Classroom Tools

Effective Student-Led Discussions
Effective Student-Led Discussions

A few years into my teaching career, a colleague attended training at Phillips Exeter Academy on the Harkness method, in which classroom learning takes place as students and teacher sit in a circle or oval for discussions and all students must contribute. Afterward, she enthusiastically shared what she had learned about facilitating effective student-led discussions.

Until then I had been running discussions in the familiar way: pitch a question to the class, ask students to raise their hands, and try to be equitable when selecting volunteers to answer. The idea of giving students more ownership over what we discussed—from the questions themselves to possible answers—seemed like an exciting opportunity for us to learn together.

Read More
National Library Legislative Day
National Library Legislative Day

National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) is a two-day educational event that brings hundreds of librarians, trustees, library supporters and patrons to Washington, D.C.

Attendees spend one-day learning effective advocacy tactics and being briefed about pressing federal legislative issues that are impacting libraries. On the second day, they join other attendees from their state to meet with their members of Congress and rally support for library issues and policies. Open to the public, the event also offers attendees the opportunity to attend a reception on Capitol Hill.

Read More
Making Elementary School A Lot More Fun: Like Preschool!
Making Elementary School A Lot More Fun: Like Preschool!

In Kelly Stevens' kindergarten classroom, each day begins with circle time for what sounds like a menu of lesson options.

Students — or "friends" as Stevens calls them — can read at the green table, they can build boats or make things out of clay, among other options.

Read More
14 Mathtastic Pi Day Activities for the Classroom
14 Mathtastic Pi Day Activities for the Classroom

Math deserves its own day, don’t you think? Join the fun of Pi Day, celebrated on March 14 (3.14, get it?) by more and more schools every year. Here are 14 Pi Day activities that will encourage your students to see the joy and whimsy in math.

Read More
With Hundreds Of Students, School Counselors Just Try To 'Stay Afloat'
With Hundreds Of Students, School Counselors Just Try To 'Stay Afloat'

Yuridia Nava, a counselor at Riverside Polytechnic High School in Riverside, Calif., has been getting to work at 7 a.m. lately. It's class registration time, so she wants to be available before school for parents and students to come in with questions as they plan for the next year of courses, SAT tests, and college preparation.

Read More
National School Breakfast Week March 5-9, 2018
National School Breakfast Week March 5-9, 2018

Mark your calendar for National School Breakfast Week! This year’s theme, “I Heart School Breakfast,” encourages parents, students, and school officials to get social over school breakfast. Speaking a language kids understand, we’re ready to show-and-tell all the benefits of a healthy school breakfast.

Read More
Ancient Rome 101 and Life as a Roman Teenager
Ancient Rome 101 and Life as a Roman Teenager

National Geographic has a great series of YouTube videos called National Geographic 101. The most recent addition to that series is Ancient Rome 101. The video provides an excellent introduction to the origin, rise, and fall of the Roman Empire. The length and substance of the video makes it an ideal candidate for inclusion in an EDpuzzle lesson.

Read More
What Decades Of Covering School Shootings Has Taught Me
What Decades Of Covering School Shootings Has Taught Me

I remember back during the 1997-98 school year when we were all stunned by five school shootings within a period of eight months in places few Americans had heard of: Pearl, Miss., West Paducah, Ky., Jonesboro, Ark., Edinboro, Penn., and Springfield, Ore.

Read More
2 Evidence-Based Learning Strategies
2 Evidence-Based Learning Strategies

I often say to my students, “If a test is the first time you’re made to think about or with the class material, we’ve both probably failed.” Learning is effortful and requires cognition. As their teacher, I need to ensure that I provide my students with opportunities for demonstration of learning in the classroom.

Read More
Is There Any Way For Schools To Prevent Shootings?
Is There Any Way For Schools To Prevent Shootings?

Could anyone have stopped this? That's one of the biggest questions for schools and educators as the nation takes in the facts of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., that has left 17 dead and 23 injured.

While the U.S. remains a global outlier by far when it comes to mass shootings, and owns 42 percent of the world's guns, the fact is that most schools in the country have taken steps to prepare for this kind of threat.

Read More