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Tips on improving students' work ethic

Developing an Effective Work Ethic in Your Students

By Brian P. Gatens

Why do people work hard?

If you’re reading my blog on your own time when you could be doing other things, you probably have a strong and effective work ethic, which has one side effect: Your work ethic is so deeply ingrained that it’s impossible to consider the question objectively.… Read the rest

Teacher Guidelines for Online Classes

Creating Better Online Students: A Guide for Teachers

By Caitrin Blake

Teacher Guidelines for Online Classes

It’s been said before: Students today cannot properly correspond in academic environments. As a writing instructor who teaches some of my classes online, I have commiserated with colleagues over the lack of consideration and time students put into their communications.… Read the rest

PD for Principals: Change Agent Leadership, Part 2

PD for Principals: Change Agent Leadership Responsibility, Part Two

By Terry Wilhelm

PD for Principals: Change Agent Leadership, Part 2

As district leaders work to support principals who are leading important change initiatives, it is important to provide criteria for determining how the change may impact those who must actually implement the change — in this case, classroom teachers.… Read the rest

School communities expect more public participation from educators

Part 6: Meeting Expectations of School Communities

Last of six parts

By Brian P. Gatens

New teachers soon realize that a community defines itself by the quality of its school system. It is the main focus of parents, businesses and local government.

Remembering this simple fact is essential to meeting the evolving (and rising) expectations for teachers in today’s rapidly changing world.… Read the rest

The 'Presidents vs. Aliens' app helps 9- to 11-year-olds learn about American presidents

‘Presidents vs. Aliens’ Gaming App Makes Learning Fun

By Rob Klindt

Studying historical facts and figures has been a mainstay in elementary and secondary schools for generations. That’s especially true in government and civics classes, where students learn about the U.S. presidents and their places in history.

The 'Presidents vs. Aliens' app helps 9- to 11-year-olds learn about American presidents

But memorizing this information can be a monotonous task for some students.… Read the rest

Teachers and parents each have specific expectations -- working together is key to meeting expectations

Part 5: Teachers and Parents Should Share Expectations

Fifth of six parts

By Brian P. Gatens

Whenever I’m at a social occasion, without fail, someone will ask me about my work as a school administrator and how I deal with all those “difficult parents.” I use that question as an opportunity to point out that, for the most part, parents are very supportive of the work that schools do — provided that teachers and schools keep several things in mind.… Read the rest

Creative Writing Students and Tabletop Games

Nerd Culture and Storytelling: How Tabletop Games Can Inspire Creative Writing Students

By Monica Fuglei

Creative Writing Students and Tabletop Games

On Saturday nights, my family sits down and plays a silly game called Munchkin. We go on a quest, establishing our race, class, and armor, sometimes teaming up or working against each other, taming or fighting monsters, dodging curses, and introducing the occasional serious plot twist.… Read the rest

District Leaders: Supporting a New Principal

District Office Leaders: Simple Steps to Support New Principals

By Terry Wilhelm

District Leaders: Supporting a New Principal

What do new principals need? I’ve been thinking about this question a lot recently. One of my most memorable experiences was working with a first-year principal. She was hired to lead an elementary school with a high-need student population, inadequate textbooks and supplies, weak instruction in many classrooms and a staff with many interpersonal problems.… Read the rest

It's essential for teachers to understand the expectations of their principal and other administrators

Part 4: How Teachers Should Address Administrators' Expectations

Fourth of six parts

By Brian P. Gatens

The previous parts of this series focused on teachers managing expectations of students and colleagues, and while they are all important, teachers today also need an in-depth understanding of the expectations of their administrators.… Read the rest

The BrainPOP Featured Movie app covers the major educational topics

Animated Movies are Central to BrainPOP App

By Rob Klindt

One of the best ways to engage students in learning is to include multimedia in lesson plans. Audio, video and interactivity in lessons tend to keep students interested and help them retain the material better.

That’s the idea behind the popular BrainPOP collection of educational websites, programs and animated movies.… Read the rest

Teachers need to communicate to co-workers to create expecations of what kind of teachers they will be

Part 3: Letting Fellow Teachers Know What to Expect

Third of six parts

By Brian P. Gatens

Teachers need clear lines of communication with their colleagues to develop successful classrooms. By letting your co-workers know exactly the kind of teacher you are, you can, in effect, manage their expectations of what it will be like to work with you.… Read the rest

The OneNote app from Microsoft works in smartphones and tablet PCs

OneNote App Can Boost Classroom Organization

By Rob Klindt

For generations of K-12 students, a paper notebook or three-ring binder was a necessity for classroom organization. But thanks to technology, today’s students can cast aside paper organizers in favor of mobile apps that take classroom organization to a whole new level.… Read the rest

Today's hyperconnected students expect speedy responses in the classroom

Part 2: How Teachers Should Manage Students' Expectations

Second of six parts

By Brian P. Gatens

In this series, I’m examining the evolving relationships and expectations that schools face in our hyperconnected and information-driven world. As always, we should start with the students; after all, our primary focus and responsibility has to be on their continued care, growth and development as contributing members of society.… Read the rest

Why Teachers Must Learn to Manage Expectations

First of six parts

By Brian P. Gatens

We expect a lot more from our teachers today than we did in years past, so today’s teachers need to be expert managers of expectations.

It wasn’t so long ago that a teacher’s world consisted primarily of refining their classroom performance, working with children and clearing the hurdle of yearly evaluations.… Read the rest

Plan a Classroom Author Visit

“I Met a Real Writer!” Planning a Classroom Author Visit

By Monica Fuglei

Plan a Classroom Author Visit

In 2009, my daughter met Tyler Whitesides, author of “The Janitors” series. In the school gymnasium, he regaled students with stories about what he did before becoming a writer, shared the inspiration for his characters, and had students play basketball with wadded paper and a trash can.… Read the rest

Zap! Pow! Bam! Ambassadors Tout Why They Love Concordia Online Program

By Sarah Su

When Clark Kent takes off his glasses, a sudden wave of energy rushes through him that prepares and enables him to conquer anything that lies ahead — much like what Concordia University – Portland aims for its students.… Read the rest

How Principals Can Develop APs as Leaders

Principal as Instructional Coach: Developing Your AP in Leadership

By Terry Wilhelm

This post begins a new series devoted to how principals can develop leadership in assistant principals. This is as important as any other aspect of the principal’s role as instructional coach. APs are generally viewed as being in the pipeline for principalships in the districts where they work, and as such, the mentorship of their principals is key to their development.… Read the rest

New teachers need to make a great impresssion and build connections with students, families and other teachers

How New Teachers Can Get the School Year off to a Great Start

By Brian P. Gatens 

All teachers need to start the school year strong, especially newer teachers facing the added pressures of learning the culture of their new schools, enduring a more intense observation process and introducing themselves to the community. If you’re new to the job, these tactics can improve your chances of getting off to a great start that leads to success for the entire school year: 

Work hard to connect

Teaching, at its core, is about developing strong relationships.… Read the rest

today's plugged-in students are telling educators to embrace a technological future

Plugged-in Students are Telling us to Embrace the Future

By Brian P. Gatens

A common theme I tend to dwell (harp?) on is that the children coming to our schools are the most plugged-in, socially aware and savvy students we have ever seen. Their constant access to all forms of media requires us to be aware of their needs and, more importantly, reminds us that their continued learning is contingent on schools changing their approach to learning.… Read the rest

Does Internet Filtering Hurt Students?

“I Can’t Search YouTube for Abraham Lincoln!”: How Internet Filtering Affects Education

By Monica Fuglei

Does Internet Filtering Hurt Students?

As students enter school and encounter curriculum increasingly technology-based, their exposure to the Internet increases dramatically. Since 2000, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) has provided filtering guidelines for schools and libraries intended to protect students from access to content that is obscene, involves child pornography, or is harmful to minors in some way.… Read the rest

Just for APs: How Restorative Justice Works

Just for APs: Moving Toward Restorative Justice

By Terry Wilhelm

Just for APs: How Restorative Justice Works

In the first of my two-part post about how assistant principals can model respectful discipline for teachers, I discussed the notion of using logical consequences. Instead of punishment for punishment’s sake, logical consequences attempt to connect the infraction with a consequence that makes sense in light of the misbehavior; for example, “If you make a mess, your consequence is to clean it up on your own time.”

Restorative justice teaches logical consequences and apology skills

A related idea is restorative justice.… Read the rest

Teachers at mid-career should think about taking on new roles like library science or STEM leadership

Fresh Ideas for Mid-Career Teachers

By Brian P. Gatens 

What makes some mid-career teachers want to get out of the business, while others are as passionate about their work as they were the first day on the job? Researchers have made some intriguing discoveries.

For instance, Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project on the Next Generation of Teachers published a report in 2005 exploring a wide range of topics including the recruitment, length of service and retention of teachers.… Read the rest

Teachers have plenty to be positive about.

Tune out the Negativity: Teaching is Still a Great Profession

By Brian P. Gatens

By about mid-July, after the hectic final days of the school year, I finally have a chance to decompress enough to sit back and think about why I believe that I work in the world’s greatest profession.… Read the rest

Ed Allen is a graduate of Concordia University's MBA program

Ed Allen, Concordia MBA Recipient, Thrives on the Challenges of Leadership

Ed Allen earned his MBA from Concordia University-Portland in 2003. Allen started his career as a part-time driver with a small Oregon paper company while earning his undergraduate degree in marketing from Portland State University. One thing led to another and Allen stayed at that firm, which was absorbed by multiple mergers and is now the conglomerate Spicers Paper.… Read the rest

U.S. Teachers Need Better Resources

International Survey: U.S. Teachers Grapple With Low Support, High Rate of Student Poverty

U.S. Teachers Need Better Resources

By Monica Fuglei

The headlines have spoken: According to new data from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), American teachers have some of the longest work weeks, highest student poverty rates, least guidance, and lowest collaborative work time among their international peers.… Read the rest