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.”
[Read more…] Free Online Math Software

Article by Jenni Stadtmiller, CUES Consultant
When I was teaching fourth grade math, I wanted my homework to provide me with loads of data while not giving me loads of work to gather the data! With 90+ students, grading standards-based homework nightly to gather great data on my students would have added several extra hours of work to my schedule, so I need to come up with a better idea. Enter TenMarks, which offers free online math software.
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CUES-Cast, Season 1, Episode 1: ESL/ELL

Welcome to our inaugural podcast! This week, we chat with ESL consultants Kelli Perrin and Heidi Messbarger about a variety of issues related to English Language Learners/English as a Second Language.
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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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Review: ReadWriteThink

One school where I taught decided to develop an intervention course for students behind grade level in literacy. We decided to create the course ourselves, rather than relying on an expensive program from a publisher – and, while that decision saved us money and provided curricular freedom, it brought with it the challenge of locating free resources to aid in meaningful lesson planning. I wish ReadWriteThink had existed back then! (Who couldn’t use free literacy resources?)
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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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De-escalate situations before they become discipline referrals

It can be easy, as a teacher, to blame students for their misbehavior – specifically when we are talking about broadly defined offenses like “defiance,” or “disrespect.” While students certainly must learn to be accountable for how they act and react, it’s not a bad idea for teachers to consider what role they play in molding student reactions. How can we build a more positive school culture?
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