4 Ways to Build a Strong Professional Learning Network for Innovation and Growth

Problem solving is a key skill in teaching. But in the past year, especially, the problems in need of a solution seem to have grown exponentially. How do we teach kids online and in person at the same time? How do we build a strong community of learners when, in some cases, kids haven’t seen … Read more

Teachers Shouldn’t Tiptoe Around Politics When It Directly Impacts Our Students

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Posted Jan. 20, 2021

Today at President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s inauguration, Amanda Gorman stole the show. Lady Gaga? J-Lo? Garth Brooks? No contest. This 22-year-old…

Posted Jan. 20, 2021

November 2016, I walked into my school building to students blocking their peers from coming through my classroom door. They said, “We’re building a wall,…

Posted Jan. 13, 2021

Chicago Public Schools students are back in school.  Well, some of them are. It’s complicated, and getting messier by the minute.  WBEZ Chicago has more…

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EdSurge’s 2020 Year in Review: The Top 10 K-12 Stories, as Chosen by You

At the end of every year, EdSurge rounds up a collection of its top stories based on clicks, shares and website traffic—and no year in our short history has been quite as dramatic as this one. The pandemic that 10 months ago transformed daily life left educators with a slate of questions that would have … Read more

We Must Be Disciples for Our Students in 2021

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Posted Dec. 28, 2020

It was that kind of day. Parents and teachers know the one: the day before the holiday break. The day when all grades are due,…

Posted Dec. 29, 2020

This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, educators nationwide, and the world over, have had to adapt how they provide services to children and families.…

Posted Dec. 29, 2020

2020 was the pits.  More than 300,000 Americans died from COVID. A dearth of presidential leadership that led to the politicization of wearing masks—the single…

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Expand Perspectives on Preventing Substance Misuse – Explore the Dose of Knowledge Panel Discussion On-Demand 

Initiating conversations with students about the dangers of substance misuse can be difficult to navigate. As instances of substance misuse continue to be too common and as young people faced increased stress, anxiety, and isolation during these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we all play an active role helping students understand the dangers of drug misuse.   CVS Health in partnership with Discovery Education presented … Read more

Educators: Hold Onto Humanity With Both Hands. Let Students Show You How.

I’m very ready for 2020 to be over. I hope 2021 will be better but my optimism is stymied by recent experience. Although my immediate surroundings have remained stable and my loved ones and I managed to stay out of harm’s way, my faith in democratic institutions, in a shared idea of the commons, is indelibly shaken.Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about abstract things like “creating space,” “getting out of the way” and “letting go.” Inevitably these are all people related topics in my mind. They have to do with respecting others, valuing their contributions and recognizing my own position in relation to them. And they extend to everyone with whom I interact: from my Pre-Kindergarten students to educator colleagues. My Twitter threads this year on distance learning or group facilitation methods or leadership and privilege in one way or another all circle back to a similar message: Let’s observe with honesty, dare to raise questions and truly prioritize care.In one of the best essays of the year Colette Shade describes the numbing effects of pandemic response. When folks are consumed with the herculean effort required to survive in a society with next to no safety nets, they carry on because they must.“With so little room to process, we adapt to this situation, learning to filter it out or defending ourselves from our true feelings in order to do what we have to do.”We soldier on in our kitchens and dining rooms, on the sofa, in the garage, in our basements and attics. We’re exhausted and vulnerable. I cannot write about education or school or distance learning or tech in this Year of Our Lord 2020 and not apply a pandemic lens that accounts for so much suffering, uncertainty and loss.In contrast, as an educator of young children my work life is populated by folks with vast imaginations and wondrous vision. When they are excited my best move is to make way for the rush of their enthusiasm, ensuring there are enough boundaries in place to keep them safe. Teaching and learning go both ways. I set up conditions for their exploration; they instruct me as to what is useful and relevant. In my public thinking about letting go and creating space and getting out of the way, I want to emphasize how vital it is that we hold onto our humanity with both hands and a full heart. I want to encourage us to open doors for imaginations wilder than our own. I’m imploring us to notice how and when we may be the thing preventing a necessary change. My students require that I reflect on what we are doing again and again, whether we’re face to face or exchanging texts and videos. They demand space, insist that I let go of my preconceived notions and let me know when I am their sticking point. These feats of the mind are only possible, however, if care is at the center of my efforts.If this year has taught me anything, it’s that teaching is not for the faint of heart. Nor is learning. With their adaptability, candor and heartfelt future orientation, my students have pulled me through this year. Their eyes are open for miracles when all we see is destruction. It’s amazing. They have their humanity and unlike us are not struggling to hold on to it. Watch them. You can’t help but notice.This op-ed is part of a series of year-end reflections EdSurge is publishing as 2020 concludes.

The Most Important Question a Teacher Can Ask Is ‘How Are the Children?’

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Posted Dec. 22, 2020

“We want to support you so that you can get to the great work of helping kids. You have to commit to that partnership if…

Posted Dec. 22, 2020

It was a year ago that I tried sweet potato pie for the first time. Now, I am white and, though I have lived in…

Posted Dec. 17, 2020

On the sun-glazed African continent, the most storied warrior people, incomparably formidable and sagacious in war, is the Maasai. It is perhaps unexpected, then, to learn…

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