From the Center for Christian Urban Educators

October 11, 2018

Useful links, thoughts and quotes for school leaders and teachers curated from the web by Harriet Potoka, Director of the Center for Christian Urban Educators.

Why Teens Should Understand Their Own Brains (and Why Their Teachers Should, Too)

A teenage brain is a fascinating, still-changing place. There's a lot going on: social awareness, risk-taking, peer pressure; all are heightened during this period. Learn more from this interview with Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London or this review of her recent book Inventing Ourselves, The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain.

TEACHERS: 11 Bad Teaching Habits that are Stifling Your Growth

There’s a certain class of mistakes that all educators can eliminate with conscious effort, and in this post eleven of them are outlined. They range from habits of practice to habits of thought, but all of them have one important thing in common: they make your job harder.

TEACHERS: Stories Are All We Are

Read how one teacher uses personal stories to establish relationships with students.

TEACHERS: Keeping it Simple with Standards Based Learning

At its essence, standards-based learning is simple. Teachers set learning targets for their students, determine where they are in relation to those targets, and then do everything they can to help them reach or go beyond those targets. Standards-based grading and reporting is equally as simple at its essence: at certain points in the learning, teachers communicate where students are in relation to the targets and what they and the students will do next to ensure growth. Where does this simplicity get lost?

TEACHERS: The 2 x 10 Strategy: A Miraculous Solution for Behavior Issues?

The 2×10 strategy is simple: spend 2 minutes per day for 10 days in a row talking with an at-risk student about anything she or he wants to talk about. There’s no mystery to the reasoning here, of course–the strategy builds a rapport and relationship between teacher and student, and lets the child see that you genuinely care about him or her as a person. Learn more here.

TEACHERS: 7 Ways to Engage Students in Class

One of the daunting challenges facing each teacher centers around getting students engaged in classroom learning. In a digitally focused age where focus gives way to multitasking, attention deficit becomes the current currency. Here are 7 tips from Reading Horizon to engage students. These 7 tips are also available in a poster.

TEACHERS: Teaching with Testimony

USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education have partnered to create Teaching with Testimony, a new educational program that unlocks the powerful classroom potential of testimony. Drawing upon USC Shoah Foundation's vast library of audiovisual testimony from survivors and witnesses of genocides, Teaching with Testimony empowers students to find their voices and take action for a better future. Check out this resource here.

TEACHERS: Voice of Witness: Bring the Power of Oral History to Your Classroom

Teaching history and English has gotten complicated. For many, many years, educational publishers produced texts that centered an overwhelmingly white, European experience. But in recent decades, there’s been a push to change that, to widen the lens, to hear the voices of those who are so often under- or misrepresented. Here's an incredible resource that can widen the lens, a series produced by an organization called Voice of Witness.

TEACHERS: A Research Round-Up on Note-Taking

Every day, in classrooms all over the world, students are taking notes. Do you know what the research says about note-taking? Jennifer Gonzalez combed through about three decades’ worth of research, and shares what it says about best practices in note-taking. Although this is not an exhaustive summary, it hits on some of the most frequently debated questions on the subject.

TEACHERS: 25 Sticky Note Teacher Hacks You’ll Want to Steal

Sticky notes got their start nearly 40 years ago, when 3M introduced the now-classic yellow Post-it Notes. In the years since, their popularity has skyrocketed, and they’re now available in every shape, size, and color you can imagine. They have endless applications, especially in schools; teachers use sticky notes for math, reading, art, planning, and so much more. Here are 25 clever ways to use sticky notes in the classroom.

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PARENTS: Turn Off that Smart Phone, Mom and Dad

Young children are closely attuned to their parents’ attention. They depend on that attention for their survival, of course, but also for their social and emotional development. Several recent research studies show the damage parents can do when they’re physically present, but distracted and less responsive because they’re attending to their smartphones.

PARENTS: 4 Steps to Fit Your Parenting to Your Child's Temperament

Accepting kids for who they are and parenting according to their personalities makes parents' task of raising them both easier and more effective. While it's important to encourage kids to challenge themselves and grow, it's also important to recognize their individual disposition and not force them to be someone they aren’t. Consider the four steps shared in this post.
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LEADERS: Characteristics of Culturally Proficient Leaders

Leaders can motivate others to excel and to move in desirable directions or diffuse or otherwise block plans for change. In either case, contemporary researchers have found that effective leaders consistently show several key characteristics, whether they are in private businesses, corporate enterprises, or local schools. Do you demonstrate these 7 characteristics?

LEADERS: On Changing Seasons (and Not the Ones that Trigger Allergies)

As summer changes to fall Dr Lauren Shaler reflects on how the “seasons of our lives” change and the importance of being prepared for those changes. In this post she offers three tips for accepting the season you’re in . . . accepting the season when it changes . . . and being prepared for both.

LEADERS: How to Support the Wellbeing of your Staff

This blog outlines four key habits that principals can encourage their staff to adopt to enable them to take greater responsibility for their own well-being. The premise from which it is written is that well-being is about having a healthy and courageous relationship with self. It is concerned with doing the inner work that brings integrity and authenticity to the work of being human.

LEADERS: The 4 Things That Happen When You Make Time for Yourself

As you already know, being the head teacher of a school is tough. It’s often hard to find balance and be a well-rounded human being when you’re always the one that is giving. It is important to remember that numerous leadership authors and researchers have highlighted the fact that it is those individuals who take time out for themselves, that not only perform better but also function better as figureheads for their organisations. When you stop and take essential time out for yourself you allow four key things to happen.
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Not Light, But Fire by Matthew Kay

Do you feel prepared to initiate and facilitate meaningful, productive dialogues about race in your classroom? Are you looking for practical strategies to engage with your students? Inspired by Frederick Douglass's abolitionist call to action, “it is not light that is needed, but fire” Matthew Kay has spent his career learning how to lead students through the most difficult race conversations. Kay not only makes the case that high school classrooms are one of the best places to have those conversations, but he also offers a method for getting them right.

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Center for Christian Urban Educators

The Center for Christian Urban Educators seeks to encourage, equip, and empower Christian educators as they impact the lives of the children entrusted to their educational care.