From the Center for Christian Urban Educators

January 25, 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.
Big picture

TECH TALK - 6 Ed Tech Tools to Try in 2018

In this article Jennifer Gonzales highlights six of the tools she added to her 2018 edition of Teacher’s Guide to Tech. The guide is a 329-page digital binder teachers would use all year. It explains over 200 tools in clear, simple language. The tools are grouped into categories based on what they do along with suggestions for classroom applications. They’re not all new tools, but using each one could make a real difference in the way students learn or the things they produce.

TEACHERS: Why Your Students Aren’t Learning

I tis important for educators to understand the potential barriers to both understanding and classroom performance of students. This article looks at 10 of the less common, ‘silent’ disruptors of student academic performance—factors that move beyond literacy, poverty, lack of technology access, and other admittedly powerful but already widely disseminated ideas.

TEACHERS: The Pedagogy Wheel - It’s Not About the Apps, It’s About the Pedagogy

The Pedagogy Wheel brings together in the one chart several different domains of pedagogical thinking and situates mobile apps within this integrated framework, associating them with the educational purpose they are most likely to serve The underlying principle of the Padagogy Wheel is that it is the pedagogy that should determine the educational use of apps. The wheel can help teachers make good decisions as to how to make the pedagogy drive the technology, and not the other way around.

TEACHERS: Let’s Ban the Word Busy

Busy is likely the most common word used to describe the lives of teachers and many others. The author of this article believes that the word busy needs to be banned because it is having an adverse affect on our lives and it is particularly problematic in schools. He states that it is stopping teachers from moving forward and being productive and efficient because it is a word we can throw out there and be done with. Read more here.

TEACHERS: 7 Ways to Prioritize Tasks When Everything Seems Urgent

Angela Watson states that it’s possible to be a great teacher while still having a great personal life. But that requires knowing how to figure out what’s most important, do it well, and let go of the rest. Prioritizing tasks is the foundation of using time effectively and working more efficiently. Here she shares 7 strategies to help teachers do that.

TEACHERS: Dos and Don’ts for Group Work and Student Grouping

Most educators are aware of the benefits of using projects for learning, and collaboration is easily recognized as an important skill for students to build. The challenge facing many educators is figuring out how to group students together in the most effective ways. This simple guide can help teachers as they create groups for an assignment or task in their classrooms.

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.

TEACHERS: Everyday Impact

it’s the everyday student-teacher interactions–the ones in the day to day times that seem small and don’t take long–that often have the most profound impact on students. Teachers often allow themselves to believe that memories are made exclusively by a grand gesture. But how teachers treat their students each and every day can create just as memorable an experience as a big event. Check out these 4 simple ways to make everyday interactions places that create a lasting impact on students.

TEACHERS: Framing Difficult Feedback for Parents

As educational partners, teachers and parents (or guardians) share responsibility for the success of children. Keeping open lines of communication is essential to maintaining a relationship of transparency and trust. But when situations call for difficult conversations, teachers often become apprehensive. Will hearing negative feedback about their kids make parents defensive or supportive? How can teachers give parents the information they need to know but might not want to hear?

Big picture

Coming Soon: Opening Minds Early Education Conference

Dates: February 7-10

Location: Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park

Feel the passion of thousands of professionals who will come together for the most dynamic early education conference and learning experience in the nation. The Opening Minds Early Education Conference is the only event in the nation where people of all professions educating or caring for young children gather to learn, side-by- side, together. Select how many days you want to attend. Learn more here.

Big picture

Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Overuse Is Making Our Kids Dumber

Veteran teachers Joe Clement and Matt Miles have seen firsthand how damaging technology overuse and misuse has been to our kids. On a mission to educate and empower parents, they show how screen saturation at home and school has created a wide range of cognitive and social deficits in young people. In this book they make a compelling case for simpler, smarter, more effective forms of teaching and learning.

Just Ask Us

You've seen the topics in this book before -- but you likely haven't seen them all in one place, enhanced by the rich voices and wisdom of students. Everything in the book is based on extensive research: academic educational research, interviews with teachers, and, impressively, Wolpert-Gawron’s national survey of more than 1,500 students, grades 6-12. Student voices appear not just in the videos but in thought bubbles on many pages of this highly visual book. Start figuring out strategies in the book will work for you and your students. "If you’re hitting even a fraction of them, you’re really focusing on engagement. And your students will thank you for it."

Big picture

PARENTS: Teach Your Child These Ten Life Skills Before They are Twelve

Check out this list of ten life skills that one mom has challenged herself to teach her son before he is twelve. You may have other skills that are more important to you than the ones on her list. Let her list serve as a way to reflect on whether or not your commitment to be a good parent means you are doing too much for your child(ren). You can find the list here.

Big picture

PARENTS: Stepping Back From Overparenting: A Stanford Dean’s Perspective

When Julie Lythcott-Haims was dean of freshmen at Stanford, she saw troubling behavior from some of the most accomplished students in the country. Students would involve their parents — and parents would involve themselves — in every aspect of the student’s life and school work at a time when these young adults were supposed to exercise greater independence. This podcast is a discussion about the tension between the parental need to help children get ahead in life, and the unintended consequences of those good intentions. In a hyper-competitive world, how do parents strike the right balance?

SCHOOL LEADERS: 3 Prevailing Beliefs That Limit Leadership

Check out these three beliefs that may be limiting your leadership effectiveness and/or this list of 5 deadly beliefs that limit leaders. It what you believe about yourself, others, and events that governs your attitudes and behaviors.

SCHOOL LEADERS: Why You Need White Space

We all know the experience of being overwhelmed by information, workload, emails, response-time-expectations and the like. It just never stops. There is a reason for that feeling. And it’s not just having too much to do and too many people needing something from you. With constant bombardment for attention, your brain gets tweaked…literally. Read more.

Big picture

SCHOOL LEADERS: Leadership, Learning, and Lists

Lists have withstood the test of time, in getting us on-track, and keeping us on-track with personal and professional productivity. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other and you may find that a professional learning list is a helpful tool with a "learn to do” component, a “to read” component, etc.


How many dreams are crushed when educators say no? How many missed opportunities cruise on by when we say no? How many teachers feel deflated when their Principal says they can't, won't, shouldn't, that would be too noisy, that's not part of the plan, way too big of a mess, uhhhhhh no. Why is no the default response? Educators need to be in the yes business, with students and with teachers!

Big picture

Students Taking Responsibility for Their Own Learning


Monday, January 22, 6:30 PM EST

Achieving Media Balance in a Tech-Immersed World


Tuesday, January 23, 3:00 PM EST

Improving Student Performance on Online Assessments


Tuesday, January 23, 4:00 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

Reaching English-Language Learners to Ensure Equity for All

Education Week

Thursday January 25, 2:00 PM EST

Top 10 Questions About Handwriting


Thursday, January 25, 4:00 PM EST

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


Monday, January 29, 2:00 PM EST

Teaching Media Literacy in the Classroom


Tuesday, January 30, 4:00 PM EST

Big picture

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.