Room 241: A Blog by
Concordia
University-
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For Administrators

Overcoming Innovation Fatigue: How to Make New Initiatives Stick

By Jennifer L.M. Gunn November 2, 2017

Innovation fatigue is something teachers and administrators know well. Every year there are new programs, standards, and expectations. We are always reinventing the wheel and have to learn a new system, take on a new responsibility, or embrace a new philosophy. However, change that benefits our students is worth doing—and doing well. Here are some best… Read More

In an era of increased standardized testing and a focus on standards and competencies, teachers must use the best methods for measuring student learning. The rote memorization and multiple-choice tests of years past are increasingly incapable of assessing the complex tasks modern students perform. These old testing strategies are too narrow for the high-level benchmarks… Read More

As a teacher, you’ll have a new set of young brains and hearts to work with every year. Eventually they will move on to other grades and teachers, but their memories of you will stay with them. Those memories are your legacy — the day-to-day interactions, the big and small moments wrapped up in lessons,… Read More

Admittedly, competition in principle is a good thing. Going head-to-head with someone else helps to spur action, foster more creativity and ultimately create the best final product. Just look at the quality of the things we use every day. All of them were created in a competitive atmosphere where a company tried to put the… Read More

We need to keep a close, caring eye on our students. Teaching is more than just the subject matter and the classroom environment: It’s about connecting with young people. Helping them through the somewhat rocky waters of growing up is a large part of our teaching responsibilities. While most students pass through our classrooms with… Read More

You are going to make mistakes. Once you realize that, you’re bound to make fewer mistakes and to recover from them faster. Most of your teaching mistakes will be innocuous and easy to recover from: poorly considered lessons that aren’t engaging, grammatical or spelling errors on a test, and even mixed-up communications with students, parents… Read More

Sometimes we need to think and talk about the grand ideas and attitudes that drive our work as teachers, and then there are those other times when we need to think about things in a much smaller scale. Recognizing that seemingly little, subtle actions can ripple through our classrooms is essential as we work to… Read More

Mentors in Teaching Are Like Bench Coaches in Baseball

By Brian P. Gatens July 14, 2016

The 1996 New York Yankees were a powerhouse baseball team. Dominating both at home and on the road, they are now considered, even two decades later, one of the best Yankee teams ever. While they had tremendous talent and excellent team chemistry, their success has been widely credited to manager Joe Torre and his coaching… Read More

Why Expert Teachers Rely on Great Guest Speakers

By Brian P. Gatens July 11, 2016

Effective classrooms thrive on routine and regularity. Savvy teachers embrace the benefits of a set schedule, but they also know the risk of steadiness breeding boredom. That’s why bringing a fresh face into the classroom in the form of an interesting, engaging guest speaker is such a time-honored practice. Here’s why it’s worth the time… Read More

Rightfully so, we spend a lot of time thinking about how we can help children who are economically challenged. Schools are our best tools against poverty, which we know from the proven connection between education and the ability to attain higher-paying jobs and careers. Yet this is sometimes only part of the picture. Classrooms occasionally… Read More

Food trucks have become all the rage these days, thanks to the advantages of cooking in a small-but-mobile space and offering better food at cheaper prices. Awhile back, I stopped by a food truck festival in a neighboring town. As I was sitting there munching on my pulled-pork sandwich and parmesan-encrusted french fries, I couldn’t… Read More

To succeed, you need to complement your teaching skills with a group of workplace skills that help people thrive in every kind of career. This point became clear recently when I met with the CEO of a midsized tech firm who hires teachers for part-time teaching positions. While he was generally pleased with the quality… Read More

I have a colleague who recently returned to the elementary classroom after a 10-year break. As expected, much has changed — technology, communication expectations (text messaging barely existed when she left) and school safety drills. Yet she found the most striking changes are the heightened expectations of the Common Core Curriculum Standards and the more… Read More

Helping a Child Rebound After a Mistake

By Brian P. Gatens June 23, 2016

Children, even the best of them, make a lot of mistakes. That’s the nature of childhood. As a teacher, it’s your responsibility to help them recover from their errors and grow from them. It’s too easy to allow a mistake to become the defining moment of a child’s academic and social experience. The trouble is… Read More

The New SAT: What Students and Educators Can Expect

By Caitrin Blake June 22, 2016

High school students preparing to take the SAT will face a whole new landscape. In 2016, the College Board, maker of the SAT, rolled out some of the biggest content changes in the exam’s history. These revisions were designed to better reflect what high school students actually learn and the knowledge they’ll need in college,… Read More