Malleable Misconceptions

Article by Chad Huelsman

Everyday our students enter our classrooms with preconceived notions about knowledge and their abilities. It is imperative that we, as educational influencers, identify these preconceptions and take the proper measures to support students in advancing their learning. David Ausubel (1963), an American psychologist known for research work on “meaningful learning,” stated “the most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach him accordingly.” Even though Ausubel’s insights into teaching and learning are critical to advance new knowledge, Audrey Sewell (2002) posits that our students’ prior knowledge can either be a “bridge” or “barrier” to new learning for them, especially when it comes to addressing student misconceptions.
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Noisy Classrooms and Student Discourse

Article by Kathleen Jones

Noise and lots of it. A cacophony of young voices speaking at once. It is a room full of 2nd grade math students; students who are oblivious to my presence and engaged in conversations with their peers. What, though, is all the chatter about? Recess? Video games? Gossip? Not even close. These students, sitting in groups of 2 and 3, are sharing their ideas about whether the sum of two odd numbers always produces an even or odd number. This topic, it turns out, was posed as a question by one of the students in the class. The teacher, in turn, instructed the class to discuss this in small groups. While viewed as an amazing environment to some, others might wonder what the big deal is all about. Moreover, why take up valuable time having students, especially this young, talk about math? Why not simply reveal the solution to them and move on? Why? Students’ creativity and inquisitiveness must be recognized and valued as a necessary tool for learning. We must foster nurturing classroom environments that are rich in collegiality and student discourse.
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Classroom Routines

Article by Kathleen Jones

Imagine a classroom environment that has clearly established routines. What words come to mind? Peaceful? Safe? Fun? Productive? Now, imagine a classroom environment that has little to no evidence of classroom routines. What words come to mind? Chaotic? Unsafe? Stressful? Dysfunctional? Without routines and structure, opportunities for students to learn are minimized.
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Understanding Education Legislation

Article by Chris Anderson

The world of education and the legislation that shapes what teachers do in the classroom is rapidly changing. In 2016 alone, for example, over 1,200 separate bills were made into law in Ohio, addressing a wide range of issues from student attendance to teacher recruitment. The language of these laws is complicated and few educators have the time to unpack how these changes will impact their classroom or their building. However, staying updated on current policy is essential to run successful schools and students.
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Staff Culture’s Impact on Student Culture

Article by Katie Currens

One thing I’ve learned with my own kids is that children watch and listen to everything. Literally everything. Those moments when you are joking about buying an island and running a banana stand will soon turn into questions from the teacher or their friends because “I heard you’re moving!” We know how observant kids are and we learn this during our educational courses. Yet sometimes we forget that they are also observing our interactions with our colleagues and make assumptions based on what they see.
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Beyond Compliance: Understanding Best Practices

Article by Jenni Stadtmiller

“Make sure you have your standards and objectives listed on your board.”
“You better have your agenda up.”
“I’ll be coming around to look for your lessons plans for the week.”
“Don’t forget your exit tickets.”

Do these phrases sound familiar to you? Some days education can feel like you are checking off boxes on a list for all the things your administrators are coming around looking for. However, these items are not meant to be a compliance piece, where we put them up and don’t think about them again. Research shows that these items actually have impact on student learning. Let’s find out how.
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Communication Strategy: ClassDojo!

Article by Dora Daniels

Who wants to spend a lot of time on the phone or sending tons of parent emails during their plan time or after school? Is there a way to get around this and still have open communication with parents? The answer is yes. It is ClassDojo!
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Relationship Building with Students

Article by Katie Currens

One of the most challenging aspects of being an educator is building meaningful relationships with a new group of students every year. We become very attached to the kids as we get to know their families, likes, dislikes, and watch their academic growth. While we want to know about all of our students, some of these relationships come more naturally than others. So how can we connect with kids that we don’t seem to have any connections with? Having worked in many suburban and urban schools, I have found that there are many ways we really all are connected.
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Teacher Wellness Series – Part 1: Make Every Week “Teacher Appreciation Week”

Article by Tammy Metcalf

May is every teacher’s favorite month. Why? Because of Teacher Appreciation Week, of course! But what if every week were Teacher Appreciation week? It can be, but we have to make it happen for ourselves.
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What’s in Your Suitcase? Unpacking Standards

Article by Dorothy Reynolds, Sharon Cooley, and Pam Groach

Why is unpacking the standards an important aspect of teaching?
Imagine yourself on a family vacation with your suitcases filled to the brim! Your spouse wants you to quickly gather your beach items and head to the beach. But wait! Where did you put the sunscreen? Which suitcase has the popup shelter? How about the swim suits? And your wide brim hat? Yikes! Before you make your way to the beach, maybe you should unpack the suitcases and organize your belongings. After all, you do have multiple events scheduled this trip. You do not want to find yourself on the beach without the essentials.
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