Big Ideas for a New (School) Year

Backpacks. Laptops. Lesson Plans. Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year!

I know we all ask the same question...where did the summer go so quickly? It goes by especially fast for educators as you are now readying yourself to greet new faces (it’s still shorts weather after all!). Hard to believe... you were just waving kids good-bye for the summer and excited for somewhat of a break.

Now that you’re getting your classrooms ready for that first student to walk in, you’re hopefully just as excited about what the new school year has to offer. I remember as a kid, I was so excited about the first day of school - I could barely sleep the night before. It was always great to catch up with friends. Meanwhile, my mother was probably also having a hard time sleeping as well – thinking about all the things needing to be done to kick-off the school year.

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Relevant Tags: From the SENIOR EDITOR

WHEN A TEACHER’S ATTITUDE CAN TURN STUDENTS INTO STARS

People say that seeing the world through rose-colored glasses is a bad thing, but I don’t agree. Sometimes putting on rose-colored glasses doesn’t only make things look rosy — it changes them for real! And what better place for this to be true than our schools, where children are just beginning to discover their true potential?

One of our regular writers, Jennie Ivey, wrote an inspiring story about this called “The Honors Class.” We published it in a book all about perspective and attitude called Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive. Jennie, who has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s from Emory University, used to be a teacher. Now she is a writer and public speaker based in Tennessee.

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Relevant Tags: SOUPS ON!

Brainy Teachers Create Brainy Kids

My definition of “brainy teachers” is not what you might think. I’m not talking about the straight A student who becomes a teacher and wants his or her students to do the same. I was a straight A student! Teaching special education convinced me it was more important for children to connect to learning and to be who they are - than to get all A’s. It was a good lesson for me to learn.

Perhaps because of my work in special education, I became very interested in how the brain works and how that developing brain affects learning. What I have also come to understand is the huge influence parents and teachers have on that brain development.

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Relevant Tags: LEADERSHIP

NEUROSCIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM

A discussion with Dr. Lori Desautels about neurodiversity and behavior engagement

As interviewed by Clay Whitehead for SEEN Magazine

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Relevant Tags: LEARNING AND THE BRAIN

Pretend Play & Brain Growth Let’s Build a Train!

What is more wonderful than watching four year olds at play? The imaginative wonder and creativity present is unparalleled to any other time in life.

On this particular day the task involved planning to build a train and take a ride. The classroom was a place of intention, the work of socio-dramatic play. 

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Relevant Tags: LEARNING AND THE BRAIN

BRAIN MATTERS

Neither scientists nor educators are ready to prescribe MRI informed practices for improving learning in individual children. However, new research does demand that we take seriously how this new knowledge of the developing brain can better inform and influence policy and practice, and ultimately the development and learning of all children; especially those facing adversity.

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Relevant Tags: LEARNING AND THE BRAIN

Personalized & Blended Learning

Many districts in the U.S. are thinking of, planning, and/or implementing personalized and blended learning. All are at various, mostly initial, stages of development and lack the internal resources to move forward without external support. During the past 10 to 15 years, innovation in K12 public education has evolved from online to blended, to personalized learning all leading to a desired outcome, “student agency.” In this journey, earliest adopters have created exemplars and proof points of successful schools, but changing the system requires entire districts to prioritize personalized learning. 

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Relevant Tags: LEARNING AND THE BRAIN

A TANGLED MESS Applying Cognitive Theory and Gamification to Improve Reading Comprehension

Differentiation and personalized learning should not be avoided.

What a tangled web we avoid when we try to throw 22 students together in a single classroom with a teacher who plans and designs a comprehension skill lesson for one.  Avoiding a tangled web is a good thing, right?  Wrong!  Learning is a non-linear, messy process that has many curves and angles.  All students are unique and have different learning styles and needs, but educators continue to give students a single shot dose of uniformed curriculum using an instructional delivery designed to meet the needs of only one person- the teacher (convenience).  Of course, there are students reading on grade level or above who might do just fine.  Well...that is... if staying status quo is okay.  I am not sure anyone would be happy there.

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Relevant Tags: LEARNING AND THE BRAIN

Giving SpEd Students Their Voice

The need for special education in schools is increasing every year, and educators are struggling to find new and effective ways to help students with unique learning styles. Traditionally, special education students were either placed in a standard education classroom with no modifications, or isolated completely into separate classrooms. Modern approaches, though, show that having students of all learning styles together in the same class can be beneficial, but only when proper accommodations are made for the students who require them.

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Relevant Tags: LEARNING AND THE BRAIN

Thinking About Professional Development Differently An innovative approach to holistic professional development for all school district employees to improve student outcomes

I’ve spent over 15 years talking to school districts around the country about how they support their employees’ professional growth. It’s a complicated process, with different departments and schools within the district attempting to accomplish different objectives; from improving teaching practice to maintaining compliance with district policy. Intentions are good, but in so many cases there is no effective way for these different organizations to regularly keep each other informed.

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Relevant Tags: ADMINISTRATOR RESOURCES

DEVELOPING A SUSTAINABLE, SYSTEM-WIDE PIPELINE for Rigorous, Standards-based Classrooms

K-12 educators now widely recognize that preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s new economy must be our top priority. In the business world, thought leaders use the acronym VUCA to describe the future our students will most likely face, one characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity.

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Relevant Tags: ADMINISTRATOR RESOURCES

Teaching an Open Mind through Contextualization

The fundamental purpose of higher education is more than teaching the today’s facts. Unfortunately, it is a more complex initiative. The outcome for which educators should strive is for students to be able to self-educate after leaving post-secondary institutions, applying such in both a personal and professional context. This remains true regardless of the discipline being taught, but to accomplish this requires defining the characteristics of the individuals being taught. 

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Relevant Tags: HIGHER EDUCATION

CPCC - Helping Shape Today’s Customized Training Options

Vocational learning has evolved over the years. In the past, it referred to individuals learning particular skills in fields such as welding, plumbing and automotive services.

Today’s vocational training looks vastly different. Students are acquiring skills in advanced manufacturing, mechatronics, computer integrated machining and others. Classrooms have been replaced with employers’ manufacturing headquarters and many are finding employment before they even graduate. 

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Relevant Tags: FUTURE OF EDUCATION

Motivation, a Collective Goal for the Architect and Educator

Daniel Pink, in his popular TED talk “The Puzzle of Motivation,” outlines the collected evidence on motivation and performance. His compelling argument effectively condemns the way we structure the majority of our businesses, and it could be argued our educational environments as well. For, he emphatically states, as if issuing an indictment, “There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does.”

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Relevant Tags: FACILITIES

Increasing School Safety While Reducing Liability

Day-to-Day Management = Crisis Management

Most schools conduct annual or biannual drills on significant activities such as active shooter, tornado or bomb threats. It is critically important to conduct these drills as they allow the organization to practice managing these types of scenarios in a calm orderly manner. The only certainty is that nothing will go as expected. The goal of any public safety organization should be to use these crisis management tools on a daily basis to make every action muscle memory. This allows dispatchers to constantly practice their incident management skills so that when a significant emergency occurs, they are not relying on a scenario they practiced six months before.

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Relevant Tags: SECURITY

Educators & Ed-tech Stewards of Privacy

The use of educational technology is growing at an astounding rate in the U.S. and that growth raises privacy concerns from students, parents, teachers, and administrators regarding the collection and use of their data.  In response to these concerns, a complex legal landscape is unfolding, including the passing of state-specific student data privacy laws that join the long-standing federal laws: the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). 

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Relevant Tags: SECURITY

Leveraging Technology to Improve Academic and Clinical Outcomes

Evidence-based teaching, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) chief among them, relies upon quality data, calculations, graphing and analysis to guide the professional towards teaching strategies that optimize skill and lesson acquisition. In practice, it is often burdensome to collect the amount or quality of data required, and time-consuming to crunch all that data and prepare graphs in preparation for analysis. As the level of technology in classrooms continues to grow along with the number of students benefitting from it, so too does the amount of data. This article gives some insights on how practitioners and organizations can think about gaining control of their data and getting the data to work for them.

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Relevant Tags: TECHNOLOGY

Seven Steps for Adapting Technology to the Classroom

As the recession of 2008 becomes a not too distant memory, some schools are finding themselves better funded. With this comes the acquisition of technology for schools and classrooms. The widespread introduction of technology can have amazing impacts on curricula, pedagogy, and student learning. But some schools have not experienced these results. Below I will share the seven aspects of adapting technology that will help you avoid lackluster results.

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Relevant Tags: TECHNOLOGY

Keeping our Girls Healthy

I grew up in the 70s and when I was eight I joined Little League to play baseball — with the boys. It was a big deal at the time, but not to me since I loved playing the game and my sister was my role model and coach. This changed around age 11 when being a girl became “a thing.” 

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Relevant Tags: WELLNESS

3 Stress Free Tips for the Beginning of the School Year

The beginning of the school year brings excitement and stress for both teachers and students. It’s a new year with new students and probably new processes and procedures.

To help reduce stress it’s important to think ahead and plan for the upcoming day or week. Teachers also need to be mindful of their own mood and the moods of the children in the class. Here are a few ideas to help make the start of a new school year less stressful.

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Relevant Tags: WELLNESS

The Truth About Dairy and Strong Bones

Dairy foods play an important role in children’s growth and development in many ways, but one of the most important is developing strong and healthy bones. The adage “drink milk for strong bones” is so familiar that the advice is often taken for granted. Perhaps it’s time to take another look at the importance of dairy because the incidence of rickets in children is on the rise, bone fractures in adolescents are becoming more frequent and osteoporosis is becoming a common condition in the elderly population.

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Relevant Tags: WELLNESS

It's Time We Rethink School Fundraising

Is your school stuck in a fundraising rut? Are you just going through the motions year after year, while the fundraising company walks away with a large percentage of your earnings? A majority of schools are stuck in this hamster wheel and are left feeling trapped. Why? The most likely reason is fear — fear of rocking the boat, fear of not being successful, fear of change.

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Relevant Tags: FUNDRAISING

Charleston, South Carolina A Mix of History With Lots of Fun Thrown In

Known as “The Holy City,” Charleston, South Carolina needs no introduction. This world-renowned city has everything to offer families and groups looking to have a great time. Mixing a wealth of history with a lot of fun, here are some of the reasons why Charleston — and surrounding areas — continuously attract millions to its cobblestoned and rainbow-hued streets.

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

Walk and Learn in the Steps of Heroes USS YORKTOWN

The Institute of History, Science and Technology on board the YORKTOWN provides a full range of programs and activities. Our programs use the YORKTOWN and its environment as hands-on “real life” teaching stations, and are designed to capitalize on the “awe” factor of the massive aircraft carrier and its natural surroundings. Just a few of our programs are History & Science, Marine Science and VIP Tours.

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia SC is a state capital with superpower: it makes everyone happy! It’s easy to get to, and once you’re there, it’s easy to get around. Columbia is the perfect place for ambitious in-town itineraries.

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

Yeah, THAT Greenville! Where the past and the future share the same Main Street

When guests first arrive in Greenville, South Carolina, they’re captivated by the unique blend of traditional Southern charm and cosmopolitan cool that permeates the area. Clearly, this is not your typical sleepy Southern town. 

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

A Front Royal Adventure is Waiting for You

Here in Front Royal, life has a happiness to it. The breathtaking views of the mountain ranges, the tranquility of the Shenandoah River flowing through our town, and the natural caverns all pull together to create an incredible landscape that beckons to be explored. And from Skyline Drive and the Shenandoah National Park to river rafting and canoeing, cave tours, horseback riding, camping, and hiking, Front Royal is prepared to help with wherever your adventure takes you!

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

Henricus Historical Park Helps Students with Project-and Problem-Based Learning Projects

Henricus Historical Park is located 80 miles west of colonial-era Jamestown along the historic James River.  It consists of the re-created 1611 – 22 community of the Citie of Henricus (an outpost of Jamestown) and the nearby Powhatan Indian community of Arrohateck. 

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA The Freedom to Have Fun

Find Your Freedom

Want more freedom than any destination in the U.S.? You’ve come to the right place! Your Greater Williamsburg trip starts here with the freedom to have fun, relax and satisfy your curiosity – all in one awesome trip.

If you think you know what to expect from your trip to Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg, think again. Explore this incredible destination in a totally new way.

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

Colonial Williamsburg

You want your students to connect with American history: the sources of our democratic values, how our lives have changed over time, and how the choices of citizens shaped the outcome. Nothing was inevitable.

But you also want them to have fun, to be engaged.

Colonial Williamsburg offers customized hands-on school and group visits in the city where George Washington first took elective office, Thomas Jefferson learned law and Patrick Henry spoke out against the Stamp Act.

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

Make Education Fun at Busch Gardens Williamsburg & Water Country USA

The beautiful charm of Europe meets an unparalleled mixture of thrill rides and adventure at Busch Gardens® Williamsburg. The Virginia theme park has something for everyone with world-class roller coasters, captivating shows and exciting animal encounters. The park’s collection of educational programs is designed to help educators turn the world’s most beautiful theme park into a classroom of wild and thrilling proportions. 

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

Madame Tussauds - Nashville

Madame Tussauds, the world-renowned wax attraction, has opened in Nashville. With a completely different concept, the Nashville location will be the beloved brand’s first to focus solely on superstars that have shaped America’s musical landscape.

The immersive experience will make guests the star of the show as they take a journey through different genres and eras in America’s musical history alongside a dynamic cast of their favorite icons. Accompanied by vivid and authentic scenery, Madame Tussauds Nashville will transport guests to a mid-century recording studio, the original Grand Ole Opry stage in the 1970s, a rock-themed dive bar, the famous Bluebird Café and backstage at their favorite contemporary artist’s concert.

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

TROY UNIVERSITY’S Rosa Parks Museum PRESERVES PARKS’ LASTING LEGACY

On Dec. 1, 1955, the act of one courageous woman sparked a movement that brought change not only to the city of Montgomery, Alabama but throughout the United States.

Rosa Parks, often referred to as the mother of the Civil Rights Movement, refused to relinquish her seat on a Montgomery city bus to a white male. Her subsequent arrest at the intersection of Montgomery and Lee streets in downtown Montgomery led to the 382-day boycott of Montgomery buses by African Americans.

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

LEGOLAND - Discovery Center Atlanta

Jump into the world’s biggest box of LEGO® bricks and take your students to the ultimate LEGO classroom at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Atlanta. Located inside Phipps Plaza in Buckhead, Atlanta, we have constructed the quintessential educational entertainment experience, bringing interactive opportunities to LEGO lovers across the region. 

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

The Newseum: Engage with the First Amendment

It seems only fitting that a museum devoted to the First Amendment and free expression overlooks Pennsylvania Avenue — “America’s Main Street” — the scene of parades, processions and protests by people exercising their constitutional rights.

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

ALL ABOARD for Education Destination!

At the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad, we aim to provide each visitor with an experience they cannot get just anywhere. Situated in the mountain highlands of rural West Virginia, our MountainRail Adventures take passengers on a fun and scenic expedition to some of the most obscure and historic parts of the Mountain State. These trips are great for students who care about the outdoors, have an appreciation for history and enjoy experiencing new things.

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Relevant Tags: STUDENT TRAVEL

TENZI - THE WORLD'S FASTEST GAME.

IT'S A FUN, FAST FRENZY!

Our Goal: to reinvigorate the spirit of American education.  The Southeast Education Network, through SEEN Magazine and www.SEENmagazine.us, presents resources, ideas and techniques to help educators become more effective while growing personally and professionally. SEEN Magazine is dedicated to educators, school administrators, and the education community.