10 Top-Notch Strategies in 12 Minutes: Student Participation

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Every teacher strives for an active classroom buzzing with engaged and eager students. However, even the most experienced teachers face days when it seems like they’re the only one talking and the students have simply tuned out. Or, perhaps your students are so engaged and so eager to participate that you’re having a tough time making sure that all student voices are heard.

Silence can bring even the best lesson to a screeching halt and the hand that never seems to go down is certainly a challenge. But whatever the reason behind your participation woes, if you have 12 minutes, we have 10 top-notch strategies you can learn today and try out tomorrow to boost active learning and student participation for all students in your classroom.

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Ensuring Equity for Every Student

Getting Better Together

I had never heard of the “achievement gap” until the summer after my first year of teaching. It was after reading Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males: Closing the Achievement Gap, that I became aware of the gap in educational achievement between white and minority students.

This stubborn gap has persisted throughout my career. I’ve managed to pick off a few percentage points at my different schools, but the gap largely remains the same. And this gap is only one of many gaps. There is the opportunity gap (as it relates to higher level course selection and access), the wealth gap, and more.

It seems that the world of education has somewhat shifted away from the effects (gaps) to the causes (inequity). To that end, the rest of my life in education will be committed to ensuring equity for every student.
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Tch Tips: Teaching Collaboration Skills

Tch tips

We all want our students to work together. But how do we do it? True collaboration is much more than just having students work with each other. As teacher David Olio points out in this video, students often learn most deeply from their peers. Spending time teaching students how to collaborate will positively impact students’ learning.

But just as there is no one way to collaborate, there is no one way to teach collaboration. Use these tips to try out new ways to encourage students to work together!

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Getting Better Together: Collaborating Around Instructional Priorities

Getting Better Together

It’s nearly impossible to put into words what educators feel when the bell rings on the final day of school. The sheer joy of entering into weeks of bell-free, kid-free, and paper-free days alone is almost worth entering into the profession. In June, the new school year seems so far away. But, August does come. And we find ourselves at the beginning of the cycle all over again. Even more, we find ourselves hitting pause each January to reflect and adjust our course.

The school year begins to come into perspective for me after the baseball all-star game and before the start of NFL training camps (can you tell that I’m a sports fan?). After July 15th, August comes into sharp focus for educators across the country. However, if you waited until July to actually begin preparations for the new year, you might’ve been feeling a little pressure.

And now in January, it might feel like you’re starting all over again, as you revisit and reflect on the progress you’ve made so far and forge onward with your new and improved plans for the second half of the year. But no matter where you are in your planning and preparation, collaboration is a very important part of starting — and finishing — strong.

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Mid-Year Check-in: Assessing Your Year So Far

mid-year check-in

Congratulations: You made it to January!

For many experienced educators, January can feel like an exciting time to reboot. For new teachers, January can bring back feelings of disillusionment that may have started around November (be sure to read this post on staying energized if you’re in the latter category).

Whether you’re feeling dismayed or excited for the rest of the year, taking just a few minutes to reflect and plan can often make you feel a little bit better.

At the beginning of the school year, Teaching Channel launched our Back to School Starter Packs, a set of checklists and resources organized by grade band to help you start the year off on the right track. Now that we’ve reached the midyear point, we’re offering you a simple review sheet to see how well you’ve done with all of your plans.

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Scholar Activism: Learning from our Classroom Walls

What does it mean to be a Scholar-Activist?

Tch Laureate Geneviève Debose Akinnagbe teaches ELA at Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists (BSSWA) in New York City, a secondary school where teachers refer to their students as Scholar-Activists. She’s developed a unit on Scholar Activism for her middle school students to give them a better idea of what that title means and the honor it carries.

So far, we’ve explored the following questions:

In this post, Geneviève shares how she uses the physical space in her classroom as a learning tool.

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Tch Talks 22: Intention & Critical Creativity in the Classroom

Tch Talks with microphone

What is Critical Creativity?

To Dan Ryder and Amy Burval, critical creativity is “students using creative expression to demonstrate deeper thinking and the nuances of understanding content.” It’s a portmanteau of sorts, which has the potential to turn ideas into action and push your students toward deeper learning and meaningful understanding.

Dan and Amy believe that, “When students make connections, transform knowledge, and articulate the reasons behind their creative choices, learning becomes more sticky, meaningful, and authentic.” Articulation of creative reasoning is key, because as students learn the power of explanation, rationale, and intentionality, they shift from passive pupils along for the ride to active drivers of their own learning. And the best part of this shift is that it occurs in the midst of purposeful play.

On this episode of Tch Talks, Dan Ryder, Education Director of the Success and Innovation Center at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, Maine, joins us to talk about his and Amy’s new book, Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom, and how a little rigorous whimsy can help you transform learning in your classroom right now.

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