10 SEL activities for high school students

Between balancing core instruction, administering assessments, grading homework, and ensuring students are prepared for college and career, high school teachers have a lot on their plates. SEL activities can make your jobs easier!

When students have strong social and emotional skills, they are more motivated, engaged, and understand the value of their learning. SEL also helps reduce disruptive behavior and office referrals, which allows teachers to spend more time on their instruction. Additionally, SEL activities can improve high school students’ college and career readiness and help them set goals for life after high school.

It’s easy to integrate SEL activities in your core instruction! Here are 10 activities and lesson ideas for high school students–organized by subject area–to get you started.…Read More

5 ways for school leaders to promote equity, student agency

Students continue to struggle against persistent educational inequities, and while they report worrisome levels of disengagement, a move toward student-directed learning could help students and educators alike find a better path toward impactful learning experiences.

The report, Empowering and Engaging Student Voice to Create Equity in Education, comes from Project Tomorrow, a national education nonprofit supporting the implementation of research-based learning experiences, and Blackboard Inc., a global edtech software and solutions company. It leverages key insights from a survey of 50,000 K-12 students, parents, and educators during the 2020-21 school year.

“The disruptive events of the past 18 months with the pandemic and shifts in learning modalities have opened our collective eyes to several new truths including about the interrelationship between equity and student empowerment as documented in this new report,” said Dr. Julie A. Evans, chief researcher and CEO of Project Tomorrow. “With the research in front of us, we cannot look away now but must take this opportunity in time to re-think the ways we are approaching learning and especially how technology can be better used to support student engagement in learning.” …Read More

Digital tools prove critical for early learners during COVID

For early learners, nothing beats in-class learning. Having a teacher in close proximity to assess the needs of their students is critical for growth.

2020 threw a wrench in that format, forcing students and teachers to communicate digitally. While the year was disruptive on many levels, educators found ways to persevere. After all, sitting by idly and missing time to shape future generations simply was not an option.

For all the pandemic is and was, it has forced positive growth, flexibility, adaptability, and innovation. Still, it has been tough on teachers and their students.…Read More

Leading in this time of crisis

Henry (Hank) Thiele, Superintendent for Community High School District 99 in Thorndale (IL) can’t stop looking forward.

Despite the current, daily chaos of re-opening and lockdowns, hybrid and remote learning, and other disruptive undercurrents affecting schools, he believes that being prepared for what’s next is as important as dealing with the problems of right now.

In this conversation with eSchool News, Hank offers his insights for education professionals that will have to deal with fractured communities in the future even after they are “back to normal.”…Read More

Is it time to retire letter grades?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly disruptive to education, hindering instruction and other services for thousands — perhaps millions — of K-12 students across the United States. But those who see the glass as half full would say it has also presented schools with a unique opportunity for change.

Count Michael Horn among these optimists. In his podcast series “Class Disrupted,” Horn — an author and consultant who focuses on the future of education — has teamed up with Diane Tavenner, co-founder and CEO of the Summit Public Schools charter network, to discuss how the sudden shift to remote learning this past spring exposed the limitations of many educational structures we take for granted. Yet, it also suggests what might be possible if K-12 leaders are bold enough to see a new way forward, Horn and Tavenner agree.

For instance, a lot of the time wasted in transitioning from one class to another during a traditional school day could be reclaimed for learning and practicing essential life skills, they say. The factory-style model that herds students in groups from class to class could be replaced by a more personalized, student-centered approach that caters to each child’s unique interests and learning needs. And the letter-grade system that schools have been using to evaluate student learning for generations could be supplanted by a mastery-based grading system that gives stakeholders much more insight into what students know.…Read More

Now the hard work starts

Eileen Belastock has been waiting for this moment, just not under these circumstances. As Director of Academic Technology for Mount Greylock Regional School District, which serves 1,250 students in western Massachusetts, she has all along been advocating for teacher buy-in to the use of tech and the need for every student to have devices and access to the internet.

All it took was a global pandemic for everyone else to agree with her.

Related content: How this district pivoted with the pandemic…Read More

5 edtech accelerators that are changing K-12

Five powerful edtech accelerators are influencing the skills and needs of K-12 students and educators, according to a new CoSN report released during the advocacy group’s 2019 conference.

These edtech accelerators are major disruptive shifts in the status quo that redefine the future of education and accelerate the pace of technological change. They vary in speed, speed, the report notes, with some suddenly appearing and others gradually becoming more important over several years.

The five accelerators are: learners as creators; data-driven practices; personalization; design thinking; and building the capacity of human leaders.…Read More

11 online tools & apps for dyslexic students

In the past, dyslexia was rarely recognized, and when it was, very little was put in place for the student. It was assumed that students were being lazy, not paying attention, or being disruptive because they were badly behaved, not because they were infuriated.

Nowadays, however, so much has changed, and students with dyslexia are able to thrive in the classroom. The following teaching tools and apps can make learning a lot more enjoyable for dyslexic students.

Shakespeare In Bits…Read More

Are students buying what schools are selling?

Calls for innovation in education seem to get louder by the day. “Innovation” has become the catchall term for the urge to make up for what our current system lacks; a system that, on balance, is neither delivering an equally high-quality education to all students, nor designed to reliably prepare young people for the modern workforce.

From there, of course, opinions about what sorts of innovations we ought to invest in, and to what end, vary politically and philosophically. At the Christensen Institute, we’ve always divvied up these wide-ranging ideas into two main categories, which Clay Christensen first identified in the 1980s: sustaining and disruptive innovations. Those categories are helpful in identifying the dimensions along which organizations are improving and how new business models can displace existing ones. But disruptive innovation theory has little to tell us about whether a particular innovation will be successful.

Enter Clay Christensen’s newest book, Competing Against Luck, out earlier this week. In it, Christensen and his co-authors Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, and David Duncan chronicle the coming of age of another theory that may prove just as, if not more, powerful than disruptive innovation: the theory of jobs to be done.…Read More

This hybrid innovation is about to change your school forever

Online learning experts say hybrids are changing classrooms across the country; here’s how to spot them and implement them successfully

hybrid-innovation-schools Hybrid innovations are technologies that bridge tradition to the future, fundamentally changing how an entire industry performs, and according to education experts, K-12 is experiencing one hybrid technology that will reshape classrooms for the future. The hybrid’s name? Blended learning.

“There are two kids of innovation: sustaining and disruptive,” said Heather Staker, senior research fellow of education at the Clayton Christensen Institute, during a recent Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) webinar. “Sustaining innovation makes the traditional model, like a classroom, better almost immediately, but the impact is small. Disruptive innovation has a low impact at first, but slowly begins to change the status quo over time.”

cosn2…Read More