Reflective Teaching

Article by Christy Vacchio

In order to be an effective teacher, one must use the mirror to see what was learned, and develop a plan to improve instruction. In the beginning of my teaching career, I would often get frustrated at students’ misconceptions and my lack of effectiveness during lessons. Classroom management was not my strength, but I had a strong foundation in content knowledge. It wasn’t until I worked in retail management for a few years, that I learned how to actually become a better teacher.
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Backwards Design

Article by Chris Anderson and Christy Vacchio

The goal of education is to prepare students for their adult lives. Getting there takes many years of building skills, learning how to apply those skills in real-world situations, learning how to work in teams, and building social networks. However developing those skills in the students in your classroom is challenging. Master teachers must plan with the end goal in mind. So how do we get there?
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Standards Based Grading

Article by Mike Ross

Ask any teacher, administrator, or parent about standards-based grading and you will likely get as many different responses as the number of people you ask. For some reason, standards based grading has a negative connotation. This could result from misguided attempts to implement this in a building or simply because some think standards-based grading can’t fit in a classroom already “crowded” with class discussions, cooperative learning, project based learning, or whatever the school’s new initiative is. Fortunately, this is not true. Standards based grading has a place in any classroom and can actually make the life of an educator much less stressful.
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Consistency When Implementing Change

Article by Katie Currens

When it comes time to implement change, more times than not it is met with great trepidation, sometimes even downright displeasure. So why is that? What has happened that causes us to bristle at the idea of change? Let’s explore the reasons and how we can change that feeling!
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Questioning Strategies

Article by Sandi Sumerfield

If there were a “holy grail” of education, student engagement would be close to the top of the list. As teachers, we all want to create a community environment where students explore ideas in-depth, passionately consider all aspects of a topic, and listen with sincere interest to the ideas of others. An important foundation in establishing community is creating an environment where rich and engaging dialogue exists and a safe environment is established for all learners to openly explore possibilities they may not fully understand. Effective questioning strategies are a critical component in creating such an environment.
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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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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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Ohio’s Revised Learning Standards – Resources and Strategies

Ohio’s Department of Education (ODE) recently announced its new “Learning in Ohio” webpage. In addition to the revised standards, ODE also provides other resources and strategies that can be useful to classroom teachers. This item summarizes some of our favorites for ELA.
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Finding Time for Tech

Article by Katie Currens

Many teachers don’t have time to fit keyboarding or computer games into their already too-tight schedules. As a consultant, I like helping teachers look at their time in a different way. We certainly don’t want to add anything to plates that are already full, so instead we can look at how to integrate technology into what we already do. Below are a few ways you can add a technological spin in your class.
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