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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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The Power of Writing Begins with a Single Sentence
Bryan Christopher, NBCTFebruary 21, 2018

Late one Saturday night in March, a former student found me watching basketball at a bar. Despite passing my class by the skin of his teeth nine years ago he was thrilled to buy me a drink. We talked about his old teachers and the new principal. He told me about his family, the cars he fixes and his amateur boxing record, then he rejoined his friends and took off for another adventure. It was just one beer, but it made my weekend. Our conversation made me think about the current state of writing instruction. Nine years ago I was…

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Through the Years at the National Board Resource Center
David B. Cohen, NBCTFebruary 13, 2018

There’s a building on the Stanford University campus called the Center for Education Research at Stanford – CERAS – that holds a special place in my life. From the outside, it’s not especially interesting, and you can’t quite get a complete view of the building from any exterior vantage point. The interior has a unique open-center design, with all of the offices and classrooms arrayed on opposite sides and facing each other from a slightly offset elevation. I spent many long hours in CERAS while I worked on my master’s degree and teaching credential in the Stanford Teacher Education Program,…

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Common Denominator
Mandy Manning, NBCTFebruary 8, 2018

Every morning I wake up and am amazed I am the 2018 Washington State Teacher of the Year. It still feels like a dream and I often question how it is I got to this place. How is it possible that a teacher who struggled to articulate her classroom impacts until roughly 15 years into the game could be elevated to such a position? How do I fit in with this prestigious group? My research into my fellow teachers of the year gave me my answer – relationships. Getting acquainted with the 2018 slate of state teachers of the year,…

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