5 Ways to Differentiate Professional Development for Teachers

We often talk about the need to differentiate instruction to meet the diverse needs of students. Rarely, do we speak of differentiating teacher professional development to meet the diverse needs of teachers. Teachers, like their students, are in different places in their careers. They have different skills sets as well as different areas of strength and opportunity. Schools located within the same district might have different needs or are at different stages of development. However, schools and district continue to require teachers to attend one-size-fits-all professional development. This is counter-intuitive to the mindset of an educator.Continue reading “5 Ways to Differentiate Professional Development for Teachers”

7 Ways To Support English Language Learners

When working with English Learners, educators often hear such phrases as:

Model. Watch your rate of speech and offer wait time. Use non-linguistic cues. Provide opportunities to build background knowledge. Have clear expectations and instructions. Check for understanding. Encourage development of home language.Continue reading “7 Ways To Support English Language Learners”

Five Ways to Filter Assessment Data

Assessments are useless unless you do something with the data. It is not enough to administer assessments to students and then create colorful graphs and charts that display the data. Data must be filtered down in order to see trends, outliers, areas of opportunity, and areas of strength. Overall all percentage numbers are just a starting point. We need to go deeper to uncover the root of the problem, not just look at the symptoms. Above all, data must be acted upon. Continue reading “Five Ways to Filter Assessment Data”

5 Ways to Change Homework Practices Now

The topic of homework is a hot button issue in education. Do we give it? Do we not? What do we give? How much? We all have read articles about children crying and fighting with their parents over homework. Homework should never lead to tears. If homework is to be assigned, then let it be meaningful to students. Continue reading “5 Ways to Change Homework Practices Now”

5 Ways to Personalize Instruction

Personalization is here to stay. We have music apps that know our preferences and make suggestions based on previous selections. Workouts can be personalized based on height, weight, body type, and strength. Amazon and Netflix will choose items for you based on your browsing profile.Continue reading “5 Ways to Personalize Instruction”

5 Ways To Improve Teacher Retention

A 2015 National Center of Education Statistics survey on teacher attrition found that about 15% of all teachers leave the profession within five years. A 2015 NPR article states that nearly half of all teachers will leave the school they are currently at, with rates being higher in high-poverty schools. This rate of attrition is troublesome to schools and districts as they spend thousands of dollars per year on teacher on-boarding and training. A report from the Alliance for Excellent Education indicates that teacher attrition costs the United States up to 2.2 billion dollar annually.Continue reading “5 Ways To Improve Teacher Retention”

5 Ways To Increase Attendance Rates

Every year, schools rewrite plans to address attendance concerns. These plans usually include different incentives like attendance awards such as different tangible prizes, recognition assemblies, and students’ names in the monthly newsletter. Every year, we re-word this same plan and attendance rates stay just about the same. Hours are spent on these plans that don’t make a difference in the lives of children who need to be in school. Habitually absent or tardy students usually stay that way with attendance plans that don’t address the real issue. These plans are just a band-aide. They treat symptoms, not the problems.Continue reading “5 Ways To Increase Attendance Rates”

5 Ways to Avoid Being Boring in the Classroom

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” I am willing to bet that many of the people that you share this quote with will agree with it. It seems to fit right in with the collective conscience of youth today. However, this quote is attributed to Aristotle over two thousand years ago.Continue reading “5 Ways to Avoid Being Boring in the Classroom”

Rethinking Access To Technology In Schools and At Home

I have been very fortunate to work with educators around the country over the past ten years who work in a variety of geographical areas with varying socio-economic degrees. We all agree that advances in technology have greatly aided the educational process, helping us to differentiate instruction as well as bring content to life in ways previously unimaginable. These advances have also made communication between school and home faster and more comprehensive with the seamless sharing of data. However, everywhere I go, I am confronted by the same concern when it comes to students using instructional technology at home.

“My students don’t have access to a computer or Internet at home.” Continue reading “Rethinking Access To Technology In Schools and At Home”

5 Ways to Increase Communication With Parents

We all know that great schools have strong communication protocols with parents. The research is quite clear that children benefit when educators and parents are in constant communication with one another. However, among secondary school parents, 66 percent do not agree that teachers keep them informed about classroom activities, events and requirements (National School Public Relations Association 2011). Fewer than one in four parents can name a basic milestone that their child should have learned in school over the previous year (Public Agenda 2012). We need to do better. We need to have several tools in our communication tool belt. With that said, here are five ways to increase communication with parents.Continue reading “5 Ways to Increase Communication With Parents”