From the Center for Christian Urban Educators

August 23, 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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Great Free Communication Tool - REMIND

Remind, a free school communications platform, is the most popular free mobile application, according to Apple and App Annie. Brian Grey, CEO of Remind, says that the app -- used by students, teachers and parents to communicate -- also topped the charts last August as teachers and families prepared for the start of the new school year.
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Resources for Building Community & Getting to Know Your Students

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TEACHERS: Reimagining Learning Spaces—The Third Teacher

In the book The Third Teacher the authors argue that in any classroom there are three teachers. First, there is the teacher. Then other students. The environment is “the third teacher.” Combining design principles with research in education, psychology, and cognitive science, the authors make an argument for the importance of the learning environment. What messages about teaching and learning do students see when they walk into your classroom? This post outlines a few ideas that will help you rethink your learning spaces for the 21st century learner.
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TEACHERS: The Big List of Classroom Discussion Strategies

In this post you’ll find 15 formats for structuring a class discussion to make it more engaging, more organized, more equitable, and more academically challenging. They are excellent ways to develop students’ speaking and listening skills, this is your lucky day.

TEACHERS: 21 Things Every 21st Century Teacher Should Try This Year

The rapid changes happening all around are also impacting education and how technology can be used to engage students in learning tasks. The purpose of this list is not to shame teachers into trying EVERYTHING on the list. The hope of the author is that it will generate one or two ideas for a teacher to try this year.

TEACHERS: What Students Gain from Collaborative Writing

In this post teacher Jeremy Hyler shares the benefits of having students write collaboratively along with the practical aspects of making it happen.

TEACHERS: 17 Ways to Help Students With ADHD Concentrate

Research shows that students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can concentrate better when they’re allowed to fidget. But what if this becomes a distraction for the rest of the class? Here are some great ideas for letting students quietly fidget to help them concentrate without disturbing others.

TEACHERS: Parent Involvement: A Two-Way Partnership with Schools

In her book Invaluable Allies: Partnering with Parents for Student Success, Margery B. Ginsberg, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington, list a variety of ways teachers can take the lead in facilitating parent involvement by opening channels for positive communication.

PARENTS: The Key to Avoiding Entitlement

Entitlement among children is a growing problem and many parents are looking for ways to keep their kids from feeling entitled. The simple answer to the problem is this: "As soon as children are capable of doing jobs, take the time to teach them to do the jobs and then gracefully hold them responsible to do them.” Read more here.
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LEADERS: Increase Student Learning by Increasing Time for Play

Elementary-school students need ample time for recess and scheduled "brain breaks," asserts Lori Koerner, a principal at Tremont Elementary School in New York state. In this commentary, she shares that students in her own school balance academics with 50 minutes of recess daily, formal yoga instruction and more breaks to help students refocus -- all while increasing instructional time.

LEADERS: A Focused Approach to Teacher Evaluation

School leaders face many difficult choices in how to approach teacher evaluations with their staff in a way that is empowering and uplifting and gets to the goal of improving instruction. By partnering with teachers to choosing a few key standards each year school leaders can craft a manageable, impactful review process.

LEADERS: Getting Growth Mindset Right

Carol Dweck, the Stanford professor who pioneered praising kids for effort says we’ve totally missed the point. The key to instilling a growth mindset is teaching kids that their brains are like muscles that can be strengthened through hard work and persistence.

LEADERS: 8 Top Tips for Highly Effective Professional Development

Highly effective classrooms can result from highly effective professional development. Recent research has shown that effective professional development includes creating classroom content, modeling techniques for teachers to use in their classrooms, and feedback on lessons. It is not enough to teach the right things to your teachers -- you have to teach your teachers in the right way. Here are the top strategies for highly effective PD: making it useful, making it relevant, making sure that teachers start practicing it ASAP . . . .
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LEADERS: Best Practices in Action

School leadership is second only to teaching in its impact on student success, School principals serve as ringmasters, organizing the whole show so their talented troupes can deliver their best performances. How do their accomplish this? In this report, nine school leaders share their successful strategies for school leadership.
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The Influence of Teachers

In this insightful book, The Influence of Teachers, John Merrow draws on his experience as a reporter for PBS and NPR to offer possibilities and solutions to improve education in our country. Told through warm storytelling and compelling case studies, Merrow paints a vibrant and inspiring picture of why and how we must transform - not reform - our schools. Here is an educator discussion guide for the book.
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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.