Category: Articles

Guest posts by expert educators

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Campaign Ads: Helping Students Find the Truth

If politicians have a “license to lie” in campaign advertising, how are our students going to know who and what to believe? Critical thinking skills are paramount, says media literacy consultant Frank Baker, who shares insights and resources tied to Common Core and social studies standards.

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How Do We Close the Coding Opportunity Gap?

Learning to code is an important new literacy. But how, wonders edtech coach Emily Vickery, do we close the opportunity gap between those who have access to coding instruction and those who don’t? Vickery suggests some resources that can help less advantaged students cross the divide.

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Five Ideas to Improve Parent Conferences

Amber Chandler has participated on both sides of the Parent Teacher Conference. Here she offers novice teachers five strategies they can use to establish productive relationships, address parent concerns, and find ways to help parents “do something” for their children.

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A Critical Look at the Close Reading Standard

ELA consultant Mike Fisher urges educators to not be distracted by the so-called “close reading” anchor standard in the Common Core. “Close reading is not a thing. It is not a skill. It is not a big idea.” The true objective, he says, is reading comprehension.

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Costume Design: Part of the Language of Film

As teachers help their students meet Common Core standards through close reading of the movies, they may want to include costume design in their lesson plans, says Frank Baker. In many movies, director Martin Scorsese has noted, “costume is character.”

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Three Tips for Effective Grading

One hallmark of rigor in the classroom is an effective grading system, says PD consultant Barbara Blackburn. Teachers with ineffective practices often overvalue simple tasks and need to be clear about the “what, why and how” behind their grades. She analyzes a weak social studies grading rubric.