For school leaders, routine decisions aren’t so routine

Key points:

In the tapestry of leadership, decisions are often viewed through a lens of routine or regularity. It’s easy to fall into the belief that some choices are mundane, merely navigating the day-to-day operations of an organization. However, beneath this seemingly commonplace surface lies a profound truth: no leadership decision is truly routine. Each choice, whether seemingly minor or monumental, has the potential to send ripples through the fabric of an organization or impact an individual in ways that may extend beyond the leaders’ view.

Understanding the potential consequences of seemingly routine decisions is not just an important leadership skill; it’s a necessity. Every leadership decision, regardless of its apparent simplicity, possesses the potential to have a far greater impact than it appears viewed on the surface. A few examples illustrate this premise:  …Read More

5 things to know about AI in classrooms

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By now, we hear the term “artificial intelligence” more than a few times a day. But despite the stereotypical sci-fi depictions of AI, it has a legitimate place in today’s classrooms.

Innovative educators and students are finding new ways to integrate AI into teaching and learning every day. Teachers can spend more one-on-one time with students when they use AI to quickly complete tedious tasks. Students, on the other hand, learn how to critically evaluate information and learn about biases when they analyze information coming from generative AI sources.…Read More

Central High School Robotics Team Excels at “Bots at the Fair” Tournament

Phenix City, Ala.— Phenix City Schools is proud to announce the exceptional success of our robotics teams at the recent “Bots at the Fair” tournament. The competition brought together 24 teams from various schools, showcasing their robotics skills and innovation in the VEX Robotics Competition.

The day’s highlight was Team 36867D, composed of Brookelyn Bedford and
Taelynn Teel, who secured the prestigious “Excellence Award.” This
remarkable achievement places them as the overall top team in the tournament,
outperforming competitors from schools like LAMP, Vestavia Hills, Oak Mountain,
Pike Road, and Westminster at Oak Mountain. Their victory qualifies them for
the State Championship and positions them at an impressive 57th place globally
out of over 700 teams.

…Read More

The bookend model: Using SEL to support before- and after-school programs

Key points:

Incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) throughout the school day has risen in popularity over the last few years, especially to counteract the increasing rates of anxiety and depression in students since the COVID-19 pandemic. Lost in the discussion, however, is the importance of before- and after-school programs–the bookends of the school day. 

These before- and after-school programs dedicate a significant amount of time to activities that can help students develop social-emotional skills. In fact, a 2021 survey of program providers found that in addition to academic enrichment, 86 percent of programs give young people the time to interact with their peers and build social skills. Plus, students themselves report that 80 percent of the programs give the students time to talk with peers and adults about how they’re feeling. Yet, staff may not approach every interaction with intention to foster social and emotional growth.…Read More

Learning Through Play Is Powerful – and Students and Teachers Agree!

BILLUND, Denmark — To celebrate the second annual World Play Day, LEGO® Education is inspiring teachers to experience purposeful play firsthand by giving students and teachers Permission to Play. 

Play is not just for the playground. It is a powerful tool for teaching that naturally engages students in the learning and builds the skills they’ll need in and outside the classroom like creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration.  

A new survey of K-8 teachers and students from LEGO Education found that nearly all (98%) of students say purposeful play helps them learn and the majority (96%) of teachers believe it’s more effective than traditional methods like lectures or textbooks. On top of that, almost 80% of students want more playful learning experiences in the classroom. …Read More

5 tips I’m excited to share with first-year teachers

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I’ll never forget my first day as a teacher. I was so excited to begin my career teaching kindergarten students who were deaf or hard of hearing. My enthusiasm petered out when I saw green paint spilled all over my classroom. Overwhelmed and flustered, I hadn’t accounted for mishaps like this to be part of my lesson plan and was quickly faced with the realization that there were many things that happened in the classroom that weren’t accounted for in my lesson. Thankfully, one of my fellow teachers reassured me in the aftermath by saying, “You clean it up and try again tomorrow. Now you know not to put as much paint in the cup next time.”

Throughout my 26 years of teaching, I’ve heard similar accounts from other first-year teachers anxious to get their footing in their new roles, but more than anything, they wanted to connect with their students and students’ families. They wanted to avoid cleaning up spilled paint, searching for the right lessons or managing repetitive tasks that took time away from their students.…Read More

The STEM Careers Coalition Presents a New Collection of Curated Digital Content for Manufacturing Day 2023 

Charlotte, NC. In celebration of National Manufacturing Day, the STEM Careers Coalition™ – the first-of-its-kind national STEM initiative powered by corporate leaders and anchored in schools by Discovery Education – offers students and families new STEM resources to explore the world of modern manufacturing. With over 4 million manufacturing positions predicted to be available in the next ten years, the new resources from the STEM Careers Coalition connect today’s students to the manufacturing careers of tomorrow.  

Manufacturing (MFG) Day is founded by the Manufacturing Institute, a member of the STEM Careers Coalition, and occurs annually on the first Friday of October to inspire students to become the next generation of innovators leading the manufacturing industry. To support students’ pursuit of careers in modern manufacturing, the STEM Careers Coalition presents a curated collection of standards-aligned student activities and career profiles, including 11 new content collections on manufacturing. The resources are created in collaboration with an array of industry-leading organizations such as Boeing, Caterpillar Foundation, GAF, Nevada Gold Mines, and Stanley Black & Decker. View the free manufacturing resources from the STEM Careers Coalition here

The STEM Careers Coalition prepares 10 million students for the future of work by providing equitable access to digital content and experiences that engage students, build foundational STEM knowledge, and develop the critical skills students need for college and career success. Having reached over 7.2 million students, the Coalition is nurturing a diverse culture of STEM education in K-12 schools and afterschool centers nationwide by empowering educators to teach STEM effectively in the classroom, fostering and promoting quality education, and building the next generation of STEM solution-seekers with an intentional focus on racial and gender equity. …Read More

How summer learning can save education

As the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) sets up to celebrate its 30-year anniversary next week in Washington DC during its annual Summer Learning Summit (sorry, sold out!), I had a chance to catch up with their CEO Aaron Dworkin, on what post-pandemic learning means from his perspective and how districts can solve a variety of current-day challenges with flexibility, communication, and inspiration. 

He emphasizes the importance of making summer learning feel different from the regular school experience, combining academic enrichment with experiential and fun activities. He highlights successful initiatives, such as the Camp School Partnership Project and Teachers in the Park, as examples of effective, low-cost approaches to preventing learning loss and ensuring a positive start to the school year. Looking forward, Aaron envisions the continued growth of quality summer programs for all low-income students across the United States through collaborative efforts and increased accountability. In 20 minutes, we run the gamut! Have a listen.

Key Takeaways:…Read More

5 science and technology videos to get students talking

Key points:

  • TED-Ed Lessons are short videos designed to engage students and stimulate critical thinking
  • Here are 5 videos covering science and tech topics such as earth science and animal behavior
  • See related article: Cool! 6 TED-Ed lessons about the cold

School is back in session, and for many students, that means a major shift from an unstructured schedule to a more regimented school day. It may still be challenging to keep students’ attention on topics like science and technology now that classrooms are once again full.

Creating a video-based lesson that explores different concepts around science and technology is one fun way to boost student engagement.…Read More

How to build relationships with students

Key points:

Throughout my career, I’ve held many titles. I’ve been a reading specialist, a special education teacher, and an English teacher, among others. No matter what my job was called, one of the most important things I did every day was to try to build relationships with students. Especially since the pandemic, teachers have been encouraged to build rapport with their students as schools have placed greater focus on social and emotional learning (SEL).

Students with disabilities often require more frequent check-ins. Whether it’s because they need reassurance that they are doing their work correctly, have a tendency to drift off track, or just need an extra pat on the back here and there, the connection is important to their success.…Read More