Instruction & Curriculum

Teachers Are Professionals | The Educators Room – Education Article

“This Friday all teachers can wear jeans! Just donate $1 for our Sunshine Club  and wear your school shirts!” While I was excited to FINALLY be able to ‘dress down’ something bugged me around the premise of having to pay to dress comfortably.No matter how perturbed I was, I had 30 children to get ready for dismissal so I pushed it to the back of mind as I guided children to their buses. As I got home and readied my…

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It’s Time to Rethink Your School’s “Holiday” Celebrations – Education Article

I am someone who doesn’t fall into either of the largest categories. I am a Jewish American. And as a teacher, I’m exhausted by the annual charade of inclusiveness that comes each December. Each year that I’ve been teaching in New York City, across four different schools, there’s a similar array of “holiday” events. We have a “holiday” party for school staff. There’s a “holiday” performance by students for their families. Sometimes there are other “holiday” activities like building gingerbread…

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Why Chick-fil-A Matters in my Classroom. – Education Article

It was Christmas dinner 2017, and the talk was of a new (and only) Chick-fil-A opening in our central New York area. My family endorsed the taste of their remarkable chicken and delicious drinks. Discussions of their charity and fundraisers abounded. As I listened to the conversations, I felt myself grow smaller. It was like an out of body experience as I observed myself shrinking in importance. My views on equality and progress froze in the face of a hard…

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[Opinion]I’m Tired: The Cultural Burden of a Being the Token Assistant Principal – Education Article

“White people can be exhausting.” That’s the first line in Austin Channing Brown’s book titled, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. While this line is most likely jarring for some, I must say, as an African-American woman in a space of Whiteness as an Assistant Principal, it is true.  Embarking upon my 14th year in education, I spent the bulk of my career as a secondary English/Language Arts teacher and instructional coach. While I loved…

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“Why haven’t I learned that Harriet Tubman fought in the civil war?” – Education Article

On a cold day in central New York, I had the fantastic opportunity to take 26 students to tour the Harriet Tubman National Park, located in Auburn, NY. After an enlightening hour, we loaded onto the yellow submarine (aka the school bus) and watched the movie Harriet at the local Movie Tavern.   By the end of the day, with our minds bursting with new paradigms, our focus for our upcoming black history celebration in February cemented. More importantly, as members of a…

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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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