The Teacher Advocate

Teacher Advocate Blog List
KDP Convo 2023 starts Thursday! If you’re joining us in St. Louis this week, we can’t wait to see you, but even if you can’t be there, you can still review our list of great Speakers , follow along on the Schedule of Events , and follow updates on Instagra m , Faceboo k , Thread s , X (formerly Twitter), and YouTub e . This week’s special Teacher Advocate article is a small collection of archival articles on just a few of the topics our Convo presenters will be discussing this week in our 67 concurrent learning sessions. Be the Thermostat: How Teachers’ ...
By Joyce Wilson Teaching is a challenging profession, especially if you’re a new teacher. Fortunately, you can implement strategies to stay organized, focused, and effective in your teaching career. I’m going to share seven practical tips that can help you keep up. 1. Meet individual needs. The first step to staying organized as a teacher is to keep up with individual student needs and progress. This requires you to set up a system for tracking and monitoring individual student progress . You can use a grading system or a student monitoring tool to monitor individual student progress throughout the school year. By doing this, you’ll be able to identify ...
The Teacher Advocate has more than 100 searchable articles on everyday topics that will always be relevant to new and returning teachers. Here are some examples of our best to give you a hand, whether you’re new to the classroom or just starting a new year! Lead to Teach: 4 Ways to Build a Positive Learning Environment By Karyn Miller “What if my students won’t listen to me? What if they won’t follow my rules?” These and other classroom management concerns are often a source of anxiety for new teachers. Whether you are a new teacher, or someone who has been in the classroom for years, the reality is that creating an environment for learning is hard ...
By Jacek Polubiec Most of us agree that the idea that leaders just lead, teachers just teach, and students just learn is a thing of the past. Innovative schools have been blurring these traditional boundaries for years, and most people understand that being flexible, open minded, collaborative, and proactive are critical attributes of those who want to succeed in the contemporary workplace. The expectation is that leaders distribute their influence among the staff, teachers assume roles in policy making, and students take ownership of their own learning. For the adults in the school building, this paradigm shift comes with opportunities to assume official ...
By Kyle W. Lickel “Explosions.” That’s what popped in my head as I pondered the question: “What is going to get students to actually want to attend class and be engaged?” If I could put together an entire unit studying explosions—the science, history, math, literature, art, and so on—I bet kids would want to come to class. Then, that passing thought got swept away in the whirlwind of teaching, grading, planning, and managing behavior. Later I thought, “What is it about ‘explosions’ that made me think of it in the first place?” The excitement? The surprise element? The heat and ...
By Grace Kibe Novice teachers aspire to have a great classroom, with students who are well behaved and academically successful. They strive to practice student-centered and culturally responsive teaching practices that meet the needs of all students. To achieve this goal, novice teachers should aim to have effective classroom management practices and high self-efficacy beliefs. Classroom management encompasses teachers’ commitment to maintain a healthy learning environment through the establishment of rules and expectations that eliminate disruptive behaviors (Reddy, Newman, & Verdesco, 2016). Teacher self-efficacy beliefs ...
By Lisa Brizendine It is December in Tara’s first grade classroom, and 6 out of 18 students are English learners (ELLs). Tara reads aloud the story “Too Many Tamales.” Tara would stop at certain times in the story and ask leveled questions. However, one EL, Luis, has not yet spoken during any lessons, although he speaks Spanish and a little English with his peers during recess and lunch. She’s concerned that he may have a learning disability. She thinks Luis may need to be referred to the special education teacher for an evaluation. Is Tara’s hunch correct? This scenario is commonplace for classrooms across the nation. It is estimated that 10.1 percent (5 ...
By Jennifer Martin “A World Without Print”: This phrase is the title of a chapter from Victoria Purcell-Gates’ text, Other People’s Words: The Cycle of Low Literacy . In this text, Purcell-Gates details the literacy journey of a family of white, urban Appalachians., Although the family values education, the parents did not finish school, despite their best efforts. The parents lived within a non-print culture. Their world was based on oral tradition, and, despite their desire to get their children to learn to read and write, their children were not finding success in school. Jenny, the mother of two boys, attempted to communicate with her sons’ teachers, ...

Classroom Library 101

By Julie Hoffman The classroom library is a fundamental component of the literacy-rich environment we want children to access at school. In essence, if we want our students to become readers, to identify as readers, we need to supply a variety of texts that students can and want to read, and provide time for them to do so. If we know that the time students spend reading independently correlates with reading achievement, then it’s on us to provide volumes of diverse, high-quality materials for them to read (Krashen, 2004). In other words, we need to display the joy and power of reading across our bookshelves. Which books should be in your classroom ...
By Brian Williams, Rebecca Kavel, and Kyle Graham “I don’t understand! My students can read well, but they struggle to make sense of the text. As a result, student engagement dwindles, text discussions are like pulling teeth, and assessment scores are horrific. Help!” Do you find yourself saying the same thing? If so, you are not alone. Many beginning teachers struggle to understand that reading well is more than just being able to demonstrate fluency. In fact, being able to read a text accurately, quickly, and with expression is just a step in the meaning-making process. Unfortunately, your students were taught how to read and not how to read to learn ...
By Amie Weinberg Let’s begin with an important, common question that new teachers typically ask: “What’s the difference between classroom discipline and classroom management?” Discipline refers to a reactive, problem-driven process that focuses on something that has already taken place; classroom management centers on being proactive and promoting student responsibility (Wong & Wong, 2014). Experienced teachers know that a successful classroom management plan can make the difference between a day of learning and a day of chaos. Classroom management includes rules, procedures, and guidelines for students that allow them to focus on learning. Teachers ...
By Mariel Gómez de la Torre-Cerfontaine and Nichole L. Smith Have your students ever visited the Pyramids or Buckingham Palace? Have they asked if it’s the same time in the United States as Calcutta, India? Virtual field trips are a medium for these explorations. As one student states: “I love [virtual] field trips. They are awesome. I get to see the most beautiful countries in real life and…know where to visit…in the future” (Emir, 6th grade). The World Awaits! It’s important for teachers to create engaging lessons that expose students to real life experiences, field trips, virtual tours, guest speakers, and so on (Honigsfeld, 2019). COVID-19 impacted ...
By Jodi Legnon, Sherry Been, and Anita Ede You scan your kindergarten classroom and see students working during centers when suddenly you hear, “No, you can’t play with the blocks!” Lilly moves toward Cody and pushes his body away. Cody crosses his arms over his chest as his lip quivers and tears stream down his face. You move toward the children knowing this is a teachable moment for Lilly, Cody, and the other kindergarten students, as you model using your words and perspective taking. Children do not come into the world filled with empathy for others. This is a learned skill that comes from experiencing empathy towards themselves. Teachers are in a ...
By Helen Hoffner and Jack Mills After teaching for a few years, Madeline Church enrolled in an online graduate program to earn a master’s degree and certification as a reading specialist. The tuition was steep, and the assignments were challenging, but she persevered. Her dreams were dashed, however, when she completed the graduate program with A’s but could not be certified as a reading specialist in her home state. Although the program’s website stated that it met national standards, it did not fulfill the certification requirements of her state. In America, each state sets its own policies for certification. Although most states require similar coursework, ...
By Melissa Bittner & Mariya Davis Physical activities give students a break from demanding cognitive tasks and serve to encourage creative development (Skoning, 2008). Offering active breaks during classroom instruction has favorable outcomes for academic achievement (Fedewa & Soyeon, 2011). Research also supports the positive impact of physical activities on student classroom behavior (Barros et al., 2009). In addition, physical activity is especially important for children with disabilities, as they are almost 1.5 times more likely to be overweight or obese compared with their typically developing peers (Healy et al., 2018). When the ...
By Brian Williams and Kristen Wawer Implementing a thematic unit is an effective way to integrate standards, content, and culture into instruction. This type of unit will allow you to organize curriculum around a central theme. Specifically, a thematic unit is a series of lessons and activities that integrate a variety of topics that tie into a main theme (Brodzik et al., 1996). This method of curriculum organization will allow you to discuss important issues, bring together different kinds of materials, and have students work to make connections between course concepts and their own lives (Mitchell & Young, 1997). Introduction to Implementation ...
By Marla A. Sole According to Carol Dweck (2008), there are two types of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence is innate and unalterable. A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence can be developed, and we can make gains by being persistent, trying new strategies, and reaching out for support when we need it. Students who have a fixed mindset exert little effort when faced with obstacles, since their belief is that intelligence is fixed and that effort and outreach will be futile. Students with growth mindsets welcome challenges, embrace opportunities to expand their abilities, and are ...
By Samantha Smith Thermostats set the temperature, do they not? If you want your house to be cool, wouldn’t you set the thermostat to a cooler setting? Likewise, if you’re wanting your classroom to be calm and productive, look to yourself first. It’s crucial to set the tone at the threshold. The first interaction with students each day is likely to set the tone for how class will continue. Imagine you’re a student walking into a classroom. Your teacher hasn’t made copies and is also stressed out from the previous class period. As you find your seat, your teacher begins a rant on how the day is unfolding, then proceeds to spout off expectations ...
By John W. Krupp Although the teaching profession can change the world for the better, it often comes with a great deal of stress. Struggling to manage this stress can lead to burnout and the loss of teachers (Akin, 2019). Teachers’ daily responsibilities include teaching the curriculum, preparing for high-stakes testing, grading, collaborating, communicating with parents, being a first responder, and leading extra-curricular activities to build school culture (Daniels et al., 2016; Hupe & Stevenson, 2019; Katic et al., 2019; Manuel et al., 2018). When faced with the many demands of the profession, stress is inevitable. New teachers typically ...
By Shanda Salvant Theriot Do you remember how old you were when you received your first smartphone or personal electronic device to access the world wide web, gaining access to thousands of apps and numerous social media sites? For me, it wasn’t until my junior year in high school; however, according to a survey conducted by Common Sense Media, a little over half (53%) of children in the United States, now own a smartphone by the age of 11 (Kamenetz, 2019). Looking back as an educator and parent, things have definitely changed! Although the Internet has proven to be very beneficial when it comes to communicating information remotely, it also ...