Without Struggle, There Is No Progress

Recently, I was notified that one of my science experiments, Climate Change in a Bottle, was flawed.

In my lesson, I informed my students that it was the radiative properties of carbon dioxide that led to an increase in temperature in the experiment. However, a commenter on the video countered that it’s the convective properties of carbon dioxide that in fact cause the temperature change. After reading several articles written by experts in the field, I confirmed the error.

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Back-to-School Backpack: Support All Year Long

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Over the past four weeks, we’ve been working hard to help you fill up your back-to-school backpacks. Last week we dove into assessment resources and were inspired by the great ideas that were added by the community to our shared Google Doc. Here are a couple of my favorite suggestions:

Give Effective Feedback

The best assessments give useful information to both teachers and students. Sean McCombs shares how he makes sure he’s giving helpful feedback by having students turn in their writing with a “submission sheet,” where students self-assess on a rubric and highlight particular areas where they would like feedback.

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Literacy in the Digital Age – Five Tools That Demystify Text Complexity

Literacy in the Digital Age

Editor’s Note: Teaching Channel has partnered with Student Achievement Partners on a blog series about digital literacy tools and their effective use by educators.

The Common Core State Standards emphasize the importance of students being exposed to and understanding texts of increasing complexity as they progress through grade levels. Often, though, it’s difficult to find an accurate way to measure texts.

Lexile and readability scores use features like sentence length and word frequency that are not always accurate measures. For example, the classic novel The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is considered to be at a lexile level for a third grader. As educators, we know to use our better judgement because the themes and topics are nowhere near appropriate for that grade level.

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Classroom Culture vs. Classroom Management

New Teacher Survival Guide

As a new teacher, I remember my greatest fears: students would run wild, it would be impossible to get their attention, and my class would be out of control. I thought a lot about rules and consequences, making plans for different types of disturbances. Though my class still felt pretty crazy, I found comfort in my plans for order.

But all my thinking about classroom management neglected one important thing: classroom culture. I was so concerned with keeping my class under control that I forgot to spend time developing a positive classroom culture.

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Back-To-School Backpack: Think About Assessment

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At the beginning of the year, assessment may be the furthest thing from your mind. But thinking about it sooner rather than later will pay off in the long run. You need to know what you want kids to learn and how you’ll know if they learned it before designing the lessons that will get you there. We’re going to dive into the assessment resources in our Back-to-School Backpack, but first let’s look back at some of the great class culture resources that were shared in last week’s open Google Doc.

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Tests Without Grades: Learning Moments

Have you seen Leah Alcala’s My Favorite No? It happens to be one of the most popular videos on Teaching Channel, so we recently checked in with Leah to see what else she’s been up to. Leah was excited to share with us what sounded like My Favorite No, Part II: The Grading Version. Lucky for us, she teaches in our own backyard in Berkeley, California, so we jumped at the chance to visit and bring you her newest thoughts on encouraging students to learn from mistakes.

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#TchLIVE: Constructing Our Learning Spaces

As the school year begins with laminating machines firing up, photocopy machines heating up, and all kinds of technology charging up, there’s this question teachers often ask each other in hushed tones: “Is your room ready yet?”

I’m sure you’ve heard every intonation of this question. There’s the energetic-excited-enthusiastic voice, just hoping you’ll ask her so she can tell you about every corner of her space. There’s the voice hoping for camaraderie and absolution in not having started yet. And there’s the common, but understated, “Well, it’s as ready as it’s going to be because the kids are coming tomorrow.” You know she’s exhausted every ounce of creativity and purposefulness with every name plate, every Pinterest organizational idea, every word wall and responsibility chart.

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Literacy in the Digital Age: Five Sites With High-Quality Informational Text

Literacy in the Digital Age

Editor’s Note: Teaching Channel has partnered with Student Achievement Partners on a blog series about digital literacy tools and their effective use by educators.

One of the most exciting shifts in the Common Core State Standards is the increased use of content-rich, informational text.

Let’s think about this. As professionals, how often do we read texts that are outside of our comfort zone? Perhaps it was a legal document, a lengthy contract, or 16th Century prose. A lot of  time, no doubt, was spent trying to decode the language used. Our human brain only has a finite amount of working memory available at any given time. And when we’re reading, our brain is either decoding or comprehending. It can’t do both well. The process is uncomfortable. And yet, many of us ask this of our students on a daily basis. It’s no wonder they struggle!

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Back-To-School Backpack: Building Class Culture

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Here at Teaching Channel, we’ve been busy building our Back-to-School Backpack just for you. We’ve been adding to it with ideas you submitted via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #TchTogether, as well as through our open Google Docs. Thanks so much to everyone who’s been participating! This week we’re reflecting on your responses for lesson planning, as well as looking ahead to this week’s call to action: tips and tools for class culture.

First, let’s take a look at some of the resources that were added to last week’s shared Google Doc about lesson planning.

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