TRAIN: MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Be sure to make time in your schedule for professional development. It’ll help you—and more importantly—your students. Need some recs? We have your back:
- National ESEA — For more equitable teaching and learning
- Green Schools — For environmental sustainability
- OLC Innovate — For classroom disruptors
- Distance Teaching & Learning — For online educators
- SXSW EDU — For those who want it all
ANALYZE: NUMBERS NEVER LIE
Imagine you’re a parent. Your child attends a school where 46% of students tested proficient in math. What does that number mean to you? It depends; you’d have to break down the data by age, race, or grade level—or compare the number to state-level data to draw a fair conclusion. The sad truth is: Many families don’t know how to access or make sense of this data. That’s why parents all over the nation are calling for a solution: to make school data easier to find and help families understand the information.
CREATE: THINK OUTSIDE-THE-BOX
It’s no secret that incorporating creativity in learning proves a big payoff for students. In fact, 87% of teachers and 77% of parents agree! So, why do most schools still teach in traditional ways that don’t foster creativity? If you think it’s time to rethink that, here’s where to start:
- Teachers who incorporate laptops and tablets in transformative ways are 2.5X more likely to assign projects that foster creativity.
- Find ways for school leaders and families to support teacher efforts to incorporate creativity in their lesson plans.
TWEET: READ BETWEEN THE LINES
The Great Gatsby
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Catcher in the Rye
Ah, the literary classics (or required reads, depending on how you see it). Although books like these are some of the most beloved in American culture, they were written from a particular perspective at a particular time. It’s obvious that many of the old-school classics don’t reflect the image of today’s student body. So, if you want to avoid sending the wrong message in your classroom, try tweeting about it. Seriously, use #DistruptTexts—every week, teachers apply a critical lens on a central text, discussing everything from counter-narratives to alternative titles. Want more ways to get involved?
REPAIR: HELP, NOT HARM
What do you do when a student misbehaves? Depending on what they did, the student might get detention, removed from class, or worse, expelled. While these types of punishments stop the “bad” behavior from taking place, they don’t correct the issue or fix the damage it caused. Instead, try using restorative justice strategies to help students understand how their behavior impacts others. Here’s a 3-step strategy for repairing harm:
- Identify the harm and the stakeholders.
- Consider how the behavior affected others.
- Create and carry out a plan to repair the harm.
Know any talented student photographers?
They can get their photos featured on XQ’s Instagram community of more than 35K people. @XQAmerica shares images that depict what high school in America looks like today. It’s an account that was created #ByStudentsForStudents.