Creativity: A Skill We All Need to Foster and Protect

Believe it or not, and I am constantly surprised by the number of educators who don't believe it, the research is clear on all of the ways that students' success, creativity, and growth are harmed by extrinsic motivators. This leaves many educators, including my research partner, Kristy Graber, and me, searching for ways to eliminate rewards while equipping students with the gear needed to strengthen these areas. This can be especially challenging considering how prevalent rewards are in daily life. Here is the last portion of our research paper that I have condensed into a blog post.

Everyone Needs a Throwing Partner

My son Ryan plays travel baseball and high school baseball, and he is fortunate to get to play both of those with his cousin Hayden. They are three weeks apart in age, so they naturally get to do a lot of things together. However, having the same throwing partner for both the travel team and the high school team is pretty cool. Your throwing partner is important, so having the right one is crucial.

Classroom Community Building

Relationships between students and their teachers are important, but so are the relationships built in class between classmates. While pacing guides and other curriculum demands can become overwhelming fast, there are some easy ways to work in relationship building too. New students popping in throughout the school should definitely be a reminder to add team building or relationship building into your plans, but the truth is that all students benefit with regular or periodic activities that help them get to know their classmates.

Dear Educators

I attended the 2022 TCEA Convention in Dallas, Texas, this past week and had the time of my life. Put me in a room with other educators who are as passionate about pedagogy, educational technologies, and students, and I'm in my happy place. Add to that an exhibitor's hall full of a plethora of Edtech companies from all over the nation and world, and I'm walking on clouds. Seeing my friends from social media platforms in person, face to face again, was the icing on the cake.

Microsoft Literacy Tools and More

As an English teacher, reading as always been a love of mine personally, as well as a focus of mine professionally. As a high school teacher, though, I have not been taught HOW to teach the reading skills. My expertise is in the analysis and comprehension of texts, so when the district begins to talk about having the English teachers facilitate reading intervention, I throw up my hand to point out that I have no literacy training. I'm probably not the only teacher this has happened to, and if we're being honest, it is up to everyone in a district to ensure all students can read and have the tools necessary to help them be successful readers.

The Student Welcome Packet

As state testing (for some this year and for most or all of us in a normal non pandemic year) looms in the near future, days get warmer, and the school year winds down, many educators are thinking towards next year. Sure, a lot of thoughts are also aimed at the summer and vacation plans, but some thoughts are focused on the next school year. We have almost completed what might very well be the toughest school year of all time. One for the record books for sure, so naturally we need a summer break, but thoughts of next year still linger.

Emailing Students: Google Classroom to the Rescue

As we navigate these uncharted waters of school closures due to COVID-19, communication is one of the most important things we can do to help students work through remote learning and all the stress that entails. Not every district has the luxury of placing all students online for the remainder of time that the schools are closed, so communication can become tricky. However, utilizing the school email is always a good idea which can be followed by other means of contact for students who are unable to respond.