Amanda Ronan is an Austin-based writer. After many years as a teacher, Amanda transitioned out of the classroom and into educational publishing. She wrote and edited English, language arts, reading, and social studies content for grades K-12. Since becoming a full-time writer, Amanda has worked with a diverse set of clients, ranging from functional medicine doctors to design schools to moving companies. She blogs, writes long-form articles, and pens YA and children's fiction. Her first YA series, My Brother is a Robot, is slated for release by Scobre Educational Press in September 2015.


Focus on Play and Engage Students of All Ages

Teachers everywhere are implementing gamification in their classroom. This educational trend has grown very quickly especially considering that the Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists the term’s first use as happening in 2010. The upswing in Gamification, though, is just one small part of the growing awareness of the importance of play in education and child development. Early educators have always understood that play helps students explore their environment and interact with others in materials in imaginative ways. Let’s build on what those educators know and take a look at the trends around play and specifically, gamification, and figure out how you can get on board and implement some new strategies in your classroom.

The Basics of RTI In the Classroom

In 2004, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) was it reauthorized. Part of this reauthorization included a description of and support for the Response to Intervention (RTI) process. The legislators who renewed IDEA wanted a way to help school districts use intervention before relying on special education referrals.  RTI is a multi-tiered approach that is used by classroom teachers and education specialist to help students who are struggling with a particular skill. Every teacher uses interventions as part of the teaching process but RTI is a little more structured than simply giving kids a little extra help.

5 Virtual Field Trips You Don’t Want to Miss

Field trips have been a staple of the American education system for a long time. Getting students out into the community and the world-at-large helps them to see and study content firsthand. But field trips aren’t always possible. Besides being expensive, the process of boarding a bus, travelling to a far flung location, corralling a bunch of students, organizing lunch and bathroom breaks, and sometimes doing all of this without additional chaperones or adult help can be stressful for both teachers and students alike. When visiting a museum, a student who develops an interest in a particular artist gets rushed through the exhibit hall. At the zoo, a student who is fascinated by a certain habitat has to hurry up, read the plaque, and move on. Students don’t get a chance to move at their own pace and explore their interests during field trips.

But they can during virtual field trips.

Thanks to technology, virtual field trips of locations all over the world are available at the click of a button. Some virtual fields trips are simple photographic tours, while others are complex combinations of video and audio media that are more immersive. Let’s look at some of the benefits of using virtual fields trips in your class this year!

What You Should Know About Teaching Abroad

Teaching abroad gives you the experience of living and working in a different country while still pursuing your teaching career.  If the thought of living in a foreign country and teaching students there sounds exciting to you, there are many ways to get started with teaching abroad. You can work for American-sponsored schools. In this case you would go through the US Department of State. This federal department regulates international schools as well as military schools abroad. You can also get hired by foreign schools and even tutoring centers that are looking for native English speakers to teach their students after school.  The country where you work and the organization or school that hires you determines many aspects of your experience—from how you get your visa to where you live to what you teach. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should know about teaching abroad.

School Counselors Commonly Offer Support for these Five Student Issues

The role of the school counselor has grown in many ways. Traditionally, school counselors were responsible for giving students college and career advice.  And while that is still a big part of their job description, counselors today play a more active role in lives of students. Depending on certain state, district, and school requirements, a school counselor may provide a wide range of services to the student population.

Engaging the Local Community Inside the School Walls

Community support is a vital part of school and student success. Students, teachers, administrators, and business owners all win when community members bring their expertise, talents, and ideas into the schools. All too often, schools only approach local businesses to sponsor events or donate money and goods. This set-up limits the possibility of the relationship and makes it feel like a business transaction. But when the people at businesses work closely with the people in schools, the relationship turns into a partnership—each side getting something they didn’t have before.