From the Center for Christian Urban Educators

August 9, 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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Effective Use of Classroom Video

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TEACHERS: Six Questions to Ask Your Students on Day One

It’s that time again – time to think about that very first day of school and how you greet your class on day one. How will you begin to create an environment for risk and creativity? Will your students be greeted by rules and “thou shalt nots”, or by questions that set the stage for thinking and risking? Here are six questions you should think about asking on day one.

TEACHERS: Everything You Need to Know About Learner Profiles

Relationship-building is a key component of effective teaching. Getting to know students not only increases trust and engagement, but it also helps teachers differentiate instruction and personalize learning. The more a teacher knows about a student’s background, strengths, knowledge, and learning style, the better he or she can target instruction toward the child’s learning needs. Some teachers have found that learner profiles are an excellent tool of getting to know students and using that information in planning instruction. Learn more here.

TEACHERS: A 4-Part System for Getting to Know Your Students

Building solid relationships with students is arguably the most important thing teachers can do to be effective. It helps build trust so students take academic risks, allow teachers to better differentiate for individual needs, and prevents the kinds of power struggles often found in poorly managed classrooms. Although most teachers value relationship-building, most don’t have any kind of systematic approach for making that happen. Here is one teacher's 4-part system that worked beautifully for her and may work for you as well.

TEACHERS: Designing a Co-working Classroom for the 21st Century

Read how one teacher begins the school year by not teaching any content the first week of the school year. Instead her students learn what a coworking space is, how everyone is an entrepreneur of learning, and how the classroom is going to operate. She covers the five principles of co-working spaces, the four Cs of 21st Century Learning and the code of conduct that each student signs.

TEACHERS: Questioning and Vocabulary Supports That Inspire Language-Rich Mathematics

Creating language-rich math classes can be challenging for teachers. Figuring out what questions to ask, determining how to cultivate productive math talk, and finding ways to support precision in communication challenge teachers as they seek to provide students with the vocabulary needed to express their thinking. This article outlines specific questions for teachers to use that promote math talk and guide math discussions.

TEACHERS: Using Technology Purposely

Purposeful use of technology starts with the question “why” and sharing that purpose with students. Technology use that is purposeful must be intentional and either enhance how educational tasks are done or provide students with ways to share their learning in meaningful and unique ways. In this blog post AJ Juliani shares 7 effective ways to use tech with purpose.

TEACHERS: Start the Year Introducing Middle School Students to These Apps

The beginning of the school year is a busy time but teaching students a few new apps will pay dividends throughout the year. By incorporating these tools into the first few weeks, you are preparing the students for projects throughout the year, in all their classes.
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Strategies to Help Your Students Feel Heard

Loving, caring relationships with students are a prerequisite for learning. Yet in the busyness of completing the variety of tasks on their to do lists, teachers often underestimate the importance of cultivating a classroom culture in which students feel valued and respected because if our students aren’t learning, the other tasks are meaningless. Read how listening to students is one way to cultivate a classroom culture in which students feel valued and respected.
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PARENTS: The Dark Side of Alexa and Siri for Your Kids

Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are now devices kids have in childhood—starting at age one. Young children, who cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy, boss Alexa around and expect to do the same with persons. Older children find it much easier to interact with smart technology than with human beings. Why? Because they get to be the boss. And that bossy behavior spills over in interactions with peers and even parents.

LEADERS: Family Engagement, and How Schools and Communities Can Partner to Help Kids Succeed

Research shows that quality family engagement can prepare students for college, improve high school graduation rates, and better student achievement. In this interview Karen Mapp, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, discusses how schools should treat families as true partners, with valuable insight into their child’s learning.

LEADERS: 3 Steps to Facilitating an Effective Online Meeting

When you moderate an online meeting, it is essential that you take the necessary steps to ensure success. This post clearly outlines how to prepare properly, participate fully and follow up. If conducted well online meetings can be just as successful as meeting in a room with colleagues.
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LEADERS: 7 Things Successful Leaders Never Delegate

Without delegation, school leaders soon find themselves overworked and frantic. In fact, delegation is the skill that makes remarkable success available. This Leadership Freak blog post will remind you of the difference between delegating tasks and delegating authority as well as the 7 things successful leaders never delegate.

LEADERS: Overcome Barriers to Difficult Conversations

Difficult conversations are easier to start when we assume the best of the other person and believe they're strong enough to accept feedback delivered with good intentions, writes Marlene Chism. "You don't need to control them; you only need to be in charge of your own emotions.” In this article she addresses the two barriers common to every difficult conversation and some mindsets and an awareness skill to overcome them.
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Real Talk About Classroom Management

This handy guide offers 50 proven best practices for managing today’s classroom in a user-friendly format, complete with just-in-time tools and relatable teacher-to-teacher anecdotes and advice. Culled from years of real-world classroom experience, this book will give you the tips and tricks you need to succeed all school year long, including:

  • Making the pivotal first weeks of school count
  • Forming positive relationships with your students
  • Inspiring creativity and maintaining discipline through curriculum and instruction
  • Utilizing other adults (parents, teachers, and administrators) as resources
  • Wowing your students with “spins” and making a lasting emotional impact
  • Keeping yourself sane, from maintaining work-life balance to managing professional relationships
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Trauma-Sensitive Practices for a Positive, Thriving Classroom

edWeb - Thursday, August 9, 2:00 PM EDT

Reading and the Brain

edWeb - Thursday, August 9, 5:00 PM EDT

Educating Students and Parents About Privacy and Technology Overuse

edWeb - Monday, August 13, 4:00 PM EDT

Reciprocal Teaching: New Insights and Tools for Boosting Reading Comprehension

ASCD - Tuesday, August 14, 3:00 PM EDT

Championing Social Justice and Equity in Your School

Newsela - Tuesday, August 14, 7:00 PM EDT

Starting the School Year STEM Strong: How to Power Deeper Math Learning

edWeb - Thursday, August 16, 3:00 PM EDT

Creative Expression as a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Tool

edWeb - Thursday, August 16, 4:00 PM EDT

My Class is Out of Control - What is my First Move?

edWeb - Tuesday, August 21, 5:00 PM EDT

Create Powerful STEM Lessons Through Design Thinking

edWeb - Tuesday, August 21, 4:00 PM EDT

Back to School Basics: How to Reach the Child who Struggles from the Start

edWeb - Thursday, August 23, 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.