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

How to build deep relationships with students

In order for students to actually learn, they need to feel engaged on a cognitive and emotional level. They also need to feel safe. 

Take a minute and think about that: students need to feel safe. 

The first step in students feeling safe in school is having a positive relationship with the adult who is leading their educational journey. As Rita Pearson details in her famous TED Talk, every child deserves a champion or an adult who can make them feel safe and insist on them being the best they can be.…Read More

5 STEM-based TED-Ed Lessons to close out your school year

School days might seem as if they move at a glacial pace in the countdown to summer break. Some schools have already closed, while others have a couple more weeks left. Teachers who still have classrooms full of students can use TED-Ed Lessons to liven up these last days and highlight students’ different personal interests.

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

Once you find the video you want to use, you can use the TED-Ed Lessons editor to add questions, discussion prompts, and additional resources.…Read More

Teletherapy’s crucial role in reaching remote students

Historically, people in the United States have been reluctant to talk about mental healthcare issues or therapy in general. But over the past year or so, that has changed. For example, public figures such as Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and professional tennis player Naomi Osaka have shone the spotlight on mental health issues facing young people.

That’s a positive development—and certainly needed during these times. The Covid-19 pandemic has created a stressful environment for many, including young people.

Beginning in April 2020, the proportion of children’s mental health–related emergency department visits among all pediatric emergency department visits increased and remained elevated through October 2020, according to a report from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).…Read More

From Katrina to COVID: Kids heal in communities

Some moments in life are unforgettable. For me, the experience of evacuating from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina with my two young children and pup is one of those moments. Katrina became a marker in the life of our family. We used to talk about the timeline of our experiences in terms of “before Katrina” or “after Katrina.” While our home only sustained significant wind damage but no flooding, we witnessed firsthand the considerable tragedy across the city.

My husband is a Coast Guard pilot and was part of the rescue efforts immediately after the storm. As a young mother and teacher, I was focused on setting up a temporary home in San Antonio, TX. I had very little information on how long we would be living in Texas, whether my house was destroyed, what would happen to my teaching job and salary, and how long I would be apart from my husband. The uncertainty combined with the sudden nature of the disaster was, at times, almost too much to bear. I spent hours watching the news showing pictures of people on roofs trying to survive the flooding and the helicopters bravely swarming the airspace to save as many people as possible.

After two months, in October, we were able to return to the city once electricity was restored to our area on the west side of the river. Imagine a home in the deep heat of a New Orleans summer, closed, with no electricity or air conditioning. Imagine a refrigerator and freezer in that house with food left behind. Imagine thousands of those! Imagine wind and water damage and destroyed backyards, sheds, patios, and plants. We returned to that scene, and we were by far one of the lucky ones! We focused on cleaning out our home for several weeks, installing a blue FEMA tarp over a damaged roof, burning the left-behind branches and fallen trees in our yard, and attempting to find food and water. We were grateful for organizations that sent volunteers to cook, assisted with cutting down trees, and did various other tasks.…Read More

4 ways to help students talk about tough topics

In a year where the U.S. has been rocked by a global pandemic, the impact of systemic racism, and acts of political violence, many educators have wondered how to create a “learning space” to address difficult subjects.

A “learning space” is both safe and brave–one where students are supported in expressing their views, as well as in challenging them and coming to new conclusions.

As an instructional coach who works closely with many educators, one concern I’ve heard recently is that teachers are afraid to address social issues without seeming to impose their views.…Read More

5 cool TED-Ed lessons for summer break

It’s summer break (or close to it) for students across the country, and after more than a year of hybrid or virtual learning for so many, the last thing we all want is to hop back on a device.

But screen time is a reality for most kids, so instead of mindless screen viewing, why not give kids some fun videos to watch, to learn from, and to share with others?

The TED-Ed platform is especially cool because educators can build lessons around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk, or YouTube video. Once you find the video you want to use, you can use the TED-Ed Lessons editor to add questions, discussion prompts, and additional resources.…Read More

Data doesn’t talk–people do

A media friend was looking into a recent Vanderbilt study on six unidentified school districts across the state. The researchers found that “more students were chronically absent this fall than in previous years, and absenteeism increased the most among English Learners, students of color, and students who are economically disadvantaged.” I told her I was not concerned about the latest findings.

When pressed on the issue, I pointed out that the sample size was a little concerning. Only 6 districts were represented; my guess is they looked at the larger urban areas. I find the research misleading. There are 147 districts in the state, each with unique and distinct issues. If we rush in and try to apply a one size fits all solution to any issue, we would be making a mistake.

By failing to identify the six individual districts, the results from the research were problematic to me—as well as to other stakeholders and policymakers as well. The study has some interesting findings. It would be useful to those 6 unidentified districts. However, I am not certain there is a crossover for other districts.…Read More

No going back: Why schools need to keep some pandemic techniques

For Dr. Matthew X. Joseph, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in Leicester Public Schools (MA), this past year has meant fewer frequent flier miles but a huge increase in his network, albeit virtually.

In this conversation with eSchool News, Matt talks about the importance of these sorts of connections for both students and faculty.

The following has been edited for clarity.…Read More

Illustrative Mathematics, Family Engagement Lab, and Partnership for Los Angeles Schools Collaborate to Support Family Engagement in Math

Illustrative Mathematics (IM) and Family Engagement Lab have partnered to bridge classroom curriculum and at-home learning in elementary school mathematics. Through this partnership, Family Engagement Lab will align its FASTalk (Families and Schools Talk) family engagement tool with the IM K–5 Math curriculum. Together, the two nonprofits will collaborate with Partnership for Los Angeles Schools to make the new tool available at participating pilot sites in Los Angeles Unified School District starting this month.…Read More