Teachers

4 Beliefs to Inspire Motivated Mindsets

Many instructors have observed variability in students’ motivation to learn and grow. How can educators enable engagement, persistence, and improved performance in the classroom? Mindset science has uncovered actionable insights into the academic behaviors of students. What students believe about themselves and their capabilities tremendously influences their learning motivation, as beliefs are called mindsets when they filter how we make sense of the world and ourselves. Mindsets act on our choice of goals and goal-pursuit…

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Guest Speakers in the Classroom

One of the most effective teaching strategies for teachers is an invitation to guest speakers to visit the classroom. Including other voices in the classroom invites different perspectives and shows that learning is a collaborative effort. It is important to remember, that inviting a guest speaker is not simply intended to give the teacher a break. Students have the opportunity to learn something new that interests them from a guest speaker. Students can also discover…

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Classroom Community Building Activities

Teachers have long known that feeling safe and secure in school helps students focus their energy on learning, and the research bears that out: a 2018 study found that when teachers deliberately foster a sense of belonging by greeting each student at the door of the class, they see “significant improvements in academic engaged time and reductions in disruptive behavior.” Some of the below activities for classroom community building take less than five minutes. They’re…

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How Investing in Counselors is Good for Education

School counselors have long been understood as a key ingredient in college access, but the impact of counselors on student achievement has largely gone unmeasured. A recent paper from researcher Christine Mulhern, a Ph.D. student and PIER fellow at the Center on Education Policy Research at Harvard University, fills that gap, making clear just how valuable a counselor’s role can be. Indeed, Mulhern found that while teachers and counselors make an impact on students via…

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Talking Math With Middle Schoolers

Is a dump truck a vehicle? What about a skateboard? An elevator? A hamster wheel? These are some of the questions math educator Christopher Danielson has asked — or been asked — while playing a reasoning game he calls “Is It or Not?” The game began with a debate between another math educator, Kassia Wedekind, and her six-year-old daughter, but Danielson has played it with children of all ages, including his own. “It was a…

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How to Diversify a Classroom Library

As protests against racial injustice spread to communities large and small in this year, many educators have been pushed to examine how systemic racism harms students. Some have publicly proclaimed the steps they will take to create anti-racist schools, including diversifying classroom and library bookshelves. That task may be easier than ever, thanks to six years of advocacy by the We Need Diverse Books campaign. “There’s no excuse for the books in your classroom and…

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The Importance of Mindfulness in the Classroom

Carole Clancy, who supervises special education for the Lancaster, Pennsylvania city schools had a serious problem: she couldn’t hold on to her teachers. The students in special ed classes were distracted and disruptive. “They had the reputation of being unmanageable and out of control,” she says. But that was before they started learning mindfulness in the classroom. When Wynne Kinder, lead instructor for the mindfulness program “Wellness Works in Schools,” walks into Kristina Suter’s special…

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10 Famous Women in History Kids Should Know About

Some people were born to be leaders, and our lives are better for it. Where would we be without the brave women who step forward into the spotlight to help light the way? From historical heroes to present-day pioneers, kids should know these women’s names as well as their incredible stories. While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, here are 25 diverse, famous women in history to share with kids. 1. Anne Frank. Along…

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Can ChatGPT Be Used to Cheat?

In his university teaching days, Mark Schneider watched as his students’ research sources moved from the library to Wikipedia to Google. With greater access to online information, cheating and plagiarism became easier. So Schneider, who taught at State University of New York, Stony Brook for 30 years, crafted essay prompts in ways that he hoped would deter copy-paste responses. Even then, he once received a student essay with a bill from a paper-writing company stapled…

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Teaching Poetry Creatively and Strategically

Poetry is a mindfulness practice for award-winning author and poet Clint Smith, but as a young person, Smith felt that poetry wasn’t for people like him. Smith said that teaching poetry can feel intimidating when presented as if it’s a “geometric proof or a code that students are supposed to unlock.” He recommends that teachers instead emphasize that no interpretation is wrong. Online resources for teaching poetry can show young learners “that there are poets…

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