What We Can All Learn from a No-Hitter

As a rabid fan of the game, I have a habit of seeing things in terms of baseball analogies. Watching yesterday’s no-hitter by Tim Lincecum, who is my favorite player on the San Francisco Giants, my live-and-die-by team, got me thinking.

Back in 2007, Timmy was a 23-year-old rookie with a blazing fastball. With his youth and talent, it was something he tended to take for granted. By the end of 2009, he had won the Cy Young Award. Twice. It all came so easily.

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Video Playlist: Educating Digital Citizens

Digital Literacy, or the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, is an essential skill in the modern world. People need to be more than just tech savvy; they must also be able to leverage technology efficiently and responsibly.

We’ve put together a playlist showing how teachers are educating students on a number of different technology-related issues, including security, research, and etiquette.

1. Super Digital Citizen: What does it mean to be a digital citizen? How can you use the Internet safely, responsibly, and effectively? Mr. Pane’s lesson helps students answer these questions and more.

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What Tough Students Teach Us

He was tall, slouched over, and donned a stocking cap the first day he walked into class. He was a sophomore and new to our high school. But clearly Grant* was not new to making a statement: he was not going to like school, this class, or me. And he was violating our school dress code to prove it. It took about two minutes for me read his staunch resistance clearly. It took about two weeks to realize he was serious. And it took nearly a year to win him over. Passive and unmotivated at best, belligerent and disruptive at worst. I long stopped asking him to take off his hat, hoping he would trade that olive branch for an attempt at completing something, anything.

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Video Playlist: 7 Minutes, 7 Attention-Getting Moves

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This summer, Teaching Channel will be helping beginning teachers countdown to their first year of teaching. We’ll walk you through the steps you’ll need to take before the first day of school.

Being able to quickly and effectively get the attention of students is a crucial skill for any teacher. Without it, teachers can’t give directions, move on to new activities, assign work, provide feedback, or facilitate class conversations.

We’ve put together seven attention-getting methods geared towards several different age groups.

Have your own attention getting idea? Post it in the comments section below!

1. Attention-Getting Signals: One Spot: Mr. Romagnolo gets the attention of his class by designating a particular spot in the classroom, where he asks them to focus on him. The key to taking this tack, he says, is setting up a consistent routine so that students always know what is expected of them.

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New Teachers: 8 Essential Skills to Learn

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This summer, Teaching Channel will be helping beginning teachers countdown to their first year of teaching. We’ll walk you through the steps you’ll need to take before the first day of school.

Before getting a classroom of my own, I spent two years student teaching in the classrooms of veteran teachers. I had gone to professional development sessions and seen experienced teachers share their amazing practices. But I had never seen a beginning teacher in action before.

Often times we learn from master teachers, but it can also be helpful to see what the beginning teacher experience looks like. In this New Teacher Survival Guide video playlist, we get to follow beginning teachers as they experience their first years of teaching. With the help of mentors, we see these teachers focus on eight essential first-year skills:

1. Planning: In this video, High School English Teacher Nicole Rubinetti plans a lesson on writing personal statements for college. English Department Head Meg Murray helps Ms. Rubinetti come up with a specific and measurable objective and then they plan exactly how she will support her students to meet that objective.

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Countdown to Your First Year: You Got a Job. Now What?

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This summer, Teaching Channel will be helping beginning teachers countdown to their first year of teaching. We’ll walk you through the steps you’ll need to take before the first day of school.

Woohoo! You’ve secured your first teaching job. I remember how excited I felt when I landed my first teaching job as a first grade teacher. After signing my contract, I walked into my future classroom. I felt amazed, then absolutely frightened when I realized that empty room wouldn’t always be so peaceful. There would be real live kids in there, kids that I would be in charge of. Even more, I would be responsible for those kids’ learning. Eek.

That summer, I lived in a place between “I got a job” excitement and first day of school jitters. But because I was able to see my classroom before going into summer planning (aka freaking out) mode, I was able to start preparing for the year ahead.

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Global Competence: A ‘SAGE’ Approach to Project-Based Learning (Deeper Learning)

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For students of today to become the innovators of tomorrow, they must have opportunities to think deeply about issues of global significance. Global competence requires students to be able to recognize multiple perspectives about an issue, investigate the world in which they operate, effectively communicate their ideas, and take action to demonstrate that what they have learned in the classroom can impact the world. Asia Society’s International Studies Schools Network strives to achieve global competence through the implementation of project-based learning.

The way we define the essence of project-based learning in a globally-focused learning environment is with a framework we call SAGE. Quality curriculum and assessments in globally focused project-based work incorporate all four elements of SAGE:

1. Student Choice calls on students to make key decisions about the direction of their work, focus, and presentation. When designing a globally-focused curriculum, you should ask yourself: are there opportunities for students to make choices about content, process, and/or product? Some strategies to engage learners include: providing the freedom to choose topics, themes, problems, or global issues to study; occasions to select resources outside of the classroom that will support their study; and time to choose final assessments and products to provide evidence of their learning.

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Focusing on Instructional Leadership

“Teachers have a huge effect on their students. Great teachers inspire students to do more than they thought they could do, they help students make up lost ground, and they put students on the path to success. But teachers aren’t born knowing how to do this. They need help to become great … This kind of help comes from great school leaders who understand how to organize schools that support instruction and help every teacher improve.”  — from The Education Trust

I think about the interdependent relationship between teachers and instructional leadership as similar to the wheels on your bike. To get to your intended destination – which in the summer hopefully involves a swimming hole, ice cream, or both — the bicycle wheels have to work in unison. Likewise, to reach the goal of improved learning for all students, teachers and instructional leaders together must establish the conditions that promote student learning. In the absence of instructionally-focused leaders, teachers become isolated and their impact limited. And without effective teaching, leadership teams can do little to improve instruction.

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