The Standard

Home Our Blog: The Standard The Standard

Amber Chandler is a National Board Certified ELA teacher and author of The Flexible ELA Classroom: Differentiation Tools for 4-8 due out in September. She is an America Achieves Lead Fellow in the Coaching Op-Eds and Blogging role. Amber is a Content Partner with and provides Professional Development through her webinars for the site. She is a regular contributor to,, and AMLE magazine. Amber's expertise is in Project Based Learning and Differentiation. She is a Candidate Support Provider and looks forward to working with National Board Candidates. Follow her on Twitter @MsAmberChandler, and visit her website for teacher collaboration, resources, and her latest blogs.
Accomplished Teaching and the Growth Mindset
Amber ChandlerAugust 2, 2016

Do you ever have an “Ah Ha” moment, only to wonder what was possibly wrong with you that you didn’t make the connection before? For example, the first time I discovered that cream cheese and jelly are a fabulous combination on crackers. It was perfectly obvious that this would be a delectable duo, but yet I had never put the two together! Well, an “ah ha” moment of this variety happened to me at a candidate support training. I’ve been thinking about connecting my experiences as an NBCT with Carol Dweck’s “Growth Mindset,” but it took a whole room of…

Read More
Taking responsibility for professional practices
David B. Cohen, NBCTJuly 29, 2016

This blog post is the conclusion in a series of three posts suggesting we can push accomplished teachers even further with regard to some professional practices. Part One suggested that teachers must be more willing to meet students and families where they are – online. Part Two focused on the need to improve practices around homework, assessment, and grading. National Board Certified Teachers understand and exemplify the drive to improve teaching, and the value of working with professional peers. The certification process demands clear evidence, convincing analysis, and consistent reflection that will lead to that improvement. Like most teachers, NBCTs…

Read More
Religious Tolerance: Teaching the Teachers
Chris Murray, NBCTJuly 26, 2016

In June, educators from Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools made history when they completed an intensive academic study of religion. The course, which rewards MCPS teachers with three Continuing Professional Development credits, exposed teachers to the diversity of religious practice in the region and across the United States as a whole, while giving them the tools and knowledge to return to their classrooms in the fall, empowered to incorporate religion into their lessons and build safe spaces for all students. The course, which features presentations by local religious leaders, academics and politicians, began with a dynamic Q&A session with Montgomery…

Read More
To Transform Schools, Slow Down
Mark Gardner, NBCTJuly 22, 2016

I’m a bit of a teacher-nerd in that one of my favorite parts of the job is lesson planning. I’m a notorious wheel-re-creator, as it is a captivating puzzle for me to build together just the right sequence of experiences to help my learners move from point-A to point-B. I don’t necessarily script out activities or transitions down to the minute, but the execution of the lesson is a purposeful performance on my part. I design each lesson not only with a clear intention of the learning I want my students to develop, but also the experience I want them…

Read More
What They Don’t Seem to Understand about Certification
Corey Oliver, NBCTJuly 21, 2016

What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you don’t feel eleven at all. You feel like you’re still ten. And you are –underneath the year that makes you eleven. Like some days you might say something stupid, and that’s…

Read More
NBCTs Take a Stand in Support of Educational Policies
Java Robinson, NBCTJuly 15, 2016

From July 2-7, 2016, approximately 10,000 delegates convened in Washington, DC at the National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly (RA) to advocate for legislation to promote academic and social justice for all students. Among those present were members of the NEA NBCT caucus. These NBCTs work diligently at the RA to do the necessary work, but they are not the only ones.  All around the country NBCTs are taking action by lobbying legislators, writing letters, reaching out to the community, educating all stakeholders, using data and statistics and other means to identify faults and propose improvements in education systems. On…

Read More
A Call for Peace-Based Teacher Leadership
Jennifer Dines, NBCTJuly 14, 2016

The violent events of early July weigh heavily on my heart and mind. It seems that America is a pressure cooker that has exploded with hatred and brutality. I have read my friends’ sentiments on Facebook, but I haven’t been emotionally ready to even have a face-to-face conversation with them about all that is happening. As an educator and a parent, it’s difficult to believe that this is the world in which my students and children are growing up. However, I recently came across an artifact of inspiration while reading the community bulletin board at the Grove Hall Library, located…

Read More
Addressing Core Proposition 1 to Engage Students and be Culturally Responsive
Liz Morrison, NBCTJuly 12, 2016

Teachers are committed to students and their learning is Core Proposition 1 of the National Board Standards. How do you demonstrate your commitment to your students and their learning? As the demographics of my community changed I realized the practices I used to engage students weren’t as effective as they were in the past. I wasn’t doing a good job of meeting the needs of my African American students nor the needs of my English Language Learners. It wasn’t about the kids not getting it – it was about me not getting to the kids. Knowing I needed to change…

Read More
Giving Students the Skills to be an “Executive”
Joanna Schimizzi, NBCTJuly 8, 2016

It’s summer and the school year has ended… we had kindergarten graduation, high school graduations and college graduations. At this point, you know your students so well, maybe you can even picture what they’ll be doing when they’re adults. So, close your eyes and picture your class. Which of your students do you see having “executive” skills? No, I’m not talking about students who will end up as our future CEOs, COOs or CFOs. The reason I bring this term up is because I recently learned more about the neuroscience of “executive function” at the Teaching & Learning Conference, and…

Read More
Letting go of “We’ve always done it this way” (Part 2 of 3)
David B. Cohen, NBCTJuly 5, 2016

If you want to start with Part One in this series of blog posts, here’s the link, though the sequencing is not essential. Being a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) is a source of pride for me, providing both a sense of professional accomplishment and sense of professional companionship with leaders in my field. The certification process provides us with a shared set of concepts and terms we can use to guide our ongoing learning and the improvement of our practices. Sometimes, the quest for improvement keeps us in comfortable territory, eager to try new materials and lessons that fit…

Read More