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By Joyce Wilson Teaching is a challenging profession, especially if you’re a new teacher. Fortunately, you can implement strategies to stay organized, focused, and effective in your teaching career. I’m going to share seven practical tips that can help you keep up. 1. Meet individual needs. The first step to staying organized as a teacher is to keep up with individual student needs and progress. This requires you to set up a system for tracking and monitoring individual student progress . You can use a grading system or a student monitoring tool to monitor individual student progress throughout the school year. By doing this, you’ll be able to identify ...
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The Teacher Advocate has more than 100 searchable articles on everyday topics that will always be relevant to new and returning teachers. Here are some examples of our best to give you a hand, whether you’re new to the classroom or just starting a new year! Lead to Teach: 4 Ways to Build a Positive Learning Environment By Karyn Miller “What if my students won’t listen to me? What if they won’t follow my rules?” These and other classroom management concerns are often a source of anxiety for new teachers. Whether you are a new teacher, or someone who has been in the classroom for years, the reality is that creating an environment for learning is hard ...
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By Carl Grant and Alexandra Allweisss In our article, “ 'Going for Broke': Working with Teacher Candidates to Bring about Intersectional Socially Just Teaching,” in the current issue of The Educational Forum (available free in September), we share our reflections on the current moment and what it might look like to engage collectively to teach in ways that build toward the world as “it ought to be,” through a framework of intersectional social justice and following James Baldwin’s (1963) call for educators to “go for broke.” In summer 2021, the two of us had regular conversations about our experiences as teacher educators in the ongoing wake of ...
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By Lin Wu The author wrote the article “Enacting Hip-Hop Pedagogy for Joy and Justice” in Volume 87, Issue 3 of KDP’s The Educational Forum . It is available free in the month of August. Six years after President Barack Obama left the White House, many states are actively censoring the teaching of historical truth in their K–16 institutions. The white backlash against racial progress is disturbing yet not surprising, given the racist foundations of the United States. Teacher educators who genuinely care for the profession’s sustainability are standing at the crossroads of succumbing to neofascist politics and taking up the battle against white supremacy. ...
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By Kyle L. Chong and Sheila M. Orr The authors collaborated on the article “Toward an Antiracist Pedagogy of Humanizing Co-creatorship in Teacher Education,” in Volume 87, Issue 3, of KDP’s The Educational Forum . It is available free in the month of July. Often, future teachers learn to be teachers “of” something—a secondary mathematics teacher, or an English-language educator (like we were). And, honestly, that makes a lot of sense. We want all children to be getting the best education they deserve, from people who really know their stuff. However, one policy trend we’ve recently noticed is that legislatures are taking away teachers’ decision-making ...
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By Zareen Gul Aga (Rahman) The author wrote “Pre-service Mathematics Teachers’ Experience with Productive Struggle,” which is published in Volume 87, Issue 2 of the KDP Forum. It is available free in the month of June. We do our students a disservice by teaching them that the only thing of value in a mathematics classroom is the right answer. This notion promotes the view that there’s only one right way to think, a deeply troubling idea given the state of the world we live in today. Unfortunately, many students only ever experience a narrow view of mathematics that begins and ends inside the last mathematics course they enrolled in. Doing mathematics ...
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By Jacek Polubiec Most of us agree that the idea that leaders just lead, teachers just teach, and students just learn is a thing of the past. Innovative schools have been blurring these traditional boundaries for years, and most people understand that being flexible, open minded, collaborative, and proactive are critical attributes of those who want to succeed in the contemporary workplace. The expectation is that leaders distribute their influence among the staff, teachers assume roles in policy making, and students take ownership of their own learning. For the adults in the school building, this paradigm shift comes with opportunities to assume official ...
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By Michael G. Ryan Michael Ryan and co-authors Megan Cziraky , Kristen Kain , Helena McKendrick , and Meredith Miller published the article “ Learning, Growing, Embracing, Transitioning, and Changing: Exploring Resilient Teaching and Learning during the Covid-19 Shutdown,” in Volume 87, Number 2, of KDP’s Educational Forum . The article is available free in the month of June. It’s easy to point out all the pain, sorrow, and challenges that COVID 19 wrought. This is especially true when thinking about the impact that the pandemic had on education. Zoom classes, isolation, and learning loss are some of the terms that come to mind. These ...
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By Kyle W. Lickel “Explosions.” That’s what popped in my head as I pondered the question: “What is going to get students to actually want to attend class and be engaged?” If I could put together an entire unit studying explosions—the science, history, math, literature, art, and so on—I bet kids would want to come to class. Then, that passing thought got swept away in the whirlwind of teaching, grading, planning, and managing behavior. Later I thought, “What is it about ‘explosions’ that made me think of it in the first place?” The excitement? The surprise element? The heat and ...
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By Grace Kibe Novice teachers aspire to have a great classroom, with students who are well behaved and academically successful. They strive to practice student-centered and culturally responsive teaching practices that meet the needs of all students. To achieve this goal, novice teachers should aim to have effective classroom management practices and high self-efficacy beliefs. Classroom management encompasses teachers’ commitment to maintain a healthy learning environment through the establishment of rules and expectations that eliminate disruptive behaviors (Reddy, Newman, & Verdesco, 2016). Teacher self-efficacy beliefs ...
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By Lisa Brizendine It is December in Tara’s first grade classroom, and 6 out of 18 students are English learners (ELLs). Tara reads aloud the story “Too Many Tamales.” Tara would stop at certain times in the story and ask leveled questions. However, one EL, Luis, has not yet spoken during any lessons, although he speaks Spanish and a little English with his peers during recess and lunch. She’s concerned that he may have a learning disability. She thinks Luis may need to be referred to the special education teacher for an evaluation. Is Tara’s hunch correct? This scenario is commonplace for classrooms across the nation. It is estimated that 10.1 percent (5 ...
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By Carleton H. Brown Carleton Brown and co-author David DeMatthews published the article “There’s a Shooting at the Middle School” in Volume 87, Number 2, of KDP’s Educational Forum . The article is available free in the month of April. As an Associate Professor who has been studying, presenting, writing, and researching gun violence and school shootings, it is more than evident to me that America has a gun violence problem. It is difficult to argue against this point as plenty of statistics provide clear evidence. For instance, in the last five years, there has been a steady increase in the firearm death rate, with well over 35,000 firearm deaths ...
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By Jennifer Martin “A World Without Print”: This phrase is the title of a chapter from Victoria Purcell-Gates’ text, Other People’s Words: The Cycle of Low Literacy . In this text, Purcell-Gates details the literacy journey of a family of white, urban Appalachians., Although the family values education, the parents did not finish school, despite their best efforts. The parents lived within a non-print culture. Their world was based on oral tradition, and, despite their desire to get their children to learn to read and write, their children were not finding success in school. Jenny, the mother of two boys, attempted to communicate with her sons’ teachers, ...
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By Lucijan Jović Society is made up of individuals from all walks of life. It is filled with multiple cultures, varied opinions, different backgrounds; however, speaking English is one thing most of us have in common. Regardless of one’s career, the ability to speak, read, and write effectively is a necessity. Burke (2013) in The English Teacher’s Companion , stresses that “each discipline develops in students not just bodies of knowledge—facts, theories, concepts to memorize—but ways of seeing, thinking, and communicating, all of which rely on the fundamental literacies [learned] in English class” (p.2). As educators, we prepare our students to not only ...
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Classroom Library 101

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By Julie Hoffman The classroom library is a fundamental component of the literacy-rich environment we want children to access at school. In essence, if we want our students to become readers, to identify as readers, we need to supply a variety of texts that students can and want to read, and provide time for them to do so. If we know that the time students spend reading independently correlates with reading achievement, then it’s on us to provide volumes of diverse, high-quality materials for them to read (Krashen, 2004). In other words, we need to display the joy and power of reading across our bookshelves. Which books should be in your classroom ...
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By Brian Williams, Rebecca Kavel, and Kyle Graham “I don’t understand! My students can read well, but they struggle to make sense of the text. As a result, student engagement dwindles, text discussions are like pulling teeth, and assessment scores are horrific. Help!” Do you find yourself saying the same thing? If so, you are not alone. Many beginning teachers struggle to understand that reading well is more than just being able to demonstrate fluency. In fact, being able to read a text accurately, quickly, and with expression is just a step in the meaning-making process. Unfortunately, your students were taught how to read and not how to read to learn ...
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By Amie Weinberg Let’s begin with an important, common question that new teachers typically ask: “What’s the difference between classroom discipline and classroom management?” Discipline refers to a reactive, problem-driven process that focuses on something that has already taken place; classroom management centers on being proactive and promoting student responsibility (Wong & Wong, 2014). Experienced teachers know that a successful classroom management plan can make the difference between a day of learning and a day of chaos. Classroom management includes rules, procedures, and guidelines for students that allow them to focus on learning. Teachers ...
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By Mariel Gómez de la Torre-Cerfontaine and Nichole L. Smith Have your students ever visited the Pyramids or Buckingham Palace? Have they asked if it’s the same time in the United States as Calcutta, India? Virtual field trips are a medium for these explorations. As one student states: “I love [virtual] field trips. They are awesome. I get to see the most beautiful countries in real life and…know where to visit…in the future” (Emir, 6th grade). The World Awaits! It’s important for teachers to create engaging lessons that expose students to real life experiences, field trips, virtual tours, guest speakers, and so on (Honigsfeld, 2019). COVID-19 impacted ...
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By Jodi Legnon, Sherry Been, and Anita Ede You scan your kindergarten classroom and see students working during centers when suddenly you hear, “No, you can’t play with the blocks!” Lilly moves toward Cody and pushes his body away. Cody crosses his arms over his chest as his lip quivers and tears stream down his face. You move toward the children knowing this is a teachable moment for Lilly, Cody, and the other kindergarten students, as you model using your words and perspective taking. Children do not come into the world filled with empathy for others. This is a learned skill that comes from experiencing empathy towards themselves. Teachers are in a ...
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By Anastasia P. Samaras Dr. Samaras is author of the article “Letter to a New Academic: In and Out of the Ravine,” published in The Educational Forum, Volume 87, Issue 1. When was the last time you stepped back to take stock of your professional journey? Do you ever ask yourself, “What am I actually doing in my professional work?” “Do I love what I do?” “Does my work matter and for whom?” Whether we work in a school or university, sometimes we might find ourselves just getting carried along a slow winding path or even on a roaring stream. That is why I wrote this article to share what I have learned about taking time to retrospectively consider if ...
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