Kidvice for Teachers - What do teachers do for fun? THE TEACHERS EDITION - August 25, 2016

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

August 25, 2016 |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

King visit to singapore
At River Valley High School (Singapore) King was presented with a calligraphy scroll that a student had written himself, with the Chinese words meaning "agile and having a passion for lifelong learning." He also poses with Beacon Primary School Principal Ms. Lim Boon Cheng and young student participants of a Q & A discussion.

Secretary King participated in a study visit to Shanghai and Singapore. The visit included meetings with ministry education officials, visits to schools and teacher preparation institutions as well as conversations with students, teachers and principals, designed to understand what led to the high achievement and how effective teaching and leadership is developed. One clear finding is that the teaching profession is highly supported in both places, with careful attention to teacher preparation and development, time for collaboration, strong mentoring for beginning teachers, and teacher career ladders.

Sean McComb


The Secretary isn’t the only educator exploring China’s education system. Sean McComb, Teaching Ambassador Fellow at ED and English teacher at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts (Baltimore, Md.) shares his experiences from his 2015 visit to Luoyang, Shenzhen, Beijing, and Wuhan. Read his Homeroom blog on what he learned about the diverse education system.

Teacher ambassadors 2016

New Class of TAFs and PAFs

Secretary King recently announced the names of seven teachers and three principals who will comprise ED’s 2016 cohort of Teaching and Principal Ambassador Fellows. You can learn more about the two teachers – Patrick Kelly and Amanda Barney, and one principal Jean-Paul Cadet who will serve as full-time employees at the Department's headquarters in Washington, D.C., and seven others including teachers Melody Arabo, Anna Baldwin, Arthur Everett, Stacey Dallas Johnston, Sean McComb, and principals Monifa McKnight and Dana Nerenberg who will remain in their schools and participate on a part-time basis here. Now in its ninth year, the Fellowship program is designed to improve education for students by involving practitioners in the development and implementation of national education policy. 

kids at school

Kidvice For All Things Teachers

Adorable experts say the funniest things about their teachers as we all go back to school. Watch their answers to such questions as "What do you think makes a good teacher?"; "If you could give your teacher a gift, what would it be?"; or "What do you think your teacher does for fun?" (Lowin, Today Parents).

jabari parker

Going Home, Giving Back 

Milwaukee Bucks Forward Jabari Parker grew up on Chicago's South Side, facing drive by shootings and violence, even as he was inspired to learn by his father and seventh grade history teacher Ms. Reed. While he became a basketball star for Duke, he left before graduation to join the NBA. Now read about his promise to go back someday so he can help Chicago youth. "I want to be like my dad, who every day showed me the impact of his sacrifices, of coming back and working to make the city better (Parker, The Players Tribune). 


Every Child Ready 

The National Charter School Resource Center recently observed a successful and expanding network of charter schools for three- and four-year olds and documented findings in a series of six videos. AppleTree, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit, opened its first early learning public charter school in 2005 and is currently serving 750 students in seven campuses in all four quadrants of the city.

pre-k students

Preschool Pay for Success Pilot

A new grant competition, the Preschool Pay for Success (PFS) Feasibility Pilot, is an opportunity for state, local and Tribal governments to explore how to use Pay for Success to expand access to proven programs. PFS is not a substitute for government funding, but a different way of providing government funding –one based on rigorous evidence of impact once positive outcomes have been achieved. The Notice Inviting Applications for the pilot is available in the Federal Register.  

LGBT Youth

LGB Youth Experience More Violence

The CDC released the first nationally representative data on the health risks of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) high school students. The report found that LGB youth experience substantially higher levels of physical and sexual violence, and bullying, and are at increased risk for suicide, and other serious negative outcomes. Findings show that LGB students experience physical and sexual violence and bullying at levels multiple times higher than that of their heterosexual peers, with very serious consequences.

Leverage Public Radio & Keep Curriculum Current

Teachers often want help finding stories, aligning them with the curriculum and writing lesson plans. Listenwise, a listening and comprehension tool makes it easy to bring authentic voices and compelling non-fiction stories to the classroom. The website curates the best of public radio and builds student listening skills at the same time. Some current topics include: The Media's Role in the Presidential Election; Genetic Engineering is Controversial But May Stop Zika; and How Wind Affects Wildlife.    

Off to School They Go

mamapedia image apple

After spending ten years as a high school English teacher, Kathryn Reilly has turned her attention to her daughter who is about to start kindergarten. In this blog post, she recognizes that teaching is “a calling that only the bravest and largest of heart dare to attempt.” Informed by her own experiences, she pledges to show support, kindness and thanks to her daughter’s new teachers ( And in case you're looking for more tips on letting go, check out Thea Fabian's post on ED's Homeroom blog.

Resources to Use

  • Create Explosions, Smoke, Water with Pixar in a Box Effects. An all new Pixar in a Box tutorial, inspired by Finding Dory, is ready to go! Pixar uses the laws of physics and computer programming to produce special effects that require engineering to create. In this free lesson, learn how Pixar uses physics to create the special effects.  Available in Spanish and Portuguese
  • Embrace the Beauty and Inspiration of National Parks in Pete’s Dragon. “Pete’s Dragon” sparks the imagination and the Pete’s Dragon Activity Packet aims to connect kids with the magic of nature and a desire to protect the planet. Read the related Disney Parks blog.  
  • World’s Largest Lesson.  During the week of September 19, be part of the World’s Largest Lesson. Sign up so your students can learn more about the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development, using resources including films and comics at If you can only do one thing, share the lesson and project on Gender Equality introduced by activist Emma Watson
  • Stepping Up to the Challenge. TNTP has a new multimedia platform, Room to Run,  that explores what five students can do when they are challenged and inspired in school. 

What We Heard from Educators This Week

King listening to teachers

5. “As a country we are incredibly uncomfortable with conversations [about race and equity], but as teachers we know that’s when you learn… If you’re not uncomfortable, if you’re not struggling, you’re not learning” (Teacher, Colorado).

4. “We may not have answers, but we have to create a space to have those conversations” (Teacher, Tennessee).

3. "Managing a classroom is a nuanced skill that you can't learn in a book. You have to see it in a classroom by an experienced teacher" (Teacher, Washington, D.C.).

2. "I love the process and journey of learning. I love to see students come alive" (Teacher, Maryland).

1. “Don’t be afraid to leap—a net will appear” (Teacher, Colorado).