Room 241: A Blog by
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A teacher in control of her workload

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

The Hashtags and Chats Every Educator Should Be Following

By The Room 241 Team February 4, 2019

Not on Twitter? You should be! Twitter is an immeasurably useful tool for educators. Beyond building a network of educators from around the world, Twitter chats and free PDs are happening every day — literally — with some of the biggest and brightest thinkers and practitioners out there. Here’s a look at the most useful and… Read More

How many five-paragraph essays do students write in their school career? A lot. How many standardized tests require an essay? Most of them. How many essays will students need to write after college? Eh, probably not that many. Essays have their function, but they’re certainly not the only academically rigorous form of writing, nor are… Read More

The Power of Storytelling Activities in the Classroom

By Jennifer Gunn January 29, 2019

If you think about it, stories are the very origin of education. The passing down of stories from generation to generation taught us history, culture, skills, and knowledge. “Thinking of teaching as storytelling…encourages us to think of the curriculum as a collection of the great stories of our culture,” says Kieran Egan. “If we begin… Read More

In her viral TED Talk “Every Kid Needs a Champion,” 40-year educator Rita Pierson, recounted a time when she heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” When most of us think back to our time in school, our stories tend… Read More

How to Encourage Student Self-Efficacy

By Jennifer Gunn January 7, 2019

A confident classroom is a successful classroom. How do you build a culture of academic excellence in classrooms that promote student accountability, confidence, and success? By encouraging a growth mindset for all learners, finding ways to boost their confidence and their sense of academic potential. Here’s a look at a few ways to cultivate student… Read More