Check the Video

This week's topics include using video to improve teaching, how to grade more efficiently, and "possibility thinking."

Check the Video
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TGIF Teacher Newsletter


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Happy Friday!

It's Better World Day at our school.

Better World Day is an annual national event showcasing student learning that contributes to a better world. Students work in partnership with each other and their local communities on this day to engage in and celebrate meaningful student work that positively impacts the world around them. Students present learning projects and engage in acts of service, demonstrating the power of EL Education’s vision for public school: a place where children become great scholars and active citizens with the capacity to make a positive impact. 

It feels great to work at a school where our mission is to help children positively impact the world. The day starts with an all-school assembly, and then students begin packaging food. This year's project is to tackle food insecurity in the Northwoods. My 8th graders will also reflect on their community service and write letters for veterans on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight. I'll be sharing updates for EL Education throughout the day. You can follow along here.

Thank you for the positive impact you have on your students each and every day. Teachers make the world a better place.

Have a great weekend!

The News

Here are some articles and resources that grabbed my attention.

  • Check the Video - Are you ready for video coaching? A recent study reveals that video coaching has significantly improved teacher practice and student achievement, especially for teachers with five years or less experience. This method enables teachers to record and reflect on their teaching, learn from their mistakes, collaborate with peers, and receive support rather than evaluation, ultimately leading to better teaching methods and higher teacher retention. I think this would be both uncomfortable and effective at the same time.
  • Efficient Grading - Save time with side-by-side assessments, a technique that flips the traditional grading process. Dr. Catlin Tucker suggests this method to foster deeper connections with students while lightening the grading load. This approach transforms grading from a solitary task into a collaborative process, providing transparency and facilitating meaningful student-teacher interactions. I know this doesn’t work in all content areas, but assessing work with students can help lighten the grading load.
  • Sustainable Teaching - Is teaching as we know it unsustainable? Six mindset shifts might make the profession more sustainable and teachers less prone to burnout. These shifts focus on humanizing education, promoting collectivism, empowering individuals, embracing minimalism, emphasizing the learning process over the end product, and fostering flexibility in the classroom. “We don’t have to sacrifice ourselves or quality instruction to make teaching sustainable. In fact, if we start these conversations about sustainability and identify incremental shifts toward it, all stakeholders can find entry points into this work.” I agree that some shifting is necessary in order to keep teachers in the classroom.
  • Resource - Using Portfolios for Assessment and Year-End Passages - End the school year with reflection and celebration.
STRONG Teacher Toolkit
Here are some of my favorite resources, ideas, tools, services, and miscellaneous gadgets and goodies that keep me STRONG in both my personal and professional life.

Ideas, resources, tools, and free downloads to make your teaching life easier and more enjoyable.


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Advice - Are you looking for good advice? Here are 101 pieces of advice to sort through. Two of my favorites are, “Every now and then, throw a memorable party. The price will be steep, but long afterward, you will remember the party, whereas you won’t remember how much is in your checking account,” and “You have no obligation to like everyone, and you are free to intensely dislike a person. But you owe everyone—even those you dislike—basic respect.”
  • Possibility Thinking - Unlock the power of "possibility thinking" to overcome challenges and unleash creativity in your personal and professional life. By asking key questions like ‘What for?’, ‘What if?’, ‘What would someone else do?’, ‘Why not?’ and ‘What else and how else?’, you can create a detailed map of potential solutions to any problem you face. This process of mapping possibilities allows you to explore alternatives you never thought existed, helping you find your unique path and expand your understanding of what's possible.
  • Notebook - Do you need a “WTF” notebook?


"Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them."— Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)*

Teacher Commuter Playlist - "Good Day for a Good Day" by Michael Franti and Spearhead

Favorite Things

  • Social - Here is our student advisory council preparing for #BetterWorldDay during lunch earlier this week.
  • Good News - Nature hits the charts. The Sounds Right initiative by Spotify, UN Live, Earthrise, and Earth Percent officially recognizes Nature as an artist, featuring music releases incorporating sounds from nature. The initiative aims to raise funds for nature conservation and spark a global conversation on valuing nature, with at least 50% of royalties from tracks featuring nature donated to conservation efforts.
  • Teacher Gadget - Pastel Transparent Sticky Notes*, Set of 4 Pads

How am I doing?

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