18 back-to-school tips to start the year off right

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to cast uncertainty on education, and the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year is no different. But with some valuable lessons learned under their belts, educators are feeling better prepared for the back-to-school season–one that could be the most normal since the pandemic.

Here are some back-to-school tips, advice, and valuable insights from educators, stakeholders, and industry experts.

“COVID has dramatically impacted students from a social and emotional standpoint. It’s basically shifted the developmental continuum for where kids are and what they can handle and it has been a struggle for schools and districts to adapt. This school year will see a focus on prioritizing social and emotional learning–accepting the fact that that continuum has changed and giving teachers permission to spend time reteaching those skills. We’ll see more schools and districts placing a priority on SEL instruction just like math or reading. We’ll also see a greater increase in educators looking for solutions for their students with challenging behaviors and looking for tools like DESSA to help schools design interventions for students in specific social emotional competencies.”
Dr. Norah Barney, EdD, Director of Special Education and Curriculum, Anaconda School District #10, Montana…Read More

6 tips to begin an elementary esports program in your school

The benefits of esports are well documented. A significant body of research has found that students who participate in scholastic esports programs benefit from increased emotional regulation, academic achievement, and graduation rates.

These benefits only scratch the surface of the positive consequences for students participating in scholastic esports. Thus far, conversations around esports have centered on collegiate and secondary levels, however, a recent change in the winds has shifted the conversation to elementary esports. 

My question: Why haven’t we started this conversation sooner?…Read More

4 tips to start meaningful conversations with students

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” It’s a question we ask students as young as kindergarten. I personally had the pleasure of watching my own kids answer this question at their kindergarten graduation (“dog breeder” and “ninja” – so proud!).

Of course, this shouldn’t just be a question we ask in kindergarten and again in senior year. All students—regardless of their backgrounds and future aspirations—benefit when they have the opportunity to explore and reflect on their future plans throughout their entire K-12 journey.

So how do we make this happen?…Read More

Personalize your digital PLN in 3 steps

I am currently in an online doctoral program at Winona State University. One of our recent discussion queries required answering the following prompt: “Share three pieces of your own PLN that you think would be helpful to the others.”

I wasn’t quite sure if I should share platforms, tips, or connections, so I will be sharing three things I wish I would have considered sooner than later.

1. Drop the IRL

I have listened and visited with Angela Maiers–an educator, consultant, and speaker–a number of times. One thing that she frequently shares in her keynotes is around dropping the “IRL” (in real life) mentality when talking with your online PLN. For those who connect with you virtually, a digital relationship is IRL. You may never physically meet these individuals due to logistics, geography, or time and that is ok. Such relationships do not necessarily become instantly more meaningful when you meet in the same moment of time or space.…Read More

3 ways to personalize your digital PLN

I am currently in an online doctoral program at Winona State University. One of our recent discussion queries required answering the following prompt: “Share three pieces of your own PLN that you think would be helpful to the others.”

I wasn’t quite sure if I should share platforms, tips, or connections, so I will be sharing three things I wish I would have considered sooner than later.

1. Drop the IRL

I have listened and visited with Angela Maiers–an educator, consultant, and speaker–a number of times. One thing that she frequently shares in her keynotes is around dropping the “IRL” (in real life) mentality when talking with your online PLN. For those who connect with you virtually, a digital relationship is IRL. You may never physically meet these individuals due to logistics, geography, or time and that is ok. Such relationships do not necessarily become instantly more meaningful when you meet in the same moment of time or space.…Read More