The Art of Reflection Portfolios allow students to regularly reflect on their learning process—deepening their connection to content.

Two students work on geometric illustrations.

A few weeks ago, I met with a group of educators to discuss their observations from a series of learning walks in classrooms. They found that though students could accurately tell them what they were doing, they struggled to articulate what they might be learning. In response, I suggested building reflection into the daily routine. Whether students use audio and video or pen and paper, encouraging them to take a few minutes to capture not only what they learned, but also how and why, may ultimately allow them to make deeper connections to the content.

Continue reading “The Art of Reflection Portfolios allow students to regularly reflect on their learning process—deepening their connection to content.”

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The Future of Fake News New audio and video software will make media manipulations harder to detect. These essential media literacy questions can help.

Illustration showing icons that represent technology and media

On an episode of Radiolab recorded earlier this year, host Simon Adler leads us down a fascinating and somewhat terrifying path into the future of fake news, where videos of real people—like a U.S. president—can be made to say fake things. While we have strategies for identifying fake images, a new wave of audio and video manipulation tools have the potential to twist reality even further. For educators and those of us thinking about how to ensure that students have the skills they need to be informed citizens, these new technologies are an urgent reminder of the importance of news and media literacy education.

Continue reading “The Future of Fake News New audio and video software will make media manipulations harder to detect. These essential media literacy questions can help.”

Giving Students a Little Taste of a Book A creative way to give students a choice in what they read and differentiate instruction to help them grow as readers.

Students read in a school library.

I learned about the book tasting—an opportunity for students to try out a variety of books—from an instructional coach at my school, who modeled it for the teachers, enabling us to learn firsthand what this activity can do.

To start, I gather titles in a variety of genres from the school library, classroom library, and literacy library—it’s best to have a few copies of each book. I set up my tasting by putting my students in seven groups of four, with four titles in a different genre for each group. One group is generally realistic fiction, one literary nonfiction, one fantasy, and so forth. With groups of four, students get to experience different viewpoints without being overwhelmed—every student gets a chance to contribute when they discuss their books.

Continue reading “Giving Students a Little Taste of a Book A creative way to give students a choice in what they read and differentiate instruction to help them grow as readers.”

Making Failure Harder Work Than Passing A rigorous intervention pushes students who might be satisfied with a D to aim higher.

A teacher in a science classroom talks as a student raises their hand.

Chemistry seems to inspire a D mentality: A significant number of students just want to pass the class to meet their graduation requirement, and do it with as little effort as possible.

Take Evelyn, for example. A junior in my chemistry class in the spring of 2015, Evelyn was bright, but she didn’t see chemistry as relevant to her present or future, so she kept her head low, didn’t engage with the material, missed about 20 percent of the class, and seemed to target a grade of 60 percent. That was at the beginning of the year.

Continue reading “Making Failure Harder Work Than Passing A rigorous intervention pushes students who might be satisfied with a D to aim higher.”

Quick Classroom Exercises to Combat Stress These brain breaks and focused-attention practices can help students cope with stress and trauma and focus on their learning.

Illustration of a brain as a colorful series of connected dots

The trauma and adversity that students are carrying into classrooms are changing how educators need to address learning and academic performance. Fifty-one percent of children in public schools live in low-income households, and when poverty levels exceed 50 percent, there’s a significant drop in academic performance across all grade levels. At the same time, 25 percent of all adolescents—including 30 percent of adolescent girls—are experiencing anxiety disorders.

Continue reading “Quick Classroom Exercises to Combat Stress These brain breaks and focused-attention practices can help students cope with stress and trauma and focus on their learning.”

Don’t Quit: 5 Strategies for Recovering After Your Worst Day Teaching Use these ideas to recover your sense of self and your joy in teaching.

By Johanna Rauhala

Older boy with grey sweatshirt hood on sitting in a field of daisies

Ice crystallized on the windshield and then a tire burst on the way to school, making you late. By the time you arrived, the computer (with the video clip and presentation cued up) froze. Minutes later, Jason pulled the fire alarm while you tried to catch up on parent emails. During lunch duty, a student was punched in the nose. Your nose is stuffy while you explain to the principal right before an IEP meeting why your plans haven’t been submitted yet. The day trudges along… At last the final bell rings, and in your first quiet moment of the day, thoughts of leaving the teaching profession suddenly seem, well, right.

Continue reading “Don’t Quit: 5 Strategies for Recovering After Your Worst Day Teaching Use these ideas to recover your sense of self and your joy in teaching.”