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Teacher and Leader Effectiveness, Every Student Succeeds Act

Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 5.42.07 PM.pngWe all remember a teacher who had a special impact on us. The teacher who stayed late to give extra help; organized a fundraiser to afford a school field trip; brought in their own classroom supplies. A teacher with the Three C’s: The teacher who Cares ; is knowledgeable in their Content; and is able to Communicate with students in a way that reaches a child’s zone of proximal development. Accordingly, research shows that teachers are the most important in-school factor for improving student achievement. Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA, provides states with tools to support our nation’s teachers, including tools to address current teacher shortages through recruitment, training and ongoing professional development.

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Help!  How to Support Students Struggling With Reading

Expressions-16.jpgI remember as a young teacher having to take on the daunting task of working with students who were two or more grades behind their peers and attempting to “catch them up.”  In the many weeks of working with students, modeling strategies, and supporting the resource teachers with whom I collaborated to assist the children, there were times where the frustration of getting them as close to their grade level as possible became overwhelming.  The following tips I am sharing with you come from the lessons learned through experience as well as through research of best practices.

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Google Can’t Find Robert E. Lee- Teaching Research Skills in a Snapchat World


Laptop Work-10.jpgGoogle can’t find Robert E. Lee.” I had assigned my  middle school students with a civil war research topic, and I remember her face as she brought me the news: According to Google, there was no one named Robert E. Lee that had been involved with the Civil War. 

She was Crestfallen. Truly an earnest student, she was genuinely concerned that this obscure Lee character was going to ruin her chances of a good grade.

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Celebrating Thanksgiving Through Reading

devices.jpgThis is my favorite time of year for many reasons, with one of them being the Thanksgiving season. Many families join together for special meals, watch sporting events on television and bond over things for which they are thankful. As a teacher, I always sought to bring multiple perspectives for my students about cultural events and history, and Thanksgiving was no exception. Big Universe, with its choice of ebooks, has a similar approach, and I look forward to sharing with you a little more about some of the titles available in our library as well as some lesson “seed” ideas for using these books in your classes in the upcoming days.

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Celebrating American Education Week – The Big Universe Way

classroom-1757255_1920.jpgHaven’t heard about American Education Week?  Well, it’s a week of events occurring the week prior to Thanksgiving that highlight why education in our country is needed. Each day highlights a different aspect of education, whether it’s the parental involvement, instructional practices of teachers, or the aid that education support professionals provide the students served.  Big Universe values education and seeks to support it in as many ways as possible, and so here are some ways your classroom or school can commemorate this week and make people aware of why education is important. Some of these ideas can be swapped between or conducted over multiple days.

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Digital Literacy

Laptop Work-10.jpgThe digital divide appears to be widening. The growing disparity between low income families or schools and those who have constant access to information is saddening. Many schools do not have adequate access or the infrastructure to support it. Digital literate students are able to find and use information. As users of information, students NEED to have support and access to tools on and off campus. How do teachers face this challenge and dutifully teach digital literacy? As we begin to look at digital literacy and your role, as educators, you will discover new ways to meet these unexpected challenges.

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