Instruction & Curriculum

5 Reasons To Consider Advising A Student Club – Education Article

One’s teaching career often goes through seasons. A young teacher year is often more like summer, filled with energy, fun ideas, and optimism. However, more experienced teachers may begin the school year recharged only to hit a wall by the end of Autumn, plunging into a winter-like rut for the remainder of a school year. Of course, there are many reasons why experienced teachers have low periods of energy and enthusiasm. We all have bad days and negative years. Many…

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Opinion: Why Teachers Shouldn’t Write Curriculum – Education Article

The word “curriculum,” as it pertains to education, can include everything from the materials used to teach our students to the planned learning experiences. If we think of the Common Core standards as the academic destination for our students (the “what” we want them to know and be able to do), our curriculum is the vehicle for getting them there. However, teachers are often asked to do too much when it comes to curriculum design and planning. However, teachers are…

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Are We Setting Unrealistic Behavioral Expectations? – Education Article

I don’t remember the moment it dawned on me that I had unrealistic behavioral expectations. Maybe it was the second week of school when I realized the honeymoon phase was over. It might’ve been the moment my administration looked at my students in their “lines” and said, “You should be on Level 0 at all times in the hallways! Straight lines! Hands at your sides!” During one of those #teacherfail moments or the other 2,384,593 times I’ve used the famous…

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How to Use This Year’s Reflections for Next School Year – Education Article

The end of the year for a teacher is especially difficult: everyone is tired, the kids are off the rails, there are a plethora of special events going on, and grades are due. Many of us are holding onto our sanity like a life raft. The last thing many people want to think about is the start of a whole new year, but if we spend a moment to reflect on our year, it could be a gold mine for…

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Columbine Shooting 20 Years Later – Our Children Are Still Dying – Education Article

Columbine occurred when I was still in the classroom. My heart broke for those who lost their lives as well as those who survived and had to live with the trauma. I remember being asked by friends if I was going to school the next day. I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Most of them asked if I was afraid. My answer was a simple no. I didn’t realize at the time that my response would take me on the…

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Not All Charter Schools Are The Same – Education Article

Not all charter schools are evil, corporate, for-profit monstrosities. Again: not all charter schools are the same. Some modern charter schools are operated by for-profit corporations or non-profits who pay their leadership exorbitant salaries. Almost all the common arguments against charter schools are rooted in those corporate models. They are the loudest, but not the majority. One more time for those in the back: Not all charter schools are the same. Others have done a much better job than I…

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Whatever It Takes: Story of a Committed Black Teacher – Education Article

“>“On me they wont.” That was his response when a student vulnerably shared how his peers would talk about this lack of a haircut. This is the story of Major Jones, an educator in Bibb County Schools who gave that student a free haircut. If you’re a teacher, you know the impact of this act of kindness. Teachers are more than teachers. We are counselors, social workers, and so much more. Mr. Jones took that expectation to heart. The Educator’s…

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Teachers Matter: Attributes of an Effective Secretary of Education – Education Article

Recently, Elizabeth Warren made headlines with what seems to be a surprising announcement to many. Warren, who is among many other contenders for the 2020 presidential election, announced that if elected president, she will ensure her Education Secretary is “a former public school teacher who is committed to education.” This comment comes after her (one of many) criticisms of Betsy Devos, current U.S Department of Education Secretary. As I scrolled through #edutwitter, I noticed the approval of many educators. Curious…

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The Power of Play for All – Education Article

The 1950s were something of a “golden era” of play. […] Schools had multiple recesses throughout the day, the concept of homework barely existed, and the school year itself was about 4-5 weeks shorter. Fast forward to today….. American kids now spend an average of just 4-7 minutes a day on unstructured outdoor play, and elementary schools across the country are reducing or entirely eliminating recess. I remember recess being a common staple when I was younger. I loved playing…

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Copyright Violations in the Classroom: When Beg, Borrow, and Steal Turns into a Crime – Education Article

When you are a newbie teacher entering the profession, a veteran will pull you to the side and say, “It is okay to beg, borrow, and steal.” It is a teacher right of passage to be told this knowledge and to implement it.  Because many schools across the United States are lacking the appropriate resources for teachers to deliver instruction effectively, it becomes a necessity and habit for some. Beg On Friday, I will wrap up the 13th year of…

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Out with Lesson Plans…In with Lesson Design! – Education Article

Lesson design is not a new phrase or concept. However, in the midst of ever-changing educational demands, lesson design has taken a back seat to “lesson plans.” From 5 E to Madeline Hunter, there is a myriad of ways to plan for students. One commonality between these various lesson templates is the idea that instruction is a PROCESS. In thinking of lesson planning and structure, what processes are we truly using to create learning experiences for students? Design with students…

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Charter Schools Won’t Bring Us Racial Equity – Education Article

Earlier this month was National Charter Schools Week, but I was not celebrating. To explain, let me start by saying what equity is, and what it’s not. A common social justice definition of equity is everyone getting what they need to thrive. Equity is not improving outcomes for some, while others get the same or worse outcomes as before. It is important to clarify this because many charter schools and charter school networks claim to be fighting for racial equity,…

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Career Clusters Should Not Limit Students – Education Article

Like most people who attended school in the ’90s and early 2000s, I fully brought into the college = success, no college = failure ideology. I came to teaching as an aide at the age of 22 and expected to encourage students that they must attend college, no other paths. I learned a hard lesson that year. When talking about careers with my students, one said: “I want to manage a Taco Bell.” I bit my tongue to keep myself…

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Bringing Climate Change into the E/LA Classroom – Education Article

English/language arts students have the privilege of being “transported across the globe, back in time or into the future” as they read poems, plays, novels, and articles because classrooms are “spaces of discovery, possibility, and participation where students learn to empathize with experiences of people like and unlike themselves” (Beach et al, 2017). These students grapple with big topics, universal themes, and matters of morality. They also learn to think critically and use their voice in writing. The structure and…

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Teacher Confession: The Student I’ll Never Forget – Education Article

I have a teacher confession to make. I failed him. Not “gave him an F” failed him but failed him as a young man. A student with a future ahead of him, someone who could one day be a father, a councilman, or even president. But I failed him. It was my second year as a teacher. Based on the number of students that were going to the 5th grade, there was a slot available to me to teach my…

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A Delusional Parent Tried to Sue Me – Education Article

Teachers are well versed in the helicopter parent. The helicopter parent hovers at all times picking at small things, meddling, and is generally over-involved. They will usually try to solve each and every small problem their kid encounters by asking the teacher to get involved or blaming the problem on the teacher. This new type of parent, however, is worse. The new parent bully is delusional and absent. The delusional parent takes a perfectly normal situation and spins it in…

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