From the Center for Christian Urban Educators

November 27, 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.

TEACHERS: Checking Yourself for Bias in the Classroom

Unconscious bias can shape the responses of even the most well-intentioned educators. In this post one teacher shares how teachers can check themselves for bias.

TEACHERS: To Learn, Students Need to DO Something

The "information in - information out" model of education does not work. If you want students to actually learn the facts and concepts and ideas you're trying to teach them, they have to experience those things in some way that rises above abstract words on paper. They have to process them. Manipulate them. To really learn in a way that will stick, students have to DO something.

TEACHERS: Four Strategies for Teaching Empathy in the Classroom

Nearly one in three U.S. students say that they have been victims of bullying. Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that researchers at the University of Michigan have observed a 40 percent drop in empathy among teens over the past three decades. How can educators reverse this troubling trend? Cultivating–or restoring–empathy is one place to start. Here are four tips for educators looking to create more empathic classrooms.

TEACHERS: Helping Students Ask Better Questions Can Transform Classrooms

Curiosity is at the center of powerful learning. But too often, in the push to meet standards and pressure to stay on pace, that essential truth about learning that sticks gets lost. Many students have forgotten how to ask their own questions about the world, afraid that if they wonder they will be wrong. It’s far less risky to sit back and wait for the teacher to ask the questions. And yet, good questioning may be the most basic tenet of lifelong learning and independent thinking that school offers students.

TEACHERS: Setting Off and Sustaining Sparks of Curiosity and Creativity

In the summer of 2010, Newsweek pronounced that the United States was suffering from a “Creativity Crisis.” From research we know that creativity requires both divergent thinking and convergent thinking and schools need to offer students opportunities to do both divergent and convergent thinking. Teachers struggle to find ways to give students good thinking opportunities. In this article Dan Rothstein proposes that sparking curiosity and the creativity of students may be accomplished by teaching students how to ask their own questions.

TEACHERS: Why It's Imperative to Teach Students How to Question as the Ultimate Survival Skill

The ability to ask insightful questions is becoming more and more important. As change continues to accelerate, tomorrow’s leaders—and the larger workforce—will have to keep learning, updating and adapting what they know, inventing and re-inventing their own jobs and careers through constant, ongoing inquiry. Are schools doing a good job of preparing students for a world where questioning is a survival skill?

TEACHERS: Why the Question is More Important Than the Answer

A new book by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions, documents a step-by-step process to help students formulate and prioritize questions about nearly everything. Coming up with the right question involves vigorously thinking through the problem, investigating it from various angles, turning closed questions into open-ended ones and prioritizing which are the most important questions to get at the heart of the matter.


TEACHERS: Engaging children with mathematics: Are you an engaged teacher?

“The first job of a teacher is to make the student fall in love with the subject. That doesn’t have to be done by waving your arms and prancing around the classroom; there’s all sorts of ways to go at it, but no matter what, you are a symbol of the subject in the students’ minds” (Teller, 2016). Do you consider yourself an engaged teacher? Are your students deeply engaged with mathematics, and how do you know? Learn more about student engagement versus being "on task."

PARENTS: The Perils Of Pushing Kids Too Hard, And How Parents Can Learn To Back Off

A growing awareness of the pressure that students are under to achieve has resulted in parents trying to balance the focus on achievement with an emphasis on well-being. Part of the equation is freeing up kids to find their own motivation and life path. There is a growing body of evidence pointing to elevated risks of anxiety, depression, and drug and alcohol use among kids raised in privileged communities.

PARENTS: How Reading 20 Minutes a Day Impacts Your Child

Starting in kindergarten, if a student reads 20 minutes a day at home, they will hear 1.8 million words per year. They will have read for 851 hours by 6th grade and on standardized tests, they will likely score better than 90% of their peers. This is compelling data on the benefits of encouraging your child to read.

LEADERS: Setting School Culture With Social And Emotional Learning Routines

In recent years, the pendulum of education trends have swung back to emphasize the importance of relationships to learning. Schools are using social and emotional learning curricula to help students develop interpersonal skills and learn ways to solve problems peacefully. But there’s still debate around which social and emotional skills are the most important to teach -- such as empathy, executive functioning or persistence.

LEADERS: Developing and Incarnating Community Character Traits

Character traits play an important role in establishing the distinct identity of a Christ-centered school. In this post, Steven Levy shares the process the Genesee Community Charter School followed to develop their list of traits and how they are developing a description of what living them might look like at each grade level.They are now in the process of permeating every aspect of school life with the yeast of their Community Character Traits.

LEADERS: Why We Must Teach Our Students Empathy

Years of dedicated research and practice have demonstrated that social and emotional intelligence now stands out as a better predictor of long-term life success than academic proficiency alone. This makes sense when you consider that the three most identifiable reasons for failure at work relate to social and emotional intelligence: difficulty in handling change, inability to work well on a team, and poor interpersonal relations.

LEADERS: True Leadership Starts with Empathy

Empathy is a key trait of effective leaders. This post outlines five ways to become a better leader, and practice empathy for others: 1) know yourself, 2) control yourself, 3) be vulnerable, 4) understand others, and 5) do something for others.

LEADERS: The Importance of Empathy in Leadership

Empathy is an underutilized skill in leadership. Successful leaders are often portrayed as authoritarians with an unbending will, but this is a weak leadership style to adopt. A true leader focuses on building trust, and an effective way to achieve this trust is through empathy.
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Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions

Make Just One Change not only makes the case for the importance of teaching students how to ask their own questions, it also provides a clear step-by-step process for teaching a sophisticated thinking skill to all learners. Its simplicity belies the significance of its approach for teaching students to actually think for themselves. No small accomplishment. The protocols described in the book are easy to follow and adaptable to a variety of classrooms and subjects. These simple strategies can lead students to go into more depth in their learning and stretch the standard curriculum beyond the textbook.
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SEL and Restorative Practices: Schoolwide Integration Strategies

edWeb - Wednesday, November 28, 4:00 PM EST

Your Complete Guide to the Hour of Code

edWeb - Monday, December 3, 5:00 PM EST

What Are You Grouping For? Five Teacher Moves to Jump Start & Sustain Small Group Learning Opportunities

Corwin - Monday, December 3, 6:30 PM EST

Misconceptions About Student Literacy: Why Growth Flatlines and What to Do About It

edWeb - Tuesday, December 4, 3:00 PM EST

Ways to Combat Bias in Schools; A New Resource

Education Week - Wednesday, December 5,

Strengthening Parent-Teacher Partnerships: Meeting Parents Where They Are

edWeb - Thursday, December 6, 5:00 PM EST

Brave Your Fear: Helping Women and Girls to Face Fears and Take Action

edWeb - Monday, December 10, 3:00 PM EST

How to Grade For Learning

Corwin - Monday, December 10, 6:30 PM EST

Think Like an Engineer

edWeb - Wednesday, December 12, 4:00 PM EST

Rethinking Homework: New Practices, New Roles

ASCD - Thursday, December 13, 3:00 PM EST

Sign Language, Songs and Felt Stories: Literacy Learning in Early Childhood

edWeb - Monday, December 17, 2:00 PM EST

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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.