What Matters Now

On Wednesday, August 10, the National Commission on Teaching & America's Future (NCTAF) released What Matters Now: A New Compact for Teaching and Learning. The report lays out a compelling argument to reorganize schools in ways that support teaching, drive learning, and provide every student with a strong foundation to build a bright future. What Matters Now consists of two reports.

We’ve been celebrating #WhyIWrite on October 20 every year for seven years now. Last year National Day on Writing celebrations were held from Wyoming to Alabama, on the radio, in blogs, in classrooms, on campus, and sidewalks.

What will you be doing this year?

  • Selected Literacy Topics: Writing
  • Censorship by Committee

    Many districts pride themselves on having a strong policy against censorship and point out that they “have not had a challenge in years” as proof that they must be doing something right. Sadly, they may be doing everything wrong. If there are no challenges because anything that could be considered controversial is already removed from the curriculum, what does that say about a district’s commitment to wide reading, to providing materials for its diverse population of students, or to its belief in the basic tenets of learning?

    I have written before about the honor and privilege I have to be able to connect and learn from dedicated educator teams across this continent and beyond. It gives me such hope in and pride for an education system that is too often battered by media, society—and not always supported even from within. Yet  I’ve met and followed:


    Posted on behalf of Daniella Smith, PhD., associate professor at the University of North Texas

    Surpassing Expectations

    Education Connections

    As we move into August, another school year might seem just around the corner! What new tools and techniques will you use help make sure that all of your students are prepared to for another year of growth?  Throughout the month of August, our Tuesday Tips will provide ideas and strategies you can use to help get your classroom ready for students’ return, with emphasis on your EL students.

    Ask any elementary school teacher, and she or he will tell you that comparison problems are much harder for most kids than operations with other actions. For example, fourth-grade-teacher Jennifer Clerkin Muhammad asked her students to draw a picture of this problem from Investigations:
    Darlene picked 7 apples. Juan picked 4 times as many apples. How many apples did Juan pick?
    Her students are pros at representations and skillful multipliers, but we saw a lot of this:
  • Selected Literacy Topics: Content Area Literacies, Problem Solving
  • Content Areas: Mathematics
  • Education Connections Fun Fact Friday: Science and the NGSS

    Education Connections

    How do you make sure your science lessons are accessible to all students? What strategies, techniques and tools do you use in your classroom science instruction to help all students learn? 

    Simple Changes in Language

    I still remember the overwhelmed feeling of my first year of teaching. At that time, I distinctly remember telling myself to hang in there as surely by year three I'd have it figured out. HA! Here I am at year twenty something, and I'm still always working to figure it out. The challenge, I believe, becomes that teaching is a people profession. Children are always different, and different children have different needs.
  • Selected Literacy Topics: Reading
  • As a parent who walks that fine line in schools of also being an educator, I stumbled into a new parental frustration as my teenager hit high school. He had already begun to strategically avoid discussing school with his mom. In addition, parent access to information from the school about topics of study and homework assignments was becoming less and less available.

    Most Recent: July 8, 2016
    I was excited to read two recent reports from researcher John Hattie: What Doesn't Work in Education: The Politics of Distraction and What Works Best in Education: The Politics of Collaborative Expertise. Hattie, whose seminal research is on the educational

    Review and Reflect



    “I make the point that you need firstly a diagnosis, an analysis of what the problem is. You need a vision of what a better alternative would look like. And then you need a plan to get there—to go from this to that.”
    —Sir Ken Robinson

    Your Own Private Atlas