From Teacher to Instructional Coach: 8 Questions with Angela Watson

8 QUESTIONS is a new series of interviews with teachers who have effectively transitioned their classroom skills into new and exciting careers in the field of education. We at believe that teaching is a rigorous and diverse classroom in and of itself; the skills learned “in the trenches” can translate into an exciting portfolio of professional options. From education tech to consulting, the only “X factor” is where you want to go — our interviews hope to shine a light on the steps it takes to get there.


Five Ways To Create a Healthy School Climate

When children feel cared for by the adults in their school, it creates a sense of belonging and trust. Collaborative and caring interactions boost self-esteem. In turn, self-esteem boosts academic achievement and decreases problem behavior like bullying.

Here are five ways to create a healthy school climate:

  1. Create a school-wide plan.
  2. Get everybody on board. All teachers, staff, students and parents need to feel like they have an investment in creating a positive school climate. Why? Positive and safe schools are necessary in order for students to learn and thrive, for teachers to enjoy and continue their work and for parents to feel like they have a connection to their child’s academic world. 

  3. Teach behavior expectations.
  4. If …

Standardized Assessment: Perspectives and Solutions

Despite educators’ growing concerns, standardized testing is not going anywhere — at least not any time soon. Valerie Strauss, a writer for The Washington Post, outlined a few of these reasons in her recent article, citing money as a main reason. The standardized testing movement is a lucrative business, and the people who determine the direction of education reform are the people who are funding education reform.

Our culture’s focus on standardized testing has led to our classroom’s focus on “teaching to the test,” an understanding that teachers’ lessons and curricula should be targeted toward state standards and test preparation. The implementation of the Common Core Standards is another reason for this focus on standardization. Adopted nationwide (with some exceptions), the Common Core’s main goal is to mea…


Tools and Strategies for Classroom Organization

For teachers, organizing lesson plans can be just as challenging as drafting them. And when it comes to actually keeping a lesson on track (by starting and ending activities on time, regaining control of an unruly classroom or getting kids to turn in assignments the next day), a whole other set of challenges presents itself.

Teaching is so much more than helping kids learn: It’s also being your own administrative assistant, a disciplinarian, a scheduler and, at times, a referee.

We asked our Teach100 Mentors about their greatest challenges with classroom management, and what tools they use to organize their lesson plans and classroom resources.

What is your s…

9 Maker Projects for Beginner Maker Ed Teachers

Maker education (often referred to as “Maker Ed”) is a new school of educational thought that focuses on delivering constructivist, project-based learning curriculum and instructional units to students. Maker education spaces can be as large as full high school workshops with high-tech tools, or as small and low-tech as one corner of an elementary classroom. A makerspace isn't just about the tools and equipment, but the sort of learning experience the space provides to students who are making projects.

Maker Ed places a premium on the balance between exploration and execution. Small projects lend themselves to indef…


6 Ways to Get (and Keep) Students’ Attention

Whether you teach kindergartners or college kids, regaining control of a noisy or distracted classroom can be challenging. We asked our Teach100 Mentors how they capture students’ attention.

What is your favorite method, tool or strategy for getting your classroom’s attention?

  1. Use a special sound.
  2. “Chimes. It is a pleasant, attractive sound that is not aggressive.” – Mary Tedrow, Walking to School

    “I use a chime (Responsive Classroom) or a rhythmic clap. Both methods work best for me because they are auditory. The kids hear it and respond by putting their hands …

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