As kids plan for back to school, they (and their families) often think about backpacks. Do I need a new one, or is my old one just fine? How big should it be? How will I make it my own?
For kids going to school for the very first time, getting a backpack is a rite of passage. When you’re ready for your own backpack, you’re ready for your own adventures. You can bring the things you need, and take home what you created and collected throughout the day. While what’s on the outside of a backpack is often about personal style, it’s really about the things students carry inside them, especially the things that are meant for their eyes only. Maybe it’s a secret journal, a book to read in the quiet moments between classes, the small stuffed animal tucked inside an inner compartment just in case it’s needed. And, backpacks often carry brand new supplies that get students excited to go back to school after summer break.
Welcome to Teaching Channel’s very own Back-To-School Backpack. We’ve filled it with four fresh notebooks on subjects we know are important to think about at the start of the school year. While brand new notebooks with blank pages are exciting, it’s also comforting to have some starter ideas. Each notebook contains carefully selected links to related Teaching Channel content that can support you in the back-to-school journey.
Back to school season has arrived and you’re undoubtedly gearing up for the year ahead. Throughout the month of August, Teaching Channel will be sharing tried and true resources to drive your 2015 forward, and social media is going along for the ride!
In addition to the Back-to-School Backpack, Teaching Channel is eager to hear your innovative, creative, and supportive teaching techniques across social media. As we count down the days to the beginning of a new year, we’ll challenge our followers to answer questions, post photos, and share stories of life as a teacher. Use the hashtag #TchTogether on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and win a prize!
Six months ago Teaching Channel Teams rolled out our official blog “The Big Tent.” This space celebrates and elevates all of the amazing work that our Teams partners are doing on their sites. We hope it has also generated a sense of community and sparked imagination around the country about what’s possible with Teams. We’re loving the content our bloggers are sharing, but we know there’s more out there to highlight. That’s where you come in; we’re making an all-call and we need your help!
After my first year of Common Core implementation and Smarter Balanced assessments last year, I began to reflect on the tremendous amount of change in our math education system and the stresses associated with those changes.
Trying to come up with an analogy, I realized that the most appropriate is a marathon. Changes in standards and shifts in what successful math instruction looks like has required perseverance, time, and patience. Added to these changes is the fact that many cash-strapped schools are trying to find the resources for instructional specialists. The result is a situation where teachers are sometimes making lonely journeys with a shaken sense of confidence and direction.
The Common Core Standards call for teachers to use more complex texts more often. One of my previous blogs shared ways to help all readers access complex text. Even when teachers are committed to using more complex texts, though, they often struggle to fit them within their school day.
Here, then, are practical suggestions of how to incorporate more complex text in existing structures — namely guided reading and independent reading — when redesigning them is not an option. Read more
Alicia Farmer and Kristin Gray are 5th grade teachers on opposite sides of the country. Kristin is also a math coach. Last year they worked together on Collaborating to Develop Mathematical Ideas. The original focus of their effort was to improve student learning related to fraction multiplication. Their work eventually expanded to focus on teacher professional learning, too.
Alicia and Kristin want to make visible the kind of supportive, professional learning conversations they’ve engaged in. The following is a Q & A between the two, with a focus on Professional Learning Communities and Number Talks.
Our last road trip stop in Tampa, Florida, helped us reconnect with the importance of giving students all kinds of space for learning: verbal space to drive discussions, cognitive space to design questions for learning, and physical space to foster collaboration.
With our sense of space broadened, let’s make our way to Flushing International High School in New York, where we’ll meet teacher Jordan Wolf. He’s going to give us some incredible insight about working with English Language Learners. Onward!
You’re invited to join us as we take another special Zaption tour, this time in Jordan’s classroom. We’ll learn more about the ways he meets students where they are in order to build deeper learning experiences. Don’t forget, when you participate in the Zaption tour, you also have the chance to discuss it with teachers from around the country who are road tripping with us!
This interview with Jordan Wolf is part of Sarah’s Summer Road Trip: Uncovering the Secrets of Great Teaching. Engage with the Zaption tour of Jordan’s classroom and ride along on the road trip!
Like many teachers, Jordan Wolf’s path to the classroom was more happenstance than planned. Also, like many teachers, Jordan Wolf knew immediately he had found his passion.
As an environmental consultant, just out of college, Jordan recognized that his love for science and research was being overwhelmed by the politics of his consultancy work. Then, one auspicious day on the New York City subway, he read an advertisement from the NYC Teaching Fellows offering an alternative credentialing system to become a teacher. He signed up, was accepted, went through an intensive two-month initiation program, and started student teaching while finishing his coursework.
Teacher’s lounges are full of coffee cups with cheesy slogans: “Teachers Change Lives,” “Children are the Future,” “To Teach is To Touch a Life Forever.”
But though they might seem trite, the thing about these slogans is that they’re 100% true.
When we’re witnesses to inequity, it can be all too easy to feel powerless. But while everyone can take action, teachers are uniquely positioned to change the world. It’s what we do. We have the power to help eliminate hate by filling students with empathy for one another. It’s our responsibility to give all students a chance to succeed, to love the kids who need to be loved the most, to reform hateful habits.
In a world that often is not equitable, we need to create classrooms that are. Showing our students how to live with respect and empathy for each other teaches them skills that will impact the future. We are not powerless. In fact, we have an imperative responsibility.