What to Watch: Top-Notch Lessons from Tch Laureates

what to watch this summer

Teaching Channel Laureates make visible their own problems of practice. They invite you to help them analyze their work, make refinements, and test out improvements with the ultimate goal of supporting all students to achieve at the highest levels possible. If you’re looking for a few top-notch lessons or strategies to take into the next school year, be sure to add these videos to your summer watching queue.

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Ten Steps to Starting a Community Book Club

Getting Better Together

Editor’s Note: In this Tch DIY video series, Tch Laureate Geneviève DeBose Akinnagbe shares the process of creating and sustaining a youth-led community book club at the Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists (BSSWA) in New York City. The videos in this series are created with the support of Geneviève’s students.


The first video in this series introduced Project LIT Bronx.

Now that you know what Project LIT Bronx is, we’d love to share what it takes to organize a community book club. Before you even start the process, make sure that you sign up to be an official Project LIT Community chapter so you can tap into all of the resources and support in this community of more than 300 chapters!

At first, it may feel overwhelming to get your book club going. We share ten easy steps you and your students can take to make it all happen. This video also highlights resources to help you get started, like book club agendas and discussion guides. We hope these resources and ideas get you and your students ready for your first book club meeting.

If you have questions or comments about Project LIT Bronx, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

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Geneviève Debose Akinnagbe is an educator, artist, and activist who has taught middle school for over a decade. She is a proud National Board Certified Teacher and U.S. Department of Education Teaching Ambassador Fellow. Geneviève strongly believes that education is a tool for social justice and empowerment, and that learning experiences for children should be culturally relevant, student-centered, and interactive. She started her teaching career as a 1999 Teach for America corps member and currently serves as a commissioner on the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. Geneviève is a seventh grade English Language Arts teacher at Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists in New York City. Connect with Geneviève on Twitter: @GenevieveDeBose.

Shifting the Culture of Reading in a School: Project LIT Bronx

Getting Better Together

Editor’s Note: In this Tch DIY video series, Tch Laureate Geneviève DeBose Akinnagbe shares the process of creating and sustaining a youth-led community book club at the Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists (BSSWA) in New York City. The videos in this series are created with the support of Geneviève’s students.


Looking to shift the culture of reading in your school? Try starting a youth-led book club!

Project LIT Bronx is a youth-led community book club in the south Bronx. It was created in September of 2017 and is part of the national Project LIT Community, a growing network of dedicated teachers and students who work together to increase access to diverse books, eliminate book deserts, and spread a love of reading in our schools and communities.

The following video will give you an overview of who we are, what we do, and how we get support from the community to make it all happen. Whether we’re getting book donations through DonorsChoose.org or creating beautiful flyers on Canva.com, it’s all in an effort to increase our students’ love of reading and get them talking about texts in a meaningful way at a #ProjectLITBookClub.

This is the first video in our series. Our next video will focus on what it takes to run a book club and how to do it. If you have questions or comments about Project LIT Bronx, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

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Geneviève Debose Akinnagbe is an educator, artist, and activist who has taught middle school for over a decade. She is a proud National Board Certified Teacher and U.S. Department of Education Teaching Ambassador Fellow. Geneviève strongly believes that education is a tool for social justice and empowerment, and that learning experiences for children should be culturally relevant, student-centered, and interactive. She started her teaching career as a 1999 Teach for America corps member and currently serves as a commissioner on the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. Geneviève is a seventh grade English Language Arts teacher at Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists in New York City. Connect with Geneviève on Twitter: @GenevieveDeBose.

Getting Started with PBL: Do ONE Thing Really Well

Tchers Voice Project-Based Learning

“Success demands singleness of purpose.”

~ Gary Kelly, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

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I recently read The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Kelly and was struck by its beautiful simplicity. Kelly posits when we try to do too many things at once, we’re highly unlikely to do anything well; and rather we “need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects.”

Now if you’re in the field of education, you may have just read that quote and wondered if Kelly was sitting around your last staff meeting, or maybe even rhetorically asked yourself if he was mocking the last district initiative memo you received.

As teachers fighting to survive the rapidly changing educational landscape, we’ve all experienced feeling like we’re asked to do too many things, and as a result, do few things (maybe some days, even zero things) well. As an educator supporting teachers through project-based learning (PBL) implementation, I see this strife far too often.

How might we use Kelly’s logic to go about doing PBL with fidelity and quality? And not lose our teachers through the process?

Well, let’s just do ONE thing and do it well!

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Elevating Teacher Practice: Introducing Our Newest Laureate, Meg Richard

Getting Better Together

Teaching is a rewarding profession on its own, but we also know the importance of elevating teachers that take initiative. The ones who put themselves out there and respond to the needs of their colleagues. Teachers like Meg Richard, a seventh grade science teacher at California Trail Middle School in Olathe, Kansas.

Meg RichardMeg has been an active content contributor as an NGSS Squadster, offering ideas and strategies which have proven to be of great interest and value for our followers. In response, we’re now re-introducing Meg as a Teaching Channel Laureate so she can share even more of her practice with our Tch audience.

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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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Calling All Bloggers: Submit Your Teacher Retention Ideas

Share your voice. Blog with Tch. Teacher retention

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!

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Collaborative Coaching: Teacher-Centered Practices in Action

Tch Video Lounge 2.0 Blog

From the first all staff in-service at the conclusion of summer, to the end of the year checklist session, teachers are inundated with meetings. More specifically, teachers are overloaded with meetings that see them as actors and doers rather than collaborators.

The teacher-centered pre-observation conference shifts this narrative. This approach to the pre-observation meeting is more collaborative and less intimidating and in order to call attention to the nuances of this process, I created two interactive videos for Tch Video Lounge to help you notice how I approach coaching with the teacher taking the lead.

In The Teacher-Centered Pre-Observation Meeting, I model what this may look like with a second-year teacher, Marquis Colquitt. What I hope you glean from our interaction is that the meeting is collaborative, learning-focused, and practice-centered. Additionally, I hope you can clearly observe the principles that guide an effective pre-observation meeting.

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