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

As this tumultuous school year comes to a screeching halt, I hope that you take a moment to celebrate the fact that you made it.

Thinking back, it all feels surreal because at this time last year, many of us wondered how we’d ever manage and if we’d make it through or out, alive. Some of us were full of fear, angst, doubt, and despair about what was taking place in our families, our communities, our nation, and even in our world. Each day in 2020 seemed heavy, gloomy, and overwhelming. I remember one day thinking that God must really…


May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, an observance aimed at normalizing conversations about mental health and ending the stigma against mental health issues and treatment.

In the COVID-19 era, mental health awareness is critical. Every student has been, and continues to be, profoundly impacted by the pandemic. Whether they’ve been isolated from friends and family, experienced economic uncertainty, or even suffered a loss, it’s an important time to start an open dialogue with students about their mental health.

Talking to Students about Mental Health

Having a conversation with students about mental health can help cultivate a safe space for questions and empower students to manage…


By Sheldon L. Eakins, Ph.D., Founder of The Leading Equity Center

Explore Part 4 of our series, “Voices in Social Studies” where educators and thought leaders share the latest in social studies teaching and learning. Read part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Historical Context and Background Knowledge

Not too long ago, I had a teacher reach out to me via email and say, “Dr. Eakins, I need some help. I think I messed up when I taught a lesson on the Negro leagues.” So she and I talked on the phone and one of the things she shared with me was how she was really excited to teach about the Negro league, especially relating to…


By Angela Duckworth and Giacomo Bono

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…


By Angela Duckworth, Character Lab Founder, and CEO

Sixty Seconds of Actionable Advice, Based on Science, Brought to you by Character Lab

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.

Write a gratitude letter to someone you’ve never properly thanked.

This was the task I recently assigned as homework to my undergraduate class. I explained that the recipient…


By Dr. Gerald Paterson, Principal in New Jersey

Animation of sayings for Why I Teach
Animation of sayings for Why I Teach

School Principal Appreciation Day is on May 1 and I must say that I truly feel appreciated each day that I have been a principal in the great state of New Jersey. It is truly a dream job! Seven-time SuperBowl winning quarterback, Tom Brady shared his advice with an elementary student during the pregame SuperBowl LV show and that was find something that you enjoy, work really hard at, and it will never feel like a job.

I’ve never dreaded going to work as a principal, even on the days that I knew were going to be a challenge. In…


By Issac Scoggins, M.Ed., Teacher at Dallas Independent School District

Illustration of learners and a teacher
Illustration of learners and a teacher

I remember when I was going through my internship before I graduated with my master’s in education, and my mentor said something that I think about frequently. She said, “As a teacher, it is vital to take your craft and work it every day. It is necessary to try something different because you never know what will work.” Many years later, and several hundred hours of teaching later, I still think that this is a crucial thing to do. As educators, if we do not try new things and have a method of experimentation with what works and what does…


By Skylar Primm, 6–12 Environmental Educator

A small group of kids doing outdoor learning activities in the woods
A small group of kids doing outdoor learning activities in the woods

A School Forest Story

A few weeks ago, our school community experienced several challenging events in a row. It was just one of those weeks where each day felt worse than the last, and stress levels and tensions were high for both students and staff. Then came Thursday. Thursdays are always days for outdoor, place-based learning at High Marq. The field experience that week was one of our annual “Survival Days,” where students work in established teams to practice survival skills at one of our school forests. The sun was shining, the skies were clear, and the students had purposeful work to do together…


Steps to Protect Students Against Cyberbullying and Internet Predators

Today’s teens know that the Internet can be incredibly useful. More and more teens and young adults have personal web pages and use the Internet for a variety of purposes. Unfortunately, the Internet can also be a dangerous place. The hazards you can encounter range from upsetting situations — like being insulted in an instant message, blog, or text message — to physical threats, such as Internet predators.

This doesn’t mean that being online isn’t worth the risks. It just means that you need to know how to protect yourself. Here are a few precautions to take when you’re online:

Understand Cyberbullying


By Laura Head, Founder of Heads Up Learning

I’ve spent the last couple of months developing my series on remote learning. I’m sure I will in the future return to remote learning with more key insights, but for now, a new series: Social Justice in the Classroom.

This is in no way an exhaustive list, but it’s a start to share some of the things we did in my classroom to facilitate social justice. Have I missed a stellar idea? Let me know!

Diverse Books by Diverse Authors

I did a Donor’s Choose for my class one year, in order to collect diverse books by diverse authors for diverse readers. …

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