From the Center for Christian Urban Educators

March 22, 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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Teachers looking to increase students’ reading comprehension, provide extra support, or differentiate by interest or text complexity can use ReadWorks to easily assign high-quality online or printed articles and assignments for use in class or at home. The Article-a-Day sets could be used to establish a 10- to 15-minute daily reading routine to increase students’ background knowledge and improve their vocabulary skills. Assign Paired Texts -- chosen for different perspectives on the same topic -- are useful to encourage more in-depth analysis, compare perspectives, or check for bias.

TEACHERS: Research-Tested Benefits of Breaks

Students are easily distracted, but regular, short breaks can help them focus, increase their productivity, and reduce their stress. These breaks throughout the school day—from short brain breaks in the classroom to the longer break of recess—are not simply downtime for students. Such breaks increase their productivity and provide them with opportunities to develop creativity and social skills. And there are more benefits than just increased attention.

TEACHERS: Extending the Silence

How long do you pause after asking students a question? Studies show that the average length that teachers pause is 0.9 seconds. Did you know that simply giving students several seconds to think after asking a question—and up to two minutes for some questions—improves their learning? Check out these strategies for providing students with time to think.
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TEACHERS: Building a Metacognitive Classroom

Teaching students about neuroplasticity and the brain’s potential can have a positive effect on students' self-perceptions and expectations for success in school. Explicitly teaching them that learning changes the structure and function of their brains can be transformational in building a stronger belief in the value of working hard to master new material.

TEACHERS: 5 Personalized Learning Strategies that Teacher Should Know About

Finding the best way for each individual student to learn can seem both too complicated to accomplish. However, when approached with the right mindset, personalized learning can be accomplished somewhat quickly. The goal is to help each student succeed in a manner best suited to their unique ways. Here are five personalized learning strategies for teachers to be aware of.

TEACHERS: 20 Parent-Teacher Conversations That Can Benefit Everybody

Meaningful parent-teacher conversations should happen regularly, but both are incredibly busy individuals. With this in mind, what are the most beneficial talks that can happen between them? To make it easy, the list in this article features 20 questions for prompting the best parent-teacher conversations imaginable. When we say “best” we’re talking about the ones that really matter, to parents and to students.

TEACHERS: What is Genius Hour?

Have you thought about incorporating genius hour into your program? Genius Hour is an approach to learning where students are guided by their own interests, background knowledge, and curiosity to learn. From the outside looking in, it is less organized, less formal, and less standardized than traditional learning. It is “open-ended” learning characterized by student self-direction, passion-based learning, inquiry, and autonomy. Learn more here.

TEACHERS: The 6 Traits of Life-Changing Teachers

In education there’s a lot of talk about standards, curriculum, and assessment—but when we ask adults what they remember about their education, decades after they’ve left school, the answers are always about their best teachers. So what is it about great educators that leaves such an indelible impression? Here are the 6 standout qualities that make some teachers life changers.
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PARENTS: Have a Difficult Child? Try these 7 Techniques

Difficult kids (or strong-willed children) often require parenting techniques that differ from those that are effective with other children. This article outlines seven things that parents can do that may be helpful in raising strong-willed children.

PARENTS: How Much Sleep is Just Right for Cognitive Function?

There's no shortage of research around the benefits of sleep and its critical relationship to learning. So how much sleep is enough? Researchers have looked at the differences in cognitive function of people who have slept four or six or eight hours and how their brains function. This AsapSCIENCE video demonstrates what your capabilities are after those various amounts of sleep.

LEADERS: Break Bad Habits with a Simple Checklist

Whenever you set goals to improve and change your behavior as a leader, it is important to also have a way to measure your progress. In fact without actionable ways to move forward and a way to measure progress, you will likely fall back into your old bad habits again. Read how a simple Yes List can assist you in setting goals and growing as a leader.

LEADERS: Good Leaders Make Good Schools

This article explains that you cannot improve or change school of other institutions without first changing the character of the people in them. Social transformation follows personal transformation. The character traits successful principals embody and spread are energy, trustworthiness, honesty, optimism, and determination.

LEADERS: 10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders

It is simply impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator. Did you notice the previous sentence didn't refer to being a great talker but a great communicator - big difference? Effective communication is an essential component of professional success whether it is at the interpersonal, inter-group, intra-group, organizational, or external level. However the key to becoming a skillful communicator is rarely found in what is taught. You have become an excellent communicator when you consistently use the 10 principles outlined in this article.
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Disrupting Poverty: Five Powerful Classroom Strategies

Drawing upon decades of research and myriad authentic classroom experiences, Kathleen M. Budge and William H. Parrett dispel harmful myths, explain the facts, and urge educators to act against the debilitating effects of poverty on their students. They share the powerful voices of teachers—many of whom grew up in poverty—to amplify the five classroom practices that permeate the culture of successful high-poverty schools: (1) caring relationships and advocacy, (2) high expectations and support, (3) commitment to equity, (4) professional accountability for learning, and (5) the courage and will to act.

Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding and Independence for All Learners

Visible Thinking is a research-based approach to teaching thinking, begun at Harvard's Project Zero, that develops students' thinking dispositions, while at the same time deepening their understanding of the topics they study. Rather than a set of fixed lessons, Visible Thinking is a varied collection of practices, including thinking routines, small sets of questions or a short sequence of steps, as well as the documentation of student thinking. Using this process thinking becomes visible as the students' different viewpoints are expressed, documented, discussed and reflected upon.
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The Opportunity of a Wrong Answer in K-8 Mathematics

Corwin - Monday, March 26, 2018 - 3:30 pm PDT

A Baseline for Student Success: Designing and Implementing an Evidence-Based and Standards-Based Teacher Induction Program

Education Week - Thursday, March 27, 2:00 pm EDT

Trauma, Stress and Schools: Connecting the Dots between Science and Practice

edWeb - Wednesday, March 28, 5:00 pm EDT

Build Confident Communicators in the Classroom

edWeb - Thursday, March 29, 4:00 pm, EDT

Giving Meaning to Test Scores

edWeb - Wednesday, April 4, 3:00 pm, EDT

Executive Function for Today’s Student and Tomorrow’s Leader

edWeb - Thursday, April 5, 5:00 pm EDT

The Power of Block Play

edWeb - Monday, April 9, 3:00 pm, EDT

Three Questions Every Teacher Should Ask About Edtech

edWeb - Thursday, April 12, 4:00 pm, EDT

Minimizing Summer Slide Through a Collective Impact Model

edWeb - Monday, April 16, 4:00 pm, EDT

Amplifying Student Voice with Technology

edWeb - Tuesday, April 17, 4:00 pm EDT

Inclusion is More Than “Just Being In”

edWeb - Wednesday, April 18, 3:00 pm EDT

From Labs to Lifelong Learners: Visible Learning in the Science Classroom

Corwin - Thursday, April 26, 4:00 pm, EDT

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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.