How to keep your students weird

Some years ago, when I was still working as a teacher, I had a student come to me in a state of distress. Like many young people her age, she was having trouble fitting in. Everything from her hair to her clothes to her overall demeanor made her stand out, and as a result, some of her fellow students had taken to calling her a “weirdo.” I am not proud of everything that I’ve done in education, but I am proud of what I told her next. I told this student the truth.

I told her that she WAS weird – and that all of the best people are. I told her she was one of my favorite students because of what made her unique. I told her I would do everything I could to make the school safer for weirdos like her, and that in the outside world, all the great advancements came from people who didn’t fit in.

Every educator knows that weirdness is what makes our students grow. After all, curiosity, creativity, and critical thought don’t bloom in a stagnant mind. So instead of wringing our hands over the social ecosystem, let’s encourage our students to think weirder.…Read More

6 key elements to build a successful coaching program

A successful coaching program can have an extraordinarily positive impact on teachers, students, and schools. A recent national survey of educators showed that most districts agree — 75 percent see the connection between coaching, teacher growth, and student achievement.

Here are 6 key elements of successful coaching programs that can serve as a roadmap for building and sustaining a successful instructional coaching program.

1. Create a strong vision for the coaching program…Read More

Our district is battling a loneliness epidemic

Whether talking in-person or virtually, even small conversations play an important role in creating the connections students need. But it can be challenging to carve out time in our busy schedules to focus on building these relationships.

As educators, we must make the time to ensure that every student feels seen and heard. All of us need a support system, and this is especially important for students in their teenage years. Yet, many felt alone over the past couple of years because of pandemic-induced isolation. That isn’t OK, and studies have already shown the traumatic impact the loneliness epidemic is having on students across the country.  

At Classical Academy High School near San Diego, we’ve spent the past few years ensuring that every student has an educator in their corner. It’s become clear that using technology with a purpose is impactful and provides students more access to their teachers. …Read More

Understanding historical trends and patterns in student data

Educators, students, and families weathered historic interruptions in learning over the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Student achievement, predicted to slide in the ongoing chaos, revealed its fragile nature in the NAEP’s recently released Long-Term Trend results from 2020–2022. The report showed the first-ever decline in mathematics and the most significant drop in reading achievement since the 1980s.

Effective student data analysis

As educators address this new landscape, accurate interventions to accelerate student learning are in demand. In order to know what type of intervention a student needs, high-quality data remain an essential element for educators. Teacher review and understanding of students’ data will guide instructional decisions and create positive outcomes for all students.…Read More

9 TED-Ed Lessons about different holiday origins

Most schools are gearing up for December break, and students’ attention spans are likely to grow shorter each day. But crafting a video-based lesson that explores different holidays is a surefire way to boost student engagement.

These TED-Ed Lessons cover Labor Day origins, they examine why we celebrate Groundhog Day, they delve into St. Patrick’s Day, and more.

The TED-Ed platform is especially cool because educators can build lessons around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk, or YouTube video.…Read More

3 reasons instructional audio is a must-have in classrooms

When I conduct training for school employees, I like to start my presentations speaking in a “normal” voice. About halfway in, I turn on the instructional audio solution that is set up in the room.

I love the “wow factor” as teachers hear firsthand what a difference instructional audio makes. This reveal proves the technology’s effectiveness as they all understand how a similar setup could help in their classrooms.

Most teachers, principals, and paraprofessionals instinctively know that instructional audio helps amplify their voices, allowing their instruction and directions to reach every student, but instructional audio offers much more than that.…Read More

Modern students need modern librarians

When you think of a school librarian, what comes to mind? Is it shelving, stamping, and shushing? That’s the stereotype you’re probably most familiar with.

Librarians are so much more than this, though. We’re the keepers of the information, the resource kids use to explore new lands through the turning of pages – but our role as librarians is one that has historically been misunderstood. Because as times have changed, technology has advanced, and student needs have evolved—so, too, has the role of the librarian.

Who is the modern librarian?…Read More

Riverside Insights Continues to Lead Innovation in Assessments for English Learners

ITASCA, Ill. – Riverside Insights®, a leading developer of research-based assessments and analytics, today announced the launch of the Battelle Developmental Inventory, Third Edition (BDI-3) in Spanish. This early childhood solution continues Riverside’s strong tradition of developing leading assessments to support deeper understanding of English learners (EL), who are often over- or under-identified for special learning accommodations.

“We are on a mission to elevate the potential of every learner by helping evaluators and educators understand each student’s aptitude, skills and strengths,” said Dr. Sarah Holman, a former EL teacher and bilingual evaluator who now serves as a director for Riverside Insights. “Given the unique and often overlooked challenges of English learners, Riverside Insights has focused on providing multi-dimensional, research-backed insights that help evaluators and educators differentiate between language/exposure learning barriers and academic/cognitive learning barriers to help meet students’ personalized needs.”

Through its product development and design process, Riverside Insights aims to ensure that assessments are accessible to diverse learners, especially those for whom English is not their native language. Riverside Insights offers a comprehensive suite of solutions that have powerful tools to help support English learners in their native language.…Read More