Wedding Party of Students -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- March 3, 2017

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

March 3, 2017  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

DeVos Meets With Teaching Ambassador Fellows

tafs devos

On a quarterly basis, classroom and Washington Fellows have the opportunity to meet in-person as a cohort for learning, planning, and teaching. During their most recent quarterly meeting, Fellows had the opportunity to share with Secretary DeVos their expertise and receive a call of action from her. Two Fellows were interviewed about the meeting and Fellowship experience

6th grader

Connecting Lessons to Cultural Relevance

What does a typical 6th grader talk about and how do they typically spend their time? The answer probably fits how Jalen Kennedy spends some of his time, but the rest of his time is dedicated to learning about his community and asking questions. In a recent social studies project, Kennedy explored the school to prison pipeline. Learn more about Kennedy’s research and why it has gone viral (Blackboot). 

Dr. Seuss read across america


Read Across America Day was celebrated March 2nd and takes place annually on that day to commemorate Dr. Seuss's birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participated by bringing together kids, teens, and books. Created by the National Education Association, Read Across America Day calls on all children and youth in every community across the United States to celebrate reading - something all students can do every day


A Wedding Party of Students

We all know that teachers are bonded to their students, and often endearingly refer to them as "my children." But one special education teacher took that a step further by including all of her students in her wedding party. Her first class holds a special place in her heart and she knew the day wouldn’t be complete without them. The photos give us all a small glimpse into the amazing relationships of the students and teacher and how much love was apparent on her special day (Organ, ScaryMommy). 

Stranded on Mars? Science Can Help.

There's now a classroom edition of Andy Weir’s sci-fi thriller, “The Martian" that teachers are using to engage their students in science. The make-over omits profane language from the book and adds a teacher’s guide that provides discussion questions, activities and an interview with Mr. Weir about the science behind the story. "It’s a gripping survival story that hinges on the hero’s (Mark Watney) ability to solve a series of complex problems, using his knowledge of physics, chemistry, astronomy and math, in order to stay alive on a hostile planet (Alter, New York Times). 

Martian Book

Collaboration Fosters Empowered Students

Minnesota teachers Carrie Bakken of Avalon School and Julene Oxton of Impact Academy—and Ambassadors for the Teacher-Powered Schools Initiative—write on the common purpose shared by charter and district teacher-powered schools. “Teachers, no matter what type of school they work in, are becoming unified in how to build a public school system… where ALL students own their learning”(Center for Teaching Quality). 

Going to School Means Getting to School

transportation Report

Dependable school- or parent-provided transportation is a necessity for students' access to school. The report reviews the available research on student transportation and profiles transportation options in five choice-rich cities: Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, DC. The cities vary widely in terms of providing publicly funded transportation for students, prompting new questions on how student transportation can be an enabler of, rather than a barrier to, equitable access to high-quality education in urban areas (Chingos, Blagg, Urban Institute).

The Power of Teachers


Educator and writer Valencia Clay teaches 8th grade English in Baltimore, Maryland with love and power. Ms. Clay has fostered strong relationships with and between her students. Her culturally conscious and responsive approach to teaching has resulted in a classroom that supports and empowers students to tackle not just academic coursework, but the challenges they face as students of color. She has also published a book titled, "Soundless Cries Don't Lead to Healing: A Critical Thinking Guide to Cultural Consciousness."

Teachers Get Help Busting Cages

A new free online curriculum helps teachers break out of the "cages" they experience when confronted by "an endless stream of top-down policies, frustrations with administrators, and a lack of funding." This curriculum, developed by Frederick Hess, author of The Cage-Busting Teacher, was released Thursday with a panel discussion. Panelist Wendy Uptain said, "I would say teachers don't ask, just do. You have a lot of power" (Will, Education Week). 


Artifacts Bring Washington Back to Life

These Rockland Woods Elementary School, Md., students learn what George Washington was like as a regular guy: farmer, inventor, and scientist. And they learn through artifacts shared by the Washington County Historical Society. "It's a lot of fun, and it gives them an idea of George Washington as a person," said curator Anna Cueto. "It helps bring him back to life" (Lovelace, HeraldMailMedia).


Postcards to Combat Absenteeism

The School District of Philadelphia spent the 2015-2016 school year studying the effects of good old snail-mail on absenteeism. Families that were sent a postcard with the number of total absences for their child with no distinction between excused and unexcused absences and the school district saw positive gains in school attendance. This small investment has already started to be replicated in other districts (Wolfman-Arent, Newsworks).   

Resources to Use

What We Heard from Educators This Week

5. "I teach because kids deserve a positive light EVERY day!" Teacher, Kentucky

4. "Connecting with other like-minded educators fans my flame! We have SO much power over the future!" Teacher, Kentucky

3. "We must bring more diverse candidates into teaching and keep them in the classroom." Teacher, New York

2. "Principals are critical for setting the conditions for teachers to be able to thrive." Principal, Maryland

1. "My heart is in the classroom, but I want to be able to advocate with advocacy groups and policy-makers." Teacher, Michigan

Why I Teach