Engagement! Collaboration! Real-World Applications! Oh My!

Getting Excited About Our New STEM Series

STEM Catapult
When watching the videos in our new STEM series, I found myself thinking, “I want to do that!” From building catapults to constructing edible cars, these STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) projects are incredibly fun.

If you pay close attention to the students in these videos, you’ll see heads put together, smiles on faces, and animated discussions. But there’s so much more than fun going on in these projects. There’s real-world application of content knowledge, meaningful integration, productive collaboration, and a focus on teaching both skills and content. These videos are chock-full of rich teaching and learning.

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Emailing Parents: How to Avoid Unintended Consequences

Practical Advice and Examples for Productive Communication

We love it and we hate it. Email. With the appearance of a red flag or the sound of a friendly ping, it instantly makes communication easier and more complicated. Recent years have taught us some tough lessons about our cyber-conversations:
1. You can’t take back what you’ve written. 2. Our first impression most often comes through what and how we write. 3. Our haste can cause us to suggest a tone or meaning we didn’t intend. Educators aren’t immune to these oversights, especially as our inboxes are more and more crowded.

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“Teaching Channel Presents” Premieres with The New Teacher Experience

Sarah Brown Wessling Hosts New Season

I want to make sure I give you plenty of time to set your DVR. Our television series “Teaching Channel Presents” kicks off its second season this weekend with a special edition we’re calling The New Teacher Experience.

This one-hour program follows two new teachers in Los Angeles through their first few months in the classroom. It’s an intimate look at what’s it like for many new teachers, who can be given keys to a classroom and left to sink or swim in isolation.

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Setting the Stage for Differentiation

3 Ways to Assess Your Class

I hope your school year is off to a great start and you are spending time getting to know your students, building community, and growing to love the individuals who you’ll be spending your days with. But you may also be feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you’re realizing that you have five students who are struggling with reading, two students with behavior challenges, six English Language Learners, one full-inclusion Special Ed student, and three more students with IEPS. And just one YOU.

How are you supposed to meet all of their needs? You’ll need to differentiate, but how? In order to differentiate, you need to know your students really well. Getting to know your students means looking at them through multiple lenses. Only after seeing the full picture of each of your students can you begin to tackle differentiation. You’ll be getting to know your students all year long, but here are three ways that you can start to assess your class right now:

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14 Ways to Cultivate Classroom Chemistry

The Intangibles of a Celebrated Classroom

It’s only September and I’m already thinking June. Not because I’m counting down days or because I wish summer were already here; I’m thinking about May because I want to be one of those teachers who breezes into a lunch conversation and says, “I’m really going to miss this class. They are such a special group.” Sometimes we get lucky, there’s just this natural chemistry that happens when a certain group of students auspiciously find each other in a classroom. Other times a group will bond over an experience – a shared victory or a great loss. But most of time, this “chemistry” isn’t handed to us, it’s something we have to go out and create.

Welcome to my classroom

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Doors Wide Open: Reflections on the First Day

Angst and Exhilaration as School Begins

In 15 years, I haven’t been able to escape the dreams that start appearing on the fringes of my consciousness towards the end of every July. They’re always some version of the same scenario: school is starting and something has gone wrong. Sometimes they’re funny, like the one where the kids walk in the door, look around and decide to check out the lunch room instead, while I’m chasing after them, pleading, “Come back, come back!” Other times these anxiety-purging dreams are a little more freaky, like the one where the kids come to the classroom, but their exuberant, awkward, lovely teenage selves have been replaced by faceless automatons and I’m left with this feeling of helplessness and confusion. Or the one that always jolts me awake: the bell rings and I’m at school in my sweats, completely surprised and mortified that it’s the first day and I’ve overslept.

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