Sparking Class Discussions with One Simple Question

Guest Writer: Arpine Ovsepyan, M.A. “What did you learn in class today?” This is a simple question that helps open the door for thought-provoking classroom discussions, serves as a formative assessment, and provides closure to a lesson. For a little over two years, I have made the commitment to never end a class without asking this question because I was finding that although students would work diligently to complete assignments in my English class, they were never given an opportunity to share their insights with their peers. Too often, I observed classrooms where the teacher would engage in a one-way communication cycle where lectures dominated their instructional techniques ....more

The Loneliness of the Post College New Teacher

“The weekends are the hardest.” a...more

How to Apply for a DonorsChoose Grant (And Why You Should)

Less than two months ago, I applied for a grant at out of pure desperation. I needed supplies for my classroom and I didn’t see any other way that would happen with the current budget crisis in effect. Where I’m at, the special education budget has hit on all-time low, so our resources are actually lower than those of anyone else in the school system ....more

Classroom Management in Middle School

Middle school students are both exciting and difficult to teach. They are exciting because they are moving toward adulthood and constantly changing. They are difficult because they are not fully mature and often lapse into behaviors of younger children ....more

Turning that Picture into Writing

On my bathroom wall at home, I have a large framed drawing my son made in first grade. It has a lot of underwater action, including thought bubble over the shark saying “I am the king of the ocean.” Another thought bubble over a fish close to the shark’s mouth reads, “I am going to die!” It is a fun picture but it wasn’t until I was teaching second grade that I realized that this was a detailed story my son had “written.” The actual writing in his daily journal was pretty basic. It usually just read: My best friend is Scott ....more

Wiggles, Giggles and Learning

The volume level in my classroom is not normal. And by that I mean it’s not silent. Or quiet ....more

Teaching Columbus and the Truth of History

Once again, Columbus Day has rolled around and teachers, especially History teachers, have an opportunity to set the record straight. A great article by TER’s Mike Dunn today talks about how to teach Columbus and is rich with ideas and resources. I am writing today...more

Reconsidering Columbus: A day worthy of an alternative

For decades, students in elementary school classes have admired portraits and sang songs telling the tale of America’s hero, Christopher Columbus. In his well-documented 1492 journey, Columbus — enroute to India — stumbled upon what would become the Americas; Hispaniola to be exact. The rest of his journey is…history ....more

Reflecting on What Works: Elementary Classroom Management

Image courtesy of As fall creeps in and temperatures drop schools across the nation are fully into the swing of things. ...more