A Teacher's Power Over Students Self-Image -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- December 22, 2016

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

December 22, 2016  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

The Teachers Edition will not publish next week. We will return January 5, 2017. 

Happy Holidays from the Teachers Edition Team!

school ambassadors

Deadline Approaches: Spend a Year Sharing Your Expertise with ED

Teachers, principals, counselors, school librarians, parent liaisons, assistant principals, and others educators that work directly with children are invited to apply for the 2017-2018 School Ambassador Fellowship. Our goal is to create a cadre of outstanding educators to inform the program and policy work of the Department, while expanding educators' own knowledge and expertise as they participate. Ambassadors help lead the national education dialogue. We highly encourage applicants to review the FAQ information about the fellowship prior to applying. The application closes on January 23, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Read below for an account from a 2015-16 Classroom Fellow. 



Learn about what a year as a Fellow could look like by jumping into 2015 Classroom Fellow Josalyn Tresvant McGhee’s shoes. She shares about her year and take-aways from what she describes as being a life-changing experience with a family of fellows and passionate ED staff to lead her way.

King at CAP

King Calls For Uniting on Behalf of Children

Last week in a speech at the Center for American Progress, Secretary King called on supporters of public education to set aside political and policy differences and work together to ensure all students – and especially the most vulnerable students – get the opportunity they need to be successful. King highlighted passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act as an opportunity to move the nation forward together. 

long division video

Divide, Multiply, Subtract..

Bring it Down and Bring it Back

Can long division be fun? La Core Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.) teacher Nadine S. Ebri gets her students excited about it. They chant a song and do some dancing while learning the math that will help them advance. Ebri said her students turned her instructions on long division into musical problem-solving steps, and she posted a video of them on Facebook that went viral (Prigeon, NBCMiami). 


The Value of Helping Hands

Mentoring programs have been found to have some positive effects, but not all mentoring programs and their participants are successful. Whether it’s a formal mentoring program or simply the mentoring interaction of a friend or relative, the long-term benefits remain unclear.  Social media and online group projects are also finding their place as mentors. In an effort to find out more, researchers are searching for patterns to show how mentoring succeeds in all sorts of settings and why it often fails (Gordon, The Atlantic).

census website for educators

Beyond Mean, Median, and Mode: Teaching Statistics

Seventh-grade math teacher Kathleen Traylor (Charleston County School of the Arts, Charleston, S.C.), knows that statistics are an important part of many jobs and a well-rounded education, but that teachers often struggle to deliver concepts in an effective and engaging fashion. To help her colleagues better address this topic, she contributed some lesson plans to the U.S. Census Bureau’s new website called Statistics in Schools, which aims to provide “resources for teaching and learning with real life data.” Traylor says the new lesson plan collection makes the data at the Census Bureau more teacher-friendly for use in the classroom (Bowers, The Post and Courier).

Choose to Stay Positive 

Every new school year brings the uncertainty of new students, new colleagues, and new district mandates. Teacher Teresa Kwant, shares about the hard year of teaching that almost drove her from the profession before she made the conscious decision to be happy and to stay put. As everyone heads off for winter break, take a few minutes to read how you can also choose to be happy even in the hardest of school years. 

child painting

Bring Excitement into Any Lesson

Teachers can always use new strategies to refashion any lesson into an exciting, enriching educational experience. Robert Ward's list of techniques is worth reading; his 10 Cs to increase student engagement will help infuse classrooms with both wonder and worth (Ward, Edutopia).  

A Teacher's Power Over Student Self-Image

power of helping students

Slow, dumb, trouble-maker…these are the words that challenging students can hear about themselves from the mouths of the adults they know. One Israeli teacher wants to remind educators that your words make a difference in how students see themselves and build confidence. Check out this video to hear her experiences both in the classroom and in her personal life (Soul MamaFacebook.com). 

teacher shortage areas

Experts Weigh in on How to Fix the Teacher Shortage

Teacher shortages aren’t only in a few states. The problem is impacting the classroom and education in America as a whole. Teachers of Tomorrow asked 13 experts passionate about education the following question: What is the single most important thing America can do to fix the teacher shortage? Find out what they had to say and what can be done to help society’s most important occupation.

mayor meets coders

Mayor Cracks Hour of Code

Last week’s Hour of Code events across the nation did not escape the attention of one mayor in Easton, Pa., when several computer science students from Easton Area High School visited to show him how they’d learned to use javascript to animate a video game. Mayor Sal Panto, Jr., expressed appreciation for the classes that support 21st century learning: “It gives kids an opportunity to think about a career in technology,” he said (Miller, Lehighvalleylive.com).

planting celery

Planting the Seeds of Science

In this biology classroom in Franklin County High School (Rocky Mount., Va.), you won’t find students taking notes and regurgitating facts. Instead, you’ll find students paired with mentor scientists, designing and conducting their own experiments to learn more about botany. Teachers Amy Chattin and Cassidy Fasick piloted the program after being selected as two of 100 teachers nationwide to participate in the program, sponsored by the Botanical Society of America. The mentorship occurred online and with support from teachers, as students developed “questions, methods, and concepts behind the labs,” according to Chattin (HairstonThe Franklin News-Post).

Resources to Use

  • Get the Stats. The “Digest of Education Statistics, 2015,” the 51st in a series of publications initiated in 1962, provides a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education -- from pre-kindergarten through graduate school -- drawn from government and private sources, but especially from surveys and other activities led by the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • ESSA Webinar. The Department’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students invites educators to a series of webinars about the non-regulatory guidance on the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment (ESSA Title IV, Part A) grants.  These grants seek to increase the capacity of states, districts, schools, and communities to provide all students with access to a well-rounded education; improve school conditions to boost student learning; and improve the effective use of technology. The first webinar is January 12, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. ET. 
  • Survey on Technology. The annual Speak Up survey on leveraging technology in schools remains open through January 13, 2017.  There is no charge for schools and districts to participate.  Participants will receive local data results with state and national comparisons. 

What We Heard from Educators This Week

tafs and pafs

This week, we asked current and alumni School Ambassador Fellows about the value of the Fellowship with the Department:

5. “Teachers can't wait for a seat at the table; we need to set it ourselves.” Teacher, Virginia

4. “Teacher expertise can help transform and enrich education policy.” Teacher, Pennsylvania

3. “Not only have I learned about federal education policy, I've learned about the inner workings of my own state and district.” Teacher, Nevada

2. “Someone has to pay attention to the big picture while we're all focused on our students' daily lives.” Teacher, Texas

1. “Ambassador Fellows are the earpiece and the hairpiece for federal policymakers: we provide them with essential information, and we make them look good.” Teacher, Montana