“Students learn how to behave online”

Minecraft is fun – but it’s also a useful tool for teachers. Swiss teacher Stefan Huber’s students explore complex issues while also reflecting on their online behavior. Caroline Smrstik Gentner: What led you to start using Minecraft in your lessons? Stefan Huber: During the first Covid-19 lockdown in spring 2020, I felt that we were … Read more

20 Tips For Effective Online Classroom Management

by TeachThought Staff The shift to online learning is somewhat new and it has its share of challenges for many teachers all over the globe.   Whether learning remotely or in an actual classroom, effective classroom management is crucial in achieving a productive study environment. Although students are no longer staying in a single room, teachers … Read more

10 Tips For Teaching Mindfulness In School At Any Grade Level

contributed by Kelly April Tyrrell and TeachThought Staff While the scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM) at the Waisman Center aren’t yet ready to issue evidence-based mindfulness curriculum practices, Flook and CIHM outreach specialists Lisa Thomas Prince and Lori Gustafson offer the following tips for families wishing to engage in … Read more

Strategies, Tips, And Resources For Protecting Children From Abuse

contributed by Mary L. Pulido, Ph.D. See something? Hear something? Please, do something. This is not an alert warning about a strange package on a subway platform; it is an alert for another type of terror: the abuse and neglect of children. It is everyone’s job to protect children, not just the local authorities. During the pandemic, … Read more

10 Student Engagement Strategies That Empower Learners

How To Help Students Not Just ‘Pay Attention’ But Take Control Of Learning by Terry Heick Agreeing on how to best establish what a learner understands isn’t simple — if for no other reason then understanding itself isn’t simple. The difference between gamification and game-based learning is important: the former uses encouragement mechanics to promote engagement, while … Read more

12 Things Every Lesson You Teach Should Have

12 Things Every Lesson You Teach Should Have by Terry Heick What should every lesson have? It’s a challenge to say what every single lesson imaginable should always have every single time no matter what. There are always exceptions. But what elements should be in nearly every lesson nearly every time? I could’ve kept the … Read more

A Look at Close Reading during Children’s Book Week

The following post is excerpted from an article by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Diane Lapp called Learning Cycles That Deepen Students’ Interaction with Text from the May 2015 issue of Voices from the Middle.
It is important for students to develop as readers in order for them to become adults who can successfully interact with various texts and interpret them throughout daily life. In order for teachers to help facilitate this development, they must initiate and return to a cycle of asking compelling questions to engage students initially with a text, teaching students techniques to read closely, fostering collaborative conversations about the text, and finally, showing how such reading inspires further thought.
So what does truly understanding the text mean for teachers? We see this as a cycle that begins with a compelling question and then involves reading and writing, with a chance for students to use the information they have learned to share with others, which in turn invites them to ask more questions, once again facilitating additional reading, learning, discussing, and identifying still more new questions.
The Cycle:

Compelling Questions Students are invited into a text by the right question because they want to know the answer to the question. They learn that both literary and informational texts have answers to the big questions in life.
Close ReadingOne key to deepening students’ understanding of texts during close reading involves the questions that teachers ask. The questions ultimately take students on a journey, from the literal level to the structural level to the inferential level.

What does the text say?
How does the text work?
What does the text mean?

Collaborative ConversationsTo really deepen students’ interactions with texts, they must talk about those texts. They must stake a claim and provide evidence for their ideas. They must follow the rules of discussion, remain on topic long enough to interrogate their ideas, and ask questions of one another.
Being InspiredWe read closely and want to deepen our interactions with texts when there is something important and worthwhile to do after the reading. And that is the answer to the question: Why should students care about deepening interactions with text? Because they are inspired. They are inspired to engage in research and investigation. They are inspired to present or debate. They are inspired to continue discussing a text, perhaps even with a Socratic Seminar. And they are inspired to write about the text.

Douglas Fisher, NCTE member since 2000, is professor of educational leadership and teacher leader at Health Sciences Middle and High Schools.
Nancy Frey, NCTE member since 1999, is professor of educational leadership and teacher leader at Health Sciences Middle and High Schools.
Diane Lapp, NCTE member since 1980, is professor emerita of literacy education and teacher leader at Health Sciences Middle and High Schools.

“Good teaching means being open to adventure”

Swiss secondary school teacher Stella Stejskal-Blum’s English learners dive into the world of digital entrepreneurship. Caroline Smrstik Gentner: What prompted you to have your English class explore ideas for a start-up business? Stella Stejskal-Blum: In 2019, I was working with students who had dropped out of school or were homeschooled, in a bilingual learning group, … Read more