is written by four school Administrators in California who believe in being highly visible on their campuses, while staying connected through a plethora of digital tools throughout their day.

Webinar Recording: Setting Up a Brain-Friendly, Beautiful Classroom | InstantPresenter Webinar:

We just viewed this great video filled with excellent photos and discussion of brain-friendly spaces for learning. Take a look!

The Importance of Classroom Structure:

In a piece from DruTomlin...Don't let anyone fool you. Don't let anyone tell you differently. To create an "inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive" environment for students, desks matter. I know this fact firsthand, because one day at school could have gone very badly if it weren't for the desk arrangement in my classroom. In fact, one singular moment for me and an eighth grader named Tim could have gone horribly wrong if I had chosen a different way to set up my desks. The head counselor had warned me about Tim the day before he arrived. It was already the middle of the first week of school when she told me, "Now, Dru, Tim is a strong-willed student and he may be a little tough, but I've gotten good reports from the reform school." She slid a plain, one-inch manila folder my way, and it was filled with white, yellow, pink and blue papers of various sizes. Read more.

The Attitude of the Leader:

Baruti K. Kafele focuses specifically on the attitude of the leader with five reflective questions. Read more:"For the 14 years that I served as an urban principal in New Jersey, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the notion that the achievement gap was my primary issue. Although it existed and it was rather wide, I did not see a change in instructional practices being the solution to closing this gap. I was convinced that the problem was deeper than achievement yet within our grasp to correct. It was my strong contention then, as it continues to be today, that the attitudes of students, staff, and administrators matter. As I say regularly, attitude is everything!" Please read more in the article.

Motivated to Learn: A Conversation with Daniel Pink:

If schools truly want to engage students, they need to downgrade control and compliance—and upgrade autonomy. Daniel Pink, author of Drive (Riverhead, 2009) and A Whole New Mind (Riverhead, 2006), has looked at four decades of scientific research on human motivation and found a mismatch between what science tells us and what organizations actually do. In this interview with Educational Leadership, Pink shares his insights on how schools can create more optimal conditions for learning—and how they can dial up students' own motivation to learn. People often rely on external rewards to get kids to do something—a school rewards a class if the students score proficient on a test; a parent rewards a child if the child gets all As. What's your take on this?

Start the Year by Building Hope:

This aligns perfectly with the Center's 4th strategy: Increase hope. How are you increasing hope with your students every day?Whatever expectations students bring to the new school year, raise their hopes through relevance, passion, reasonable possibilities, and personal engagement.

ProTeam Student Workbook:

We are excited to introduce the all-new ProTeam Student Workbook. The workbook contains all of the student handouts for the entire course on perforated pages. Interested in starting ProTeam at your middle school? Contact Marcella Wine-Snyder at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Hope, Meaning, and Challenge: The Building Blocks of Motivation:

Motivation is the focus of one of the Center's key strategies. This podcast aligns perfectly!

Hope, Meaning, and Challenge: The Building Blocks of Motivation
On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, you'll take a look at how teachers can spark inner motivation in all students -- from those who are disengaged from school to those who strive to succeed -- and create meaningful connections that get students excited about learning. Read more of the article.

On Beyond Preschool: Alleviating Poverty Over a Lifespan:

Poverty isn't like polio, which can be cured in one treatment. The factors that lead to a child being in a disadvantaged family at preschool are likely to persist afterwards, and top-quality education is needed at every age to help children overcome the effects of poverty.

Seven Considerations When Developing Adolescent Literacy:

"Improving basic literacy skills in adolescent learners is no doubt a huge challenge, but it is not an impossible task," writes educator Beth Morrow. In a recent Inservice post, Morrow discusses the challenges of balancing the need to build literacy in older students with the need to increase content knowledge and shares seven points educators should consider when developing adolescent literacy. Read on.

Report Details 5 Keys to Using Technology To Help At-Risk Students:

Today, the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education released a report called “Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning.” Written by Linda Darling-Hammond, Molly B. Zielezinski and Shelley Goldman, the report includes a review of the literature studying the impact of technology on at-risk students. Based on their research, the authors offer the following five recommendations: Read more.

Teaching students gratitude has social, emotional and learning benefits:

Many adults have discovered the social and emotional benefits of practicing gratitude in their daily lives.Practicing gratitude also yields social, emotional and learning benefits for children, according to a new study in School Psychology Review.  The study reports that children as young as 8-11 can benefit from an intervention that teaches them to appreciate what teachers, peers and their schools do for them.Soft skills must be taught! This aligns perfectly with Center of Excellence strategy #16.

September Is Time To Improve Attendance:

When do you know that a student is missing too much school? Based on new research from the Baltimore Education Research Consortium, it’s possible to know as soon as you look at September attendance data. Absenteeism in the first month of school predicts poor attendance patterns throughout the year and provides an early warning sign that educators need to intervene and put students back on track, according to researcher Linda S. Olson. Olson examined attendance in the Baltimore City Public Schools for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in September and throughout the rest of the 2012-13 school year. Read more.

8 lessons from most-improved schools on building a collaborative culture:

Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships, super athlete Michael Jordan once said about collaboration. Every school has its star teachers, but to truly win the “championship” and ensure that all students in all classrooms are learning optimally, teachers must constantly share what they know about instruction in a truly collaborative work environment. What can you do to nurture collaboration in your school?

Students describe how teachers and schools support their well-being:

What are teachers and schools doing right to support student well-being?A new study in Preventing School Failure reviews the literature on emotional well-being to gather student perspectives on what teachers and schools are doing right. “Well-being is considered a positive marker of mental health and has been defined as ‘individuals’ cognitive and affective evaluations of their lives,’” write the authors. Even teenagers cite adult support as a significant predictor of well-being, contrary to a commonly held view that teenagers neither need nor want adult influence and are only influenced by their peers.

How do you find high school dropouts?:

What is your dropout rate? What are you doing?Chicago Public Schools focuses on re-enrolling some 50,000 former students back in school.

Early Intervention Prevents Aggressive Children From Becoming Violent Adults:

Early intervention prevents aggressive children from becoming violent or psychiatrically troubled adults, a new study has revealed. Early intervention and continuous follow-through makes the difference!

Students Learn to 'Toggle' Between Dialects:

Researchers are scaling up an effort to teach young urban children to embrace their own dialect—and to know when and how to switch to standard English. How do you work to support students' dialects while also teaching ever-important standard English?

7 Things You Dont' Let Students Do, That You Should:

Agree or Disagree!!!

From Preschool to Prosperity: The Economic Payoff to Early Childhood Education:

Bartik shows that investment in high-quality early childhood education has several long-term benefits, including higher adult earnings for program participants. Download a free PDF of this book.

25 Ways to Ask Your Kids 'So How Was School Today?' Without Asking Them 'So How Was School Today?':

Great ideas---pass them along to parents so that they can ask the questions that will yield real answers, instead of the typical, "Nothing." Here are some of the ideas for parents from Liz Evans' Huffington Post article "25 Ways to Ask Your Kids 'So How Was School Today?' Without Asking Them 'So How Was School Today?'"• What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)• Tell me something that made you laugh today.• Where is the coolest place at the school?• Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said.)• If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?• Where do you play the most at recess?• Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is he/she so funny?• If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?• If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why? • Tell me about three different times you used your pencil today at school. Read for more.

Foundations:The Value of Unit Block Play:

Building STEM Skills with Blocks: “I didn’t even know I was learning,” writes Dan Feil, a Connect reader. “I am not suggesting that I had an underprivileged childhood. I simply had few toys. One that I remember vividly is my set of wooden blocks. I recall handling my blocks and thinking: two squares make a rectangle, two rectangles make the big one, and so do four of the squares…I was learning geometric shapes and relationships, and didn’t even know it. By the time fractions were formally introduced to me in school, I had a tactile, concrete sense of what abstract numbers stood for. “My unit block set also gave me a quantitative spatial sense. I built walls. I built houses. I learned which blocks were good for long spans. I learned how much support the spanning blocks needed. I loved the heft of the blocks. I loved the smooth, cool surfaces and the rounded edges. “So it should not surprise you that I became an architect. I cannot say for certain that I did so because of my unit block play. But that play certainly brought out the facets of who I was, at an early age, which eventually lead me to my life-long professional career. “Let’s raise more architects! For a great staff training resource on the importance of block play, watch the video.

Schoolwires Parental Engagement Assessment - Personal Information:

Take just five minutes to complete our free parent involvement assessment. You’ll find out what you could be doing better and learn about steps you can take now to improve your parent engagement efforts.

Music Enrichment Programs Improve the Neural Encoding of Speech in At-Risk Children:

What every music teacher probably already knows:

A new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience used a randomized controlled design to investigate whether community music participation brings about a tangible change in auditory processing. The community music training was a longstanding program called Harmony Project that provides free music instruction to children from underserved backgrounds who are at high risk for learning and social problems. Read the article for more information.

The Marriage Effect: Money or Parenting?:

Does it matter if your parents were married or not?For richer or poorer.

A new blogpost on the Brookings website explores why children raised by married parents typically do better in life on almost every available economic and social measure. Is it an effect of marriage itself, or is it simply because married parents have, on average, higher family incomes? The authors argue that there is a growing marriage gap along class lines in America, with fewer poorer couples choosing to marry while the institution flourishes among the affluent and well-educated. They also say that married parents tend to have, on average, higher family incomes anyway. The researchers used benchmarks developed as part of the Brookings Social Genome Model to explore patterns in attainment, cognitive and non-cognitive skills, higher education, and later earnings. Read more of the article for more information.

Enrollment of Homeless Students Hits New Record in U.S. Schools:

Of the more than 1.2 million homeless children enrolled in public schools in 2012-13, 75 percent were "doubled up," sharing homes with multiple families, data show. Read the article to discover more information on this article.

Here Comes Kindergarten! at Richland Library:

Another great program that is working on early literacy!

The goal of Here Comes Kindergarten is to provide parents, caregivers and preschool teachers with the resources they need to get their children ready to succeed in school.

Brain Research & Instruction:

The Center's Fall Workshop featured Janet Zadina, neuroscientist from Tulane. Interested in more of her research and practice? Here is the link to her website: www.brainresearch.us

Listening to the Data-Students are talking to you through their assessments. Are you listening?:

Teaching and assessing today’s students is just not the way it used to be. Why? Because the students are not the way they used to be. To be effective educators, we need to consider the students who sit in our classrooms today and recognize how.

When Anxiety Hits At School:

Schools report spike in stress, anxiety among students. In recent years, there has been a reported spike in stress and anxiety among U.S. youths, attributed in part to technology and academic and personal pressures. Now, school nurses and counselors say they are seeing increasingly serious side effects of the stress, leading them to adapt their practices to meet students' evolving needs.

Using Technology to Support At- Risk Students' Learning:

The right technology can help at-risk students. A new report published by the U.S. Alliance for Excellent Education finds that technology - when implemented properly - can produce significant gains in student achievement and boost engagement, particularly among those who are at risk. The authors reviewed more than 70 recent studies of technology initiatives aimed at improving learning or closing the achievement gap. They sought to identify patterns of effective use, taking into account context, access and infrastructure, and learning outcomes.

How Exercise Can Boost Young Brains:

Encourage young boys and girls to run, jump, squeal, hop and chase after each other or after erratically kicked balls, and you substantially improve their ability to think, according to the most ambitious study ever conducted of physical activity and cognitive performance in children. The results underscore, yet again, the importance of physical activity for children’s brain health and development, especially in terms of the particular thinking skills that most affect academic performance.

Study: 'Pygmalion Effect' Links Teacher Expectations to Student Success:

The study focuses on the Pygmalion Effect, the theory holding that higher expectations of a person lead to higher performance. The opposite can also be true: If low expectations are placed on someone, they're more likely to perform poorly.LOTS of instruction here in terms of our expectations for students. Read more in this article.

Should a School Get an 'A' Even if Poor and Minority Students Underperform?:

Do the new "A through F" and similar accountability systems states designed under the Obama administration's No Child Left Behind Act waivers do a good job of recognizing how schools are doing when it comes to educating poor and minority students? Not so much, according to a new report released Thursday by the Education Trust, an organization in Washington that advocates for such students.

Five Keys to Building a Culture of Active Learning:ASCDInService:

"Independent learners will be motivated to confront relevant problems, engage in challenging tasks, persevere long enough to overcome obstacles, and have ownership of goals for new learning," writes ASCD Professional Learning Services Faculty member Tony Frontier. In a recent Inservice post, Frontier shares five areas that educators must address in order to foster independent learners.

Learning From Live Theater: Students realize gains from theater trips - Research:

Field trips that focus on cultural enrichment can make a positive difference in education, according to recent research. This article details the effects of such field trips, particularly those in which students were exposed to live theater. Researchers found that the trips helped introduce academic content and improve students' social and emotional skills.

Poor Kids Are Starving for Words:

According to a new initiative, launched at the White House on Thursday, the "word gap" that afflicts low-income children needs to be addressed with the same passion as child hunger.

Guided Groups:

Looking for a new type of Formative Assessment to use in your classroom? Try Guided Groups. With this student assessment technique you can offer different types of instructional support based on what level each student is on.This 6-minute video of Shawna Moore of Sylvester Middle School models a system that teaches students to assess their own level of understanding and helps the teacher know what to clarify.

The Business Case for Early Childhood Investments:

Are you trying to recruit and support local business champions for early childhood education? Here is a great white paper that provides the business case for these powerful investments.

Nursing Rhymes & Songs for Baby-Raising Children Network:

Great resource and parents can download onto their smartphones and use to sing with their babies "in the car, on holidays, waiting at the dentist, or under the blanket on a rainy day".

Making Cooperative Learning Powerful:

Another good piece by Robert Slavin on successful cooperative learning strategies!Just about everyone loves the idea of cooperative learning. Think of kids working productively and excitedly in groups, everyone getting along and enthusiastically helping one another learn.Cooperative learning can be wonderful. Students often love working this way.

Build a Productive Parent-Teacher Team:

The last United States Census reported that young adolescents spend the majority of their waking hours in the care of someone other than their parents. Couple this with adolescents' growing need for independence, and it is easy to see how many parents lose touch with their kids as they traverse the middle grades. Teachers, coaches, and mentors fill in the information gaps that gradually appear as kids begin to disappear from their parents' view. Don't wait until Back to School Night to make contact with your new group of parents. Get off to a good start by using some resources to help foster positive encounters and build bridges with families.

Sharing the WOW! Tips for Engaging Families:

What's Wow! About your school?Effective middle level leaders rarely miss an opportunity to connect with families of current and potential students to tell the story of how their middle school positively affects the social, emotional, and academic needs of young adolescents.

Successful middle level leaders also know that every interaction with families and community members by anyone on the school staff is a moment of truth. Those encounters must be positive.

Here are some tips for sharing the Wow! With the parents in your community.

Parents’ Relationships and Involvement: Effects on Students’ School Engagement and Performance:

This study focused on parents' relationships and involvement in their children's lives and the effects on the students' school engagement and school performance. The study used the Wave I data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The study examined the effect of parents' relationships and involvement on students' cognitive, emotional, and behavioral engagement in school and subsequently on school performance. The results confirmed the importance and significance of parents' involvement in middle school students' school engagement and performance.

School Psychology Review (SPR)-Volume 43, Issue 3:

Program considering personality traits demonstrates positive results. A recent study published in School Psychology Review investigated the effects of the program INSIGHTS into Children's Temperament on the critical thinking, math, and reading skills of K-1 children compared to a control group of children assigned to a supplemental after-school reading program. The goal of the INSIGHTS program is to train teachers and parents to recognize students' personality types and adjust the learning environment as needed. While all children in the INSIGHTS program demonstrated gains, the greatest gains were made in groups of children classified as shy.Shy children can be overlooked in the classroom and INSIGHTS provides strategies to help children who are shy to reach their potential.

Experimental Evaluations of Elementary Science Programs: A Best-Evidence Synthesis:

Where's the science in science education?In a recent blog post, Robert Slavin, Director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University, describes how when conducting a review of effective elementary science programs, the literature review of science articles from the past 30 years yielded only 23 articles that met standards for inclusion. For more information read the article.

What Ever Happened to the “Cool" Kids? Long-Term Sequelae of Early Adolescent Pseudomature Behavior:

“Cool" kids meet a sticky end

A longitudinal study published in Child Development has shown that trying to grow up too soon is a good predictor of long-term difficulties. When pseudomature behavior (such as minor delinquency or precocious romantic involvement) occurs early in adolescence it can reflect an overemphasis on wanting to impress peers, and predict long-term adjustment problems. In the study, 184 adolescents in the south-eastern United States were followed from ages 13 to 23. At age 13, pseudomature behavior was linked to an increased desire for peer popularity and led to short-term success with peers.Adolescents who engaged most in pseudomature behavior were also those who valued being popular most highly.

Exploring Effective Pedagogy in Primary Schools: Evidence from Research:

What are the characteristics of excellent schools and teachers?A new report from Pearson, Exploring Effective Pedagogy in Primary Schools: Evidence from Research, builds on the findings of the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) study. The researchers looked at practices in 125 English primary schools. Standardized assessments were used to measure children's academic attainment in reading and math in Years 1 and 5 (Kindergarten and fourth grade). Classroom practices and processes were studied using two classroom observation instruments.

The researchers identified 11 pedagogic strategies that were important in good schools: organization, homework, classroom climate, behavior management, collaborative learning, dialogic teaching and learning, assessment for learning, and whole-class teaching. In addition, teachers in excellent schools excelled in organizational skills; positive classroom climate and personalized highly-interactive approaches to teaching just to name a few.

Why Poor Student's Don’t Stay in College:

Excellent resource with a powerful interactive graphic! Check it out: More people than ever are attending college. But for millions of poor Americans, getting into college isn't the hard part.

Powerful Teaching Made Easy:

Visit Laura Candler's Teaching Resources! Here you'll find hundreds of printables and activities that make powerful teaching easy. Visit her virtual File Cabinet to find free classroom-tested printables and lessons, including special activities in the Seasonal File Cabinet. To find complete digital resources, take a look at her Power Packs and Mini Packs, or go directly to her TpT store.

You can also sign up for Candler's Classroom Connections to receive free teaching materials delivered to your inbox. If you are new to her site, please visit the First Time Here page and listen to her podcast welcome

Tips for Managing Project-Based Learning from ASCD:

Project-based learning can be tricky to navigate. These pointers will help you find a balance between scaffolding the learning process and getting out of the way so students can work independently.

Messy Learning, Clear Objectives from ASCD:

Students use the PBL model to plan a Civil War memorial. In the process they sharpen their reading and writing skills, reflect on history, and learn how to collaborate.

Minimize Frustration and Maximize Deep Learning from ASCD:

Often, a project seems like the answer to a prayer. Without careful planning, however, it can quickly lead to curses and frustration. Follow these practical tips to avoid PBL headaches.

Managing the Process of PBL from ASCD:

FREE Video from ASCD on Project Based Learning. Managing the Process of PBL Teachers help students manage the process of project-based learning by instituting regular checkpoints for feedback and providing opportunities for students to reflect on and internalize what works and what doesn't.

The Economic Impact of School Suspensions:

How does this play out in your school?A recent report found that African-American girls were suspended at much higher rates than their white peers, a phenomenon that leads to lower earnings and educational attainment in the long run.

Teacher spends two days as a student and is shocked at what she learns:

Thoughts? Should teachers be required to shadow students?

Kids Pursue Passions during 'genius hour' Centennial Arts Academy:

How about a 'Genius Hour' at your school or in your classroom?For an hour a day at Centennial Arts Academy, a group of fifth-graders get to take a break from the usual structure to learn about anything they want to. This is where kids get to pursue a “passion project” that really interests them — no tests or curriculum, just the joy of learning. For example some students used genius hour to build a model roller coaster, learning about engineering and math in the process.

It's Time to Stop Averaging Grades:

YES! YES! YES! You’ve always averaged grades. Your teachers averaged grades when you were in school and it worked fine. It works fine for your students. Does it? Just as we teach our students, we don’t want to fall for Argumentum ad populum: something is true or good just because a lot of people think it’s true or good. Let’s take a look at the case against averaging grades.If you have not read this, PLEASE do so and share with every teacher you know.

One Dozen Qualities Of Good Teachers: ACSD:

Would these be your top 12?

Much of the discussion today about good schools, classrooms and teachers revolves around test scores, teacher evaluation formats, and the Common Core standards. In this commentary, Elliott Seif wants to try to bring back the discussion to what is really important to think about with regards to good teaching and good teachers. There is a list of twelve qualities of good teachers that don’t get discussed very often, yet are important and relevant to consider as we try to improve teaching excellence. For more information read the article.

Too Many Kids Quit Science Because They Don't Think They're Smart:

This is another good piece that applies Carol Dweck's research on growth vs. fixed mindsets.

For most students, science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) subjects are not intuitive or easy. Learning in general—and STEM in particular—requires repeated trial and error, and a student’s lack of confidence can sometimes stand in her own way.So what's the best way to help kids feel confident enough to stay the STEM course?Read  more to find out why!

After-School Programs Can Help Teens at Risk of Dropping Out:

The hours between 3-7 p.m. can be risky for many high school students, as they are often alone and unsupervised. Violent juvenile crimes occur most frequently in the hours immediately following the end of school on school days, according to federal data​. ​ After-school programs – long an option for working parents of younger children – can be an important tool in preventing at-risk teens from dropping out.After-school programs can keep teens out of trouble after the last bell rings. Read more about how to keep teens on a positive path to have a successful life in the near future.

Effects of the FITKids Randomized Controlled Trial on Executive Control and Brain Function:

Isn't it great that something as easy as exercise can improve brain functioning? How can this be applied in your school day?

Is Lecturing Culturally Biased?:

Studies suggest that replacing the lecture-hall model with an active learning model can help close the achievement gap between students of different cultural backgrounds.

StudentsFirst SC:

StudentsFirst is a nonprofit organization that fights to make sure all students have access to great schools and great teachers. They engage with SC communicates to raise awareness about shortcomings in our educational system and we advocate for evidence-based solutions. Want to learn more? They are hosting an informational event on November 13 in Florence, SC.

Now Playing - MacArthur Foundation:

Check out the video, Now Playing. This video explores the importance of play to the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. It demonstrates play's essential role in human physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development, showing how all aspects of learning, creativity and innovation depend on play and how it strengthens communities, makes companies more agile, and revitalizes cities.

When Lifting A School Cell Phone Ban Is a Win for Poor Students:

How should this inform your cell phone policy?In New York, the out-of-sight, out-of-mind ban is enforced predominantly at schools with metal detectors—the same schools that could benefit the most from technology-friendly policies.

SC Supreme Court finds for poor districts in 20-year-old school equity suit:

The long-awaited ruling has been handed down by the SC Supreme Court. How will this guide school leaders and lawmakers?The SC Supreme Court has ruled that state government is not doing enough financially to guarantee a “minimally adequate” education for public school in various school districts in SC.

ICS Small Steps Final-HD 1080p:

Interested in considering the struggles that are faced by young mothers? The Institute for Child Success and Ferebee Lane are pleased to release Small Steps: a short documentary film exploring the experiences of young mothers with young children and opportunities for design. Take a look at this video!

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are:

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Check this out in her TedTalk, "Your Body Shapes Who You Are".

Using Data to Head Off High School Dropouts:

Does your state produce early warning systems data for dropout prevention? Schools are using data to label students early on who are at-risk of dropping out of high school.Take a look at this article, which also includes a map of participating states.

National Report: Getting Children Out of Poverty Requires A Two-Generation Approach:

Children raised in poverty are less likely to graduate from high school or remain consistently employed, leaving them in a life of poverty. That is the finding of the Annie E. Casey Foundation in its "Kids Count" report that emphasis a "two generation approach" to keep children in poverty from becoming adults in poverty. Patrick McCarthy, president of the foundation noted that intergenerational poverty needs a two-generation solution. "For too long, our approach to poverty has focused separately on children and adults, instead of their interrelated needs." Read more in this article.

Landscape | kinder-4.ch:

Learning opportunities for children up to age 4. 40 Video Clips. How small children explore the world. And how we can support them.A project of the Department of Education of the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland.

Educational Leadership: Talking and Listening:

This strategies-heavy issue cuts through cheap talk and "pretend attend" to show ways to develop oral language, shape academic discourse, and grow lifelong listeners. Your classroom will be humming. The November 2014 Educational Leadership also covers this theme, with articles from Elizabeth A. City, Timothy Rasinski, Alexis Wiggins, and many more.

Laura Candler Teaching Resources:

Laura Candler's email newsletter just arrived, and she has included so many excellent resources for elementary teachers. Check out her website that includes hundreds of printables and activities that make powerful teaching easy. Visit the virtual File Cabinet to find free classroom-tested printables and lessons, including special activities in the Seasonal File Cabinet. To find complete digital resources, take a look at her Power Packs and Mini Packs, or go directly to her TpT store and browse my items there. You can also sign up for Candler's Classroom Connections to receive free teaching materials delivered to your inbox. If you are new to her site, please visit the First Time Here page and listen to her podcast welcome!

12 Steps to Get Students Talking:

"Consider yourself a maker of experiences more than a giver of knowledge, and train students to question authority and expect answers from each other," writes PhD student Lorraine Jacques. In her recent Education Update article, Jacques shares 12 steps that will help teachers get students talking and transform their classrooms into centers of student discourse. Read article for more.

Are Low-Performing Schools Adopting Practices Promoted by School Improvement Grants?:

The federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program aims to improve student achievement by promoting the implementation of four school intervention models: transformation, turnaround, restart, and closure. Previous research provides evidence that low-performing schools adopt some practices promoted by the four models, but little is known about how schools combine these practices.

Socio-Economic Differences In University Outcomes In the UK: Drop-Out, Degree Completion and Degree Class:

A working paper by the University of Warwick and the Institute for Fiscal Studies investigated differences by socio-economic background in the likelihood of UK students dropping out of university, completing a degree within five years, and graduating with a first or upper second class degree. The study found that among young people on the same course of study, students from the most impoverished backgrounds were 3.4 percentage points more likely to drop out within two years than were students from the most advantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Students from the lowest socio-economic backgrounds were also 5.3 percentage points less likely to complete their degree.

What Today's Great Teachers Know:

Here's what today's great teachers have already figured out. They know that they do not need to "cover" everything in the syllabus (or even all the standards) equally. They can set priorities and relative importance — allotting two weeks to some things and two sentences to others. Also, that they do not need to waste their time teaching the same lesson. Read more in this article.

How to Use Brain Science to Engage Students After the Holidays:

Neurologist and former teacher Judy Willis explains how techniques such as walking backwards and changing the furniture in your classroom can motivate students on the first day back of term. But teachers know all too well that it’s challenging enough to motivate a class on a Monday morning after a weekend, nevermind after a longer break. To reignite energy levels this January here are a few tips.

Why Dread A Bump On the Head?

Teachers have the option of linking this unit to our extensive and engaging computer game The Golden Hour in which the player makes decisions on the diagnosis and treatment of a patient with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). In this unit, students gain a greater understanding of the brain at the macro level—through a sheep brain dissection and CT scan interpretations.

People With Personality (Rather Than Intelligence) Do Better In School:

Smart (intelligence) is not enough or even the most important factor. This study provides data that supports the importance of effort and some VERY SPECIFIC personality traits. Read more!

Quality Counts 2015: State Highlights Reports:

The Quality Counts 2015 Highlights Reports capture all of the data you need to assess your state's performance in key areas. The information is presented in a series of charts and graphs, and includes comparisons to national averages. You won't want to miss your state's data, so download your copy now.

Quality Counts 2015: State Report Cards Map:

This interactive map offers a quick way to examine state-by-state grades and summary. Where does your state stand? Take a look at this interactive map.

Nearpod: Create, Engage, Assess through Mobile Devices. | Interactive Lessons | Mobile Learning:

Nearpod allows teachers to customize presentations with interactive questions and instant data analysis. We like this tool because it allows teachers to enhance existing presentations with questions; you don't have to recreate the wheel. With hardly any additional prep time, teachers can apply this tool to transform teacher-driven presentations into question-driven presentations. In other words, instead of simply delivering your message to students, your presentation will be shaped and informed by how students interact with the embedded questions.

NearPod- Sign Up for An Account:

Have you tried Nearpod? http://bit.ly/1fve224Sign up, type Promo Code 86S9K5& create mobile presentations to engage students and assess their performance.

7 Ways to Help Quiet Students Find Their Voices in Class:

When it comes to talking in class, each student has a unique personality. There’s the chatty conversationalists, happy to contribute on any topic; more reserved students who can be coaxed into the conversation with some effort; and the quiet ones who shudder at the thought of speaking to a large group. Read more in the article.

Consensus On Early Ed. Value, But Policy Questions Remain:

There's little disagreement nationally about the importance of early-childhood education, but settling on the right approach to funding and policy approaches is a different matter.More on the direction of Early Childhood Education.

10 Classroom Ideas to Try in 2015:

Now that we're back to school, what are some ways you can shake things up in the new year? Here are 10 ideas to try out in your classroom, no matter how big or small your learners may be. Read for more information.

Grief In The Classroom: 'Saying Nothing Says A Lot':

While we hope never to need to deal with grief in our classroom, sadly it happens often. These resources can be very helpful. Read more in this article.

Stop Sending Emails, and Other Tips for Building Positive Relationships in Schools:

Are teachers in your school so busy they are losing contact with one another? Is there a need for stronger relationships among colleagues? This piece provides 7 great ideas. It's easy for teachers to find themselves isolated in the classroom. Paul Barnwell has some strategies for getting more involved in the school community and forging connections between colleagues.

Some Of the Youngest Learners Need Mental Health Treatment - The Hechinger Report:

Early interventions during preschool can benefit young children who have been exposed to trauma, some experts say. "If we put that money at the front end, we will spend less on special education classes for behavior disorder, we will spend less on adolescent substance abuse, we will spend less on gang violence, we will spend less on the juvenile criminal justice system," clinical psychologist Margret Nickels said. The Hechinger Report

Teaching Resources-Free Pintable’s and Lesson Ideas for Teachers:

Laura Candler has updated her website with lots of new ideas and free resources especially for elementary teachers. Check it out!

Learning Moments CD-Early Mathematical Thinking/ ChildCare Exchange.com:

It is important to understand that children are intrinsically motivated to explore mathematical concepts well before entering formal education. Observe how young children spontaneously engage in mathematical thinking and learn by investigating and pursuing early math concepts during play.

Inside The Brain of A Struggling Reader:

A one-size-fits-all approach to helping struggling readers likely will be ineffective because of differences in students' brains, neuroscientist Martha Burns writes in this commentary. She suggests ways educators can use brain research and technology to help students "become successful, confident readers." Check out these tips in this article.

Pajama Count:

The newest "Learning Moments" contains video clips revealing how young children spontaneously engage in concepts of size and quantity estimation during self-regulated play. The clip "Pajama Count" from the Early Mathematical Thinking CD is an example.

Sleep Quantity + Sleep Quality = Better Math/Language Scores:

A new study confirms that it is worth a parents effort to ensure that their school-aged child receives a good nights sleep. Researchers from McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal found that sleep quality and duration are linked to better performance in math and languages — subjects that are powerful predictors of later learning and academic success.

New Program Inspires Daly Students to Finish 1M Math Problems:

Elementary students aim to solve 1M math problems. Students at a Montana elementary school are building their math skills while also working toward solving one million math problems. Teachers motivate the students by awarding meter-long streamers for each 1,000 problems solved and hanging streamers in the hall to mark the milestones.

Creating An Anti-truancy Environment in Schools:

Are your under-resourced students arriving late or not at all? Read about what one school did that made a difference.

Improve Gist Reasoning To Help 8th-Graders Close Achievement Gap:

Brain games to make you smarter are popular with healthy adults who want to sharpen mental performance, victims of traumatic brain injury and seniors at risk for Alzheimer’s. Now the Center for Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas, Dallas, TX says brain training can help middle schoolers develop “gist reasoning,” the ability to “connect the dots” and generalize meaning from what one is learning. Read the article to learn more.

Family Income, Expectations Tied to Kindergarten Performance:

A study in Pediatrics revealed children who were from lower-income households scored worse on kindergarten tests than those from higher-income households. Children whose parents had lower education expectations and less focus on reading also tended to have lower test scores.

50+ Tools for Differentiating Instruction Through Social Media:

Social media provides several avenues for teachers to differentiate instruction based on students' skill levels and interests, education consultant John McCarthy writes in this blog post. He offers advice on creating lesson plans using more than 50 social media tools.

More Than Half of US Public School Students Live in Poverty, Report Finds:

Want to know the real state of the US economy? Visit a local public school and find out how many student qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. A new report found that, at 51%, the number of children who qualified for federal programs for free or reduced-price lunches is the highest in at least 50 years, according to the Southern Education Foundation. In other words, in 2013, more than half of the students attending public school lived in poverty. For more info please read this article.

Should Teachers Be Allowed to Touch Students?:

Sheltering children from physical contact deprives educators of an important instructional tool and students of an essential learning experience.

Teach Media Literacy with Super Bowl Ads:

Super Bowl commercials offer examples of popular culture "texts" that students can analyze and study as part of their lessons about informational texts, media-literacy expert Frank Baker writes in this commentary. He presents several ideas and links to resources that allow students to study the advertisements before and after the game.

Best Buy Foundation: National Partnership Request For Proposals:

For decades people have turned to Best Buy for answers to their technology questions. As a company, we aim to ignite human potential.  To support these efforts, the Best Buy Foundation provides underserved teens with access to technology to build 21st century skills and bridge the digital divide. As technology becomes more ingrained in our society, it is critical for youth to develop the necessary skills for future college and career success.  Sixty percent of the jobs that will be available in 10 years don’t even exist today.

Teacher: I see the difference in educational privilege every day. I live it. I am disgusted by it.:

This interesting blog post by a real teacher in a real classroom raises interesting points. Take a look.

Tiffany Anderson: Education Week Leaders to Learn from:

Tiffany Anderson, the superintendent in the Jennings, Mo., school district, set up a food pantry and installed washers and dryers in all of the district’s school buildings. Anderson is demonstrating how high-poverty communities can improve academic achievement by focusing on meeting students’ needs outside the classroom as well as inside it, and harnessing the power of partnerships to do so even in a volatile environment. Great leader doing great things. Take a look at this brief video.

Quiz Tank 9: Are you Muting Student Motivation?:

Are you muting student motivation? As educators, much of our time is spent assessing student needs. Before we can truly help our students, an understanding of our own learning is key. In this blog post, ASCD EDge community member Jennifer Davis Bowman shares a brief quiz that will allow you to examine what motivates students. Take the quiz!

The Activity Gap:

Access to after-school programs is growing more unequal, and that's pushing disadvantaged kids further behind. Low-income students often do not have the same access to after-school activities as their middle-class peers, according to a recent study. This widening gap places them at a disadvantage later in life, the researchers found. This is a please read article.

Second Chance Strategies:

Social interactions provide the context in which many adolescents make decisions (Crone, 2012). But what benefits students socially sometimes casts a shadow on their school performance. Instead of creating competing agendas, teachers can use strategies that draw on students' social and personal needs to empower them to make better choices in the future. Strategies that give students a second chance to make positive choices include setting expectations, providing opportunities to achieve goals, using collaboration to promote reflection, and creating peer-to-peer support groups.

Using Technology Appropriately in the Preschool Classroom:

This excellent article provides two important things: 1) the research-based reasons for carefully monitoring and limiting the use of technology with young children (all children!) in schools and homes; and 2) guidelines for appropriate use. Please share with parents and educators!

What Does Passing Look Like?:

More and more educators are beginning to carefully consider traditional grading practices and their impact on student performance. More and more educators are realizing that the ways in which assessments are used can inspire hope and effort or squelch it. Read more in this article.

Events- Center for Educational Partnerships:

A calendar of upcoming education-related events sponsored by CEP partners, affiliates and other South Carolina education organizations. Please contact the sponsoring organization(s) directly for more information. Hosted by higher education institutions across the country, Share Fair Nation is a free two-part event that brings together educators, students, families, communities to experience and build excitement around new and innovative educational methods designed to help meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Kids’ Exercise Guidelines Need More Focus on Brain Development:

What kind of brain-enhancing physical activities are happening in your school? Sports medicine experts say physical activity guidelines for kids should address the best types of exercise, not just the duration. Most guidelines - including those of the World Health Organization and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - recommend that kids and teens get 60 minutes each day of moderate to vigorous exercise. Read article for more information.

Study: High-Quality Early Education Could Reduce Costs:

More data in support of high-quality early childhood programs. Read on for more!

Differentiation Does, in Fact, Work:

Commentary: Why differentiation is a good fit for the classroom

Differentiated instruction is not easy, but it is good practice exercised by educators nationwide, writes Carol Ann Tomlinson, educator, author and leader of the Differentiated Instruction Cadre for ASCD Professional Learning Services. In this commentary, she responds to opinions in the article "Differentiation Doesn't Work."

TCEA 2015: 7 Twitter Tips to Help Teachers Become Tweeting Pros:

Tips to help teachers master Twitter…

Social media can be a powerful learning tool for educators, asserts Steven Anderson, a former teacher and technology director. He spoke recently at the TCEA 2015 conference, where he offered seven tips to help teachers use Twitter more effectively.

Differentiated Instruction Works: How and Why To Do DI:

Differentiated instruction is an approach to teaching in which educators actively plan and adjust for students' differences so that instruction suits and supports all students' strengths and needs. On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, Sean Slade, ASCD's director of whole child programs, differentiation expert Carol Ann Tomlinson, and more explore what differentiated instruction is and explain how real teachers are applying differentiation principals and strategies to respond to the needs of all learners.

Kids In Need Foundation:

$100K Available for Classroom Innovations. Private Funder: Kids In Need Foundation; Opportunity: 2015 Kids In Need Teacher Grants; Funding Focus: K-12 classroom education; Geographic Focus: National; Eligibility: Schools and classroom teachers; Funding:$500 each; Deadline: Applications will be available online from July 15 through Sept. 30. More than $100,000 is being offered to K-12 teachers at any public, private or parochial school to improve classroom education. Grants go for innovative classroom projects on almost any topic. The Kids In Need Foundation's website includes a long list of education-minded corporate partners (www.kinf.org/partners). This is a good prospecting list for grantseekers, because if a corporation partners with a K-12 focused foundation, odds are they also have giving programs in that area. Please read more to apply or for more information on this grant.

Kids In Need Foundation- Teacher Grants:

The Elmer's Teacher Tool Kit Grants runs from Feb. 14 to April 30 and it distributes awards up to $500 each to certified K-12 classroom teachers. To apply, teachers select projects they'd like to conduct from more than 1,000 Winning Project Ideas on the website. Awards are based on financial need, determined by the percentage of the schools' students enrolled in the federal free and reduced lunch program.

Group Seeks To Close The ‘Excellence Gap’ In Nation’s Elite Public Schools:

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation seeks greater attention for high achieving, low-incoming families to take a big part in this action.

Mindfulness Practices Buoy Students in Sacramento’s Einstein Middle School:

Students in some California schools are participating in mindfulness lessons during the school day. Educators leading such programs say the approach can help students manage stress. One school also has reported fewer disciplinary actions since adopting the practice.

12 Reasons Students Just Aren't That Into You:

Read if you dare!! "Why do students become disengaged with their classrooms, curriculum, or ultimately their teacher?" asks ASCD EDge community member Jennifer Davis Bowman. In a recent blog post, Davis shares a list of top teacher turn-offs that her students compiled. She admits that she's guilty of telling stories more than she teaches. Read the full list to view all information.

Preschool Attendance Boosts Language in Disadvantaged Children:

All children with early language problems are at increased risk of struggling at school, and having reduced employment opportunities and life chances, but the risk of early language problems is disproportionately high for children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Given the key role of language in acquiring literacy and accessing the school curriculum, early identification of speech and language deficits and appropriate intervention are crucial.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Share Fair Open to Community March 7:

ATTENTION TEACHERS and FAMILIES! FREE EVENT! All community members are invited to Share Fair Nation, a day of free, interactive science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) learning and fun March 7 at River Bluff High School in Lexington, SC. Hosted by the University of South Carolina College of Education and River Bluff High School, Share Fair Nation encourages students, families, educators, schools, community groups and leaders to explore, invent and experiment.

This School’s Got STEM!:

This School’s Got STEM will be accepting video submissions beginning February 20th through March 13th. Finalists will be chosen with help from members of the S2TEM Centers SC and representatives of South Carolina’s STEM businesses and industries. The winning team and teacher will be recognized at the SC Teacher of the Year Celebration on April 22nd. Videos will be accepted from public school students in grades PreK-12th grade that demonstrate the COOLEST STEM project they have done in school this year. Videos shall be no longer than 5 minutes and must be a YouTube or Vimeo video. Here is a link with a video explaining the contest,  This School’s Got STEM.

How Playing Music Benefits Your Brain More than Any Other Activity:

WOW! If you thought music was good for the brain, this will take that understanding to another level. Please share the video!

Measuring Students’ Self-Control: A ‘Marshmallow Test’ for the Digital Age:

Remember the 'marshmallow test'? This excellent piece illustrates how technology can often distract learning in the same way that marshmallows did in the early study. Check out the article and SHARE. Take the time to follow the many links to additional resources--lots of resources and opportunities to learn about the brain, mindsets, the role of 'grit,' and ways to support all in all of our students.

Re-engaging with Empathy:

We tend to empathize best with those we know, so the highest leverage strategies for engaging, retaining, and accelerating second chance students are those that help students and adults know each other well. Read more in the article.

Second Chance Strategies:

Help students develop the capacity to turn around their behavior or academic performance by creating positive social supports that invite reflection and cocreation of classroom culture. Read on for more info.

When Students Don't Play the Game:

Do you have any (lots) of students who refuse to play the school game? Students who broadcast their disengagement from school are challenging—but they can also be a blessing in disguise.

A Strategy for Responding to Challenging Behavior:

This video and the PACE strategy originally appeared in "Staying Connected with Troubled Students" by Allison Warshof and Nancy Rappaport. A student with multiple suspensions for behavior benefits from adults who PACE their response to his behavior—an acronym that describes a stance educators can take with students who challenge them.

Lessons from the Bowerbird:

This is an invitation to think beyond the ordinary. Think beyond the pictures in the early childhood catalog. Think beyond the room next door. Think like a bowerbird. Just like the bowerbird, be finicky about what is in your classroom habitat—especially what is posted on your walls. Read on for more info.

The Importance of Early Adolescence:

"The beliefs generally held about young adolescents have been largely negative and are more myths than realities. Gradually, however, in recent decades society has come to acknowledge this stage of life as a period that warrants special attention. The booming middle school movement is focused on providing an appropriate educational program for 10- to 15-year-olds." Read more from John Lounsbury on middle level students.

Developmental Characteristics of Young Adolescents:

This is a GREAT piece that outlines what we know about middle level students. Please read and share with every middle level educator and parents!

Authentic Assessment Challenges and Empowers Students:

What is authentic assessment? Authentic assessment is a method for measuring student learning by providing developmentally appropriate, student-centered, active learning strategies that help students develop lifelong learning competencies such as effective decision making, communication, and cooperation. Authentic assessment challenges students with tasks that have real-life relevance and meaning while empowering them to take control of their own learning.

10 Common Mistakes Parents Today Make (Me Included):

"If there's one thing I hope to get right in my children, it's their CORE. Character, moral fiber, an inner compass ... these things lay the foundation for a happy, healthy future. They matter more than any report card or trophy ever will."

Educational Leadership: Improving Schools: What Work's? Five Myths About School Improvement:

"Evidence abounds that educators are hard at work improving schools. More support from policy-makers for internal efforts would go a long way toward making them more successful," writes editor in chief of Educational Leadership Marge Scherer. In her recent Educational Leadership column, Scherer dispels common myths about school improvement. Read on for more info.

Making sure poverty ≠ destiny: Smart Blogs:

Making the extraordinary ordinary is an original SmartBlog on Education content series. The series explores the possibilities and challenges of making the extraordinary ordinary. It features stories of hope and possibility, of teachers, principals, schools and districts doing extraordinary things with increased regularity, creating a different kind of momentum in public education.

Finding the gift in every student: Smart Blogs:

Teachers should strive to find "giftedness" in all students, educator Cheryl Mizerny writes in this blog post. She calls for the use of instructional strategies often used in gifted-education classrooms to be used with all students, especially those who may be struggling. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education.

ASCD EDge- An Easier Way to Teach:

"Our role as teachers is not to do the learning for our students; our role is to find ways to help our students learn on their own," writes ASCD author and ASCD EDge community member Robyn Jackson. In a recent blog post, Jackson explains why it's important for teachers not to work harder than their students and instead help students to learn to do things for themselves.

Tweeting teachers: How one N.J. elementary school is embracing Twitter:

Could tweeting work for your school? Daily tweets give parents access to N.J. school Educators at a New Jersey elementary school are using Twitter to connect to the community, parents and colleagues outside of their school. Students write tweets about what they learn each day to be used as part of classroom feeds, which teachers hope parents use as starting points to discuss students' learning. The Times (Trenton, N.J.) (2/22)

What happens when computers, not teachers, pick what students learn?:

Thoughts??  Some schools in four states and Washington, D.C., are expanding on the blended-learning model by using technology to develop customized math lessons for students. One such school in New York City -- profiled in this article -- holds math lessons in an open classroom with as many as 150 students.

Portage Schools Embracing Whole Brain Method:

The philosophy of whole brain teaching is to engage the whole child, the whole classroom, in learning activities. By engaging the whole brain children learn better and retain more. Read more in the article. ...."This is changing our mindset drastically."

Center of Excellence for College and Career Readiness at Francis Marion University:

Francis Marion University's newest Center--the Center of Excellence for College and Career Readiness will hold a spring conference at The Inn at USC on March 20 (starting at 5:00PM) and March 21 (8:30AM-2:30PM). The 2015 SC Course Alignment Project Conference will provide education leaders from throughout the state the opportunity to learn more about developing partnerships to improve college and career readiness. Speakers will share their experiences in developing partnerships among different kinds of educational institutions, business and industry organizations, and community groups. This is a great opportunity for teachers, faculty members, administrators, and others interested in helping students be successful in the transition from high school to their college and career pursuits to learn more about how we can work together across institutional boundaries to help our state's high school graduates to succeed.

Registration for the conference is $25. Please go to this link to register: http://www.screadiness.org/ You may make reservations to stay at the Inn for the special rate of $120 by calling (803) 779-7779.

Low-Income Kids Benefit From Music Class, Show Greater Reading Skills:

Researchers cited low socioeconomic status affects a child’s reading abilities through a combination of their environment and reduced access to reading materials. This means they spend less time reading, which means their reading fluency and vocabulary is inhibited. Since music and language skills stem from auditory processing, researchers decided to measure the impact music classes have on low-income children.

Writing strategies for Students with ADHD:

Too often, students with ADHD are labeled as problem children. They often get placed into special education even if they have no signs of a developmental disability. Though these students’ brains do work differently, it does not mean they cannot be highly intelligent. Teachers should pay special attention to help students with ADHD discover their potential and deal with the challenged they face in their learning process.

ACSD Policy Points:

For the first time in recent history, the majority of children attending U.S. public schools come from low-income families. Among these students, 16 million live in poverty – meaning an annual income below $23,624 for a family of four – which can touch almost every aspect of a child’s life.

A passionate education leader in the desert:

Driven by a passion to create an environment where teachers and students can reach full potential, Superintendent Darwin Stiffler has implemented programs to support the migrant workers and military families whose children attended the Yuma Elementary School District in Arizona.

How Schools Maximize Gifted Talent:

The U.S. public schools system’s focus on struggling students leaves high-achievers – especially minorities, the economically disadvantaged and English-language learners – without a challenging enough education, experts say.

Nonacademic Skills Are Key to Success. But What Should We Call Them?:

More and more people in education agree on the importance of learning stuff other than academics, but no one agrees on what to call that “stuff”. This article gives an overview of the following terms: 21st century skills, character, grit, growth mindset, non-cognitive traits and habits, social and emotional skills, and soft skills.

How to Make Learning VISIBLE in Your School:

What affects student learning the most? World-renowned professor John Hattle began his quest to find the answer more than 20 years ago. The resulting Visible Learning research is now the world’s largest evidence base on what works best in schools to improve learning.

Research: Quick Teacher-Parent Communications Can Reduce Dropouts:

A large but underused influence on student academic success in schools turns out to be parental communication. A new study done by researchers at Harvard University and Brown University found that a single individualized message sent weekly from a teacher to a parent documenting the student’s performance in school was enough to reduce student failure by 41 percent.

How to Manage Cell Phones in the Classroom:

One teacher’s perspective of cells phone is this: cell phones are analogous to what happened when the Walkman first appeared. Students could conveniently takes their music with them and be connected to the outside world. This article discusses disciplinary actions for the use of cell phones in class.

Field Notes: The Day I Ditched Points:

Kids can learn without grades. When a doctor makes a diagnosis, it may be summative, but they also provide feedback on how to treat the illness and improve health. Educators should learn from this process and use it to help their students thrive as learners.

The Problem With Ds:

D students can be a serious problem. Although they pass, they learn next to nothing along the way. A D student may do poorly on a major test assignment but make up for it with minor grades such as quizzes or bonus points. If Ds are markers of adequacy that everyone recognizes as inadequate, doling them out seems illogical and cynical.

Eric Jensen Shares Five Rules for Engagement – Rules Unwritten Until Now:

Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind challenges teachers to set a new bar: to reach more students in more engaging and profound ways. Jensen presents engagement strategies that tell teachers specifically how to: expand cognitive capacity to enable students to reach high goals, increase motivation and effort, build a deep, enduring understanding of content, improve classroom behaviors, and foster powerfully positive attitudes and mind sets in both students and teachers.

Teaching for Life Success: Why Resourcefulness Matters:

Unless information is processed, organized, and applied, knowledge can become a source of frustration rather than fulfillment. Children learn to use and apply knowledge as they gain skills in planning, organizing, decision making, and problem solving. Together, these are the building blocks of resourcefulness – the ability to find and use available resources to achieve goals.

12 of My Favorite Podcasts for Teachers:

Here are some podcasts that teachers can listen to in order to gain useful information about teaching!

Five Clever Ideas to Spark Independent Reading by Kids:

There are many concepts, skills and standards to be covered in a school day that it can be easy to forget about one simple activity that promotes autonomy and starts students down a path of lifelong learning – independent reading. Creative school librarians are proving there are plenty of great ways to get kids excited about reading on their own.

Greatness is Often in the Smallest of Details:

The phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff” is one that that should be taken to heart. Sometimes you do need to simply let go of the small stuff, however, other times you need to sweat the small stuff. Sometimes, the small stuff can be the difference between “good” and “great”.

Seeing Struggling Math Learners as ‘Sense Makers’, not ‘Mistake Makers’:

In discussions of progressive and constructivist teaching practices, math is often left out. Teachers and schools that are capable of creating real-world, contextualized, project-based learning activities in every other area of school often struggle to do the same for mathematics, even as prospective employers and universities put more emphasis on its importance.

Peek Inside a Classroom: What Happened to Jasmine:

A teacher describes a young, small student, Jasmine, and her violent and inappropriate behavior in the classroom. In this situation, educators need to be asking the right questions. It’s not what’s wrong with Jasmine?;  it’s what happened to Jasmine?

It’s All about That Space:

In this article, the author explores four classroom design principles. The first, face-time is key, is about keeping everyone in the classroom where all the areas feel ‘welcoming’. The second, showcase who you are, suggests displaying students work around their desk area and in the classroom. The third, remember where you came from, is about how teachers should display personal items to show how they got to where they are today. The final, think wheels, not glue, is about how our spaces should never become static.

Video: “How Language Makes Your Brain Bigger”:

Check out this video on your brain on language.

Reconfiguring the 5-year plan: Right Now Strategies for Schools:

The problem with five-year plans is that technology evolves at staggering speeds and our students change from week to week. Most five-year plans are obsolete long before the plan comes to fruition. We live in a time that calls for right-now strategies. This article provides five solve-today-implement-tomorrow strategies.

Educators can spot emotional baggage:

In recent years, educators have become more aware that some students are carrying emotional baggage that can interfere with their ability to learn. Some have not. Children may be dealing with trauma from exposure to street violence, domestic violence, or exposure to drugs and alcohol. It is crucial for teachers to be able to identify emotional problems and ask the right questions.

8 tips for Dealing with Problem Students:

Over half of new teachers leave the field within their first three years because of the stress with dealing with disruptive and problem behavior. If you feel frustrated with behavior issues, take comfort that you are not alone. The article lists strategies that help to manage problem students’ behavior.

Co-Teaching for Rookies: Classroom Organization and Managing Details:

The article provides advice from educators on how to build a strong co-teaching relationship. This series focus on tips and tricks that teachers use to make the classroom run more smoothly on a daily basis.

What Drives Student Learning?:

Some students show resolve, while others seem to dread each step that brought them closer to the building. While their expressions could have had as much to do with the oppressive humidity as their opinions about their first day of school, the parade of faces made me ask the question: what drives learning?

Parent and Family Engagement: 15 Tips to Help High School Students Achieve:

What can we do to help our high school student succeed? Is there something we should be doing at home? To answer these questions, the author went to research from Harvard researchers, Nancy Hill. Her strategies are differentiated from the elementary school model of parent involvement – that can help with parents and families of high school students. The core of the strategy involves academic socialization – a family’s ability to communicate academic expectations and foster education and career aspirations.

When Home is Tough, Making Students Feel Good At School:

Kids who have witnessed domestic violence or experienced abuse require a different sort of reprimanding in the classroom. Teachers should respond to their misbehavior in a way that keeps them engaged and keeps them in the classroom.

Teacher: Why I Gave My Cell Phone Number to My Students’ Parents:

For a teacher, giving out your cell phone number to nervous parents seems like a recipe for disaster. But for this teacher, it was a part of a toolbox of strategies amassed over time to make her job easier. Parents appreciated having this option when they needed it. She found that the mutual respect and appreciation set the tone for the relationship that she built with her parents in her classroom for the rest of the year.

Will School-Discipline Reform Actually Change Anything?

Districts from Los Angeles to New York are experimenting with new policies designed to eliminate zero-tolerance discipline. But the reality is often a lot different than the idea.

Guided Inquiry in Early Childhood Teaching and Learning:

In early childhood classrooms, informal and planned learning experiences occur around tables, at circle times, and between small groups of children and teachers. A shared workspace allows for spontaneous conversation, questioning, and the exploration of a particular content-based experience, an idea, or an artifact. Within the communal setting of early childhood classrooms, questioning and inquiry can play a central role in meaningful learning opportunities as children explore new skills and ideas.

Inquiry-Based Learning:

Instead of just presenting the facts, use questions, problems, and scenarios to help students learn through their own agency and investigation.

Ask a Scientist: Can Brain Scanners ‘See’ a Kid’s Imagination at Work?:

Perhaps not surprisingly, children who are read to often at home and who have many books in their homes are better at visualizing what they’re hearing. Dr. John Hutton, a pediatrician and clinical researcher, is the lead author of a recent study that pinpointed the part of the brain that helps young children visualized stories grown-ups read to them.

Teachers Nurture Growth Mindsets in Math:

A blend of family attitudes, cultural ideas, and frustration often leads students to believe that math ability is a fixed trait like eye color, teachers say. They believe they are either born with the skills necessary to succeed in math class or they’re not. Those pervasive ideas and the way math has traditionally been taught can make it exceptionally difficult for math teachers to nurture growth mindsets in their students, they say.

School Dropout Study: ‘You Don’t Have to be Mother Teresa to Help a Kid:

Supportive relationships with adults at school and in the community can play a buffering role, the study found, increasing the chances that at-risk young people will stay in school – or go back to school after dropping out – despite the challenges they face.

4 Steps to Put School Data to Good Use:

A critical aspect of school reform for today’s schools is the ability to effectively manage data. Leaders and teachers are often overwhelmed with the sheer amount of data they have. Many of the schools we work with are unsure how to best use the information. The authors suggest a four step process when you use data to support your efforts to improve the rigor of your school: 1)be clear about what you want to know; 2) decided how to collect the data; 3) analyze the data; 4) set priorities and goals.

At Aurora’s Newest School, Students Taught Life Skills to Become Better Learners and Writers:

The fourth-grader is among the first class of students at a new Aurora Public School embarking on a bold experiment to link life skills such as perseverance and coping to learning, a strategy viewed as essential for students more likely to bounce from school to school. As part of its first year, the Edna and John W. Mosley P-8 School is applying those principles to tackling one of public education’s thorniest topics: how to better teach writing.

Improving Schools: Avoiding Student Burnout:

Burnout and stress can come with an over focus on a student’s academics. Students are being asked to perform more frequently and consistently than previous generations. Youth anxiety levels have been on the rise at younger and younger ages.

Building to Code:

Learn about assessment and scaffolding to support the five stages of second-language acquisition: preproduction, early production, speech emergence, intermediate fluency, and advanced fluency.

How Your Mindset Might be Affecting Your Company’s Innovation:

People have different beliefs about their talents and abilities. Some have a “fixed mindset”: They believe that their talents and abilities are fixed traits; you only have a certain amount. This is a mindset that turns people away from risks that may reveal deficiencies, and, in this way, can work against innovation and growth.

Making Emotional Development Accessible:

Research has verified that emotional development is a crucial component of academic. This article describes how to use action charts to simplify a complex social skill into a series of specific activities. Action charts to teach affective skills such as cultivating courage, making friends, working with others, or expanding sensitivity.

Home Visits Are Key to Kids’ Success:

Building a relationship of trust between schools and parents with clear communication and shared goals for success is crucial. The Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project is based on community organizing principles and focuses on building relationships between families and teachers to help kids learn.

More Schools Are Working to Integrate the Arts into Classroom Learning:

The third-graders at Capitol Heights Elementary School are showing what they have learned about ancient Chinese dynasties, but there is no conventional quiz. They are gathered in small groups writing song lyrics — testing ideas, rhyming words, adding details, singing to each other.

Under Stress, Students in New York Schools Calm in Meditation:

Fourth graders are practicing mindful exercises in the classroom in order to reduce stress and help students focus. Mindfulness exercise might ask children to focus on breathing in and out. In a classroom, the idea is to get students into the habit of calming themselves and clearing their minds so they can better focus on their lessons.

Report: School Suspensions Widen Achievement Gap:

Disproportionate suspension rates for black students and disabled students have created a national discipline gap, making it more difficult for these students to succeed academically.

Investigate U.S. History With Zoom In:

Zoom In’s lessons ask students to investigate a historical question and to gather evidence from primary and secondary sources of information that children can use to build written essays. The lessons hook students from the start, and include interesting resources – political cartoons, graphs, pictures – making lessons fun to teach, and understandable to students.

D11 Awarded $65k Grant to Train Students and Teachers in Restorative Justice:

Restorative justice refers to a different approach when it comes to discipline in some of its schools, with the help of a $65,000 grant for teacher and student training. Instead of expelling students or putting them in school suspension, this approach focuses on making it right by communicating through a conflict or wrong doing and taking responsibility for one’s actions.

The Match That Starts the Fire:

Students often choose to use simple words instead of more sophisticated words. To help, teachers can encourage students to look up familiar words they come across in their reading and expand their vocabularies. When readers make an effort to learn new words, they will find ways to use them in their speech.

We Already Know How to Close the Achievement Gap:

Social-mobility research and results from interventions across the country provide ideas for successful anti-poverty efforts. The article discusses three issues that address causes of poverty and ways of remediating it.

Don’t Crush Reading Motivation:

It is very important to encourage children to read books not only on their current reading level, but books that may seem even just a little too difficult.

Kindergarten Students Get an Introduction to Engineering:

An activity called a “make-a-thon” was designed to encourage students, all African American, attending school in a poor neighborhood to focus their talents as they grow older on building bridges and towers and gadgets. Research shows that many students lose interest in the fields or confidence in their abilities by middle school.

Navigating the Common Core Strategies: Inclusion Dos and Do Betters:

Inclusion principles, both legislatively and life-driven, involve specially designed instruction. Inclusion and CCSS Supports for Students and Staff offers action-packed verbs that invited staff to use ADMIRE to achieve the standards within inclusive classrooms.

Gifted Yet Disadvantaged Kids May Be Getting Shrift:

15 states don’t track the education of high-performing students at all. In total, 35 states require schools to identify their top-performers, though they are not obligated to act if they start to fall behind.

College Graduation May Be Partly Determined by Your Genes, Genome Study of Siblings Finds:

A team of researchers from Stanford University are studying pairs of siblings because so much is similar for them. Researchers have found that within families, an adolescent with a higher polygenic score than his/her sibling tended to complete slightly more schooling.

How to Recognize PTSD in the Classroom And Why It Matters:

There are several types of stress and depending on the situation; your brain produces positive, tolerable, or toxic stress responses. The article discusses three types of stress responses how to recognize them in children in the classroom.

Calling for a Timeout on Rubrics and Grading Scales:

Standards-based grading is better than traditional grading. Teachers must negotiate with each other about what evidence they will tolerate at each level of performance. How do we define adequate, satisfactory, and superior when it comes to knowing abstract concepts like astronomy or an appreciation for poetry?

Classroom Management Strategies for Difficult Students:

How can teachers engage students through enhanced personal interactions while simultaneously managing classroom climate and instruction? The purpose of this article is to suggest specific strategies that integrate knowledge and skills from education, counseling, and psychotherapy to help teachers develop a strong management system based on the development of personal relationships with students.

Successful Strategies for Teaching Reading to Middle Grades English Language Learners:

Because students come to schools with varying levels of first language proficiencies, the amount of language instruction required varies from one student to the next. Before instruction begins, it is essential for teachers to gauge each student’s language proficiency level to guide future instruction. However, when teachers assess a student's language proficiency, it is important for them to keep in mind that a student may sound fluent in English when, in fact, he or she is not.

The Importance of Classroom Structure:

Teachers can ask themselves the following questions: What information do your students need to know every day? What inspiration do your students need every day? What education artifacts do they need every day? What education artifacts and actions do they need every day? How do you need to structure desks and for what activities?

Creative Ideas for Making Learning Fun:

The article describes an idea on how to make learning more fun. It involves translating what the students just read/heard into language a younger group could understand (i.e., high schoolers translate into language middle schoolers could understand).

How I Got Multiple Tickets During My First Month Teaching 8th Grade:

A teacher implemented a classroom activity called “ticket out the door” that started out great. However, after several weeks, her students began to turn in their tickets less and less. She finally realized her mistake had been becoming predictable.

Three Ways to Incorporate Formative Assessment Into Every Classroom:

By grading less, communicating more, and focusing on growth, teachers can incorporate formative assessment into their lessons. Formative assessment shouldn’t be graded, but thought of as a progress monitoring strategy.

Hundreds Gather for Conference on Poverty and Education:

Dr. Eric Jenson, a nationally recognized expert on brain research and brain-based teaching, spoke to faculty of the Maine-Endwell and Windsor school districts about the effects of poverty on children’s brains.

Watch: One-Minute Mindfulness Strategy:

Not everyone can retreat to a cave in the Himalayas to find their center. In their research, The Mindful School Leader authors Valerie Brown and Kirsten Olson found that most educators are overwhelmed and often don't take the time for self-care. This quick, 30–60 second breathing strategy demonstrates an easy way to incorporate mindfulness and repose throughout a busy day.

What Does it Take to Ready Students for College and Career?

Future ready schools aim to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to function in a digital world. Infrastructure and job-embedded professional development are the most important factors in creating this type of environment.

The Five-by-Five Approach to Differentiation Success:

The article discusses five points about setting the stage for effective differentiation and five examples of daily actions teachers can employ. Setting the stage includes assessing, building relationships, keeping students moving forward, teaching life-skills lessons, and creating a community of learners.

Honor Roll? Really?

Learn how the honor roll can adversely affect students who don’t make the cut. When interviewed by their teacher, most high-achieving students reported that making the honor was not a top priority to them, only their GPA seemed important.

School’s Private Pop-up Shop Lets Underserved Students Buy Basics With Dignity:

Washington High School has created an anonymous shop that provides students who are underprivileged with basic resources like food, hygienic products, school supplies and clothes. The school believes in order to work on academics; students’ basic needs must first be met. 

Can Teaching Mathematics With Music Boost Student Achievement?:

An elementary school teacher from Maryland has integrated the arts into his language arts lessons. Students are excited and interested and are also working together. The school hopes to see a rise in their students’ standardized test scores after the integration of art and academics. Music can help increase children’s problem-solving skills, enhance social skills, and remember material better.

Homer Meets High-Tech: Data Visualization and the Classics:

The article lists seven reasons why teachers should try visualization when teaching classics: an inherently interdisciplinary process, framing study to teach agency, data management and design thinking, teamwork and communal analysis, new insights: friends or frenemies?, fact-based inquiry,  and finally, it’s free!

Student-Led Conferences Part Two: The Application:

Prior to the beginning of the conference, the teacher and the student discuss the conference and what topics will be discussed. The tone is set by having chairs for both the child and the parent. The teacher should have manipulatives for the child to play with or color on. Any issues or concerns the parent has should be addressed. At the end of the meeting, the teacher should review what the next best steps for them are.

Countdown to Conferences: Getting My Data Ducks in a Row:

This article describes what student data tracking binders, interactive student notebooks, OpenSchoolePortfolios, and much are, how to use them, and what to do at conferences.

Report Card Comments and Parent Conferences Made Easy:

Learn about tips for writing report card comments and what to do before, during, and after parent-teacher conferences.

101 Report Card Comments to Use Now:

You should begin each comment with a positive note. Then you can provide specific information across several different areas (i.e., personal attributes, behaviors, work habits, etc.). Then, setting a goal and closing are how the process should end!

Mining Online Data on Struggling Readers Who Catch Up:

A small difference in daily reading habits is associated with large gains. Less than 5 minutes can make the difference between skids who remain at the bottom of the class and those who make it to the top of the class. For children in the U.S. who practice reading using Accelerated Reader, a small amount of additional daily reading separates those on the bottom.

Project to Recognize ‘High Schools of Opportunity’ for All Students Goes National:

A project called, Schools of Opportunity was launched last year to honor schools that tried to offer their students chances to succeed. The project identifies and recognizes public high schools that attempt to close opportunity gaps through practices that build on students’ strengths.

Top 10 UDL Tips for Assessment:

This article discusses CAST’s universal design for learning and ten components of UDL framework to design and reflect on assessments.

Four Keys for Students as Data StakeHolders:

Want students to drive their own learning? Give them these keys for engaging with their achievement data. Key 1) set clear and measurable goals; 2) use predictable and consistent assessment tools; and 3) make data useful to students and you.

Responding to 10 Potential Data Discussion Pitfalls:

When your team comes together to discuss student data and make a plan for action, use this guide to keep the conversation focused on substantive and impactful results in the classroom.

Q&A: Misconceptions About Formative Assessment:

View this interview with Richard Stiggins, a widely known advocate of classroom assessments in the service of student learning. In this session, Dr. Stiggins discusses what formative assessment is and what it is not.

Students ‘Self-Assess’ Their Way to Learning:

Student self-assessment is one type of formative assessment that students can use to effectively check their progress along the way. Students are learning more effectively if they understand what they’re working toward and where they are.

Searching for Clarity on Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment has many different connotations. One view is that it is “quick, actionable assessments” that give teachers information along the way. Another view is that teachers don’t simply gain insight into their students, but they also learn about their own teaching strategies as well. The third viewpoint of formative assessment is that teaching practices are designed to help students understand what their learning goals are, determine how far from the goal they are, and how they can achieve that goal.

Types of Assessments: A Head-to-Head Comparison:

Here you will find a helpful chart that lists the differences between formative and interim assessments.

Six Apps That Block Social Media Distractions:

This is an article about anti-distraction apps to aim to create a more focused and efficient course, classroom, or study session. These apps block students from certain sites deemed unnecessarily distraction.

What Students and Teachers Really Think About Computer Science in Schools:

Most teachers want their students to learn computer science, but many don’t think their school boards support the idea. A new survey showed that many teachers do not think that their local school boards agree that computer science is vital to their students’ futures.

Mindfulness Meditation May Improve Memory for Teens:

A recent study revealed that adolescents assigned to a mindfulness meditation program appeared to have improvements in memory. This correlates with other data that has found that mindfulness mediation to improve students’ working memory capacity.

Be a School Leader: The 16 Best Resources for School Administrators:

The role that teachers play in the educational system is significant and vital, but if teachers are the heart of the operation, administrators are the bones. You support teachers, forge relationships with students and the public, and strive to create a school environment that is beneficial for everyone who walks through the doors. How can you take your role to the next level and become an even more effective administrator? The article lists resources you may need.

What happens when instead of suspensions, kids talk out their mistakes?

There are many ways, in the school system, to administer punishment for poor decision making.  Pittsfield Middle High School has decided to adopt a more modern way of handling disciplinary infractions.  Read here to learn a little about restorative justice, and particularly how it has affected some of the students in this school.

Turns Out Monkey Bars And Kickball Might Be Good For The Brain

Adopted from the school system in Finland, there have been some alterations in the way some school systems choose to handle recess.  This new initiative is leading to more attentive students in the classroom as well as a variety of other positive effects.

Behavior Expectations and How to Teach Them

This article focuses on how to effectively approach the gap between expectations and the reality as it relates to student’s behaviors.  This is a more proactive approach to encouraging new behaviors in your students. Delve into this article to spark thought as to how you can formulate your own strategies, specific to your students and their behaviors.

Vocabulary: Wondrous Words or Busy Work?

The broader one’s vocabulary, the more precise they can be.  Thomas Marshall discusses Common Core’s initiative for emphasizing the importance of developing vocabulary.  Marshall offers a diverse range of methods one could use in order to enhance the quality and assortment of your student’s jargon.

Family Engagement that Works: Parent-Teacher Home Visits

Research supports the theory that increased positive teacher/parent interaction directly correlates with students functioning in the school. This article presents the some discoveries of teacher initiated interventions to engage the families.  Read here and assess whether this is a programs your district could benefit from.

Road Tested / Five Classroom Policies that Uphold Student Dignity

When one does not feel a sense of comfort or safety their ability to learn is impeded tremendously. One teacher shares 5 polices that he goes by to be sure to treat each one of his students in a respectful manner while also creating an environment for learning and success.

Saying What You Mean Without Being Mean

This article offers strategies one could use in order to help initiate critical communication with a colleague.  This article cites David Perkins, an author on the collaborative practices, and entails some methods in which he productively converses with his associates. 

School-based mindfulness training may reduce stress, trauma

John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore conducted an experiment testing the benefits of mindfulness programs as opposed to health courses in fifth-eighth grade courses.  The mindfulness classes taught various meditational techniques that students could utilize to help better manage stress.  Read here to see what they found.

Working together: Principal of the Year Dr. Latoya Dixon builds relationships with staff, students and parents

Dr. Latoya Dixon is a person who experienced firsthand how education can change the course of one’s life.  Through dedication, teamwork, and a commitment she has been able to create an environment that that encourages students at Knox Middle School to be successful.  This article entails the efforts that she has been engaging in that earned her the title Principal of the Year. 

Understanding and Managing Challenging Behavior

Often times children are cycling through a range of emotions that would cause anyone to exhibit poor self-control.  Here Jennifer Fiechtner and Kay Albrecht offer a scenario where readers get to tag along with Ms. Gonzales as she engages in approaches that helps a classroom full of active three year olds acclimate themselves to the expected rules of the classroom after a long holiday break.  

Wiring Rural Schools

This webinar offers some information regarding the topic of excessive rates that many rural schools pay for poor internet service.

Teaching Students to Reflect on Personal Learning

This is a webinar where National Board Certified Teacher, Starr Sackstein encourages teachers to use reflection as a tool in their repertoire of skills when working with students. Also highlighted is how this can promote students into independent thinkers and learners.

Salvaging Education in Rural America

Fentress County, Tennessee is simply one of a large sum of rural areas suffering from persistent poverty.  The effects associated with poverty have had a nearly detrimental effect on the school system in this county.  Though experiencing toughcircumstances, there are some here who are fighting to see the students achieve.  Read here to see their story which represents countless others in the U.S.

What Have Rubrics Got To Do With It?

Traditional rubrics have been a useful tool for teacher for decades; however, as time passes there is always room for improvement.  This article offers a new look to an old concept that may help students become more independent while internalizing material

When I Call Your Name … Encouraging Students to Do Their Homework

Here a teacher discusses how she challenged the problem of lack of homework participation in her classroom.  She explains how she implemented a homework presentation system and the benefits that her students saw from it.

GPS for Test Prep: Which Route Do You Take?

Amber Chandler, ELA teacher and department chair at Frontier Middle School in Hamburg, New York, uses the analogy of a road trip in order to explain how teachers should approach the task of taking their students on a journey to knowledge.

“Using Brain to Design Pathways Out of Poverty”

This is a research conducted by Dr. Elisabeth Babcock used to tackle the question as to whether or not students are doomed to educational struggle.  Science She presents neuroscience studies that projects hope for students of poverty both know and in the future.

Stuffed Animals as Reading and Writing Buddies

Alycia Zimmerman, an elementary school teacher, discusses her methodology of utilizing stuffed animals as educational tools.  She gives numerous examples of how she chooses to apply them in her classroom.  Read here and see if you can create some ideas of your very own.

Ensuring Success for All: Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Students in Poverty, and Students Who Struggle With Language and Learning

This is link to a webinar wherein Shannon Peeples, 2015 National Teacher of the Year, discusses how teachers can work to impact the learning experience of each individual student in classroom of a broad range of backgrounds.  She utilizes tools such as differentiation, RTI, and other techniques that can benefit you as an educator and your student as a pupil.

It’s Time to Stop Averaging Grades

Rick Wormeli expresses his dissatisfaction with the current way of presenting student abilities, averaging grades.  He debates the issue in this article by pointing out the flaws in using statistics to gauge a student’s knowledge growth and the reliability as well. Read here and determine whether or not you agree with Wormeli’s argument.

10 Surefire Ideas to Remove Writing Roadblocks

It can be challenging to encourage enthusiasm in writing for someone who struggles with it.  RegieRoutman offers ten ideas that she utilizes to help timid writers see their full potential.  Take some time to apply these techniques and see how they enhance your young writer.

Kindergartners With Traumatic Life Experiences Struggle More in School

A traumatic experience can affect one’s life in multiple ways.  One area of impact that has recently been studied is education.   This article discusses research conducted by Pediatrics on more than 1,000 urban students and explains some of the effects on educational attainment when the trauma is sustained between birth and age five.

School leader paves a more promising path

Luvenia Jackson, the superintendent for Clayton County public schools in Georgia, has an extensive history of working to provide better educations and overall quality of life for her students.  This article explains her history as well as the approach she is taking now to help the 50,000 student body which she tends to have a higher chance at graduating, staying out of the legal system, and becoming productive members of society.

Learning theory in the 21st-century classroom

Marcia Powell discusses how the trends in learning theory in the 21st century. She includes traditional face-to-face classrooms as well the online medium this discussion. Read here and explore her thoughts and findings on the topic.

A trip across the 50 States

This is an interactive tool that can teach students about each of the 50 states.

Evaluating Studies of Ed-Tech Products

This is a link to a tool that school officials in charge of purchasing can use to assess ed-tech products before purchasing.  This tool will help increase the efficiency of ed-tech products chosen for each user.

Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers

A combined effort from EA sports, the NFL Players Association, and Discovery Education led to “Football by the Numbers”.  This is an instructional tool used aimed at sharpening math and science skills in 5th – 9th grade students using various aspects of football. Provided here is a link to the free program.


This is a free app created by Niantic Labs, a subdivision of google in which one gets immersed in to a world win which mind control exists.  It is up to you as the player to decide who you believe should control this power, join them, and help them claim victory over the opposing forces.  This game uses real world locations and landmarks to continue to peak the interest of players

Student Technology Conference 2016

This is a free online resource that unites teachers and students alike from all corners of the Earth.  It serves as an opportunity for those interested to share knowledge on educational technology. It was held January 30, 2016. Watch this video to learn more. 

Here's Why Writing Things Out By Hand Makes You Smarter

This article discusses research conducted in order identity what attributes better memory and internalization of material to writing out notes by hand as opposed to typing them.  Dr. Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Dr. Daniel Oppenheimer of University of California, Los Angeles, come together which may spark an initiative to encourage students to put down laptops and pick up a pen and a note pad.

Sarcasm RULES

Read hear as one teacher explores the negative effects of sarcasm on the learning experiences of his student’s learning experience.  He uses this knowledge in order to grow encourage educators to avoid this form of communication as much as possible.

Lesson Plan | Teaching ‘Star Wars’ With the New York Times

In the midst of an addition the classic “Star Wars” series, what better way to inspire learning than by incorporating it into your method of teaching. This article offers fun and creative ways in order to teach Math, English, Science, and even Economics using “Star Wars” themed lessons plans.

Power up What Works: Power Up your Teaching and Power up your Learning.

This website offers a bundle of resources and ideas that teacher, administrators, and various other school officials can use to integrate technology in order to enhance teaching and inspire learning. 

HBO-The Big Picture Rethinking Dyslexia (Part 1 of 4) HD

This is a the first video in a documentary from HBO that helps shed light on the concept of Dyslexia as well as identifies stories of prevail of their personal struggle with the disorder.  You are encouraged to watch this video and become inspired about the future of those who have to deal with this disorder.

Novel Engineering

The Center for Engineering Education and Outreach encourages youth to tackle hands on projects while increasing their reading comprehension.  This website offers insight into this initiative which teachers can incorporate into their lessons to make for a more interesting learning experience for their students.

Learning Empathy through Dance

Enjoy this article that illustrates how students use dance to refine social-emotional skills. Join as this article describes how Poindexter uses ballroom dance to achieve a wide range of social, and physical benefits to students in New York City.

Only 46% of Students Feel Valued in Their School

According to a recent study, which involved 66,000 participants, less than half of the students feel valued in their school.  This can have negative impacts on the future of those students as it relates to post-secondary education as well as other opportunities going forward in life.  Read to become more aware of the perspective that you may deal with on a regular basis in your school.

Join Arts & Music in Early Learning Ed

This online forum encourages integration of arts and music to the curriculum of early educators. Click hear to see what this professional learning community has to offer you.

Student Technology Conference 2016

This is a free online resource that unites teachers and students alike from all corners of the Earth.  It serves as an opportunity for those interested to share knowledge on educational technology. It was held January 30, 2016. Watch this video to learn more.

Thinking on Your Feet: Cognitive Function Improves When Using Standing Up to Learn

Innovative research by Texas A&M supports the idea that more classrooms should adopt standing desk.  This is an experiment that is the first of its kind in that it is not limited by biases of limitations, rendering it objective.  It focuses solely on executive functioning through portable brain imaging devices. Click this link to learn more about the application of this research and what it could mean going forward.

Send the Right Message: Abolish Red Pens for Correcting Papers

This article takes into consideration literature on the psychological effects of grading in red ink.  It reports reasons as to why teachers should try avoid this specific color.  Karen Gross, Former Senior Policy Advisor for the U.S. Department of Education, does this through sharing some of what she had once seen as a frustrating experience, which she now uses for an opportunity for growth. Read and see what has to offer on the topic

About Interactive Communication and Simulations

Explore this initiative by the University of Michigan to enhance the story experience.  Student mentors from the university work virtually in conjunction with upper elementary students in order to stimulate interest and understanding in stories that relate to history. Click to here to get a better view of the impact that it is having on students.

100 Acts of Kindness

Click here to view one schools initiative to both celebrate the 100th day of school as well as encourage positive social interaction between students and faculty alike.

ADHD in kids: What many parents and teachers don’t understand but need to know

ADHD has continued to be a growing field of interest in the education community.  It has a variety of impacts on students across a wide range of variables. This article is aimed at helping both educators and parents gain a better understanding of the disorder as well as suggest ways of identifying as to whether or not your student should be evaluated for the disorder.

How School Suspensions Push Black Students Behind

This is a summary of research published in the journal “Social Problems”.  It discusses in detail findings that relate an increase in disciplinary actions to the stagnation of the achievement gap.  This study, which was conducted through the University of Kentucky, shows how these two factors have resulted among students of color. Read here and learn more about the results, and see possible ways to handle this problem going forward.

Teachers at Low-Income Schools Deserve Respect

This article takes into consideration the prospective of one teacher of students who dealt with low-income that truly found fulfillment in his environment.  Read and learn more about this teacher’s point of view that pushes his beliefs on the lack of respect for teachers of low-income schools and how it should change.

How Feedback Can Be More Kid-Friendly

This model of feedback which leans towards the growth mindset encourages teachers to avoid being overly critical of their student’s work.  Instead it is an opportunity for student’s to receive feedback which encourages them to learn from what they did right and what they did wrong and make adjustments going forward.  Explore and see what you think.

A Relational Bank Account That Pays Dividends

This illustration of relationships provides a unique way of monitoring and assessing how you interact with your students.  It encourages positive experiences and co-dependent relationships that treat the student as an individual with feelings. Try utilizing this model with some of your student’s and see the impact that it has on your relationship.

MIT App Inventor

Explore this website to help enhance both you and your student’s understanding on a field that has become a large part of the job market in the past decade.  It incorporates all the parts of STEAM in order to provide useful inventions to individuals in an ever growing market of apps.

Google virtual reality takes N.J. middle school to Europe, Mars and Australia

Explained here is how Google is using new technology to drastically enhance the education of students.  It offers them an opportunity to immerse themselves in the cultures and environments they are studying.  You will find here what they have been doing thus far and what this could mean for classrooms in the future.

About Interactive Communication and Simulations

Explore this initiative by the University of Michigan to enhance the story experience.  Student mentors from the university work virtually in conjunction with upper elementary students in order to stimulate interest and understanding in stories that relate to history. Click to here to get a better view of the impact that it is having on students.

Five Things You Can Do To Guarantee Your Students Will Read

This writer shares her experiences that she’s had with literature and her students.  She offers some easy tips that you can use daily that you may see have some effect on your students as it relates to time spent reading.

Struggles of famous scientists inspire STEM students

Making larger than life figures in the scientific community more relatable to the students may have a significant impact on students understanding and internalization of the material.  Research shows that as students learn more about the struggles that scientist such as Einstein had to go through tend to stimulate student’s interest in STEM history.

Questioning That Deepens Comprehension

This article share’s 4 stimulating questions that you can use to help encourage your student’s  to develop a more thorough understanding of the literary information you would like for them to process.

Easily distracted: why it's hard to focus, and what to do about it

Psychology Today’s shares one theme from David Rock’s newly released literature, “Your Mind at Work”.  This article focuses primarily on how to handle distractions in a proactive manner from a psychological perspective.

Growth Mindset Read Alouds

Various tools that you can use to encourage your young students to reflect and learn from all experiences, even failures

“Because it Works!” Or Does it?

This article encourages readers to be more critical of discipline techniques that are not back by any real evidence. All too often these techniques are creating a hostile environment which detracts from the educational opportunities.  Read here to identify some myths in the disciplinary system used in institutions.

Developing Relationships with Difficult Students

The article in this link illustrates a scenario teacher confront all too often in the classroom.  It illustrates show teachers can work to positively affect their students by using interpersonal skills to break barriers with students who are normally more challenging.

Patient and Tenacious Teaching

This think piece encourages teachers to be mindful of the tactics they use to approach education in a very much so stressful and constrained academic period.  It takes into consideration a lot of the stressors teachers face in attempting to relay complicated material to students, but also asks them to be avoid traveling the road most commonly traveled of rushed lectures and adopt a more student friendly style of patience, assessment, and persistence.

Learning Engineering

Being that February 21-27 is engineering week use this free online website to introduce your students to electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering.  This interactive resource is age appropriate real work approaches to engineering.

How Do You Fix Schools? Maybe Just Give Them More Money.

Follow this research conducted by economists that try to identify a relationship between school funding and success in the students.  It is somewhat contrary to popular opinions in the field. Take a look for yourself and see which side your opinion falls on.

Conquering Difficult ELA Standards: Author’s Structure

This third grade teacher shares her efforts in how she first identified the issue then worked towards resolving it in her ELA class.  Also shared in this article is the resource that her and her class created in order to help aide them in future writing assignments.

Sit, Stand, Move! How to Increase your students’ Health, Behavior, and Achievement through movement.

This free resource can be used by teachers to provide a physically healthier education to their student using height adjusted desk in order to carol attention and enhance students’ education.  Click here to explore this free ebook and also learn how you can obtain funding for high adjusted desk for your institution.

Stop Blaming the Circumstances, Teach the Students!

Writer, Rachel George, confronts head on many stereotypes that are used as an excuse each day to justify they subpar education that individuals of poverty are subject to daily.  She offers specific steps in a strategy that can be used to help even the best teacher reflect upon their philosophies and grow as an educator.

Shifting the Focus to the Student: The ExcEL Attitude

This initiative better also known as “Excellence for English Learners” is an initiative that is encouraging schools to take in the uniqueness of student’s who do not speak English as a first language.  In doing so it appeals to their specific cultural interest as it relates to education, providing an individualized approach to their education.

ABC Printables and Activities for Kids – Story Bots

This is a free resource that Pre-K and kindergarten teachers can use that provides activities such as videos, books, and more that can be used across a wide range of media devices in the classroom.

What 7 Principals Wish they Knew their First Day on the Job

Learn from the experiences of several veteran principals that were shared at the National Association for Secondary School Principals’ Ignite Conference in Orlando, Florida.  This is a great opportunity for insight if not already in this position and also for a broadening of perspective if you already are.

NOAA’s SciJinks :: Home

NOAA and NASA come together on this website to stimulate interest in weather, meteorology, satellite, and Earth Science. Use this link to help the young scientist of tomorrow possible identify an unknown passion or further their knowledge on the areas.

Fighting Summer Reading Regression: Educators from Rollins Place Elementary School Share Their Efforts

Educators at Rollins Place Elementary School in Zachary, Louisiana are not only acknowledging the gap that continues to grow each summer in reading and literacy, they are actively combating it.  They tracking the progress and deficits of students as well as collaborating to come up with an effective response to what they find.  Click this link and watch this interview with some of the officials to get a better understanding of their initiative.

Sharing Our Practices: Developing Literacy Teaching and Learning in the "Off-Season

Summertime is often where a large deficit of knowledge is created amongst students.  Read click this link and see if your students will benefit from any of these strategies that support the growth of knowledge and literacy during this and other breaks throughout the year.

Share Fair Nation

Share Fair Nation is hosting an event on March 12, 2016 at Irmo High School in Columbia S.C. which offers a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) program for the teachers and interactive educational experiences for the students. It click here to learn more about the initiative.

Show & Tell: A Video Column / Transfer Goals for Deeper Learning

Read here as some colleagues embark upon a journey of internalization.  This journey involves the concept of Deeper learning which benefits the students in that they are able to benefit from a range of skills that they are encouraged to carry with them and build upon from year to year.  Read here to familiarize yourself with the strategies and types of skills they chose to use.

Bridging the Relationship Gap: Connecting with Children Facing Adversity

You can find a link to purchase “Bridging the Relationship Gap: Connecting with Children Facing Adversity”.  This text from Sara E. Langworthy promotes the type of relationship that children need in early childhood which will create more socially developed students of tomorrow.

Mindset 20/20

This article focus on 2006 research conducted by Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck, on growth mindset vs fixed mindset.  It identify areas that, over the past decade, may have become blurred to readers and offers working examples on how to properly encourage your student’s through trial and error process.

Ways to Celebrate 'Music in Our Schools Month'

Being that March is national “Music in Our Schools Month” what better way to celebrate the time than by identifying creative ideas in which your student’s become acquainted the arts. This link offers interactive ideas that you can partake in with your student’s that may ignite a lifelong passion for music that can benefit them in a multitude of ways.

Chase the Race

This is a useful online resource from Discovery Education and Envision that students can use to help become more informed on politics and how they affect their lives.  It encourages students to actively gain knowledge on the candidates in order to make an informed decision. It offers accurate information from a perspective they can relate to.

The Importance of Classroom Structure

One writer shares her experience how the set-up of her classroom helps her influence the education of her students.  She offers some questions you may ask yourself as that can add to the meaningfulness of your classroom structure as well.

Scheduling Time for Interdisciplinary Collaboration

This article gives advice on how teachers can achieve a set aside time to work together to strategically plan and relate studies in various disciplines such as Math, Science, and English.  This can sometimes be a tricky task seeing as how it depends on finding time within several schedules to meet uninterrupted while trying to juggle student’s, curriculum planning, and other events that may arise throughout the day.  Read here to see how they organized their efforts.

The Power of Stealth Assessment

Explored here are the benefits of monitoring knowledge and skill growth among students.  This method of obtaining data to research and modify policies that affect our nation’s schools everyday does not overly burden the students with anxieties that may arise from “yet another assessment”.

5 Ways to Make Your Classroom Student-Centered

This brief article explores 5 ways in which teachers can give their students a voice in the learning experience while simultaneously engaging their interest in the topics being studied.  These methods range from interaction to assessment.  Read here to see in you can identify any methods you may utilize with your students.

How Family Background Influences Student Achievement

In commemoration of James S. Coleman’s pivotal research, “Equality of Educational Opportunity” this article highlights correlations found in family background and its effects the achievement of students.  Enjoy this detailed article that not only provide you with history but also explains it application 50 years later.

Is Your School Asking the Right Questions About Poverty?

This article offers insight on techniques high performing, high poverty schools use to challenge the issues the see faced by hundreds of students daily.  It suggest questions you can ask yourself about student’s you know to be experience life in poverty and a few actions you can also partake in to begin helping confront their battle.

We Need to Rewrite the Textbook on How to Teach Teachers

A new report published by The National Council on Teacher Quality explains their methodology on how we can create more effective teachers through education.  Their ideas involve utilizing more evidenced based research in the textbook used to train educators. It also highlights “6 Core Strategies”, which are evidence based, that they believe teachers should know and use.

Lifting Up All Children

This link introduces readers to ideas from Jennifer King Rice, Prudence Carter, and Kevin Welner that summarize possible reforms from that can be found in a National Educational Policy Center (NEPC) brief.  It details different approaches that can be taken to tackle the opportunity gaps that are heavily influenced by financial merit.

“Deeper Learning” continues to show higher high school graduation rates

This article briefly discusses follow up research conducted by widely known researchers, American Institute for Researchers (AIR), which indicates positive effects that may arrive due to students’ attendance to institutions that focus on this style of learning.

At-risk school success stories

School leaders and officials are working to balance the unfortunate disadvantages that students face each day.  Programs like school pantries and homeless shelters help remove some barriers that students dealing with poverty must face daily.  Offered in this article are uplifting examples of how these various programs have fostered change in their community.

Student-Led Conferences

This is a think piece as which offer tips to teachers who plan to utilize an innovative approach to conferences between teachers to and parents which encourages students to offer their ideas to their educational path.

How Schools Are Failing Their Quietest Students

This article explains research as to why educator and writer Jessica Lahey, changed her approach to educating students with who are more introverted.  It goes into detail about ways in which introverts pattern of thinking differs than that of an extraverted student.  Also offered are some ways in which we can offer a more beneficial learner environment to our introverted student’s.

12 Words That Should Be in Our Educational Vocabulary 

Sparked by an earlier post about word the author believes should be banned from educational post Peter DeWitt follows up with what he believes with words that if are not already utilized, we should begin contributing to our speech each day.

'For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood...': An Interview With Chris Emdin

Read here as an associate professor at Columbia University and the author of “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood”, Chris Emdin responds to several interview questions about contributing factors to his recently published novel. 


This post discusses an early childhood expert, Dan Gartrell’s, opinion on the effectiveness of timeouts. Quotes are offered on what thought, he believes they truly stimulate.  

Daria - World Music for Children 

This website is designed to introduce you to Daria, a talented and cultured individual who spread knowledge about a variety of cultures around the world.  It also offers some ways you can stimulate interest and teach your little one about the world. 

How Do Student-Led Conferences Work With Parents? A Teacher Explains

This approach redesigned approach to the traditional approach of parent teacher conferences gives the student to take some control into how his education is discussed and ultimately planned.  Read here to see how students are encouraged to take a valid interest in their educations. 

Parent-Teacher Conferences Get a Makeover

This link leads you to learn about the benefits of parent teacher academic teams seen 10 pilot schools. 

The Power of Reading Aloud in Middle School Classrooms

This article explores how one teacher learns of the positive effects of reading aloud to their eighth grade class.  Click the link and see if you feel as though this style should be adopted more often. 

Night at the museum? Try a week. These fourth graders did and it changed their world

Enjoy this interesting learning experience offered to 24 fourth graders and their teachers.  Delve into this article and see the details as to how this experience shaped to be an experience neither party will be soon forget. 

Beyond Data: Building Empathy in Adults Through Student Shadow Days

Teachers are putting the shoe on the proverbial other foot in this nationwide challenge for teachers to shadow a student.  This opportunity gives teachers a chance to see school life from their student’s point of view.  This article also discusses the findings of what some teachers found.  

Managing Conflict in School Leadership Teams

Here is one effective approach to confronting conflict that may arise.  This style of leadership can be used in various settings and to handle a host of issues. 

Report: Poor students faring better in Orlando than most cities

Orlando Schools are shown to have had a significant decrease in the gap between poorer students and their wealthier counter parts.  This link offers a brief synopsis on the report and what it details. 

Promoting growth mindset means checking biases at the door, experts say

Join as we explore Dr. Carol Dweck, a notable Psychology Professor from Stanford University, theory on learning known as the Growth Mindset.   Read as a reader details one application of the theory on biases. 

Teaching Students How to Succeed Through Failure 

Failure is something that each and every person on this earth will undoubtedly experience in their lives.  This article teaches how to reshape failure into a positive learning experience similar to that of the beneficial growth mindset. 

Four Predictions for Students" Tomorrows  

This article identifies four things that certain to still impact the workforce of tomorrow that we can teach the youth from our current work experience.

Coaching Parents to Communicate Lifelong Learning 

Read here to learn about how encouraging increased constant productive communication between parents and teachers can positively affect a student. 

Field Notes: A Cautionary Tale on Preparing Students for College  

This teacher shares one his student’s experiences in his first year of college.  He uses this story as an illustration as to what many unsuspecting first year college students go through.  Read this article and see think of ways you can help seniors in your life avoid a similar experience.  

Chapter 2: Describing the Habits of Mind  

This novel discusses the patterns of thoughts that people exhibit when acting intelligently.  Enjoy this article as that will give you a brief overview of the 16 attributes identified. 

Habits of Mind for Now and Later

A teacher decided to dig deep to find out if we are teaching our children what we say we want them to learn.  Offered here is a link to the article as to what he found when simply interviewing his class and how he thinks the two factors correlate. 

Homeless and College-Bound

Homelessness is a severe issue.  As a high schooler who has to endure this challenge one is at an even greater challenge.  Read this article to become inspired and also how to become an advocate for those who can benefit from what it entails. 

Getting Career Skills into the Curriculum

High School Students are introduced to the concepts that engineers face on a daily basis in an initiative based out of Illinois.  They utilize the aid of their math teachers to identify solutions to geometric issues seen every day in construction. This is a part of an even larger effort to combine career and technical courses that have a strong focus in English, Math, Science, and Social Studies.

7 Qualities That Promote Teacher Leadership in Schools

Barnett Berry, CEO of Center of Teaching Quality, issued a summary of research from the organization spanning over thirty years in which may show benefit in the quality of the teacher student interaction. Also included are discussions on how their research applies to their resulting ideas. 

WebSLAM: Real-World Problem Solving With Civic Focus

One creative individual identifies a way he can stimulate interest in the youth.  He confronts them with a problem faced with real world STEMs problems and they work collaborate to form a solution.  Read here as he gives the steps to his process.

Parents as Teachers Launches Home-Visiting Program With Technology Twist

An innovative idea out of the 32 year old program, Parent’s for teachers, has a pilot program being conducted in Los Angeles, California.  A sample of 65 families are involved with University of Southern California’s Graduate School of Social Work are involved. They integrate technology into the conference making face to face access between teachers and parents more accessible. 

When You're a Teacher Leader, Waiting for That First Follower

Gallup Student Poll Finds Engagement in School Dropping by Grade Level

This study, conducted by Gallop which is a national surveyor, supports the idea that disengagement correlates with grade level.  Delve into read what their research and what how it could relate to future initiatives. 

A Classroom Strategy: Concept First, Notation Last (Video) 

Middle School math teacher Leah Alcala shares a useful technique that she employs in her classroom. She illustrates her theory on the sharing of concepts first and how it improves mathematical literacy. 

STEM vs. STEAM: Do the Arts Belong?

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) vs. STEAM are two proponents of education that represent two courses of learning.  STEM which is heavily influenced by the arithmetic differs from their STEAM in that the latter Chooses to add “Art” into the equation.  Each side has its own theory as to why it is the better theory.  Read here and understand a little more about the two’s perspectives. 

Four Purposes of Math Problems

Quantity or Quality?  This writer asserts reasons as to why math teacher should be conscious to not only the amount of questions that they ask their students to complete for homework, but also how that questions could potentially shape the student’s attitude toward math in general.

7 Easy Ways to Destroy Your Rapport with Your Students

Offered here are seven deadly characteristics that you may exhibit if you’ve ever considered ruining the rapport between your students.  This creative writer offers this message from a unique perspective.  Follow this link to a witty and insightful article.