Students Make Teaching Worth the Sacrifices -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- October 27, 2016

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

October 27, 2016  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

hands raised

Redefining Well-Rounded Education 

The Department released guidance last Friday urging states and school districts to use funding through a new block grant created by the Every Student Succeeds Act for a well-rounded education. The grant focuses on safe and healthy students, and how technology can be integrated into schools to improve teaching and learning in addition to emphasizing access to a well-rounded education that includes a wide variety of disciplines – such as music, the arts, social studies, environmental education, computer science and civics. The guidance suggests ways to use the funds, discusses the role of state education agencies, details fiscal responsibilities, and identifies local application requirements.



In this week's Homeroom blog, Casey Olsen, a high school English teacher in rural Montana and finalist for the 2015 Montana Teacher of Year, reflects on the importance of teaching his students how to make a difference in the world, by providing them with experience solving problems they care about. 

Black Lives Matter

Seattle Teachers Demonstrate Support for Black Lives Matter

Last week, approximately two thousand Seattle teachers wore Black Lives Matter shirts to their schools after a bomb threat almost sabotaged a black student empowerment event at an elementary school. Teachers had the support of the union, mayor, and many others. Seattle is one of the largest school districts in the country and has one of the largest achievement gaps between white and black students among other issues challenging equity for all students (Herz,

Restorative Practices Create Opportunities for Students

Students all over the country are suspended and expelled for a wide variety of transgressions, but KIPP Summit Academy Director of Culture, Ric Zappa, and his school knew these actions created an unproductive climate for students and administrators. The school team decided it was time to focus on an approach that would build community, not destroy it. Since 2011, the Academy has engaged in restorative practices to keep students in school and to get them back on track for academic success (Zappa,

Have You Asked a Teacher?


Decisions about education laws and policies are often made by elected and appointed officials, but how often are teachers consulted for their expertise on the subject? IndyStar reporter, Matthew Tully, sat down with Social Studies teacher, Micah Nelson, to discuss what utilizing teacher expertise in education policy decision-making would result in for communities. Nelson shares what teachers would prioritize and urges lawmakers to visit a classroom to gain a better understanding of the challenges teachers face every day (Tully,

The Students Make Teaching Worth the Sacrifices

SoulPancake and California Casualty brought five teachers together to discuss the challenges they’ve experienced as teachers. Little did the teachers know that after focusing on their hardships, students were waiting to remind them about the positive impact they’ve had on students’ lives. Grab a tissue before you watch this video. 

Soul Pancake

Raising Students' Awareness of the Dangers Caused by Drug Misuse 

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Discovery Education have joined forces to combat a growing epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and heroin use nationwide. Operation Prevention's mission is to educate middle and high school students about the impacts of opioid use and kick-start lifesaving conversations in the home and classroom. The program includes self-paced learning modules, digital lesson plans, a student video challenge and a parent or caregiver toolkit. 

great thanksgiving Listen

Make History This Thanksgiving 

This November, StoryCorps is once again bringing you The Great Thanksgiving Listen, a project based on a simple idea: find an elder you love and interview them about their life

Download the free StoryCorps App to record and archive your interview in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Last year, thousands of high schools participated and preserved over 50,500 individual recordings. In 2016, StoryCorps is again working with educators to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend. The project is free and open to all students age 13 and over, whether in private, public, charter, homeschool, or any other educational environment. College students and professors are also welcome to participate. #thegreatlisten.

black girl books

#1000BlackGirlBooks Resource Guide 

Marley Dias is the eleven-year-old founder of the 1000 Black Girl Books database, featured on the Grassroots Community Foundation’s website. They have developed a Resource Guide and catalogued 700 of 4000 books that have been collected into an easy-to-use database. It is searchable by author, title and reading level, with reading tips for parents and teachers. Marley said, “I love reading and I love reading all kinds of books. ... Black girl books are not just for black girls; they are for all children because not all black girl stories are the same" (Marshall Memo). 

Lies Our Students Don't Believe

students confront bigotry

This powerful video of Maryland students from a project that integrated Social Studies and Poetry shows how they are directly confronting racial and ethnic prejudicesWatch this video of The Lie, and find out how these fourth grade students are helping to grow a strong and equitable community (Marshall Memo).  

Joy as a Means of Manipulation


University of Pennsylvania professor, Joan Goodman examines the use of chants, songs, and clapping in “no-excuses” charter schools to control behavior. She argues that the calculated use of “joy” tactics diminishes the depth of learning. Instead of focusing on developing genuine interest in learning, the “no-excuses” schools may focus more on how to control students to meet adequate test scores and make them compliant with authority figures (Goodman, 

the great war

Let’s Change How Students Think About World War I

The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission and the National World War I Museum & Memorial have come together with partners to pool their education resources about WWI into a bi-monthly education eNewsletter and an easy-to-navigate online collection. Each issue of the newsletter will focus on a different topic related to the First World War and will include an extensive selection of articles, lessons, teaching guidelines and primary sources that teachers can freely use. Anyone can subscribe.

LGBTQ Students Still Experience Obstacles in School

From Teasing to Torment: School Climate Revisited, A Survey of U.S. Secondary School Students and Teachers reports that “despite legal and cultural changes, we see that LGBTQ students continue to face hostile school climates, although there have been small, gradual improvements.” This is a follow-up to a report from 2005 which investigated the kinds of challenges LGBTQ students encountered in their school experiences (

two principals talking

Bold Move Better Prepares Principals

Good leadership is essential for improving schools. As part of the Wallace Foundation's commitment to improving principal preparation, they released a four-part video series exploring Illinois' bold actions to revamp the way school principals are prepared. The state wiped the slate clean and required all of its approved programs to reapply for accreditation under higher standards, based on research about effective principal preparation. 

Resources to Use

  • Decoding Educational Jargon. The Glossary of Education Reform website from the Great Schools Partnership and the Education Writers Association has a searchable list of many terms and hot topics (Marshall Memo).   
  • Early Learners Tackle Tech. ED and the Department of Health and Human Services recently released a policy brief on the use of technology with early learners. The brief, developed in consultation with the American Academy of Pediatrics, will help parents and caregivers make wise decisions about media use, and provides four guiding principles for families and early childhood educators on the use of technology with young children. 
  • Activities for Active Learning DaysAs part of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Active Learning Day, 100Kin10, together with 20 partner organizations, put together an online resource hub to help teachers find brief activities that they can easily integrate into their classroom on Active Learning Day (and beyond!). The activities, spanning all grade levels from PreK - 12 and across the STEM disciplines, have been curated from and by 100Kin10 partners. 

What We Heard from Educators This Week

King with teachers

5. "Teacher-led professional development is the only p.d. I've received that changed my practice." Teacher, DoDEA

4. "Teachers saved my schools." Principal, New York

3. "What risks are you taking today?" Teacher coach, Maryland

2. “We need to shift the focus to the whole picture of a school, not just the numbers.” Principal, Pennsylvania

1. “I see the excitement in my fellow future educators and it helps me be excited!” Pre-service teacher, Pennsylvania