It’s been another amazing year at Teaching Channel! As 2017 comes to a close, we’d like to take a little time to reflect on the work we’ve done together.
This year has been particularly special as we celebrated a very important milestone:
One Million Registered Tchers!
As you know, growth is at the core of Teaching Channel‘s mission. We believe in not only teacher professional growth and student growth, but also growth in what we do behind the scenes, so we can continue to help build this vibrant and engaging teacher community. This year the Tch team set out to find the great ideas you need, to touch all the content areas you love, to discuss the difficult and current topics that are on your mind, and to build and grow the kinds of resources you can find at Teaching Channel.
We continued to give a voice to important topics in education with our Tch Talks podcast; Tch Tips Strategies via our Tchers’ Voice blog, and we made a few additions to Teaching Channel‘s Deep Dives, our expertly curated collections of content, including:
We welcomed the Fab Five ELL Squad, continued “Getting Better Together” with our Tch Laureates, and engaged with you in many creative ways through Facebook and Twitter. And we brought you more of the videos you love!
Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of the past 365 days…
Each year, Teaching Channel has the pleasure of publishing great ideas, thoughtful reflections, and helpful advice from our community of educators in our Tchers’ Voice blog. This year was no exception! We published posts from writers across the country, covering topics from classroom management to the solar eclipse. In case you missed any of these amazing posts, here’s a wrap up of our top reads.
As the year comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to look back on our most-watched videos. In 2017, our viewers turned to videos made especially for new teachers, sought out engagement strategies, searched for ways to build a positive class culture, and came to us for lesson ideas.
There are many teachers who serve as sources of inspiration in our lives, but the one that we hope to emulate most is undoubtedly Professor Albus Dumbledore, of JK. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
During this hectic holiday season, as the days are shrinking but the pile of grading is not, we cleave to his wise words:
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times,
if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
As Gretchen Vierstra recently pointed out, teaching in December can be tough.
Many of us find ourselves at school before the sun makes its grand appearance and are still there long after it quits for the day.
What is it that’s causing the daylight hours to hasten by, providing us additional hours of darkness?
Is there a way to embrace the “Darkside” of the season, while still resisting the negative forces at work?
Whether you’re looking for ways to get students engaged with the darkness around us during this time of year or enamored with the bright lights of the season, here are some tips and tricks to use around the solstice to help students embrace phenomena and enjoy the holiday season.
It’s easy to have an opinion these days. But getting someone to see the world from your point of view — that takes a little more skill.
Enter the first-person commentary.
From newspaper op-eds to radio perspectives, there’s a growing market for content grounded in one person’s individual lived experience. Done well, commentaries can inform, persuade, and build empathy — making them powerful tools for civic engagement and fostering deeper community conversation.
This lesson on commentary writing comes to you from Youth Radio, an award-winning national network of next-generation storytellers.
What are the KLEWS to real learning in the classroom?
In order for the vision of the Framework and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to be successful, science education cannot be something we only tackle in secondary school. In some ways, it’s easier for us to get buy-in from middle school and high school science teachers, who often have a background in science content. The challenge of supporting elementary classroom teachers, who sometimes lack the same confidence when it comes to science, is critical when it comes to NGSS implementation.
In order to meet this challenge, Urban Advantage (UA) has been working on a pilot program with about 40 New York City classroom teachers, from third through fifth grades. This program, a collaboration between education staff from the American Museum of Natural History, New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Queens Botanical Garden, aims to support these teachers by engaging students in authentic science investigations.
The KLEWS strategy has been a key feature of this work.
A few years ago, I was sharing with Mary Starr, executive director of the Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network, the work I’d been doing around scientific explanations for middle school teachers, referring to the book, Supporting Grade 5-8 Students in Constructing Explanations in Science, by Kate McNeill and Joe Krajcik.
Mary then asked if I was familiar with the book, What’s Your Evidence?, also by Kate McNeill, along with Carla Zembal-Saul and Kimber Hershberger.
That was how I discovered the KLEWS strategy, a powerful tool to support the Claims-Evidence-Reasoning (C-E-R) work we were already doing in our program.
So how can teachers begin to use the KLEWS chart right now in their science instruction?
When did you first realize that you were called to be an educator?
As a child, I can recall teaching “classes” full of stuffed animals, dolls, a few live puppies, and even a captive audience of neighborhood children. But it wasn’t until high school that I really knew I wanted to be a teacher. It was an ordinary day during my sophomore year in high school, in the middle of a world history lecture, that I remember thinking to myself — Yes, I want to be a high school history teacher.
I was watching my history teacher, Mr. Sterling, at the time, and I could sense his ease with the content, his passion, and his excitement. When he wasn’t captivating me with his ponderings on the state of Abu Dhabi, he was likely teasing me after catching me waving out the door to my boyfriend for the 100th time that semester, or encouraging me to keep going after I missed that one point I needed to meet the goal I’d set for myself in the class.
I knew he was doing exactly what he was called to do in this world — and I knew I wanted to do that, too.
I loved teaching. And that’s why I know that making the decision to leave the classroom is one of the most difficult decisions an educator will ever make.
Yet, for more than a decade, we’ve been having an ongoing conversation about teacher shortages and the difficulties we now face recruiting and retaining teachers. Notably, the data suggests that retention is no longer an issue that only impacts teachers in their first five years, but that teachers are leaving their classrooms in increasing numbers throughout the trajectory of their careers. This is a problem we must address, and we believe that you can help!