Category: Student-Centered Classrooms

Reflecting on a Year of Growth at Des Moines Public Schools

By Kara Bentley Staff members at an Iowa elementary school reflect on the take-aways, challenges, and rewards of becoming a School for Rigor. Read the first part of this series here. In August 2017, I had the privilege of working with the instructional staff of Monroe Elementary School in Des Moines

The Need for Speed (and Space)

By Ron Nash (Originally published in SEEN Magazine) Teachers of history at the secondary level have a daunting task. Every new school year brings more to “cover” as a matter of course. Another year, another chapter. When the average citizen meets a friend in the supermarket, she says, “How are you?”

Turning Around School Performance Requires Bold Steps: How Bear Creek Elementary Went From a “D” to “A”

By Willette Houston (Originally published in SEEN Magazine) Be bold. That’s where a school leader must start if you want to lead meaningful school change. There’s nothing wrong with incremental improvement or plotting out a step-by-step process, but we have to take a step back and look at the big picture

Student Reflections on Finding Joy in the Journey at Greensboro Elementary School

By Kara Bentley Some images courtesy of Greensboro Elementary School Assistant Principal Todd Nichols. Follow him on Twitter here. Earlier this year, I shared with you teacher reflections about the journey that began at Greensboro Elementary School in August, 2017 as Caroline County MD Schools embraced a new instructional initiative, Essentials

Important Reminder: “Wrong” Answers Are the Ones That Deepen Learning

By Shannon Pretorius You ask your class a question, expecting a particular answer. You planned for that answer, but the students’ responses are completely different from what you anticipated. What do you do? Too many times, I’ve seen teachers barely acknowledge the unexpected answers and say something like, “No, that’s

Positive Reinforcement Doesn’t Exist in the Real World… Does It?

By Jennifer Cleary, co-author of Classroom Techniques for Creating Conditions for Rigorous Instruction I recently read an article titled Teacher to Parent – Positive reinforcement doesn’t work in the long run. It was written by award-winning teacher Jody Stallings in response to a parent who had expressed frustration because her child

Greensboro Elementary School: Finding Joy in the Journey

By Kara Bentley Images courtesy of Greensboro Elementary School Assistant Principal Todd Nichols. Follow him on Twitter here. In Greensboro, Maryland, near the eastern shore, Greensboro Elementary School shines brightly as students, instructional staff, and administrative leadership work diligently to transfer the ownership of learning to students—a feat that’s difficult

High fives at Lodge Community School in Evansville, Indiana

Verifying Learning: Who Learned the Lesson in These Scenarios?

By Shannon Pretorius You have the most amazing math lesson planned for today. It is interactive, engaging, requires student collaboration, and you didn’t even have to spend your own money to fund it. Students will be analyzing classroom objects based on their attributes and classifying them into specific geometric categories.

Building Rigor and Engagement Into Academic Vocabulary

Building Rigor and Engagement Into Academic Vocabulary

Six tips to get students excited about acquiring new words. By Kristin DeJong Remember the days when a teacher would hand us a spelling book and tell us to complete exercises in it? We would memorize each word and then take a dictation quiz at the end of the unit.