Albuquerque Teacher Leaders Open Doors to Observation Inquiry

“Instead of brushfires for excellence, we need infernos of excellence. Our project will do this.” In a packed hotel conference room in Albuquerque, New Mexico, teacher leader Maureen Torrez, NBCT, describes the observation inquiry pilot project she and her team of National Board Certified Teachers are leading to deepen how teachers and students learn in Albuquerque public schools.

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Four Sentences Educators Must Stop Saying About Students

The language we use to talk about students matters. It reflects and shapes our perceptions, and most importantly, our expectations for student success.
In your school, make a courageous commitment to shift all staff conversations about kids and their families from a deficit mindset, which views diversity as a problem kids bear, to an asset mindset: one which truly values students and their communities for the diversity they bring. Begin by reframing these four sentences.

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Get Explicit about Implicit Bias

No matter how good our intentions to be free of prejudice, we all have implicit biases that can have a serious impact on our work in schools.

Implicit bias refers to stereotypes or attitudes that affect our decisions and actions. Unlike explicit bias, which is intentional and part of our belief systems, implicit bias is an association we have that is unconscious and unintentional.

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Beyond My Discomfort—Let’s Talk About Race and Teacher Expectations

In a new study, Gershenson, Hold, & Papageorge (2015) reveal that non-black teachers have lower expectations than black teachers for the same black students in the same schools. How do white educators respond to these findings? Do we point the finger at others, or get personal to reflect humbly on what we each might better understand about ourselves, and change?

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Using Twitter to Enhance Professional Learning

This is the third blog in a series on using Twitter for professional learning. In Part I we explored the question “Should Twitter replace professional development?” In Part II we delved into the pros and cons of Twitter for professional growth. Now let’s get specific about how to leverage Twitter to enhance school and district-level professional learning.

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Six Reasons to Recite Poetry

Only two weeks into my poetry recitation challenge in a Title I school, I cannot walk across the playground without a student stopping me to share a poem. “Be forewarned. Reciting poetry is contagious.” In an unscheduled visit to one fifth grade classroom, I arrived to see students out of their seats raising hands to be the first to recite poems. They had begged the teacher to let them take their poems home…

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Outsider: A Call for Connection

I wrote this poem about being an outsider in China in an effort to build empathy for what I have never experienced: being a new immigrant in the United States. I wrote it primarily for monolingual English speakers in my country who ask about immigrants, “Why do they stay together and speak their language?” “Why don’t they learn English?”

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Schools Must Foster Risk-Taking

It’s easy to forget the dynamic of risk-taking in the world of K-12 education, where success is mapped in a staircase of standards and academic achievement is key to opening doors. This video poem and reflective blog dare educators to stretch the boundaries of what is possible, and inspire students to do the same.

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