Cindi Rigsbee, North Carolina Teacher of the Year, shares her secret for movitating students: biscuits from Bojangle's....


Do interactive whiteboards encourage poor instruction? Edu-techies Doug Johnson and Wesley Fryer (among other commenters) discuss. See also Johnson's follow-up. Correction: In my original post, I mistakenly wrote Doug Noon when I meant Doug Johnson. Apologies to both Johnson and Noon. Thanks to alert reader teacherninja for the heads-up....


The Public School Insights blog posts a interesting interview with Reijo Laukkanen, a veteran of Finland's National Board of Education. Asked what explains the consistently high international rankings of the Finnish education system, Lukkanen starts with a one-word answer: Teachers. Other eye-catching points: We don't have any evaluation of teachers. The working morale and the working ethics of the teachers are very high, and we can also trust that they are competent; they know what to do. *** [In Finland] only a small [number] of those who apply to teacher education can really get there. For those in upper secondary education, ...


What should you do when a student is struggling to understand a concept you've been teaching? Maybe nothing, according to Mr. Pullen of Elementary Educator: Our students are like ... butterflies. Will we allow them to struggle with academic material so that they can emerge with strong and independent minds that are ready to soar to new heights, or will we cripple them by continually “rescuing” them from such struggles?...


Susan Graham says that this whole Wall St. bailout mess could have been avoided if the powers that be had only been paying attention to teacher bloggers. Science teacher Anthony Cody, in particular, was way out in front (which will not be surprising to anyone who knows him)....


Nancy Flanagan highlights recent posts on music education from around the teacher blogosphere and reveals the top-five guilty-pleasure songs on her iPod....


Ga. kindergarten teacher Christina Shunnarah, one of the bloggers for NYT's Lesson Plans, reflects that the 95 percent of her students' cultures that lie below the surface are the most important. Besides the obvious cultural markers of food, fashion and folklore, Shunnarah says that teachers need to pay attention to elements of 'deep culture'--concepts of beauty, approaches to problem solving and personal relationships, eating habits, facial expressions, to name a few. But before understanding their students, teachers need to understand their own backgrounds, and how they react to different cultures. In order for me to be as effective as possible ...


Doug Noon of Borderland imagines what life would be like if education reform got the same treatment as the Wall Street bailout. If education reform worked anything like the $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan now on the table, we’d have seen government officials immediately call for implementing a plan that, as George Bush would argue, “matches the scope of the problem.” We’d see the debt ceiling raised, with hundreds of billions of dollars committed to resolving the crisis, and no demand for accountability. For Noon, the bailout illustrates education reform’s low-priority status in the American government. ...


English teacher Ariel Sacks is rethinking her grading schema. “Just what is a class participation grade?” she asks. “How is it calculated? I’ll come clean and say that I’ve mostly been making mine up.” While looking over the state standards—which emphasize reading, writing, and speaking—with her colleagues one day, Ariel realizes that participation, for her, is really about making “meaningful spoken contributions to class.” And now, as I rip apart my less than useful practice of making up class participation grades, it occurs to me that I should just get rid of it, and create a ...


Chris Lehmann at Practical Theory takes on the idea that schools are preparing a 21st century workforce. It would be better to start with the premise, he says, that we teach because we care about our students, and not imply “that education is something we do to kids in service of the larger need of society – and a market economy." Instead, if we talk about schools that help students become 21st Century citizens, we can speak to their need to be engaged and involved in their entire world. We can talk about how our hope for them to find their ...


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