Room 241: A Blog by
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A community member volunteering in a local school

The research is clear. Community engagement can be a driving force for student success. “Parents, families, educators, and communities — there’s no better partnership to assure that all students PreK through high school — have the support and resources they need to succeed in school and in life,” says former National Education Association President Dennis… Read More

When Your School Staff’s Morale Drops

By Jennifer Gunn May 9, 2019

The spring stretch is the final push of the year where tensions can run high and patience can wear thin in schools. Students and teachers are tired, testing season is upon us, and the school year’s issues may hit their peak. Here are some leadership ideas to help boost your school’s morale when things get… Read More

Bullies have always been a constant presence in school environments. Until recently, bullies were simply an expected “character” in schools — along with the “teacher’s pet” or “class clown.”  Students who were bullied were expected to “toughen up,” ignore the behavior, or “fight back.” Today, bullying behavior is no longer expected or accepted in most… Read More

I Don’t Like School: Inspiring the Uninspired Student

By Jennifer Gunn April 26, 2019

Every teacher, every year, has at least one student who utters those heartbreaking words: “I just don’t like school.” These words are uttered by the student who says they “just want to be left alone,” and who is resigned to get through their education with as little effort and bother as possible. But what are… Read More

Common Myths and Misconceptions about English Language Learners

By The Room 241 Team April 22, 2019

As part of Concordia’s Thought Leadership Graduate Education Info Session on April 8, 2019, Dr. Juliana Smith shared her top 13 myths about English language learners (ELLs). Myth #1: English is the second language of students. A lot of the students we see in the U.S. actually speak several languages already. English may be their… Read More

Taking Control of Your Teacher Workload

By The Room 241 Team March 14, 2019

A Heart-Centered Approach Teachers are true workaholics. We work a lot — during the day, after school, on weekends, during breaks, and over summer vacation. In doing the myriad tasks we tackle each week, we can become seriously overwhelmed, stressed, and constantly trying to catch up. Host of the Hurry Slowly podcast and author of… Read More

How Teachers Can Create an Equitable Grading System

By Jennifer Gunn March 12, 2019

Grading is one of the most challenging and emotionally charged conversations in today’s schools. Teachers are protective of their right to grade, but inconsistent grading practices and the ways they can inadvertently perpetuate achievement and opportunity gaps among our students make grading an issue of equity. There are grading practices that are more bias-resistant and… Read More

Is It Student Laziness or Something More?

By Jennifer Gunn March 5, 2019

Everyone’s heard a fellow educator say, “My students are so lazy!” It’s definitely frustrating when students moan and groan or fail to hand in assignments. Some say that teachers should never work harder than the students, and that school must be rigorous and demanding in order to prepare students for the real world. And of… Read More

As educators, we have a professional and ethical responsibility to provide students with safe, equitable, and inclusive academic experiences. Traditional discipline procedures, such as zero-tolerance policies, school suspensions, and punishment-reward practices are often ineffective in correcting misbehaviors and disproportionately impact students of color. For these reasons, the paradigm is shifting from zero-tolerance policies in schools… Read More

What Matters Most in the Classroom

By Jennifer Gunn February 19, 2019

In the ever-changing landscape of education, teachers and leaders often find themselves searching for clarity in a sea of standards, curriculum resources, and competing priorities. Think about your learning community: Are both teachers and students clear about what must be learned, why students are learning it, and how they can be successful? Are students able… Read More

Creating a School Dream Team for Change

By The Room 241 Team February 13, 2019

Schools need great individual changemakers capable of identifying problems and creating bold, scalable solutions. But they also need Dream Teams — groups of talented administrators, teachers, staff, students, and community members who work together and are passionate about making things better for kids. Schools need teams who believe that school-based change is worth the effort… Read More

A farm kid from Wisconsin, for the past two decades Diana Laufenberg has taught seventh-12th grade Social Studies in several states, most recently at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, an inquiry-driven, project-based high school focused on modern learning. It’s here where I first met Laufenberg, at the yearly conference Educon, where she was swarmed… Read More

Mid-Year Teacher Check-In: How are we doing?

By The Room 241 Team February 11, 2019

The middle of the school year is the perfect time to check in and see how you, your students, and your colleagues are doing so far. Reflection isn’t just about surfacing the things that need course correcting. It’s also about identifying and celebrating the good and figuring out how to grow upon those areas of… Read More

The Emotions of Learning: Q&A with Marc Brackett, PhD

By Jennifer Gunn February 6, 2019

Social-emotional and trauma-informed learning and teaching are at the forefront of education research and study today. The National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) reports that nearly 50 percent of the children in the U.S. have experienced “at least one or more types of serious childhood trauma.” Therefore, ignoring emotions in the classroom can absolutely pose… Read More

The Benefits of Community Engagement in Education

By Annie W. Scott February 5, 2019

Much like the soil we build our schools upon, people need solid footing and an appreciation for the environment. When looking at community schools as a construct, one must consider all the nuances that make a community significant. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory is useful in unpacking the multiple layers and perspectives that make a community… Read More