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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Taste Poetry on Your Tongue

April is National Poetry Month, and I’m celebrating by inviting you to join my students and I in a personal challenge to memorize a new poem each week and recite it for others. To be honest, I never got excited about poetry recitation. It seemed boring. I’d rather create poetry than memorize it. Reciting poetry seemed like an “old-school” activity for antique pedagogy and desks in rows. But in the simple…

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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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7 Ways to Build Trust for Peer Observation

“There is no more powerful way of improving on the job than by observing others and having others observe us.” —Roland Barth (2006) The challenge is opening doors. Use these seven strategies for building trust and buy-in to begin deep professional learning.

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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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A Bilingual Poem for #WriteMyCommunity

When I was eight, I remember staring out the car window and thinking about disconnect between my world and the world of my Spanish-speaking neighbors who lived only a freeway exit away. No one in my family spoke Spanish, but I wanted to. In California, Spanish is the song of street signs and city names. It’s the voice of a history I wanted to hear, and neighbors I wanted to understand.

As an adult, I wrote this poem in my second language, Spanish, to reach out in a new way. An English translation follows.

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