Plan Your MLK Day of Service -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- January 12, 2017

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

January 12, 2017  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.


ED Educator Appreciation Week 

There is no amount of appreciation that can accurately capture the impact of teachers, principals, counselors, nurses, librarians, bus drivers, and support staff in our schools, but every little attempt is worth it. This week ED staff took to the phone to call 2300 educators across the country to thank them for their commitment to students and families. In addition, a Twitter chat was held, pre-service teachers were welcomed to ED, local school visits were conducted, and books were collected and donated to a school. Thank you for all that educators do for our children. 



In this week's blog, Classroom Teaching Ambassador Anna Baldwin reflects on the importance of teacher appreciation, but equally important, the importance of teachers honoring the profession, as well. 

Obama Administration’s Education Agenda Progress

King and Obama

On Jan. 5, Secretary King issued his Cabinet Exit Memo, Giving Every Student a Fair Shot: Progress under the Obama Administration's Education Agenda. "I would like to share with you the great progress our nation has made in spurring systemic reform and promoting innovation across America's education system--from preschool through college--over the last eight years, and highlight critical areas where we must build on promising practices and success," he noted. The memo goes on to outline notable progress and offers a "roadmap" to sustain and accelerate progress.

Speaking to Astronaut

Talking to Space 

"I talked to an astronaut in the International Space Station!" Most parents don't get this answer when they ask their children what they did in school that day. But eighth-graders from Rainbow Middle School (Rainbow City, Ala.) did exactly that earlier this month. With the help of the Gadsden Amateur Radio Club, these students hooked in with the ISS as it sped over the United States. As many as 19 students were able to ask astronaut Robert Shane Kimbrough questions. (Nunnally, The Gadsden Times). 

m. obama w school counselor

School Counselor in Chief Honors School Counselor of the Year 

In her last formal event as first lady, Michelle Obama honored the 2017 School Counselor of the Year in a ceremony at the White House. Terri Tchorzynski (Calhoun Area Career Center, Battle Creek, Mich.), works with 11th- and 12th-graders drawn from 20 public high schools in Calhoun County. NPR's Elyssa Nadworny interviews Tchorzynski. What's the one thing she's learned? "We need to be the voice for students that don't have the make sure that all these students, regardless of race, ethnicity, income or what kind of backgrounds" get the same support. As part of her Reach Higher initiative, Mrs. Obama has championed school counselors and encouraged post-secondary education for students.

Lessons Learned in 2016

project based learning

In a 3-part series on Lessons Learned in 2016, eSchool News covers five school-level educators who share their lightbulb moments during the past 12 months; four principals who look back and recall the most important ed tech lessons they learned; and four superintendents who offer thoughts on leadership, project-based learning, and the challenges of turning around schools and districts.

Imaginary Creatures Invade Classroom

Imaginary Creature

Art and science: some say they go together like oil and water. But third-grade teacher Heidi Kleser (Gause Elementary School, Washougal, Wash.), knows better. Her students are imagining new animals based on scientific principles, and enhancing those new inventions with the help of artist-in-residence Peggy Ross. Students learned about vertebrate groups, then created a new creature by combining two of the groups. Ross helped them bring their creatures to artistic life through drawing and collage (Frost, Camas-Washougal Post-Record).

Principal Sets the Bar High

Serving as principal in a high school in a major city, and doing it well, comes with a lot of requirements: compassion; caring about the students and staff; and high standards for oneself and others. Principal Sharif El-Mekki (Mastery Charter School-Shoemaker, Philadelphia, Pa.) personifies these qualities and more. This profile of El-Mekki describes a building leader whose hands-on, positive approach has rippling positive effects on all those around him. "He stands out ... because he operates under servant leadership as a model versus a hierarchical top-down" approach, says teacher Nadirah Sulayman. He works when the teachers work, personally connects to students, and supports all those in his building (Arnett, EducationDive). 

Do It; Submit It: Win It

Great teachers routinely innovate by trying new lessons, modes of content delivery, or types of student activities to enrich the educational process. Now teachers can be awarded for what they are already doing. The annual Yale-Lynn Hall Teacher Action Research Prize recognizes and supports the leadership of teachers who continually work to improve their practice through action research. The School of Management (SOM) Education Leadership Conference is seeking applications from educators in many different classroom settings working with a variety of student populations. Visit the SOM Education Leadership Conference website for more information and FAQs. First deadline: February 3. First prize: $5,000; Second prize: $2,500.

learning to Blog

Getting Better Projects for Your Classroom 

How do you plan on building more reflection and goal-setting into your classroom in the new year? The Teaching Channel features fifteen year veteran educator Gretchen Vierstra who gives teachers some ideas for ways to do just that. While you're on the website, check out Maria Pennyman's strategies for how she has students use blogging to engage with literature. Maria shares how she learned about blogging alongside her students and how this strategy increased engagement in her classroom (Teaching Channel). 

mlk logo

Plan Your MLK Day of Service 

The Corporation for National and Community Service is asking Americans to appropriately honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy on January 16 by making the holiday a day ON -- versus a day off. MLK Day became a national day of service in 1994, when Congress passed legislation to give the holiday even greater significance. A dedicated website offers up a toolkit to plan for the day of service, enables organizers to register projects nationwide, and provides free lesson plans on Dr. King’s legacy of service.

Resources to Use

What We Heard from Educators This Week

Teacher Appreciation

This week we asked educators, what does "educator appreciation" mean?

5. "Educator appreciation is acknowledging that even though there are tough days, you are loved." Instructional coach, Utah

4. "Educator appreciation is acknowledging teaching is one of the greatest contributions to our country, then showing it." Teacher, Illinois

3. True appreciation comes in the little moments. Smiles and hellos and thank yous. 'I noticed' e-mails and drop-ins. Written notes and fist bumps." Instructional coach, Washington

2. "'Thanks! That was a really good lesson.'" Teacher, Minnesota

1. "Appreciating educators means recognizing both our expertise and the challenges of our work, and leveraging the former to improve the latter." Teacher, Maryland