A California middle school used an $80,000 donation to set up a maker lab and offer a mixed-grade maker elective led by a teacher certified in makerspaces. The students' first project in the lab was making clothing for the end of the world with crafts supplies and recycled materials.
Games can be powerful learning tools, but teachers need to plan and consider their purpose for the games to become successful learning strategies, educator Marcia Powell writes. She offers advice for designing games and includes ideas for handling pitfalls.
Students of Georgia middle-school teacher Ashley Hare dress up once a week as if they are going to work as part of a business education computer science course. Hare says the program helps students practice "soft skills" sought by employers, such as shaking hands and being punctual.
New Minnesota high-school principal Jason Paske says one of his goals is to build positive relationships with students, teachers and staff to boost academic performance. Paske says educators at his school also will use assessment data to improve teaching and learning processes.
A newly launched nonprofit is offering hands-on, in-classroom programming and data to teacher-preparation programs to increase the number of minority teachers. Founded by Cassandra Herring, a former dean at Hampton University, the organization is partnering with colleges and universities that serve nonwhite students to promote teaching as a career.
The old methods of gaining influence and power over others by force, through deception or by showing disregard, are no longer effective, writes Marcel Schwantes. If you want to be more influential to your colleagues, showcase your kindness, enthusiasm and openness to new ideas, Schwantes writes.
Using biometrics can help school leaders save time and money by replacing ID cards and streamlining such processes as lunch lines and roll call, educator Amanda Murphy writes. However, leaders should be aware of security threats and work with parents to ease privacy concerns, she notes in this commentary.
One South Carolina education official told state lawmakers recently that policies are needed to recruit and retain more teachers to stem a growing shortage. Jane Turner, director of the state's Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement, said the state already is funding mentoring programs and providing incentives for teachers.
More educators, such as California fifth-grade teacher Tammy Dunbar and New York teacher Amy Rosenstein, are using Skype to introduce their students to guest speakers from around the globe. Dunbar says the sessions teach students empathy and compassion for others, while Rosenstein says the talks spark interest in learning about other parts of the world.
Having a class read a whole novel together can provide an inclusive experience while building a classroom community, educator Robert Ward writes in this blog post. He shares tips for selecting books and helping students at varying reading levels engage with the text.
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