From the Center for Christian Urban Educators

January 24, 2019

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: Why Are You a Teacher? Your Answer Should Change Over Time

It’s not uncommon for teachers to find themselves in professional-development sessions being asked: ”What is your philosophy of education?” or ”Why are you a teacher?” Teachers often shrug off this question and give generic run-of-the-mill answers like "I want students to learn" or “To inspire the youth.” But educators reflecting on their philosophy of education is an essential piece of becoming an effective educator.

TEACHERS: What's Going On In the Brain Of A Child Who Has Experienced Trauma

Teachers are increasingly recognizing that students often have complicated lives outside of school that affect how ready they are to learn. Many students experience some kind of trauma in their lives, whether it's a health problem, divorce, violence in their neighborhood, or a combination of experiences. Research shows these experiences affect kids' brains and behavior. It is important for teachers to understand what kids who have experienced trauma may be feeling. Learn more from TED-Ed video.

TEACHERS: Five Ways to Help Children with ADHD Develop Their Strengths

Children with ADHD often struggle academically, socially and emotionally. They may be disorganized, forgetful, easily distracted and impulsive. Dr. Sharon Saline, a psychotherapist who works with ADHD children and their families, argues that an informed empathy for ADHD children can inspire parents and teachers to work with these children in ways that will help them grow into responsible and happy adults.

TEACHERS: Transforming Teaching with the Science of Learning - Retrieval Practice

When we think about learning, we typically focus on getting information into students’ heads. What if, instead, we focus on getting information out of students’ heads?

Retrieval practice” is a learning strategy where we focus on getting information out. Through the act of retrieval, or calling information to mind, our memory for that information is strengthened and forgetting is less likely to occur. Retrieval practice is a powerful tool for improving learning without more technology, money, or class time.


TEACHERS: The Impact of Compassion Education

Nowadays, few individuals would argue about the importance and value of social-emotional learning being taught in schools. SEL is supported by mounting research and is widely encouraged, but what does it look like in practice? Read what it looks like in one school where students feel safe, valued and empowered at school. Not only will do they excel academically and socially, but will likely grow into capable and confident adults who will share their voices, take action and serve others.
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TEACHERS: 3 Ways to Re-imagine Small Group Instruction

Often, teachers combat time constraints by teaching more to the whole class, while interacting less through small groups or one-to-one. Yet doing so creates more teaching-to-the-middle and less individualization. So how can teachers move toward more individualized learning opportunities within our time constraints? Small-group reading experiences! Small-group reading allows us to harness proximity to design instruction around students’ curiosities, passions, habits, and needs.

PARENTS: What’s the Right Age to Give My Kid Social Media?

Many parents ask this question but it may be the wrong question to ask, there are other, more important questions that should be asked first. This article from Protect Your Eyes, has a list of six questions that are helpful in making an accurate assessment of when your child may be ready to begin using social media.

PARENTS: How to Help Tweens and Teens Manage Social Conflict

In this article Dr. Lisa Damour writes about helping adolescents resolve social conflict. She explains that conflict can be a growth opportunity; adults can help kids figure out how to respond by coaching from the sidelines but don’t belong on the field with them.

PARENTS: What Can Parents Do about Fortnite?

Fortnite is known as “a king of the hill” style shoot-em-up game that many kids, especially young boys, are addicted to. The game, turned cultural powerhouse, is prompting a lot of parents of teenage boys to ask themselves: What do we do about Fortnite? This article shares four reasons kids don’t want to turn it off. Once parents understand the motivations for playing they can look at other ways to meet the need.

LEADERS: Creating a Growth Mindset Culture in Your School

School librarian, NBCT and veteran teacher Amy Klein teaches in a growth mindset school. She finds "Create a Growth Mindset School: An Administrator's Guide to Leading a Growth Mindset Community" by Carol Cay Ricci a perfect book for administrators who want to better understand how growth mindset works, how to establish a school committed to its principles, and how to sustain momentum with the "power of yet."

LEADERS: 10 Things The Best Leaders Do To Get Even Better

Recently Kobe Brynat talked about how 2-time NBA Finals MVP and champion Kevin Durant can get event better. Whether you lead a church, business, non-profit, educational environment, or athletic organization, his insights have implications for you. Read here the 10 Things The Best Leaders Do To Get Even Better. All quotes are from Bryant himself.


LEADERS: Teachers’ Roles in School Decision Making and School Performance

In schools that promote both teacher accountability and teacher leadership students perform better. This study suggests that good school leadership actively involves teachers in decision making, and that this practice is tied to higher student achievement. It is important that teachers have a voice in decisions related to creating the culture, climate, and ethos of their schools.

LEADERS: 12 Research Based Instructional Leadership Strategies

If strong instructional leadership permeates the school it cultivates an environment of improved teaching and learning. Get inspired by this resource—covering 12 research-based best practices designed to help principals and other school administrators grasp the tools needed to become effective instructional leaders. Download a copy of the ASCD white paper here.

LEADERS: 4 Steps Every School Leader Needs to Take

Excellent school leaders are those who are fiercely committed to learning and growing themselves. They know the importance to keep moving forward, one step at a time, taking the necessary steps to challenge themselves and to model what they want to see in students and staff. Check out these four steps to move forward as a leader.

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Factulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

The authors of this book are interested in correcting widespread misconceptions about the status of the world, and they explore ten reasons that prevent most people from replacing their outdated facts with current information. Each chapter of this readable book breaks down misconceptions in a clear, data-based fashion. Our obstacles to clear thinking range from the fear instinct, which “makes us give our attention to the unlikely dangers that we are most afraid of, and neglect what is actually most risky” to the blame instinct, which prompts us to look for villains rather than addressing “multiple interacting causes, or the system that created the situation.” (Bill Gates stated, "This is one of the most important books I have ever read." He offered to buy a copy of it for every student who graduated in 2018.)
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Preparing Students with the Technology Skills They Need for High School

Thursday, January 24, 4:00 PM EST

Music-Making Experiences in the Early Childhood Inclusion Classroom

Friday, January 25, 2:0 PM EST

Getting Started with Google Forms

Saturday, January 26, 10:00 AM EST

Footprint Foothold: Helping Students Manage Their Online Reputations

Tuesday, January 29, 3:00 PM EST

Handwriting and Technology: Teaching Handwriting in the Digital Age

Tuesday, January 29, 4:00 PM EST

Transforming Student Achievement Through Common Instructional Knowledge, Language, and Tools

Wednesday, January 30, 2:00 PM EST

Promoting Belonging in Math Through Instructional Choices and Practices

Wednesday, January 30, 3:00 PM EST

Teaching for the 21st Century with Nearpod and Google

Wednesday, January 30, 4:00 PM EST

Leading Transformation: Personalize How Your School Learns

Thursday, January 31, 4:00 PM EST

Flexible Grouping and Collaborative Learning: Making It Work

Thursday, January 31, 1:00 PM EST

Developing Expert Learners

Monday, February 4, 6:30 PM EST

Demonstrating Student Mastery with Digital Badges and Portfolios

Tuesday, February 5, 3:00 PM EST

Early STEM Exposure Through Career-Focused PBL

Tuesday, February 5, 2:00 PM EST

What Kids are Reading (and Not Reading) in 2019: New Insights for Education Leaders

Thursday, February 7, 4:00 PM EST

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Young Children: Driving Change in Early Education

Thursday, February 7, 3:00 PM EST

Leading Learning Through Observation and Feedback

Monday, February 11, 6:30 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.