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Roxanna Elden taught for eleven years in various subjects and grade levels. She attained National Board Certification in Secondary Language Arts and wrote See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers, a funny, honest, practical guide with insights from experienced teachers around the country. Each year, her books and speeches help thousands of new teachers make the transition from training to the classroom. 
The Disillusionment Phase Hits Mentor Teachers, Too
Roxanna Elden, NBCTNovember 8, 2016

National Board Certified Teachers seem to have the mentoring gene built into their DNA. NBCTs often serve in both formal and informal mentoring roles for those new to the profession – which means you already know what season it is. The New Teacher Center calls the weeks between mid-October and Thanksgiving break the Disillusionment Phase. This is the time when new teachers tend to hit their low points. The hours of lost sleep have added up. Rookies are feeling the bumps along the rough road of trial-and-error. And then the kids get Halloween candy. Rookies with good mentor teachers are…

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Why More High Schools Should Have a Block Schedule
Ray Salazar, NBCTNovember 3, 2016

When I started teaching in 1995 at an alternative high school in Chicago (a school that gave dropouts a second chance at a diploma), we were on a block schedule. I saw students every other day for about 90 minutes a class. I hated it. As a new teacher then, I found it difficult to plan to engage students that long. And this is the era when we still had VCRs—I was still buying music on cassettes—so showing a video clip to add some variety or depth was complicated. I had to go to Blockbuster and pray they had the…

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Renewing my certification was meaningful to me, important to my students
Peggy Brookins, NBCTOctober 26, 2016

This week 3,384 National Board Certified Teachers learned that they renewed their certification. I want to offer my congratulations to those educators for their notable achievement. They teach to high standards, they are committed to continually improving their teaching practice and, perhaps above all, they are committed to students and their learning. This is the time of year that I think about my renewal, why I did it and how I think it made a difference to me and to the students I taught. When I began my NBCT renewal process, I expected to revisit the standards and reengage with…

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“Ms. Robinson, why do we need to know this?”
Ariel Robinson, NBCTOctober 21, 2016

How many teachers hear this phrase on a day-to-day basis? When I first started teaching, I was thrown into a classroom with little more than a pacing guide and a projector to keep my head afloat. I was 23, a neophyte, and barely able to stay ahead of my students during instruction. I found that this question became more recurrent as I continued teaching. Many students severely criticized the curriculum, often noting that it “didn’t matter” to their lives and their goals. Why should they learn grammar and punctuation if all they will ever have to write is a maintenance…

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Amp up your Classroom: Collaborate with your School Librarian
Laura Gardner, NBCTOctober 17, 2016

We’re all better when we work together. I’m lucky as a school librarian because my job is all about collaborating with the other adults in my building; my program depends on it. I’m lucky to be in a building that values and fosters collaboration among adults; we already have built in curriculum meetings for teachers in the same grade/subject and these meetings are held next door to the library where I often listen in on their curriculum meetings and try to help where I can. Ways I collaborate with teachers as a school librarian: Book Buffets – Every student in…

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Benefits of Project-Based Learning
Java Robinson, NBCTOctober 12, 2016

Over the years there have been many changes in the way instruction is delivered to students in public education. Gaining popularity in recent years, one of the most promising models of instruction is project-based learning (PBL). In PBL, students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.  Many accomplished teachers are looking for ways to use project-based learning in their classroom. Marty Sugerik, a Project-Based Learning Specialist and Trainer, provides insights into implementing effective project-based learning at any school in Career Pathway Courses.…

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Know Your Students
Luann Lee, NBCTOctober 3, 2016

As a science teacher, I send a safety contract home with all the other beginning-of-the-year paperwork for my students and a parent, guardian, or other family member to read together and sign. Their signatures indicate that that they read and understand the course information and syllabus, the school’s electronics policy, the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, and the class safety rules. The truly important questions, though, are on the other side of the paper. As Joanna Schimizzi wrote in her last post, “Ban the Word ‘Parents,” families differ in ways that are important for teachers to understand. Families can also…

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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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