Using Poetry Podcasts Within the English Classroom

By Ryan Chapman, English Teacher from San Diego, California

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Two weeks ago, I decided to have my students create their own poetry podcast episode. We’d been in school for around twelve weeks — learning together, building community as best we could, and making the most of a tough situation during a global pandemic. Daily, the students amazed me with their fortitude, flexibility, and grace; but, they were exhausted. I could see it in their faces. I could hear it in their tone and in their words left unsaid. Honestly, I was feeling the same way.

As I began to plan our upcoming unit, I knew that I needed to provide space for reflection and connectivity — a place for students to rest amidst the chaos of life. …


Reflections on Teaching During the Fall of 2020

By Skylar Primm, 6–12 Environmental Educator

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The Hopes & Fears of August

I can’t be the only teacher in the Northern Hemisphere who each August starts to feel a specific kind of nervous energy about the start of the upcoming school year. What will my new students be like? How can I help them feel welcome? Why haven’t I completed all those items on my summer task list? It’s just part of the flow of the year that I’ve developed a feel for in over a decade of teaching, and I assume most other teachers have their own rhythms.

August 2020, though, brought with it a whole new suite of fears. Would my students wear masks? What would we do if (when) one of us catches COVID? How ugly would this election going to get, and how can I maintain my classroom as a safe space? Which natural disaster would hit our country next? …


By Melody Johnson, Curriculum Developer and Writer from Georgia

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As we are quickly approaching Thanksgiving, some students will need guidance on how to gain a better understanding of Thanksgiving.

Since students come from different backgrounds, this might be a first in celebrating Thanksgiving at home with their families.

Usually, in a school setting, there are projects to be made or some sort of necklace that can be created as a momentum for the child. With social distancing being integrated into everyday life, how does one create a connection with the child and Thanksgiving in a remote setting?

Below you will find several ideas on how to expand on Thanksgiving in a remote setting with your…


By Errica Dotson-Hooper, Manager of the Teaching and Learning Center, HCDE

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As I reflect upon my childhood, one of my fondest memories was spending quality time with my great grandmother.

I can still remember spending countless hours at her knee, watching intently as she sewed together patchwork quilts. I would be amazed at how she would take pieces of a dress, a curtain, and fabric scraps from other projects to make a beautiful, intricately designed bedcovering. Every square held significance and she was very intentional about placement. …


By Angela Duckworth and Giacomo Bono

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Published as a part of a collaboration between McGraw Hill and Character Lab, where this piece first appeared. Character Lab advances scientific insights that help kids thrive (you can watch a short video here). By connecting researchers with educators, Character Lab seeks to create greater knowledge about the conditions that lead to social, emotional, academic, and physical well-being for young people throughout the country.

“Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!”

— Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical

Why does gratitude matter?

When you feel gratitude, you feel a sense of abundance. When you express gratitude — especially when it’s heartfelt — you strengthen your relationships with others. Grateful people are happier and more fulfilled. And gratitude leads you to be nicer to other people: more cooperative, patient, and trusting. …


By Enrique Puig, Director of the UCF Morgridge International Reading Center

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As we curate resources to create a dynamic learning environment for students, we need to consider the function of texts and how they ensure learning over time. We must first understand text complexity before we can use increasingly complex texts. They need to be age-appropriate, build disciplinary vocabulary, and provide background knowledge. They should be rigorous, push thinking along with disciplinary knowledge, and foster expertise that can be transferred across disciplines. …


By Danielle Powell, K-8 Educator in Tennessee

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Once upon a time, in third grade, my mother attended a conference at my school where she asked my teacher about this elaborate story she heard from me.

Apparently, there was a thunderstorm at school and all the electricity went out for the rest of the day. The students and teachers had to learn by candlelight and go to the restroom with flashlights!

Now, this may not sound too elaborate, but to my third-grade mind, this was the PEAK of adventure. …


And other lessons learned from teaching math online during a pandemic, featuring a Q&A with John SanGiovanni, K-5 Reveal Math Author

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What exactly does effective math instruction look like during a pandemic? What about social and emotional learning? And how about professional learning for educators?

The past six or so months have been a learning experience for teachers, students, and parents, as they have adapted to sudden shifts in their learning environment, grappled with new schedules and routines, picked up on new technology, and worked tirelessly to nurture academic achievement despite all the changes. …


Celebrating World Kindness Day 2020 in Your Remote, Hybrid, or In-Person Classroom

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If 2020 has taught us anything, it is the power of kindness. It prevails in challenging times. As we have navigated this difficult year, empathy has allowed us to stay connected through social distancing. Generosity and giving have supported those in need. And acts of kindness have given our mental health and emotional well-being a much-needed boost, more commonly known as the “helper’s high.”

The best thing about kindness is that it can be done anywhere, at any time. It can be done at school, or on Zoom, in your community, or simply in your backyard. …


By Melody Johnson, Curriculum Developer and Writer from Georgia

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November, December, April, and May….those are the months that have the highest amount of burnouts for teachers.

Only another fellow teacher will truly understand what teachers experience on a daily basis.

There are assessments due, report cards to fill out, and more things to grade, in addition to staff meetings, EIP meetings, IEP meetings, professional development training, and the expectation to also volunteer at school. Don’t forget about the field trips you have to plan, lesson plans, getting your materials together, and even your own classroom.

When I was an educator in a public school, I remember one of the hardest things I struggled with was the balance for myself and my family… especially in the months mentioned above. …

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