Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Summer Reading: For Fun! (last post until August)

-by Susan Hitt


With summer vacation just around the bend, I thought it would be the perfect time for us all to share some great summer reads! I created the Padlet below and would LOVE for you to add either a book or two you're planning on reading or a book or two that you've read and would recommend to others. Check back frequently to see what pieces have been added--whether it be a mystery, a memoir, a romance, a western, historical fiction, the skies the limit!  Plus, podcasts are a welcome addition, too, for anyone gearing up for long road trips! 

Monday, May 22, 2017

3 Key Takeaways from the Core Advocates National Convening

-by Susan Hitt

No one understands the life of a teacher better than another teacher. This knowledge helps form instant bonds between near strangers when opportunities to meet and discuss our profession arise--like at conferences. I had this opportunity just a few short weeks ago at the National Core Advocates convening in Denver, Colorado. It was an incredible weekend of learning and networking.

For me, after attending any educational conference, I return to work excited to share with anyone and everyone all the helpful tips, tricks, and tools I learned. It was hard to pick just three from my most recent conference, but I narrowed it down to the following as my favorite, most impactful sessions:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Musings from a First-Year Teacher

Today's post is written by Alex Schaivone, an English teacher at New Hanover High School. To learn more about Alex, check out the section entitled Educational Contributors.

During my internship, I was blessed with a wonderful partnership teacher who taught me more about teaching than I could possibly learn in any education class. In that year, I learned how to teach my content, but I also learned much more. In the first few months of my internship, my partnership teacher passed along a wonderful essay from the blog Cult of Pedagogy, “Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers.” This essay centers around the need for new teachers to find their marigolds, or those teachers who are “encouraging, supporting and nurturing growing teachers on their way to maturity.” It warns of walnut trees, those who may have become bitter or hardened over the course of their careers, and instead encourages young teachers to seek out those who provide support and positivity. The ideas presented in this essay have stayed with me through this year and have proven to be both true and incredibly valuable.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Padlet: A Must-Try Digital Tool for Your Classroom

Today's post is by Brenna Sheehan, a high school English teacher at Laney High School. To learn more about Brenna, check out the page for Educator Contributors.




Padlet is a digital canvas to create beautiful projects that are easy to share and collaborate. It acts like a virtual pinboard in which students can post video clips, photos, links, comments, etc. This awesome digital tool is not just for students to use! I’ve used it to create an introduction to The Kite Runner that serves as the base of a webquest (scroll down to see this Padlet). You can also create a group Padlet for several people to collaborate. This would work really well on a group project or simply serve as an inspirational pinboard for your class.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Magic of Blended Learning: Part III (Implementation)

by Emily Perez, Laney HS

Check out Part I (overview) and Part II (Why it Works) of the Magic of Blended Learning blog posts. Now let's jump into part III, how to implement blended learning.

Listed below is my arsenal to be used to create those warm, fuzzy teacher moments, particularly when facilitating a blended learning lesson:


  • Expectations. In the beginning of the year, I always make it a priority to explicitly tell my students what my expectations are for them as participants in whole class and small group activities. On blended learning days, I review those expectations with them again. That way, students are clear as to what is and is not considered acceptable behavior. To further drive my point, I project a PowerPoint slide of “Stations Do’s and Don’ts” and “Participation Norms.” Trust me, they get the message.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Listen Up: 3 Podcasts Every Teacher Can Learn From

-Delia Herman, Hoggard HS

If you're looking for motivation, inspiration, or innovation look no further than your cell phone's podcast app. Podcasts can offer teachers a fresh, positive outlook on their classroom in as little as 10 minutes. You can listen to podcasts on your commute to work, or while you take a walk to decompress after a long day. The podcasts below are for teachers of all grade levels and subjects.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Magic of Blended Learning: Part II (Why it Works)

-Emily Perez, Laney HS

In my previous blog post, I reflected on my journey and ultimate acceptance of using blended learning in the secondary ELA classroom. While it is not necessary to use blended learning every day (by any means), it is a nice way to periodically break up the monotony of whole-class review, discussion, and introductions to a topic. Additionally, you might experience some of these “happy teacher moments” in the process: