Katrina Schwartz

How Kids Benefit From Learning To Explain Their Math Thinking

Math teachers of older students sometimes struggle to get students to explain their thinking with evidence. It’s hard to get kids in the habit of talking about how they are thinking about a problem when they’ve had many years of instruction that focused on getting the “right answer.” That’s why educators are now trying to get students in the habit of explaining their thinking at a young age.

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Why Even Great Teaching Strategies Can Backfire And What To Do About It

Educators often look for classroom inspiration from instructional strategies that “work,” focusing on how many students improved based on a given strategy. While that’s important and helpful, focusing only on how a strategy works, without examining why it didn’t work for some learners, is a missed opportunity. Examining the conditions when a strategy is ineffective or unintentionally misleads students doesn’t necessarily mean teachers should abandon that strategy altogether, but it does help them plan ahead for how it might backfire.

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Growing An Educator Pipeline Starts By Sparking Student Passion For Teaching

When Michael Shaner was a freshman at Smyrna High School he joined the Future Educators Association club to explore an interest in teaching. At that time, club members mostly talked about issues in education and what a career in teaching entailed. But Shaner wanted experience working with kids, so he started a tutoring program at the local elementary school two times a week. He says these experiences changed his life.

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Three Fun Riddles Filled With Math Problem Solving

In the rush to cover standards and ensure students have learned the concepts they will need in the future, it’s easy to lose sight of how fun math can be. These three TED-Ed videos offer fun, challenging riddles that can also be explicitly connected to mathematical concepts. The “Prisoner Box” problem is essentially a loop and could be a high-interest way to dive into this topic.

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How Schools Can Face The ‘Bad Habits’ That Inhibit Meaningful Changes

Making lasting change in schools is difficult not only because schools are communities made up of individuals with their own opinions about what’s best for kids, but also because, like most institutions, they are full of “bad habits” that can be tough to break. While habitual behavior can be good — like when it reinforces a positive culture or set of norms — it can also be a stubborn obstacle to enacting meaningful change.

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Five Guidelines to Make School Innovation Successful

Eleven years ago Chris Lehmann and a committed team of educators started Science Leadership Academy (SLA), a public magnet school in Philadelphia that focuses on student inquiry through projects in a community that cultivates a culture of care. The school has been so successful over the last decade that the district has tapped Lehmann to help other schools get started or transform themselves.

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Why Group Work Could Be the Key to English Learner Success

One of the most difficult aspects of teaching students who are learning English is keeping the cognitive rigor of learning activities high, while making sure students can access the content by simplifying the language. Too often simplifying language also means simplifying content, and that can be boring, leading to disengagement and less motivation.

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Is It Time To Go Back To Basics With Writing Instruction?

Most educators acknowledge that literacy is important, but often the focus is on reading because for a long time that is what achievement tests measured. In the last few years there has been more focus on writing in classrooms and on tests, but many students still have difficulty expressing their ideas on paper.

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Can Micro-credentials Create More Meaningful Professional Development For Teachers?

Learning science says people learn best when they apply new information to their own contexts. When learners can make mistakes, reflect on new strategies, get feedback, and try again they gain a deeper understanding of the topic.

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How Playing With Math Helps Teachers Better Empathize With Students

Michelle Manes has taught math in almost every setting. She taught public high school students, deaf elementary school students, and middle school girls at a single-sex school. But eventually, she couldn’t fight the feeling that as much as she loved teaching math, she also loved doing math, so she went back to get her Ph.D. in mathematics and is now a professor at the University of Hawaii.

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