Inspiration, The Podcast: Debatability

Do you want to breathe new life into your classrooms? Check out our free podcast on “Debatability” from our “Inspiration” series (embedded below). If you want to learn more, click here to sign up for our new PD scheduled on January 26, 2017. Administrators and teachers will not only learn new strategies and examples for infusing classrooms with inspirational traits, they will also leave with one of our new teaching guidebooks, Inspiration: Breathing New Life into Classrooms (included in registration fee), designed to help teachers (and schools) transform their practice.
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Inspiration, The Podcast: Curiosity

Do you want to breathe new life into your classrooms? Check out our free podcast on “Curiosity” from our “Inspiration” series (embedded below). If you want to learn more, click here to sign up for our new PD scheduled on January 26, 2017. Administrators and teachers will not only learn new strategies and examples for infusing classrooms with inspirational traits, they will also leave with one of our new teaching guidebooks, Inspiration: Breathing New Life into Classrooms (included in registration fee), designed to help teachers (and schools) transform their practice.
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Emotional Connections, One Bite At A Time

According to a recent blog post by the New York Times, the brain is not wired to think deeply about things about which it does not care. In other words, when our students say they don’t care about what we teach, or they don’t think they’ll “use” our content areas in the so-called “real world,” they may actually be expressing something that cuts to the heart of how our minds work: in order to learn deeply, we need an emotional attachment to the content we study.
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Student manipulatives and novelty

One of the teachers I work with found that her students were not responding to a graphic organizer for Claims-Evidence-Reasoning. The organizer was designed on a regular sheet of paper, and for all intents and purposes it felt a bit like a traditional “worksheet.” Though I think there is a significant difference between graphic organizers and worksheets, I fear even the association can be anathema to learning. That at least seemed to be the case for this teacher’s class. Her solution, a fold-able that was as simple as it was elegant, reminded me about the power of novelty in aiding student learning.
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New Favorite Tech: ThingLink

Photo courtesy of here.


We live in an age where there is no shortage of online tech for teachers to use in their classrooms – but, sometimes, I stumble across something that strikes me as truly remarkable. Enter ThingLink.
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Angels and Superheroes

CUES-Cast, Season 1, Episode 4: Interview with Jack Jose and Krista Taylor from Gamble Montessori High School about “Angels and Superheroes,” a website for “Compassionate Educators in an Era of Standardized Testing and Evaluation.”
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Menus: Providing Choice in the Classroom Increases Engagement

Article by Jennifer Stadtmiller

Keeping students engaged in a lesson is a great challenge for many teachers. According to Marzano in his book, The Highly Engaged Classroom, “If students are not engaged, there is little, if any, chance that they will learn what is being addressed in class. … Student engagement happens as a result of a teacher’s careful planning and execution of specific strategies.”
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Behavior: Interventions v. Punishment

I remember, during a conversation about discipline, I reminded one teacher that we were working with children, with an emphasis on the fact that we might consider treating children differently from adults. “They sure don’t talk like they’re kids,” he replied, referring to the foul language and disrespectful comments too many of our students spoke daily. I do not wish to defend disrespect and foul language, but I think it’s important to remember, when dealing with children, the circumstances that may have led some students to behave in such a manner. Are these moments of misbehavior calls for intervention or for punishment?
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Celebrate Success

When I taught high school English, I spent countless nights waking up at 2am, feverishly thinking about everything I had to do the next day – from making copies to designing lessons to grading papers. I would lie awake, with my mind leaping from topic to topic until I finally gave up on sleep and started my day. I’d even get to work at 5am sometimes. A friend of mine, who suffered the same malady, called this “Monkey Mind” – how we’d just leap from thought to thought, like a monkey swinging on tree branches in the jungle. I learned later this same phrase is also a Buddhist one for “anxiety” or “restlessness.”
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Recasting the “At-Risk” Student

When I first read this item from Education Week, I immediately thought of a former colleague, an urban principal, who had the same idea a few years earlier: he identified the most “at-risk” boys and girls in our high school, and then invited them to monthly meetings (the “Boys Leadership Team” and the “Girls Leadership Team”). The idea was to see if imagining students in a different context (and if getting them to see themselves in a different context) could lead to a transformation.
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