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Professional Development

When summer break is just around the bend, it’s tough to keep students engaged. But if you shake things up a bit, you can make their learning and your teaching just as memorable as it was at the beginning of the year. Here are some ideas to try out on your students: Change your room… Read More

Imagine that your school district has recently adopted a new math curriculum that will significantly change how students learn new math concepts, approach homework and get evaluated. The explanations of how to do math problems and the expectations of students will be different from previous years — and probably different from what parents remember from… Read More

Many students see the summer break as a time to put off their studies and stop thinking about school for three months. Yet parents and teachers alike know that summer also lets students backslide in their academic development. Summer writing projects offer a chance to slow the slide — letting students dive into  subjects they… Read More

A few months ago, my daughter and her friends came home on a Friday afternoon furious about a recent lecture on dress code. While I’m certain her teaching team had the students’ best interests at heart, the girls heard a different message: Their bodies are distractions that must be managed. Her school is not alone…. Read More

5 Ways Teachers Can Boost Their Listening Skills

By Margaret Steen May 22, 2017

It’s easy to say listening is important in the classroom — but actually listening well can be a different story. During any class, teachers need to keep the whole class engaged, cover a long list of topics and assess how well students are learning. Pausing to really listen to one student’s question or idea can… Read More

6 Ways Students Can Cut Stress Before Big Tests

By Kara Wyman May 16, 2017

Tests help us assess students’ comprehension and skills, but they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. To help students destress before taking a test, try one or more of the activities below. Whether you work with elementary, middle or high school students, there’s always a way to help them feel even slightly… Read More

Sometimes we think theater games belong only in drama classes, but finding ways to apply these activities to your subject area can increase engagement, creativity and critical thinking. It’s also a great way to get students moving around, interacting with each other and having fun with your subject matter. Below are some theater games you… Read More

Test Anxiety: Reducing Stress on Students

By Monica Fuglei May 10, 2017

Parents and educators alike worry that standardized tests place undue burdens on students, triggering stress and anxiety. In a fast-moving culture full of pressure to accumulate good grades and broad experience portfolios, teen stress and anxiety are moving down the chain and affecting middle and elementary students as well. Sometimes this stress manifests as testing… Read More

When it’s done well, peer review is extremely instrumental to students, but when it isn’t done well, it’s painful for everyone and possibly detrimental to their papers. Too often, student feedback during the peer review process produces unspecific responses like “it’s good” or, even worse, incorrect grammatical corrections. To get peer review right, teachers need… Read More

Teachers spend a lot of time talking: explaining, leading conversations, giving demonstrations. But listening can be equally powerful — and it’s a skill that not everyone masters, often because people don’t realize its importance. Gillian Parrish, a research and communications specialist at the Teaching Center at Washington University in St. Louis, says educators are increasingly… Read More

For the second year in a row, my daughter launched a full-fledged campaign against standardized testing. About a week before the tests began, she argued they were ineffective and unfair. She echoed the concerns of a variety of students, parents and teachers: It’s a bad measure, it’s stressful, it doesn’t influence grades, it takes too… Read More

Sure, adolescents spend too much time “glued to their screens,” but why not turn that to your advantage — and theirs? Students’ love of technology can be a powerful force in language arts classrooms thanks to the possibilities of digital storytelling. Students’ beloved smartphones can be essential tools for sharing their unique thoughts and experiences… Read More

Teaching is one of the rare careers where it’s still common to stay in the same profession — possibly even in the same school — for a good portion of your career. For some teachers, this stability is part of the appeal. But for others, there comes a point where the joy is gone and… Read More

From a young age, students get inundated with images. From advertisements to political cartoons to the pictures accompanying news stories, images are everywhere. Because images convey meaning just as words do, students need to learn the principles of visual rhetoric. This knowledge helps students better understand visual arguments in the world around them, and it… Read More

The Right Way to Respond to a Student's Wrong Answer

By Margaret Steen April 24, 2017

Getting students to participate in classroom discussions is an essential part of teaching, from kindergarten through adult education. And while the specifics of each situation vary depending on the subject matter and the students’ age, all teachers should be prepared to respond to the student who answers a question but gets it wrong. Robert Jolles,… Read More