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Why Do I Fly?
Michelle AccardiSeptember 22, 2016

It’s not quite 5 AM and I’m sitting on another plane, returning from another trip. Today is flight number 105 so far this year. It’s dark and cold up here at 33,000 feet. I miss my husband, my colleagues, heck I even miss my coffee mug…but I’m filled with anticipation and know that the time I’m waiting for is coming…and there it is…. dawn has broken. As the hope inducing pink and orange rays spread across the sky, I’m filled with a joy almost as satisfying as that moment when a student’s eyes light up with understanding of a concept…

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National Board Candidacy: A Personal and District Priority
Crystal Culp, NBCTSeptember 12, 2016

In 19 years of teaching, I have sought out, chosen and participated in more than 500 hours of professional development. As I think about all of those decisions, the choice to pursue National Board Certification was the most important. Now, 12 years after my initial certification, it continues to have the greatest impact above all other experiences combined. Here’s why: In school, I was one of those students who always wanted to answer every question asked so that everyone knew that I knew the answer. As a teacher, this same tendency manifests itself, only slightly differently. For instance, I wrote…

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Teaching Students How to be Informed Members of Their Community
Ambereen Khan-Baker, NBCTSeptember 7, 2016

In a previous blog post, “Engaging students to create social change,” I shared how to prepare students to go beyond critical thinking and discussion, to take action to better their communities and the world. The post included some new learning from the Teaching & Learning Conference, and later in the year, I decided to implement some of that learning in my  AP Language and Composition class. There are take-aways that might help others prepare for the year ahead. One of the central goals for that class is for students to grow as informed citizens of their community.  They respond to…

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Broadening Perspectives: Integrating Lessons in Multiculturalism
Amanda Zullo, NBCTSeptember 2, 2016

Editor’s Note: The following blog is from Amanda Zullo, an NBCT and a Hope Street Group 2016 National Teacher Fellow. This post was also published on the Hope Street Group blog and is reprinted with permission from the author. The original post can be found here.   This past March at an education conference, I asked a panel on multiculturalism and diversity about best practices to increase the multicultural teachings for my students, given their limited exposure to diversity in the school. The overwhelming response of “put your rich white kids on a bus and take them to a city”…

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Let’s Rethink Collaboration: Outputs versus Outcomes
Mark Gardner, NBCTAugust 31, 2016

I’m an introvert, a lone wolf, and never gravitated toward team sports. When I drive to work, go on my morning run, or attack weeds in the garden, my brain is its most productive. I like to be a creative problem-solver, dig into research, and test out new strategies to examine their potential. I understand those sayings about “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” Erroneously attributed as an old African proverb, this saying has become the mantra of pro-collaboration folks. Countering the “to go far, go together” meme…on the other…

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Leading Together to Transform Teaching
Luann Lee, NBCTAugust 25, 2016

It seems everyone has an opinion on teaching as a profession, these days. Nearly everyone can speak fondly of a favorite teacher, describing meaningful experiences and the impact that teacher had on students. Putting a label on the specific skills and qualities that made this teacher effective is not as easy. What attitudes, strategies, philosophies, or practices did this wonderful teacher possess that can be observed and developed in other teachers? How do we apply these criteria to teachers as we evaluate their work? And how might we develop such habits of excellence in other teachers? The National Education Association…

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Ban the word “Parents”
Joanna Schimizzi, NBCTAugust 24, 2016

This school year, I want to challenge you to ban certain words from your vernacular. We each have our own set of words and phrases that are taboo in our classroom, like “stupid” or “I can’t”, but this year I want to challenge you to stop using the word “parents”. This may sound like a strange request – don’t we want parents to be engaged in our classrooms and schools? Absolutely, but I want to challenge you to realize that many of our students live in settings where “parents” are not the only figures who are important to their success.…

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Together We Stand; Divided We Fall—How Distributive Leadership Creates Greater Schools
Mitzi Durham, NBCTAugust 22, 2016

This summer I was given the opportunity to speak on a panel for the Coalition for Teaching Quality. I went to Washington, DC with my principal and, along with a panel of teachers and students, we addressed US Senate and House policy staff. During the briefing, we shared ideas outlined in policy papers being released regarding the Every Student Succeed Act. It was an impressive experience but had me wondering, “Why me? I’m nothing special. I’ve been fortunate enough to lead a cohort at Basic Academy for International Studies for National Board candidates that doubled in size, but what do…

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What Matters Now
Geneviève DeBose, NBCTAugust 17, 2016

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. The first issues a call to collective action, and the second provides a robust online base of research, examples, and case studies to support the call to action. During the release event, audience members heard from a range of teachers and…

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Listening to Students’ Voices through Audio Essays
Ray Salazar, NBCTAugust 16, 2016

I aim to teach my Chicago high-school students that writing is not always about the writing. Yes, the ideas, the sentence structure, the connotations matter. But sometimes, the process before the writing or after matters more. I start every year with a challenging non-fiction narrative unit that pushes students to focus on one key event in their lives—something that led to a shift in their habits of mind. I want it to be more than a personal essay, I tell them. “I want it to be something that matters to more people than you,” I explain. One of the texts…

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