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Chris Murray is a National Board Certified teacher who has been teaching Social Studies at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda (Montgomery County), Maryland since 2005. Over the past decade he has taught both US and World History while creating a well-respected World Religions elective. Chris lives in Rockville with his wife and two sons.
Watching Dreams Become Goals and Goals Become Realities
Chris Murray, NBCTJune 28, 2016

A decade into my career in education and I felt as though I had checked off all the goals I set way back when I was a novice teacher. I had survived the first year, while meeting, and dating my now wife. Next, I had earned a master’s degree in curriculum design and instruction and then delved into earning a second master’s degree in special education. I added to my skillset by becoming certified in special education, ESOL and school administration. The final box on my list was to achieve National Board Certification (eight years into teaching).    But now…

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How Can We Best Address the Learning Needs of Our Students?
Java Robinson, NBCTJune 21, 2016

How do you overcome learning barriers in your classroom? What steps have you taken to address the needs of all learners? How are you able to keep your students engaged in their learning? These are the questions accomplished teachers frequently ask themselves. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) not only helps teachers answer these questions but also provides guidelines and strategies they can use to solve these problems. UDL is a set of three principles that helps teachers develop curriculum that gives all students equal opportunities to learn. We cannot continue with a single, one-size-fits-all approach for education. Many times we…

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Can we push accomplished teachers even further? (Part 1 of 3)
David B. Cohen, NBCTJune 16, 2016

The hallmarks of accomplished teaching are analysis and reflection, the disposition to think carefully about teaching and learning, past and future, with the goal of constant improvement. I think every teacher I know, and certainly every National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), has the drive to improve. After all, no one wants to devise and deliver an ineffective lesson, and it’s never a pleasant experience to pick up the pieces of fragmented instruction when we occasionally mess up. And when we see the positive results of our efforts, the sense of satisfaction and utter joy can last for days. I wish…

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The Reasons Why I Blog
Jennifer Dines, NBCTMay 27, 2016

At this year’s Teaching & Learning Conference, I stepped out of my comfort zone as a journalist and twitter-holic and into the role of a presenter. I was honored to be a part of the “Writing Our Future: Blogging for Educational Change and Personal Growth” panel, along with widely-read bloggers José Vilson, Renee Moore, and David Cohen as well as my fellow The Standard bloggers Ambereen Khan-Baker and Luann Lee. However, this was my first time speaking publicly about my blogging life, and I had to ask myself the question: Why do I blog? I knew it had to do…

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Passive to Active, Philosophy to Action, Novice to NBCT
Mark Gardner, NBCTMay 25, 2016

For many years, I’ve worked both formally and informally with teachers pursuing National Board Certification. I coach them on their written commentaries, probing their thinking to bring to the surface key details that establish clear, consistent and convincing connections between their practice and their impact on student learning. Now, in my current role as a mentor for new teachers in my district, I’m starting to see how the thinking I encourage in candidates is exactly the kind of thinking I want to ensure my first-year-teachers develop as regular practice, from the very start of their career. Before I talk about…

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#TeachStrong
Gina Wilson, NBCTMay 23, 2016

As a National Board Certified Teacher, though you may not know it, you are already a TeachStrong Advocate. As an Advocate, you should know that TeachStrong is releasing its first policy proposal tomorrow (May 24th)—on the importance of identifying and recruiting high-achieving, diverse teacher candidates—in Denver, Colorado. Tomorrow night, we will also be hosting our second TeachStrong Twitter Chat from 8:00 – 8:30 PM EST. As a teacher, you are invited to both events. TeachStrong is a national campaign dedicated to modernizing and elevating the teaching profession. Sixty partner organizations have united in the belief that our nation’s students and…

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Many Hands Make Light Work: Connecting Teachers in Professional Learning through Video Cases
Josh McLaughlin, NBCTMay 16, 2016

“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 In seventh grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Kiesner, asked us to research a Greek god or goddess as part of a quarter-long study of Greek mythology and to prepare a short oral report to share with the class. I chose Atlas, the Titan god of endurance and astronomy, who, as the story goes, had…

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Why More Teachers Should Use Podcasts
Ray Salazar, NBCTMay 13, 2016

When we started the third of four quarters in February, I gave up on getting my students to read outside of class. Despite the fact that the approaching ACT and an AP English Language test were a couple months away, I said, “No more reading Atlantic articles for homework. Now,” I told them, “I need you to listen.” So every week, I’ve been assigning podcasts from NPR’s the Hidden Brain. The homework completion rate? Almost 100%. Podcasts continue to gain popularity. But I didn’t give this assignment to join the bandwagon. I did it because of the thought-provoking experiences I…

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How is candidate support connected to a teacher’s professional learning?
Ambereen Khan-Baker, NBCTMay 10, 2016

What value does candidate support provide to our students, candidates, candidate support providers, and National Board? How will candidate support improve the teaching profession? At our session at the March Teaching and Learning conference, titled Getting Board-certified – New resources for Candidate Support Providers, our panelists (listed at the end) discussed the structure and values of our candidate support systems. During our presentation, we discussed how our candidate support programs focus on preparing and building the capacity of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) to be school leaders and teacher leaders. We want teachers to learn skills that they can use…

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What About Authentic Appreciation All Year Long?
Jessica Cuthbertson, NBCTMay 6, 2016

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. That one week a year when social media explodes with gratitude for educators across the country as we collectively #ThankATeacher. A week when we pause to appreciate the profession that makes all others possible.   On Tuesday, May 3, the official Teacher Appreciation Day, I joined five other National Board Certified Teachers from across the country and Peggy Brookins, CEO and President of the National Board, for the mother of all teacher celebrations — the recognition of the National Teacher of the Year, Jahana Hayes, by President Obama at the White House. The event was filled…

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