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Posted by on in Professional Development

Earlier this year I connected with other educators who like to blog. We came together over #sunchat, a Twitter-based Sunday morning chat. We called ourselves the #Sunchatbloggers! We provide each other with feedback and encouragement. Someone in the group suggested we all post on the same topic: our “Top 5”.  Some people will post about strategies, others activities, others technologies—I’ve decided to focus on “needs”. 

What are my 5 “essentials” for effective teaching? What do I need to teach?

After much reflection, I’ve identified my 5 teaching must-haves:

Trust

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Posted by on in Early Childhood

Sometimes, when in a room full of young children every day, it becomes easy to start comparing them with each other and focusing on the things some children don’t do as well as others. Or, the children start to appear as a group, as they interact with the environment. Seeing the unique, individuality of children becomes blurred. This is a road we don’t want to go down. Early childhood educators must stay focused on each child’s strengths and make a point to support them.

All children have natural inclinations and innate talents, but no child possesses the same ones They are all one of a kind- actually one of about 7.5 billion! If we refocus on each child’s strengths, we help children to be successful… not only for today but also throughout their lives.

Here are a few ways to change over to a new and improved mindset:

mother and child talking

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

 

I love going on field trips with my students.  There is something special about taking a group of students to a place that they have never been to see things that are completely new to them. You notice a true sense of wonder, engagement, and curiosity emerge when you take a child to explore a new part of our world.

I always make it a point to watch student expressions and actions because I like to fully engage with students during these experiences. I am also careful to keep an eye on the interactions that my students have with people they come into contact with. As an educator who places a high emphasis on social-emotional learning, this allows me to gauge where my students are and involve them in real-time teachable moments.

Last week I had the privilege to go on a field trip with my 8th grade students to Longwood Gardens (if you have never been, you need to get there!). Our students were participating in a guided tour and a lesson about recycling and renewable energy. My family frequents the gardens multiple times a year so I really hyped the trip up to my students and they were ready.

When we arrived at the gardens, my students were excited and very eager to enter. The looks on their faces displayed genuine interest and we could not get in soon enough for them. We met our tour guide and embarked on our journey.

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Posted by on in School Culture

speakup

I’ve now spent a decade listening to educators speak about what matters most.  I’ve sat silently as teachers, principals, superintendents, professors, parents, and advocates voice their thoughts and opinions on myriad education topics from homework and teacher assessment to growth mindset, metacognition, innovation, creativity, risk-taking and leadership. Those voices have been thoughtful, articulate, passionate, compelling and committed to doing what’s in the best interest of kids. 

Personal blogs, a zillion Twitter chats, and a bazillion hashtags have amplified those voices and spread the ideas that educators value most around the world. Every week teachers now connect online and delight in their newfound power to get their discussions to trend on Twitter -- or better yet go viral.

It was unthinkable a decade ago, but we now live in a world where every educator’s voice can be heard.

That’s why I was left scratching my head about how little I’ve been hearing from educators on the subject everyone around the world is discussing.  I was confused and puzzled by the deafening silence until I read the following article.

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Posted by on in General

lockers 1

Jock sweat, sneaker funk and residual locker room “stank.” I can still remember that stuffy, putrid smell. And who can forget the bare bones facilities, dank showers, and unfiltered “boy talk” that made up the soundtrack at most high-school gyms?

Sometimes we talked about the game, sometimes we talked about each other, and sometimes we talked about the girls. Yes, sometimes the chatter was juvenile, lustful, and objectifying of women. It’s also true that this talk can still be heard in college locker rooms, frat houses, sports clubs, military bunkers, boardrooms, bars and any place where males get together beyond the earshot of females.

Crossing the Line

We have all been schlepping through months of repugnant sludge masquerading as a presidential election. For many, myself included, the tone of the campaign has been agonizing. Many of my friends in education tell me that they’ve stopped watching the spectacle altogether. “I simply can’t bear it," they say.

Many are tortured to see language and behavior that we find reprehensible rationalized and justified by some of the most respected thought leaders in our nation.

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