Look for Sunflowers in the Weeds

Posted on December 16, 2020

Look for Sunflowers in the Weeds

Chris Hogan, an EntreLeadership personality with Dave Ramsey shares: “Everyone needs AIR”. He uses AIR as an acronym that means, appreciation, inspiration, and recognition. Chris believes that these three elements help us to breathe better. Today is the final installment in our three-part series on “AIR”. As a reminder, the R stands for recognition. As an educator, we recognize students all the time for good grades and passing tests such as STAAR. But what about those who fall through the cracks, those students who are failing? Did you know that sunflowers can be weeds? Harriet Tubman once said: “I was a neglected weed.” Those weeds are majestic flowers that rise to the sun in recognition of its power are like those children in your classroom who are failing. This week’s blog shares a story about Mrs. W., a teacher who stopped and recognized a student and the impact it made. She used best practices such as differentiation and cultural responsiveness to reach a student who was struggling. Take a minute to read this blog. You will discover that you can become the “sun” in someone’s life!

Tags : Insider, Professional Development, Cultural Responsive Teaching, Special Education, Recruitment, Retention, Teacher Preparation, Student Engagement, News, Techer Evaluations, Teacher Evaluations, Student HOTS, Appreciation


10 Children’s Books that Promote Diversity Awareness

Posted on November 18, 2020

10 Children’s Books that Promote Diversity Awareness

Reading books with your students that promote diversity awareness can be a great way to introduce discussions about identity, cultural awareness, and the importance of diversity. Classroom discussions on diversity may help students learn valuable lessons about how to appreciate and be more accepting of people who are different.  At the same time, when children have access to books with characters that they can relate to, it can help them to make important connections about their identity. At some point, everyone was a child and can probably relate to wanting to feel like they belong and wanting to feel valued for their identity. Some adults are still struggling with their identities and feelings of acceptance even today.  One question that can be reflected on is: How do educators prepare the next generation to embrace diversity and develop a strong cultural competency in our youth so that all children feel included, represented, and accepted for who they are?  Educators have a great platform to help children embrace and accept unique differences. By using books with diverse characters and storylines as tools in the classroom to introduce lessons and discussions about diversity, students can not only learn more about themselves but grow a love for reading. The thought here is that having conversations about diversity and differences amongst people will help to fill a diversity awareness gap and help children to feel more welcome and accepted in their environment regardless of their cultural identity.

Tags : Professional Development, Cultural Responsive Teaching, Special Education, Teacher Preparation, Student Engagement, Classroom Management


5 Different ways to Teach your Students about the Election!

Posted on October 21, 2020

5 Different ways to Teach your Students about the Election!

Everyone seems to concur that 2020 has been especially tumultuous and full of very historic events. Now it is time to select a leader that is able to rise to the occasion and lead the country for the next four years. However, it is silly to think that events of election season go unnoticed! Students everywhere are observing the cause and effect of the decisions made during this year’s election every day, so what better time to teach them about the many functions of their government systems and processes? Whether it is a local or presidential election, campaigns and elections present various opportunities to teach students about the government and its many functions. There is no limit to the conversation when discussing the myriad of issues that are taking place in the current society. Whether it is the candidate’s positions, demographics, or the way the media covers specific material, students could use the material you teach in your classroom to make connections and understand the world around them a little more clearly.

Tags : Cultural Responsive Teaching, Teacher Preparation, Student Engagement, Classroom Management, Student HOTS


How is Positive Energy Promoted Within Your District?

Posted on October 14, 2020

How is Positive Energy Promoted Within Your District?

If someone were to visit your school or pop into your classroom today what would they notice? What would they observe? If one of your school’s teachers were interviewed for your campus what would they say? If you are a part of your school’s leadership team would you be able to anticipate their answer? 

Tags : Professional Development, Cultural Responsive Teaching, Retention, Teacher Preparation, Student Engagement, Techer Evaluations, Classroom Management


The Threats within the Household: A Deep Dive into Domestic Abuse & COVID-19

Posted on October 07, 2020

The Threats within the Household: A Deep Dive into Domestic Abuse & COVID-19

In the early stages of the COVID-19 epidemic, teachers and school administrators had concerns about the safety of some students in their own homes. Unfortunately, the facts have concluded that their concerns were valid. Quarantines and lockdowns have meant that students at risk of abuse are left alone with abusive loved ones for prolonged continuous periods. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to a restructuring of the public services that provide support for people experiencing domestic violence. Due to the many obstacles that were introduced to families during the onset of the virus such as health concerns, financial challenges, and even psychological stress, a large spike in domestic violence within the household has been very apparent. This, in turn, can prove very detrimental to families everywhere and challenge educators to take steps to ensure the student environment is conducive to learning.

Tags : Professional Development, Cultural Responsive Teaching, Special Education, Teacher Preparation, Student Engagement, Differentiation, Classroom Management, Student HOTS, Discipline


Read, Lead, Succeed! The Benefits Of Being A Daily Reader!

Posted on September 30, 2020

Read, Lead, Succeed! The Benefits Of Being A Daily Reader!

One of America’s former presidents Harry S. Truman once proclaimed that “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Our Agency, YES, INC. believes that reading is an important key to be effective. One of the great things our CEO encourages us all to do each day is to devote time to reading daily. You may find that the more you read the more engaged in life, work, and other ventures you will be. So, teachers, parents, and scholars, it’s time to check in with you on your reading habits! With the huge spike in remote work and online social media, you may have realized that your daily reading habits center around tweets and Facebook updates. When was the last time you submerged yourself in a great book whether it be for work or pleasure? As life continues to change, it’s more important now than ever to make sure you make time to read. 

Tags : Insider, Professional Development, Cultural Responsive Teaching, Special Education, Teacher Preparation, Student Engagement, Differentiation, Classroom Management, Discipline


What is Augmented Reality in Virtual Education?

Posted on September 02, 2020

What is Augmented Reality in Virtual Education?

Just when you think the ways educators can reach students have met its’ threshold, learning finds a way to travel beyond the classroom and come alive right before their eyes! It is a known fact that all educational institutions are open to making learning more engaging for their students, but what better way to ensure the impact of students’ learning experiences than to simulate an experience in the classroom?

Tags : Professional Development, Cultural Responsive Teaching, Special Education, Teacher Preparation, Student Engagement, Differentiation, Teacher Evaluations, Classroom Management, Student HOTS


Be Virtually Inclusive: Do's and Don't For Educators

Posted on August 26, 2020

Be Virtually Inclusive: Do's and Don't For Educators

Schools are rapidly shifting to online learning, at least for now. So that means you are likely to begin the school year much differently than ever before. It’s now time to embrace the season we are in and adapt to new teaching methods. Effective teachers are resilient and therefore capable of creating sustainable online classrooms when they are all in. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that online classrooms may never feel the same as live instruction, but we can do our very best to make our virtual classes come to life.  While planning out your lessons it’s important to consider how you will ensure that your classroom is inclusive and accessible for all learners. While you may be teaching from behind a screen this year, don’t let the screen box in your thinking! Students need to feel a sense of belonging, and they also need to be able to access course materials. What principles of inclusive/ accessible teaching are you drawing upon that will help students feel accepted this year? How will you support them in achieving learning goals while you are teaching them online? Empathy and resilience on the part of both students and instructors will be of the essence. To help guide you toward full inclusion and accessibility with your virtual classroom this week's blog will give you do’s, don’ts, and other simple ways to modify your virtual classroom design to create space that will accommodate learners and inspire them to do their best work. 

Tags : Professional Development, Cultural Responsive Teaching, Special Education, Teacher Preparation, Student Engagement, Differentiation, Classroom Management, Student HOTS


Rise Up Educators: Let’s Make Lemonade Out of Lemons!

Posted on August 12, 2020

Rise Up Educators: Let’s Make Lemonade Out of Lemons!

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the new upcoming school year? If you are a school leader, an educator, a parent, or a student, you may be feeling anxious, nervous, or entirely fearful of beginning the school year amidst COVID-19. For some of you, the 2020-2021 school year has just started or is about to start; however, this year, unlike any other year, the stakes are seemingly higher. Currently, many educators are feeling the stress of having to prepare, find tools, and learn how to conduct distance learning via Zoom, Google Hangout, and other online platforms overnight. Understandably, while they are in the process of learning how to use video sharing, chatbox tools, modifying their lessons for the online curriculum, as well as establishing new routines and procedures, many teachers are mentally exhausted. Not only are they coping with the logistics but also dealing with a profound emotional toll. Teachers went from being able to see their students daily to having limited contact with their students while trying to balance their own lives at home with their children who are also going through the same thing. So while most educators struggle to learn how to teach differently on the dime, they are also grieving from missing their students. 

Tags : Professional Development, Cultural Responsive Teaching, Teacher Preparation, Student Engagement, Differentiation, Classroom Management


Empower Your Classroom: Let's Talk About Assets-Based Instruction

Posted on August 05, 2020

Empower Your Classroom: Let's Talk About Assets-Based Instruction

Let's talk about it! Both assets and deficits have a huge impact on the learning experience. This is the reason both asset-based instruction, and deficit-based instruction have found their way into classroom lesson plans nationwide. Of course, both techniques require teachers to truly KNOW their students' weaknesses, strengths, and more. Who are your students outside of the school walls? What do they love? Where did they come from? What do they fear? All of which are questions that are required with this particular approach. Consequently, teachers benefit a great deal from having quick and intentional conversations with their students. By doing so, you are not only fulfilling the need for students to communicate and articulate their reality but you are also learning more details about who they are. These are important aspects of both asset and deficit-based instruction and they are also what fuels both modes of instruction towards student mastery.

Tags : Professional Development, Cultural Responsive Teaching, Teacher Preparation, Classroom Management, Student HOTS, Discipline