Category: Articles

First Aid for Burnout: Avoid Toxic Traps

Teachers have lots of justifiable reasons to complain about their jobs, says author-educator Jenny Rankin. But “loving your work and experiencing peace and success on a daily basis are certainly within your reach.” Attitude isn’t everything, she says, but it helps to avoid toxic thinking.

5 Ideas to Make Writing More Fun to Teach

Consultant Jen Serravallo often hears teachers say they’re uncomfortable teaching writing. Her solution: promote student engagement and independence. As kids become more excited, she says, “that enthusiasm will spill over to you.” Here are five ideas to get started.

Helping Students Track Their Own Progress

Tracking progress toward a larger goal helps us build a sense of achievement and the courage to keep going. “That’s the same cycle you want to build in your students,” says Barbara Blackburn, who shares ways to help kids see their growth and recall their victories.

Problem-based Science for the Common Good

Problem-based Science encourages students to develop a love of scientific thinking, math, and the creative use of technology as they learn through invention, design thinking, fixing and tinkering. Teacher-author Christa Flores demonstrates her hands-on PbS model.

Media Literacy: Learning from the Oscars

It’s Oscar season and media literacy consultant Frank W. Baker has ideas about leveraging student interest in movies to teach visual literacy skills and learn about cool careers. Lots of resources, including teacher tools at the Oscars website.

Are We Covering or Are Students Discovering?

Rather than “covering” a curriculum with instruction that’s driven by the chapters in a textbook, Diana Fenton and Nancy Van Erp advocate student centered standards-based lesson planning, relying on frameworks like Understanding by Design and concept-based teaching.

Students Learn from Inquiry, Not Interrogation

Jackie Walsh shares resources and strategies teachers can use to partner with students and create new roles and responsibilities in classroom questioning. Replace traditional “interrogation” with methods of inquiry that reveal understanding and strengthen learning.

Are Your Meetings Productive or Time Wasters?

With thoughtful planning and implementation, principals can make sure meetings are both collaborative and productive. School leadership consultants Ron Williamson and Barbara Blackburn share essential questions and tips about norms, purposes, and decision making.

How to Help Young Writers Find the Force

Teachers should be Jedi Masters, called to be believers in our students and promoters of their ability to take charge of their own learning. ELA teacher and author Vicki Kahlenberg shares four writing strategies that foster autonomy through emulation and publication.