Coinciding with the one-year anniversary of COVID shutting down classrooms across the country, Warner Arts Magnet Elementary in Nashville shares the trials and tribulations they faced, what kept them motivated, and how the IFL work has been a “life-changing” experience that played a key role in providing a quality education.
As educators our goals are to inspire, motivate, and empower the students we interact with every day. Can any of these goals be truly accomplished when we have educators in our schools that feel disenfranchised, alone, and unsupported by their colleagues? Becoming an effective educational ally is a journey that requires substantial self-reflection, a strong sense of self-identity, and a willingness to step up and advocate for a colleague.
Questioning the Author is a discussion-based approach that supports students in studying and understanding complex texts. Comprehension work is an essential piece of any text-based task. If students don’t get the gist of the text or grasp an author’s ideas, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to do deeper analytic and interpretive work. It is especially important for emerging readers and emergent multi-lingual (EML) students to be able to access the big ideas of a text while building their comprehension muscles.
Representations are windows into student thinking and reasoning. In a time of virtual classrooms, using visual representations is more complex, but as important as ever. If a teacher values students’ thinking, they need to consider how to make it possible for all students to represent that thinking. This article addresses the use of representations and the questions that help students connect representations to deepen understanding of math concepts.
Dr. Paul Freeman, a life-long educator and long-time partner with the IFL, was recently recognized as Connecticut’s Superintendent of the Year. In this article, he reflects on his career and the choices that lead to a more inclusive learning environment. He also recognizes dedicated work of teachers and the whole school community to move toward a more equitable system.
Accountable Talk® Discussions: Solidifying Knowledge and Engaging in Rigorous Thinking Alongside Others in a Collaborative Community
Accountable Talk discussions require teachers and their students to support one another and mutually create a classroom community committed to using and building accurate knowledge and engaging in rigorous thinking. Everyone involved understands and is accountable for respecting each other and the learning community, as a whole. This begins with recognizing and honoring each person’s different lived experiences because every person brings vital knowledge and valuable assets to the learning community. This article provides a general understanding of Accountable Talk discussions and serves as a basis to begin exploring this high-leverage practice.
Teachers can use writing routines to support student writers by creating a sort of conversation between the student writer and the text. This article examines how a set of well sequenced student routines allows students to use writing to express what they know in connection with what they learn from the text.
Programming to support mindfulness practices in schools have been around for several years, but did you know that there is a link between teacher mindfulness and student mindfulness? To learn more about mindfulness, check out this interview with Dr. Brian Galla, a research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center (our parent organization) and assistant professor of Applied Developmental Psychology, who has been researching mindfulness practices in adolescents and educators.
As the need for virtual instruction continues, educators continue to look for ways to make mathematics instruction more equitable and honor students’ abilities and backgrounds. In this article, we examine three teaching practices that work in virtual spaces and offer six strategies for keeping every student invested and advancing in their conceptual understanding.