From the Center for Christian Urban Educators

February 21, 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: Group Work That Works

Many teacher engage students in group work since research supports that to enhances student learning. At the same time there are three common problems teachers encounter when using this strategy. 1) one or two students do all the work; 2) it can be hard on introverts; and 3) grading the group isn’t fair to the individuals. In this article you will find solutions that other teachers have come up with for these common problems.

TEACHERS: A Grading Strategy That Puts the Focus on Learning From Mistakes

Teachers know that students learn a tremendous amount from scrutinizing their mistakes but getting them to take the time to stop and reflect is a challenge. Some teachers have stopped giving grades altogether to try to refocus class on learning instead of on grades. Read how one teacher developed a grading strategy that falls somewhere in the middle.

TEACHERS: Right the Wrongs of Sedentary Education

What are the effects of adding more physical activity to the academic classroom? Mark Benden, director of the Ergonomics Center at Texas A&M, has dozens of schools using pilot programs to make classrooms more active. His research shows many benefits. Read about them here.
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TEACHERS: Strategies for Supporting Your Struggling Readers

In this guide teachers can learn about the critical role reading practice plays in turning struggling readers into successful ones, and get research-driven best practices for leveraging the power of reading practice to help struggling readers accelerate their learning and achieve success. Download a free copy of the guide here.

TEACHERS: How Teachers Can Use Technology to Communicate with Parents

Communication between parents and teachers is essential and should be transparent. It plays an influential role in the academic performance and overall growth of a student. Technology is used everywhere and also plays a fundamental role in school communications. Here are some ways on how teachers are using technology to communicate with parents. But technology can never replace the power of speech when done face-to-face!

TEACHERS: 15 Learning Retention Activities Your Learners Will Love

Employing solid learning retention activities with students means using tools teachers can call on anytime to help students remember learning. The learning retention activities offered in the TeachThought article 15 Reflection Strategies To Help Students Retain What You Just Taught Them are among the simplest and the best for every teacher to use. Each one encourages the natural reflection process that helps students absorb learning effectively.

TEACHERS: What’s Up With…Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning (PBL) gives students experience with applying a balanced, diverse approach to solving real-world problems. There is no shortage of information about and tips for implementing PBL online, but what is it, exactly? As with any teaching method, PBL can be used effectively or ineffectively, and knowing the different components of PBL, as well as how to get started with it can help make sure students learn as much from their experience with it as possible.
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TEACHERS: High Quality Project-Based Learning

Projects are an easy way to engage students in authentic challenges but delivering all of possible benefits requires well constructed, sustained and supported experiences. And project-based learning not only increases student engagement, it helps students develop academic and social and emotional skills for life and careers. This article features 8 schools where students are having HQPBL experiences working on projects based on the Framework for High Quality Project Based Learning.

PARENTS: 'Sharenting': Can Parents Post Too Much About Their Kids Online?

For many of us, posting on social media is a daily habit. For parents, that often means updates about what their young children are up to. But can parents be guilty of sharing too much about their kids online? The phenomenon is called "sharenting" — and now, some experts say parents ought to pay closer attention to what they're sharing.

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PARENTS: How to Foster Empathy in Children

Research by Dr. Riess, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and her collaborators has shown that we are each born with a given number of neurons that participate in an empathetic response. But whether this potential to care appropriately for one’s fellow beings is realized or undermined is largely molded by early life experiences, starting at birth and continuing throughout childhood.

PARENTS: Five Tips for Teaching Your Children Self-Control

One of the most valuable lessons parents can teach their children is to exercise a bit of restraint. While parents don’t want to deny their kids or have them think their parents are just arbitrarily “mean,” parents must employ strategies to teach their children self control, if they’re going to be the most well-rounded people that they can be.

LEADERS: Adopting a New Curriculum?

Being thoughtful about selecting curriculum materials is important and adopting a strong curriculum is a great first step toward student success. But it’s only the beginning. Learn what schools need to do to make a new curriculum work for their students.

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LEADERS: Time is an Essential Teacher Resource, So How Can Schools be More Creative With It?

Time is one of the most powerful levers for change levers for change in a school. Everything about how a school runs from where staff go, to when they have breaks and collaborative time, to what classes students can take, is based on how leaders schedule the limited time within a school day, week and year. It’s important to make those instructional minutes count because teachers never feel they have enough time to get everything done.

LEADERS: Why Connect?

In this blog post, Eric Sheninger, shares how he evolved into a school leader who uses social media and benefits from being connected with other leaders. Prior to 2009 he was convinced he would never use social media as he "didn’t have the time for it nor saw any value in it." He was recently interviewed by Educational Leadership, ASCD's flagship magazine, on the power of Twitter as part of a Personal Learning Network (PLN). Read his responses to the interview questions here.

LEADERS: The Micro-Teaching Advantage

Using a video clip (of a teacher giving a lesson or leading an activity) to spark discussion about that teacher's practice is called micro-teaching. There is strong evidence that micro-teaching works. In his 2012 research review, John Hattie collected a large number of meta-analyses, or statistical compilations of many studies on the same topic. His findings suggest that the average impact on learning of any instructional practice is .40. Micro-teaching has an effect size of .88, more than double the average impact. How can this strategy be used effectively?

LEADERS: No Classrooms, No Year Levels: How to Build a New School in 2019

Gone are the days of a teacher and a blackboard facing down neat rows of desks. At Margaret Hendry School there are no classrooms or year levels. Teachers are known as learning coaches and work in teams of six to look after a mixed age “learning community” of up to 150 children. This school located in Canberra, the capital city of Australia, includes a huge open-plan building, full of nooks, couches and adaptable studios with sliding glass doors, will house kids from kindergarten age through to year 6. Discover more about the school in this blog post.
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Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss what Matters Most

We attempt or avoid difficult conversations every day-whether dealing with an underperforming employee, disagreeing with a spouse, or negotiating with a client. From the Harvard Negotiation Project Difficult Conversations provides a step-by-step approach to having those tough conversations with less stress and more success. You'll learn how to:
  • Decipher the underlying structure of every difficult conversation
  • Start a conversation without defensiveness
  • Listen for the meaning of what is not said
  • Stay balanced in the face of attacks and accusations
  • Move from emotion to productive problem solving
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Making Sense of Learning Transfer

Monday, February 25, 6:30 PM EST

Leveraging the Science of Learning in Digital Instruction

Monday, February 25, 4:00 PM EST

Authentic Learning Starts with Informed Instruction

Tuesday, February 26, 2:00 PM EST

Moving to Blended Learning in Grades K-8

Tuesday, February 26, 4:00 PM EST

Help Students Use Video to Demonstrate Learning with Powtoon and Biteable

Tuesday, February 26, 5:00 PM EST

All Learning Is Social & Emotional: Helping Students Develop Essential Skills for the Classroom & Beyond

Thursday, February 28, 3:00 PM EST

4 Lies the System Teaches School Leaders About Struggling Readers

Thursday, February 28, 2:00 PM EST

Scholarships for Student Travel

Thursday, February 28, 4:00 PM EST

Using Technology to Excite Students About Hands-On Science

Tuesday, March 5, 4:00 PM EST

The New Three Rs: Trauma-Invested Strategies for Fostering Resilient Learners

Tuesday, March 5, 3:00 PM EST

Rethinking Formative Assessment: Use Learning Progressions to Fuel Student Success

Wednesday, March 6, 3:00 PM EST

The Secrets of Great Instructional Coaching: Lessons Learned from 20 Years of Research

Monday, March 11, 6:30 EST

Supporting Preschoolers’ Social and Emotional Development Through Music and Movement Activities

Tuesday, March 12, 3:00 PM EST

Preschool Beyond Walls: Integrating Nature into the Preschool Classroom

Wednesday, March 13, 2:00 PM EST

Strategies to Improve Adolescent Reading Proficiency: How to Identiry and Address Why Students Struggle

Wednesday, March 13, 3:00 PM EST

What We Say and How We Say It Matter: Teacher Talk that Improves Student Learning and Behavior

Tuesday, March 26, 3:00 PM EST

How to Make Learning Stick: 3 Ways to Boost Your Reading Instruction

Wednesday, March 28, 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.