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Leveling Up in a Gamified Classroom

Our students, like all students, don’t always do what they are supposed to do. Sometimes they talk when they should be listening. Sometimes they don’t read directions. Sometimes they have trouble working together in a cooperative setting. That being said, sometimes our students do something naughty that most other kids don’t do. Many educators have

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Anxiety in the Classroom—Another Learning Disability?

Anxiety is the most prevalent mental health crisis facing Americans. Eight percent of teens are diagnosed, though countless more suffer symptoms. Few seek help. Teachers are on the front lines wondering how to help as they see firsthand the consequences in both cognitive and psychological decline. As anxiety levels increase, executive functions diminish and IQ

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Join the Crowd: Building a PLN

The phrase “Teachers work in isolation,” has long been used to describe the working conditions of educational professionals, including most middle level teachers. Educators have found ways to solve this problem by creating departmental structures, transdisciplinary teaching teams, professional book clubs, and Professional Learning Communities, among other strategies. Often, these solutions help isolated teachers build

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Discovering Treasure: Adapting Instructional Strategies to Meet Student Needs

Understanding student needs is only part of the teaching expedition. I started the group discussion with what I believed to be a rather easy question: “How does the article, ‘Rise of the Machines,’ connect with your life experiences?” After all, students interact with technology each day, smartphones are glued to their hands. After I posed

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How can I offer language support to the English Language Learners in my classroom if I don’t speak their native language?

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to support ELL students’ language acquisition by adapting strategies already in use. These small things may make a big difference to ELLs. Here are a few ideas. 1. Create a language-rich environment. English language learners will benefit from increased exposure to print and language. A print-rich environment will include

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Post-Pandemic Preparation: Reimagining Middle School Partnerships

COVID-19 created unprecedented challenges but also served as a catalyst to rethink important aspects of our schools. One area where I see a big opportunity is to reimage middle school culture. AMLE’s landmark position paper The Successful Middle School: This We Believe highlights the importance of engaging families as valued partners and collaborating with community

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Students write a test exam in a beautiful classroom

Re-Learning and Re-Assessing: Practical Tips

Not everyone is comfortable with re-do’s and re-takes, which are more appropriately recognized as re-learning (or learning properly) and re-assessing. Some of us experience pushback when suggesting these practices to colleagues, then succumb to those pressures thereby denying their use in our classes. As a result, our students don’t learn the required content and skills.

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