From the Center for Christian Urban Educators

January 4, 2018

Useful links, thoughts and quotes for school leaders and teachers curated from the web by Harriet Potoka, Director of Center for Christian Urban Educators.
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TECH TALK - Best Teaching and Learning Apps

The TECH ADVOCATE prepared this list of 116 of the best teaching and learning apps. The apps are sorted into the following categories: virtual reality, math, teacher communication, movie making, study skills, science, social studies, grammar and spelling skills, writing skills, creativity, and assorted teaching and learning apps.

TEACHERS: Quick Ted Talks to Develop Leadership and Character

Talking to high school students about leadership and character is tricky. Most of what is said sounds cliche at best and patronizing at worst. Consider using these Ted Talks. Here is a list of talks that are brief – six minutes at most – and often funny. They approach the topics in new ways that engage students instead of turning them off to the ideas.

TEACHERS: 6 Ways to Take the Joy Out of Reading

We know adolescents read far less than younger children. Traditional classroom practices often don't help, writes ELA teacher Cheryl Mizerny. By avoiding strict regimes and providing lots of choice and motivation, educators can increase the love of reading among tweens and teens and put the joy back into books. Read more.

TEACHERS: 6 Ways to Motivate Students to Learn

Scientific research has provided us with a number of ways to get the learning juices flowing, none of which involve paying money for good grades. And most smart teachers know this, even without scientific proof. Do you practice these regularly?

TEACHERS: Teaching Black Boys: 3 Principles for White Educators

In this post, the authors share that 85% of the teaching population is white, and black boys in particular face unique challenges in our school system. When so much of black boys’ success is dependent on their experience in school, what can we do to change the narrative? These authors have three simple suggestions for all educators.

TEACHERS: Top 5 Great Benefits of Asking Questions

Effective educators harness young learners’ natural curiosity and are purposeful about encouraging questions in their classrooms so children reap these 5 benefits of asking questions, and make inquiry a habit of mind.

TEACHERS: Preschoolers and Praise: What Kinds of Messages Help Kids Grow?

Preschool children are in the early stages of developing their self concept — their mental picture of who they are, what they can do, and who they are capable of becoming. During this pivotal time, the language parents and educators use with preschoolers — particularly when they face challenges or struggle to learn new skills — can help them shape a healthy mental model of how people learn and grow.

FOR TEACHERS: Maximize the Power of the Middle School Brain

It almost goes without saying that middle school is the most challenging level of instruction in K-12 education. Children younger than middle school age tend to be more respectful of authority, and students older than middle school age are typically more thoughtful and serious. We know why middle school kids are this way, and it has more to do with neurotransmitters than with hormones. The past 20 years of research in adolescent brain development has provided an entirely new way of understanding adolescents. Read more.

FOR TEACHERS: That’s Not Fair! Teaching Kids The Difference Between Fair and Equal

Things often don't seem fair, especially to young students. Once they adjust their thinking, however, and can understand and appreciate the simple fact that fair doesn’t always mean equal, it doesn’t seem as insurmountable an issue. Here are a few ideas on how to effectively concretize that concept.
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In today’s globally connected world, it is essential for students to have an understanding of multiple cultures and perspectives. In this edited collection, Kathy Short, Deanna Day, and Jean Schroeder bring together fourteen educators who use global children’s literature to help students explore their own cultural identities. Teaching Globally lays out why this kind of global curriculum is important and how to make space for it within district and state mandates.

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In this article Aaron Hogan shares a list of 41 good books and a short review of each one. He recommends that you browse through them. Search out reviews for one or two before you make the jump and commit to reading any of them. Download a sample to your e-reader to see if it fits your tastes.
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PARENTS: How Parents Can Help Kids Navigate the Pressures of Their Digital Lives

As adults witness the rising tides of teenaged anxiety, it’s tough not to notice a common thread that runs through the epidemic — something that past generations never dealt with. Clutched in the hand of nearly every teen is a smartphone, buzzing and beeping and blinking with social media notifications. Parents, all too often, just want to grab their teen’s phone and stuff it in a drawer. But is social media and the omnipresence of digital interactions really the cause of all this anxiety? Read more.

FOR PARENTS: What Kids Need from Adults But Aren’t Getting

Erika Christakis' book, The Importance of Being Little, is an impassioned plea for educators and parents to put down the worksheets and flash cards, ditch the tired craft projects and exotic vocabulary lessons, and double-down on one, simple word: Play.

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SCHOOL LEADERS: 3 Ways Leaders Can Make Meetings More Engaging.

Do your meetings make the cut? In other words, who shows up to your meetings – passive attendees or engaged participants? Meetings aren’t going away, so it’s worth considering how to best utilize meeting time, and perhaps more importantly how to tap into the full intelligence of your people. Here are three subtle adjustments that will allow you to shift the way people prepare and participate in your meetings, making each meeting more productive.

SCHOOL LEADERS: 15 Things Every Teacher Needs From A Principal

None section of Elain McEwan-Adkins’s book, How to Deal With Teachers Who Are Angry, Troubled, Exhausted, or Just Plain Confused is a collection of what McEwan-Adkins called “The Teacher’s List of Needs.” While you may do your best to nurture strong relationships with teachers, it’s easy to get lost in the hum of daily activity and the increasing demands of your profession. This thoughtful and compelling list can serve as a reminder of the importance of relationships.

SCHOOL LEADERS: Which Content is Most Important? The 40/40/40 Rule

The 40/40/40 rule is a powerful way to think about content. The essence of the 40/40/40 rule is looking honestly at the content we’re packaging for children, and contextualize it in their lives. What’s important that students understand for the next 40 days, what’s important that they understand for the next 40 months, and what’s important that they understand for the next 40 years?

SCHOOL LEADERS: Why Student Data Should Be Students’ Data

In most schools teachers and school leaders are the ones analyzing data. What would be different if students were using their own data? Do students make gains in taking ownership of their work when they’re given access to their data around that work? Read more.

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Preschool Children with Challenging Behaviors: What to Do When Nothing Else Works


Wednesday, January 10, 2:00 PM EST

Mixing Green Time with Screen Time


Thursday, January 11, 4:00 PM EST

Multiple Intelligences: A New Look at an Old Theory

ASCD - Thomas Armstrong

Thursday, January 18, 3:00 PM EST

Achieving Media Balance in a Tech-Immersed World


Tuesday, January 23, 3:00 PM EST

Google This! The Research Process Revisited


Wednesday, January 24, 5:00 PM EST

Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out

ASCD - Stephanie Jones

Thursday, January 25, 3:00 PM EST

Top 10 Questions About Handwriting


Thursday, January 25, 4:00 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.