CATEGORY:Featured Stories

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Our featured stories are an amalgamation of all things education—you’ll find articles on trends and challenges facing present-day educators, as well as resources that help educators successfully navigate through any demanding environment.

  • Online Instructor Guides: Giving Effective Assignments

    Posted November 19, 2014

    Online instructors face a set of unique challenges. Because students don’t have the benefit of verbal explanations or clarification when assignments are given, online coursework guidelines must be even more descriptive and accessible than they are in traditional classrooms. While it is entirely possible to use the same projects in face-to-face and online classes, there…

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  • Rubric’s Cue: What’s the Best Way to Grade Essays?

    Posted November 12, 2014

    Because teaching is filled with spirited debate about best practices, the passionate responses to the National Council of Teachers of English’s recent Facebook post asking how instructors feel about grading rubrics should be no surprise. Some teachers embrace rubrics as an incredible device for communicating instructor expectations and grading students’ written work. Critics complain that…

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  • An Online Instructor’s Guide to Better Discussion Boards

    Posted November 11, 2014

    Online courses can be an isolating experience for teachers and students alike. The Internet wall makes it more difficult for students to get to know each other and their teachers, which can make it more troublesome to facilitate the same rapport among classmates that often exists in face-to-face classes. The bane of online learning: Why…

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  • School Safety Training: Lockdown and Lockout Drills

    Posted November 5, 2014

    Last winter, I was preparing to go to my daughter’s school and teach art to her fifth-grade class when we were notified of a lockdown in our school district. It was December 13th, the date of a shooting at nearby Arapahoe High School. Every school in the district was put on temporary lockdown, followed by…

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  • Breaking Board: Why School Board Elections Matter

    Posted October 29, 2014

    Last November, I attended an Election Night campaign party with a local school board candidate. Throughout the evening, we checked voting statistics and watched the counts come in. My county has over 300,000 registered voters, and in this election 140,438 participated. While our school district was just a fraction of that population, each school board…

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  • Student Mental Health and Wellness Resources from Mental Fitness, Inc.

    Posted October 22, 2014

    Mental Fitness, Inc. is a non-profit company dedicated to improving and sustaining mental, emotional and physical health for students from all backgrounds. According to founder and CEO Robyn Hussa Farrell, the organization has a unique approach to mental health issues that affect students. “There are many [programs] that assist in intervention, but not in primary,…

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  • The Jeffco Protests: How a Proposed Curriculum Review Board Created ‘Little Rebels’

    Posted October 8, 2014

    For almost two weeks, students in Colorado’s Jefferson County school district — often shortened to Jeffco — engaged in acts of civil disobedience. Some walked out of class; others rallied before or after school, holding signs saying “Don’t Make History a Mystery” and “Protest IS Patriotism.” The protesters were angry about the JeffCo school board’s proposed committee…

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  • Social Media In Education: Benefits, Drawbacks and Fireable Offenses

    Posted October 1, 2014

    Educators use social media at a surprisingly high rate. According to a 2012 survey by EdWeb and MMS Education, approximately 82 percent of K-12 teachers, principals and school librarians engage in some sort of social networking. Along with significant personal use, teachers use social media to facilitate learning and collaborate with colleagues. Social networking can…

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  • Teaching Chess in Schools: The National Scholastic Chess Foundation

    Posted September 24, 2014

    Sunil Weeramantry has spent more than 40 years teaching and developing award-winning chess programs. As the founder and executive director of the National Scholastic Chess Foundation (NSCF), Weeramantry served as the first chairman of the US Chess Federation’s Committee on Chess in Education and has produced workshops across the country, including on Capitol Hill. The…

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  • Mastering Skills and Intrinsic Motivation: Does Practice Really Make Perfect?

    Posted September 17, 2014

    Arguments about whether talent is due to nature or nurture have been around practically as long as those two words have existed. In the past, research pointed to practice as one of the most important aspects of mastery of any wide variety of skills. The idea that practice was the route to perfection was practically…

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  • Start Your Own Learning Revolution With Transformational Teaching

    Posted September 10, 2014

    In his 2010 TED talk “Bring on the Learning Revolution,” Sir Ken Robinson suggested that the best evolution in education can be made by moving from a factory-style mechanical model toward an organic model of teaching that adjusts specifically to the people being taught. Robinson’s criticism of education reform should be noted, but the reality…

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  • What Is the Future of Teacher Tenure in the United States?

    Posted August 27, 2014

    Teacher tenure, the concept of earned job protections, emerged in the early 1900s to protect teachers from arbitrary firings based on race, pregnancy, politics or other factors. In many states, it can be earned in two to five years and, once established, creates a system of due process that protects teachers from at-will firings. Teacher…

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

    Posted August 13, 2014

    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. These can be quick stories of triumph or long…

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  • ‘I Met a Real Writer!’ Planning a Classroom Author Visit

    Posted July 30, 2014

    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. Five years later, she still tells her brother…

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

    Posted July 23, 2014

    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. CIPA…

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

    Posted July 16, 2014

    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. While this may seem depressing, the TALIS reveals where U.S. education policy must…

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  • How Can Teachers Cultivate Social Connection and Empathy in the Classroom?

    Posted July 9, 2014

    At Franklin Elementary’s fifth-grade continuation ceremony, Principal John Melkonian made a bold statement. He referenced the school’s teaching of core virtues and asked students to remember that while academics were important, being good people was what would make them successful in life. The need to focus on school culture as well as curriculum has become…

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  • How Teachers Use Student Data to Improve Instruction

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Formal and informal assessments provide significant insight into students’ progress, curriculum effectiveness and teaching strategies. Although there has been recent parental pushback on overuse of standardized tests, the data collected from them does not drift off into the ether. One of the best ways to encourage parental and student buy-in for assessment is to explain…

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  • Together and Unequal: The Conflict Surrounding School Colocation

    Posted June 25, 2014

    By Monica Fuglei As the nation celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of Brown v. the Board of Education last month, education leaders reflected on the development of America’s post-segregation public school system. In their speeches commemorating the event, Arne Duncan and Eric Holder both celebrated our post-Brown v. Board society. Both men recognized the considerable challenges…

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  • Banned Books and Trigger Warnings: How Should Teachers Navigate Tough Subjects in Literature?

    Posted June 18, 2014

    By Monica Fuglei Recent headlines on the use of “trigger warnings” in college-level literature classes inspired a variety of reactions. Defenders see them as an essential part of open discussion; critics like Patton Oswalt argue that they discourage true engagement with literature.  College professors aren’t the only educators who deal with uproar over the books…

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