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Embassy Sweets
Lucy Solano, NBCTApril 18, 2018

Growing up in Colombia, South America, we were always exposed to different aspects of life. My dad’s side of the family gets darker the farther back I look and my Afro ancestry is even more obvious. On my mom’s side, they get lighter and the Caucasian genes get stronger. My mom was Catholic and religious and my dad was a Physics professor with a scientific mind that could not simply grasp the concept of believing by faith. They were very respectful of each other’s points of view, though and wanted us to have a well-rounded education and open minds. I…

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Five Core Propositions Applied
Amanda Klare, NBCTApril 10, 2018

For those of you who are at the beginning of your journey to become a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), you are about to become very familiar with the foundation of National Board Certification: the Five Core Propositions. Since I started my love affair with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, I have started to associate people from my professional learning network with each of the Five Core Propositions. I always say, “You are what you surround yourself with,” and lucky for me I am surrounded by amazing teacher leaders to strive to be like. Proposition 1: Teachers are…

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A Timeless Flight
Kara Ball, NBCTApril 3, 2018

Over the past four years, I have worked as my school district’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Coordinator. I was given the opportunity to develop an elementary STEM program in my school as a teacher for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). We educate, engage, and empower military connected students to succeed in a dynamic world. Our students in DoDEA are the children of active duty military and DoD civilian families on military installations in 11 foreign countries, seven states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Together, we will pursue excellence in education for every student, every day, everywhere. I…

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Learning Has Many Dimensions
Kyla Gentry, NBCTMarch 28, 2018

As an eighth grade science teacher I encounter many challenges to get content across in fun and interesting ways but to also prepare my students for the real world.  I do my best to have my students engage in learning through hands-on experiences and connect it to their daily lives.  I present my students with a phenomena to introduce a topic.  This gets them thinking, asking questions, and wanting to know more.  I refer back to this experience throughout the entire unit in order to help the learning make sense, so that all students share a common experience.  This also…

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Teachers need to be selfish when choosing PD – and that’s okay!
Mika Hunter Twietmeyer, NBCTMarch 23, 2018

The most inspiring and refreshing professional development (PD) that I have experienced in the past few years was a two-night nature journaling adventure during one of the coldest February weekends I can remember. It was the winter of my 9th year of teaching. There was limited internet, activities that I had never attempted before, and lots of quiet time spent both inside and outside. We spent hours outside watching birds, writing in our journals, and traversing through rugged trails on scavenger hunts. We were captivated by our teacher, Megan, who waded knee deep through an icy ephemeral pond to collect…

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Two Forms of Patriotism
Doug Graney, NBCTMarch 20, 2018

Prior to going to a Nationals game that summer, social studies teacher Ed Tiernan and I went to Arlington National Cemetery. I had a field trip in mind. I’ve witnessed ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and I wanted my students to participate in a wreath laying ceremony. But I wanted more than that. Ed and I took the short walk over to The Arlington Memorial Amphitheater. That is a beautiful structure, white marble all around, rows and rows of the same and thoroughly elegant. How could I incorporate that into my field trip? I would have to…

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You’d Think We’d Have School Figured Out by Now, Right?
David B. Cohen, NBCTMarch 13, 2018

Thousands of studies, hundreds of thousands of schools, and millions of teachers, decades of practice… you’d think we’d have school figured out by now, right? And in many ways, I think we do. It’s not mysterious work. For every problem in schools today, there are answers. We have plenty of models to learn from, to improve literacy and numeracy, to start project-based learning and service learning programs, to institute trauma-informed schooling, to educate students with special needs, to integrate technology, maker-spaces, engineering and design, to improve teacher induction and mentorship, to foster professional learning communities, to redesign teacher evaluation, compensation,…

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Creating the Conditions for Accomplished Teaching to Grow
Mark Gardner, NBCTMarch 9, 2018

I grew up on a farm in the high desert of central Oregon. My family mainly grew alfalfa hay, but also crops from bluegrass seed to wheat to peppermint oil, (which I cared for as my FFA project). The success of our crops depended tremendously on our ability to create the best possible conditions for our crops to grow. We monitored the weather and adjusted irrigation schedules to compensate for drought or wind. We monitored the soil for parasites, and would spend long dusty days “picking rock” to ensure the ground was free of stones that would inhibit root growth.…

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Leading Next to Students
Debbie Lancaster, NBCTMarch 6, 2018

Teachers want to lead. We want to influence students and the education profession in positive ways while remaining in the classroom. The dilemma is that on this leadership pursuit, many teachers aren’t able to find ways to stay in the classroom. Early in my career, I had the false notion that leading in education meant aspiring to be a school or district-level administrator, so I embarked on the journey and spent ten successful but somewhat unsatisfying years outside the classroom preparing for and working in administration until I finally said to myself, “Wait, this is not what I meant.” What…

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Addressing the Needs of Students with Limited and Interrupted Formal Education
Jennifer Dines, NBCTFebruary 26, 2018

This year, I’m in a new position as the Director of English Language Learners for my school. Part of this role involves leading a team of teachers who serve students with limited and interrupted formal education. These students are newcomers to the United States, coming from places where schooling was either inaccessible or non-compulsory, and therefore they’ve had little exposure to academic language and literacy in their native languages. In educational terms, these students are referred to as Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE). Our program organizes SLIFE education into two groups – Spanish and multilingual. A majority…

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