Data Driven? Let’s Be Student Driven Instead

Photo: https://jfynet.org/2837/what-does-standardized-really-mean-mcas-2-0/ Data-driven. It’s a favorite buzzword among educators. In fact, boldly declaring your school or district to be data driven is meant to convey the seriousness of your approach to education. For those reading the term as part of a school’s motto, the words are intended as a statement of that school’s commitment to …

Do You Value Who Your Students Are?

Photo: https://madisoncountycourier.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/academics.png When you receive your class list, it’s just a collection of faceless names. Nothing about the individual students shows up on that list. In fact, even if you review their records, which isn’t a true reflection of all that each student is anyway, you still don’t know the people who will be seated …

Why the Books in Your Classroom Library Matter

Photo: https://i0.wp.com/kidworldcitizen.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/80115Multicultural_Chapter_Books_For_Kids.jpg?resize=750%2C858 What was your favorite book as a child? Better yet, why was it your favorite? It likely resonated with you in a special way, was relevant to your individual life. That's often why books become favorites. Unfortunately, many kids have to find those books outside of school, in libraries or bookstores, rather than …

Building Classroom Community and Trust

Photo: https://www.plu.edu/marcom/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2016/02/lincoln-hs-1-26-161099-1024x683.jpg Most educators know that students learn more with teachers who have a strong and caring relationship with them. However, what’s often overlooked, particularly on the secondary level, is the importance of equally strong and healthy relationships among the students. After all, students are people first, and people simply do best when they can …

Why Healthy Relationships with Students Matter

Photo: http://turnaroundtour.com/wp-content/uploads/Relationships.jpg Opening my Facebook page recently, I discovered a lovely post placed there by a former student. It was a quote by educator Justin Tarte that read, “Teachers who put relationships first don’t have students just for one year; they have students who view them as ‘their’ teacher for life.” I really liked that. …

The Value of Creating a College-Bound Culture for Students

Photo: https://www.friendsofwheels.org/ Attending a high school football game is one of those a-good-time-is-had-by-all kind of experiences. In other words, it’s pure fun. Encouraged by the cheerleaders, the crowd rises, shouting chants, clapping wildly, doing whatever comes to mind in support of their team. The raucous atmosphere is exactly what’s expected, and the enthusiasm and camaraderie …

The Power and Eloquence of Student Voices

Photo: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/march-our-lives-pushes-expand-voter-rolls-across-country-n859756 The magnitude of the scenes across the country this past Saturday, March 24, 2018, as students and like-minded adults participated in the March for Our Lives, was awe-inspiring. Galvanized by the 17 murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month, the outcry against gun violence and in favor of …

Why Cultural Understanding Matters in the Classroom

Photo: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ChIiCkCYvUY/UWR2ALGbo9I/AAAAAAAAANI/pATjwigSXag/s1600/CulturalDifferencesBlogButton. You can’t help but notice the wonderful cultural diversity of 21st century classrooms. Enriching each class with a melange of languages, traditions and worldviews, this diversity is something to be celebrated, not vilified, as has so often been postulated recently. Yet despite all the rewards of this diversity, when teachers don’t fully understand …