Georgia Teacher's Back to School Generosity is Rewarded

Robert Horne, a special education teacher from Gainesville, GA simply planned to do what he’s done at the start of every school year for decades: put the needs of his students first. This year, though, the stakes are much higher.

A few months back Mr. Horne stopped at the store to pick up some “inventory” for one of his most valuable life skills lessons. To help his special needs students put math to real world application, he has his class run a store. They purchase items such as Little Hug, set up an inventory and then resell them.  “My students sell 3 beverages every day:  soda, water, and Little Hugs,” said Mr. Horne.  “They keep track of sales, and I collect the data. They choose Little Hugs over all the other choices 5 to 1.” 

Mr. Horne knew the refreshing Little Hugs would be fast sellers with the temperatures sweltering in Georgia. But he didn’t know, when he went to pick up a few cartons, was that a special promotion was on and that certain cartons contained instant cash prizes. So he was quite surprised when he opened a carton and found a $3000 prize inside.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Article

FROM the EDITOR - Spring 2013

When you only publish three times per year, it’s important that each issue delivers. That’s why we place so many valuable resources into each issue. In this issue, we bring you an edition so chock-full of choice reading, so stuffed with solutions, so packed with practical, useful information that you’ll still be using it long after the Back to School edition arrives. Our cover story is a conversation with Temple Grandin. For those of you in special education, Temple is a rock star. In talking with her, I found her common sense approach to be extremely refreshing. She is brilliant and warm and honest and likeable – and funny. My conversation with her was one of the most interesting I have had in 30 (plus) years as an editor.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: FROM the EDITOR, Charles Sosnik, education, editor, technology, from editor, spring 2013, editor spring

Rigor and the Common Core State Standards: Just the Beginning!

The foundation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is a focus on rigor. Developed in the midst of perceptions about lowered expectations for our students, the Standards provided a well defined set of expectations for each grade level in the areas of English/Language Arts, Literacy and Math.

The standards set rigorous benchmarks, but the impact on student learning will depend on the implementation of the standards. Authentic rigor includes high expectations for students, increased support for students, and increased demonstration of learning by students. As defined — Rigor is NOT a Four-Letter Word:

Read More »

Relevant Tags: RIGOR IS FOR EVERYONE, rigor, common core state standards, Barbara Blackburn, students, standards, rigor, expectations, common core, state standards, barbara blackburn, formative assessments

Experience the World's Only Underground Zipline Adventure Tour

You’re zipping through the dimly lit cavern at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, dangling from a cable, the cavern floor 70 feet below you.  Surprisingly, the anxiety you felt a moment ago, just before you lifted your feet off the platform and began your zip, gives way to a sense of exhilarating freedom as you breeze through the cool dampness of the world below the surface of the earth.  Whether you’re a novice or an experienced zip liner, the MEGA Zips Zip Line Adventure in the Louisville MEGA Cavern is a one-of-a-kind experience that will leave you awestruck. 

If zip lining isn’t for you, but you’d like to tour the MEGA Cavern or plan a student/group trip, you can take a Historic Tram Tour through the cavern instead.  MEGA Cavern experts will educate you throughout the tour on the history and geology of the cavern.  Your guide will point out early cavern formations, you’ll see a replica of the Cuban missile fallout bunker that once existed in the cavern, and much more.

The man-made MEGA Cavern is a former limestone mine, mined from the 1930s to the early 1970s, the limestone used to build bridges, roads and highways throughout the Midwest.  Seventeen miles of passageways run through the 100 acres of the MEGA Cavern, considered the largest building in Kentucky.  About 70 percent of the Louisville Zoo is over the cavern that also runs beneath all ten lanes of a major interstate highway I-264, Watterson Expressway.

Today much of the MEGA Cavern has been converted into warehouses.  Geologists have determined that the cavern can withstand tornado-like winds of up to 260 miles per hours, making the MEGA Cavern warehouses ideal for storage and the safest place in Kentucky.  The government and hospitals both use cavern warehousing space for record safekeeping.

The geology of the cavern and the construction materials used in the warehouses create a green environment.  Motion detector lights have been used in most areas of the cavern, heat from the lights and machines is recycled, and the buildings are heavily insulated.  Inorganic materials used in the warehouse areas to raise the floor level have made the Louisville MEGA Cavern Kentucky’s largest recycler, handling more tonnage than all other recycling centers combined.  Some warehouses have ash buried below them that gives off heat and radiates to warm the concrete in the warehouses. Heaters in each warehouse building dehumidify, but since temperature in the cavern is 58 degrees year-round naturally, less heat is needed during the winter than an above-ground building, and utility costs are 75% to 85% cheaper than a building above ground.

But part of the former mine is being left as is for the zip line tour, with deep caverns and natural limestone walls.  On the tour you would never know that you are so close to businesses and the busyness of the city above.  The caverns look like any natural cavern, sans natural formations like stalactites and stalagmites, which are just beginning to form.

To prepare for the zip line course, you harness up with 7.5 pounds of gear that will keep you securely tethered to steel cables with double clips at all times during your tour.  The zip line course was built to Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) construction standards, and the course and equipment are inspected daily.

Your two guides will orient your group, and you’ll get to start on the “Bunny Zip,” just a few feet off the ground and about 85 feet long, to get the feel for positioning and landing, before you board a tram that will take you deeper into the cavern for more zip lines.  You’ll launch off of wooden platforms that become progressively higher and closer to cliff edge as you move from zip line to zip line, testing your courage and fortitude. You’ll cross suspension bridges three times, balancing on a walking surface about 12 inches wide.  You’ll feel the bounce and sway of the bridges as you cross over deep canyons.  The last zip line is a dual line, with the highest launching platforms of all, and you’ll race a fellow zipper across the canyon to the finish line, once again with a sense of exhilaration as you swoosh through the air for the last time of the tour.

The Louisville MEGA Cavern is located at 1841 Taylor Avenue, Louisville Kentucky, convenient to Interstates I-65 and I-264;  drive time is only 15 minutes from downtown Louisville, 5 minutes from the Louisville International Airport and Kentucky Fair & Expo Center.  Tours are available year-round in all weather, since the cavern is completely indoors.  For tour information or reservations, call (877) 614-6342 or visit the Louisville MEGA Cavern web site at

Student/Group Tours are available for both the MEGA Zips and the Historic Tram Tour AND watch for the opening of the Louisville MEGA Cavern’s newest attraction, MEGA Quest, an aerial adventure course scheduled to open late Summer 2013.  Parking is free, and picnic facilities are available.  For group sales information, call (502) 855-3581.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Article

The Middle School Schedule: A Key to Implementing Common Core State Standards

A middle school schedule represents the comprehensive organization of the instructional program of the school. Many variables, factors, and decisions enter into the equation. The schedule is a means to an end and not the end in itself. It serves to deliver the intended curriculum and becomes the order of the day for teachers and students.  Within the daily schedule, time needs to be allotted for teachers to meet in professional collaboration about dimensions of instruction. Today’s emphasis on Common Core State Standards should be reflected in the school’s mission/vision statement to provide a guide for establishing the most effective schedule. Read More »

Relevant Tags: Article

Trivium + Common Core + Character Core “Children must be taught how to think, not just what to think.”— Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

As our nation explores and implements Common Core and continues to seek ways to close The Achievement Gap, it would also serve us to focus our attention as well on the Trivium — the essential foundation for authentic Teaching and Learning.

Author Jon Rappoport, in his work entitled “The Matrix Revealed,” proposes that logic, the foundation curriculum, is dead. He argues that once upon a time, in medieval universities, new students enrolled in the Trivium. It was the foundation curriculum. It was required. Its parts were: grammar, logic and rhetoric.

Grammar: the interior construction of language; the parts of speech; the proper agreement of parts of speech.

Logic: the valid and invalid connections in the course of an argument; the method of proper reasoning; the deductive links in a chain, at the end of which is a conclusion.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: CELEBRATING IMPROVEMENT, character education, Larry Biddle, education, character, learning, trivium, common core, teaching learning, trivium common, core character, larry biddle, character leadership

A Fast First Aid Guide for Teachers How to help students after tragedies like the Sandy Hook shootings

Five years ago, when I was first asked to write this column for SEEN Magazine, I used to write a lot about what teachers and principals could do to prevent students from creating serious tragedies like school shootings. Five years later, I am stunned to be writing about what teachers and principals can do to help students cope with school massacres committed by adult outsiders.

It is a grave new world that your training never imagined, and most certainly never prepared you for. As someone who routinely helps provide help and professional development to schools after a tragedy has occurred, I want to fill in that gap in your professional training as best I can.

I know that teachers are already stretched paper thin, tackling one “extra” chore after the other — but add to the top of the list, the necessary task helping children to cope in the aftermath of school massacres.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: PROBLEM SOLVED, Ruth Herman Wells, students coping with tragedy, students, education, mental health, first aid, sandy hook, help children

A conversation with Temple Grandin

SEEN: It’s a pleasure to speak with you Dr. Grandin. Our districts are seeing more autistic students than ever before. This is creating some tremendous challenges for our educators as we attempt to meet the needs of this growing population. Tell me what we should know about our autistic learners.

Temple Grandin: “People on the autism spectrum have very different strengths and weaknesses. Some are wonderful at math and terrible at reading. I’m really good at art, decent in writing, but terrible in math. 

Read More »

Relevant Tags: SEEN interview, Temple Grandin, Autism, Autism Spectrum, seen, temple grandin, home economics, high school

Implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

There are some districts that have begun the journey to successfully implement the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) and some that have jumped in feet first without much thought or planning. And then there are some districts that are still waiting for the CCSSM to be laid out for them where someone tells their teachers what to do, when and how to do it. It would be foolish to put a boat in the water and let the currents carry it wherever they may. There is a risk of harm to the boat as well as all those on board. It would be just as foolish to stand on the shore and never get in the boat and expect to get anywhere in the journey that lay ahead. A successful journey requires a lot of study, planning, and preparation for a variety of factors. The factors include the CCSSM, teacher preparation, the classroom environment and assessments.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: common core, mathematics, common core state standards, teachers, standards, mathematics, students, mathematical, ccssm, common core, state standards, standards mathematics, mathematical practice, implementing ccssm

CCSS provides new way for students to engage and learn mathematics

For over a decade, research studies of mathematics education in high-performing countries have pointed to the conclusion that the mathematics curriculum in the United States must become substantially more focused and coherent in order to improve mathematics achievement in this country. To deliver on the promise of common standards, the standards must address the problem of a curriculum that is “a mile wide and an inch deep.” The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a substantial answer to that challenge.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: common core, mathematics, common core state standards, students, education, mathematics, standards, teaching, understanding, research, common core, state standards, students engage, learn mathematics, mathematics education

Conceptual understanding of mathematics from a language-focused perspective

Reform in mathematics education in the United States has focused primarily on instruction, on remedying teachers’ tendencies to teach how they were taught. However, what our system has neglected is the idea that teachers will also tend to teach what they were taught. If the bulk of teacher content knowledge in mathematics consists of procedures and rules, then that is the type of shallow mathematics that will be passed on to students. The best and most innovative teaching practices will have little impact if the mathematics being taught consists of content that many have referred to as “a mile wide and an inch deep.” There are a multitude of components necessary for effective instruction, but common sense indicates that teachers cannot teach what they do not know, and they can only teach to the depth of their own understanding.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: common core, mathematics, common core state standards, SEDL, mathematics, language, education, understanding, multiplication, conceptual understanding, understanding mathematics, mathematics education, language symbolism, repeated addition, common co

Fulfill the dream — Get teachers plugged in Equipping Instructors to Teach the Common Core State Standards

Authors of the Common Core State Standards, along with educators across the United States have a dream — a dream to prepare our youth for the future.

As with other dreams in our recent history, Martin Luther King’s and John F. Kennedy’s, we the people can make those dreams come true. Highly trained teachers equipped with a new set of strategies and skills are those people. They have the power to unfold the dream of the Common Core State Standards.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: common core, professional development, common core state standards, teachers, writing, common core, professional development, state standards, implementation support

Introducing STUDENTS to the General Academic Vocabulary of the Common Core State Standards Opinion WRITING Grades 2-5

Schools around the country are now grappling with the challenges of the Common Core State Standards. While the first assessments of the standards are not due until the 2014-2015 school year, educators are already addressing the standards and preparing students for the new assessments.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: common core, vocabulary, language arts, common core state standards, writing, standards, vocabulary, opinion, academic, opinion writing, common core, academic vocabulary, state standards, general academic

Disturbing revelations about education publishing

Creators of the Common Core State Standards recommend a “publishers’ criteria” designed as a guide for curriculum developers and publishers to ensure that instructional material and textbooks meet the Common Core requirements. But are publishers actually following these recommendations when updating their instructional materials to the Common Core?

Read More »

Relevant Tags: common core, word bank, common core state standards, education, publishers, materials, publishing, common core, state standards, education publishing, publishing industry

What’s missing in the Era of the Common Core?

June will mark three years since the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) first made their debut. Educators spent the first two years getting acquainted with the expectations of the standards and figuring out what makes them similar to and different from past standards. Information and misinformation came — and still comes — from all fronts, but there appears to be consensus among educators regarding the following key shifts in English Language Arts/Literacy.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: common core, common core state standards, common core lessons, common core units, students, texts, standards, common core, complex texts, state standards, multiple texts

Parents and the Common Core Standards

Learning and implementing the new Common Core Standards is a challenge for all of us in education right now. Change is always a challenge. If we’ve been teaching a subject for five or 10 years we know it, we get it, and we get how to teach it. Now we’re being asked to teach the same subject yet make sure we are teaching particular aspects of the subject in the Common Core that we perhaps haven’t emphasized. We might be looking at aspects of teaching which include more critical thinking or skills that require more knowledge on our part. If we’re having a bit of a challenge with all of this, why would we even consider adding a new dimension, a new group of players who probably aren’t as skilled as any of us educators in the field of learning? Why include parents in this already challenging mix?

Read More »

Relevant Tags: common core, parents, education, schools, standards, common core, core standards, test results

Using PBL to jump-start the Common Core Standards

With 46 states endorsing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and half of those planning for full implementation in the next three years, states and professional development organizations recognize that the kind of transformative professional preparation necessary to meet the challenge of teaching the new standards is not yet in place. Most understand also that the usual format — familiarizing teachers with the new standards, choosing texts, and aligning curriculum and assessments — isn’t sufficient. The six shifts of the Common Core, including “building a staircase of complexity,” require innovative best practices that prepare teachers and students to engage in thoughtful problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking and research.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: common core, PBL, project based learning, common core state standards, education, product, teaching, membership, distance education, teaching tools, education network

Staying in sync

Technology is in a constant state of change. As recently as January 2013, the International Consumer Electronics Show (ICES) dazzled it’s audience with cutting edge innovations such as the new BMW equipped with the mobile 4G LTE Hotspot, and other more simplistic devices such as mind-controlled copters, health monitoring watches and mobile fitness apps. Imagine a high school student who is equipped with a watch to monitor heart rate that is blue-toothed to a smart phone in his pocket posting data from the watch to a web app in real time, simultaneously using a wearable personal navigation system to route his weekend trail through Daniel Boone National Forest. Now fast forward to Monday when that same student returns to school and disconnects his smart phone and places it in a locker. Making the transition from the consumer electronics world of unlimited possibilities to a typical classroom environment where dynamic and engaging learning is essentially is still a dream.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: technology, classroom technology, BGSU, technology, learning, education, information, student learning, cutting edge, individual student, using technology, consumer electronics

Classroom technology: the future Where are we today with classroom technology?

Classroom technology has grown dramatically over the past half century from the transparency projectors of the 1960s to the classrooms of today replete with an array of impressive teacher technology tools.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: technology, the future of classroom technology, education, student, learning, teacher, data, assessment, classroom technology, data teams, technology tools, formative assessment, student response, learning activities, rapid formative

A digital transformation of K-12 education

The recognized need to improve educational outcomes in America’s K-12 education system has spawned a number of initiatives, including a push for adoption of common curriculum standards, but also a push away from printed textbooks toward digital curriculum. This article offers an overview of recent and pending developments in digital curriculum solutions for teachers and students.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: technology, classroom technology, digital curriculum, learning, education, teachers, content, digital curriculum, curriculum delivery, digital content, lesson presentations, delivery model, educational outcomes, instructional design

‘iPads fail in schools’ - How to prevent this headline

Please read the whole title of this article.

I am not saying iPads have failed in schools.

I am saying iPads can fail and will fail unless we take specific steps to make sure they succeed.

If you don’t think iPads can fail, do an Internet search for “Computers fail in schools,” “Laptops fail in schools” or “Technology fails in schools.” In every case, the innovators swore they couldn’t fail so don’t be swayed by arguments that iPads are not like any previous technology.

Here are the steps we must take in order to give iPads a fighting chance to succeed.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: technology, classroom technology, iPADs in schools, ipads, technology, implementation, use ipads, targeting change, test scores

Maximizing investments in Mobile Device Management

There’s no question about it — when school districts purchase iPads or other mobile devices for education, their budgets take a big hit. But what’s perhaps even more brutal to their bottom lines is that they must immediately, often unexpectedly purchase Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions to both manage these new devices and address the explosive popularity of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technologies in classrooms and on campuses nationwide.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: technology, classroom technology, mobile device management, education, districts, mobile, mdm, security, filtering, mobile devices, device management, maximizing investments, sharing solutions, network security

Democratizing virtualization: What Bill Gates’ school district shares with rural Kenya

Bill Gates’$1.063 million in annual property taxes helped pay for our son’s education.

Given the plethora of Microsoft millionaires living in our home school district of Bellevue, WA, it’s perhaps not surprising that its schools rank among the best funded and highest-performing in the nation. 

Read More »

Relevant Tags: technology, classroom technology, direct virtualization, school, virtualization, bellevue, direct virtualization, democratizing virtualization, school district, bill gates’

Open your classroom to the world

These are exciting times in education, as schools across the country are asking how they can shift into the 21st century. Twenty-first century learning environments aim to provide children the skills that will enable them to use technology as a vital tool for learning and prepare them to excel in an increasingly complex global future. As educators work tirelessly to advance our curriculum into the new age, the nation’s schools face tighter budgets. Teachers are urged to use new tools to increase productivity, use technology to differentiate curriculum, and help students develop non-cognitive and soft skills.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: technology, video conferencing technology, classroom technology, video, conferencing, education, technology, systems, video conferencing, video systems, open classroom, classroom world

Hidden wonders: Why we should teach our students about scientific uncertainty

Picture this. You get the newspaper and there’s a new scientific discovery, something that flies directly into the face of something you learned in school. Velociraptors had fuzzy feathers, like baby ducks. If your grandparents starved as teenagers, you are more likely to get diabetes now. More than half of the universe is made up of some unknown “dark” substance, not a particle of which has ever been found. In science things are always shifting. How do you respond? How do we, as teachers, want our students to respond?

Read More »

Relevant Tags: stem, teaching scientific uncertainty, physics, science, students, education, marbles, scientific uncertainty, hidden wonders, hidden star

Next generation science standards — Coming soon to a classroom near you?

States have the opportunity to decide whether or not to adopt a new set of science education standards that were released in March 2013. Based on the National Research Council’s (NRC) 2011 Framework for K-12 Science Education, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are rooted in the most current science education research, practice and pedagogy. Much like the recent Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative for mathematics and English language arts, the NGSS aim to prepare students to graduate from high school as “college-and career-ready.” Achieve, Inc. has managed the project, led by a consortium of 26 states, in partnership with the NRC, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

Read More »

Relevant Tags: stem, science education standards, science standards, science, education, standards, ngss, science education, science standards, next generation, education standards, english language

A Celebration of Earth Science The American Geosciences Institute’s Earth Science Week — and Beyond

Earth science educators today find themselves at a crossroads. Public curiosity about headline-grabbing issues such as energy, climate change, natural disasters, and the environment has never been greater. Yet schools offer dwindling time and resources to teach about geoscience topics. How are teachers and students to make a priority of this pivotal subject?

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has an answer: Earth Science Week (

AGI has organized this celebration of the Earth science during the second full week of October since 1998. Reaching more than 50 million people a year, Earth Science Week engages young people and others in learning about the geosciences and promotes responsible stewardship of the Earth. The program is supported by the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service, NASA, Esri, the AAPG Foundation, the American Geophysical Union, and other major geoscience groups.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: stem, earth science week 2013, American Geoscience Institute, earth, science, education, activities, earth science, science week, science education, classroom activities, american geosciences

Response to extreme acts of school violence — finding the balance

School safety has once again been elevated to the top of the agenda for many schools across the country. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, parents and other community members are demanding a comprehensive review of practices and procedures, and on the extreme, that school staff be armed and facilities become impregnable fortresses.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: school security, school safety, school emergency management plan, school, staff, education, school shooting, school safety, elementary school, locking devices, hook elementary

The school resource officer

School safety. Ever since the tragic shooting that occurred Dec. 14, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. where 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, those two words have never had so much meaning and sparked controversy around the country. The debates on how we keep our kids safe began that horrible night and have not ended yet. There are numerous ideas that people are coming up with regarding how to keep our schools safe and prevent another incident like the one in Connecticut.

One such idea is to have a School Resource Officer (SRO) assigned to the school campus. An SRO is a fully sworn law enforcement officer from the local police or sheriff’s department that is assigned to a school on a full time basis. The SRO is not a security guard or even an extra hired police officer to “Stand guard” in the front of a school.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: school security, school safety, school resource officer, National Association of School Resource Officers, school, sro, law, education, enforcement, campus, school resource, law enforcement, resource officer, national association, school safety

Don’t build the moat just yet 12 things your school can do to make your campus safer now

The dust has hardly settled on the Sandy Hook shootings and parents and other groups are coming out of the woodwork demanding that schools adopt and embrace and whole new series of security controls and target hardening steps. Before you build the mote around the local school it is important to take note of some significant realities. First, the history of school violence demonstrates that perimeter fences, metal detectors, camera surveillance, armed guards and visitor check-in points will not stop a determined killer. This is not to say that such strategies cannot be helpful in reducing the threat. However, the evidence is not convincing that it will stop all school shootings.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: school security, school safety, National School Safety Center, school, education, crisis, school officials, school safety, sandy hook, hook shootings

Here comes the media!

Television crews drove up right after the ambulance arrived, parking illegally amid all the chaos. As middle school students bolted from the scene, reporters charged in, desperate to determine the name of the teacher who was shot. A wide-eyed sixth grader with a live microphone in his faced, finally blurted, “It’s Mr. Grunow!”

Read More »

Relevant Tags: school security, school safety, crisis communications plan, crisis, media, education, crisis communications, middle school, communications plan, david voss, palm beach

Mark A. Edwards - AASA 2013 Superintendent of the Year

Mark A. Edwards, superintendent of Mooresville (N.C.) Graded School District (MGSD) was recently named the 2013 AASA National Superintendent of the Year. Edwards was honored at the opening ceremony of the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education in Los Angeles. Now in its 26th year, the National Superintendent of the Year program celebrates the contributions and leadership of public school superintendents.

In announcing the selection, Daniel Domenech, AASA executive director had high praise for Edwards.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: administrator resources, Mark A. Edwards, AASA, superintendent, education, edwards, national, aasa, mark edwards, public schools, percentage points, national superintendent

Empowered teachers will change the world

How do we empower our teachers?

You can feel the energy of the room as soon as you enter. You notice three things immediately: the environment is orderly, the children are engaged, and the teacher is joyful. Your heart leaps in your chest. You’ve entered the room of an empowered teacher. This is the place where authentic learning is taking place. You wish you could stay all day.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: administrator resources, empowering teachers, Bee Sharp, teachers, empowered, vision, leaders, education, empowered teachers, teacher empowerment, professional development

Putting data back into the ‘palms' of Duval County’s teachers

In today’s secondary education community, “data” is one of the trendiest topics out there and also one of the most loaded. The age of high-stakes testing has brought with it an implicit reliance on school data as indicators of student achievement and teacher performance. But all too often, policymakers and officials leverage data to reward — or punish, in many cases — districts, administrators, teachers and the students they serve. Ask any teacher or administrator, and he or she would tell you that rich information about pedagogy and practices can’t always be relayed in averages or aggregates and countless questions can remain unasked, buried beneath top-down data directives.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: administrator resources, using data, TERC, data, team, school, teachers, education, using data, professional development, data driven, school culture, fcat results, data teams

New teachers trained poorly? Not according to the principals who hired them

It would be easy for a public educator to develop an inferiority complex. Politicians seek votes by branding hardworking classroom teachers “incompetent” or worse, and the media, of course, is even less constructive, having never seen a negative story about the local school system that it did not publish with a zeal that belies its supposed objectivity.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: teacher evaluation, teacher training, teachers, principals, education, students, new teachers, trained poorly, classroom teachers

The perils of people proof teacher evaluation

America’s teachers will soon be experiencing unprecedented scrutiny. This is because all but a few of our states have recently installed more demanding teacher evaluation programs that kick into operation during the next year or so. These new teacher evaluation procedures were triggered by two major federal initiatives, both of which call for teachers to be evaluated using “multiple measures” in which students’ test performances are to be a “significant factor.” Regrettably, the teacher evaluation procedures being fashioned in many states attempt to minimize or completely exclude human judgment from the evaluative process. Because of the need to rely on multiple sources of evidence, such people proof teacher evaluations are certain to fail.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: teacher evaluations, teacher, evidence, evaluation, state, teacher evaluation, people proof, student growth, teacher evaluations, evaluation systems, multiple measures

Teacher evaluation for teacher growth Education reform is trending toward evaluation models that don’t just measure, but develop teacher expertise

Between 2008 and 2011, the working lives of American teachers changed dramatically. Those years signaled the start of major national reform efforts to turn around a demoralized culture in public education. Teachers, along with their school and district leaders, had suffered for years in a largely dysfunctional system; a range of national and state initiatives hadn’t closed the widening achievement gap between American students and their international counterparts. American schooling, it was broadly agreed, was falling significantly behind. And teachers, not entirely fairly, were taking the brunt of the blame.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: teacher evaluation, Robert Marzano, teachers, evaluation, education, model, classroom, teacher evaluation, student achievement, teacher expertise, teacher growth, evaluation systems, teacher performance, robert marzano

Special Education Teachers In Demand Opportunity to make a positive impact

As our nation continues to struggle with low student achievement, particularly in reading, math and science, articles can readily be found on nearly a daily basis in professional publications, newspapers and on the Internet discussing the need for expanding the number of teachers qualified in STEM education. While it is, of course, vital to the nation’s future to investigate ways to raise the overall achievement levels of our schools, it’s important to also consider the field of special education, which over the past three decades experienced growth in the population of students with special education needs that far outpaced the rate of growth in the general population of K-12 students nationwide.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: advanced degrees in education, masters in education, special education, UNCC, education, special, educators, special education, positive impact, special educators

Brains, minds and education: Studies in educational neuroscience help build better classrooms

Some 2,400 years ago, Greek physician Hippocrates singled out the brain as the seat of intelligence, but millennia later, we’re still deciphering how that organ works in learning. Now, rapid advances in studies of the brain are bringing us closer to answers.

Human brains are diverse and individual, but there is a growing realization in neuroscience research that many complex behaviors draw on a common set of brain regions and connections across individuals to achieve proficiency. Genes, early adversity, poverty, parenting, culture and education affect brain development and learning in ways we’re only beginning to fathom. Biological mechanisms, in turn, themselves influence how we acquire knowledge.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: advanced degrees in education, educational neuroscience, Vanderbilt University, education, brain, neuroscience, educational, research, learning, development, cognitive, sciences, educational neuroscience, neuroscience education, brain education, educ

Building your future with online Ed.D in Curriculum and Instruction: Instructional Technology


Choosing to return to school is difficult, especially with busy lives, full-time jobs, children, or other family obligations. Adults making this choice look for programs that are relevant, offer opportunities to engage with other adults who are in similar situations, provide the venue to learn from highly creative and caring faculty, challenge students to think critically and promote the pursuit of individual goals while applying newly learned information immediately back in the workplace.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: advanced degrees in education, Ed.D in Curriculum and Instruction: Instructional Technology, UWF, technology, education, students, learning, graduates, curriculum, professional, instructional technology, curriculum instruction, professional developme

Childhood obesity Are we doing all that we can to reverse the trend?

Childhood obesity, once a growing concern in the early 1980s, has transformed into a major epidemic over the past 30 years, with a prevalence rate of over 32 percent in children age two to 19 years — overweight and obese body mass index (BMI) categories combined as of 2010. Studies have shown that before a child reaches the age of six, the risk for obesity originates within the child’s home, as parental BMI and other non school related factors such as race and socioeconomic status, serve as the major indicators for potential child obesity. 

Read More »

Relevant Tags: wellness, childhood obesity in schools, obesity, school, children, health, education, academic, childhood obesity, physical activity, academic achievement

Recess a critical opportunity for social and emotional learning Daily break full of potential benefi ts, but not without its challenges

It’s recess! Every school day, millions of children spill out onto their school playgrounds, taking a break from the rigors of class work for roughly 20 minutes. While many educators consider this simply a time for students to relax, run around or socialize, others view it as a potentially dangerous free-for-all. Recess is actually an opportunity to develop critical life skills such as teamwork and conflict resolution. It’s also the time of day when a great deal of social and emotional learning takes place.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: wellness, recess, social and emotional learning, recess, social, school, students, emotional, learning, education, emotional learning, school day, positive impact

Overweight, undernourished, food insecure and sedentary What’s the connection to learning in your classrooms?

While news about childhood obesity often makes the headlines, three other interrelated — and equally critical issues — are often not as familiar to busy school administrators. While you may not have heard as much about student under-nutrition, food insecurity and inactivity, a growing body of research suggests that these issues can have a significant — and negative — impact on the children and adolescents in your schools. It is critical to understand how addressing these physical health issues, identified as the foundation for learning in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, can help to support classroom performance and academic success in your district.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: wellness, nutrition and learning, physical, breakfast, education, activity, nutrition, physical activity, childhood obesity, nutrition physical, learning connection, overweight undernourished

Bridging the gap: That ‘year off ’ is more acceptable than ever

Taking a gap year, long expected of students in Australia and the United Kingdom, is rather a tradition. But that in-between-schools travel has been somewhat slow to catch on in the United States, where the tradition has been to go directly to college, on a quest for a degree. Still, articles about the gap year are increasing in the U.S., and gap year fairs are starting to pop up.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, gap, students, education, college, travel, united states, higher education, bridging gap

The Civil War Teacher Institute Outstanding professional development from the Civil War Trust

While you may have never heard of the Civil War Trust, it’s possible that you or your students may have used the organization’s webpage or, if you have ever been to a Civil War battlefield, you may have stood on the ground the Trust saved.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, civil, institute, teachers, teacher institute, civil trust, professional development, middle school, civil battlefield

School groups tour the Hunley The world’s first combat submarine

History is Made

The night of Feb. 17th, 1864, the Hunley attacked and sank the USS Housatonic off the coast of Charleston. The Hunley signaled to shore that she had completed the mission and was on the way home, but instead, mysteriously vanished. That night, history was made and a mystery was born. The Hunley became the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship. But why had she suddenly disappeared? And would she ever be found? Lost at sea for over a century, the Hunley was located in 1995 by author Clive Cussler and was raised from the ocean floor in 2000.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, hunley, education, product, groups, tour, visit, charleston, century, school groups, groups tour, experiential learning, national geographic, completed mission

Drayton Hall, beyond the classroom and back in time

Experience history where it happened! At Drayton Hall, a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, students and teachers are immersed in the landscape of a circa 1738 plantation that has been preserved in nearly original condition. The house and surrounding landscape has stood through the rise and fall of plantation society, survived devastating natural disasters and wars, and remained intact in the face of modernization. Its outstanding original features are testimony to the work and skills of colonial craftsmen, both free and enslaved. With approximately 10,000 annual participants, Drayton Hall’s student education programs are among the most popular in the Charleston area.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, education, drayton, hall, house, drayton hall, house tour, education programs

Teaching to the extreme at Fernbank Museum New Extreme Mammals exhibition provides thrilling lessons for students

Discussions of mammals, adaptations and fossils may sound like a long list of homework to many students. But watch your students and your curriculum come alive at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in the new exhibition “Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time.”

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, mammals, students, extreme, fernbank, education, museum, fernbank museum, extreme mammals, natural history, teaching extreme, students learn, giant ground, museum natural

New Orleans student trip filled with heritage, tradition and service

When David Hammond, Director of Bands at the Denver School of the Arts, was considering destinations for his students’ spring trip a few years ago, New Orleans was a top contender. The school had never visited New Orleans before, but something about the city kept his interest peeked.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, new, orleans, education, new orleans, heritage tradition, mardi gras, tradition service

Step, walk and tickle yourself in St. Charles Parish, La.

Students of all ages and grade levels can visit St. Charles Parish and take a step back in time, walk on the wild side and tickle their taste buds just minutes away from down town New Orleans, Louisiana

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, plantation, destrehan, louisiana, education, destrehan plantation, charles parish, step back, new orleans, learning opportunities

Louisville is mad about science

Louisville offers a range of possibilities to expand your classroom beyond its walls. The city’s student-friendly attractions allow exploration of how science plays a part in manufacturing, transportation, space, art, food and more.

The “Mad Science” theme is ever present at the Kentucky Science Center where your group can solve a crime with forensic evidence or make-your-own ice cream. Hands on activities, permanent exhibits, award-winning IMAX movies as well as traveling exhibits expand the mind of every budding scientist.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, education, science, louisville, product, baseball, students, exploration, student friendly, transportation space, science education, experiential learning

The Titanic Museum attraction

During a recent field trip to Titanic Pigeon Forge, a student was amazed to learn how primitive 1912’s cutting-edge navigational technology was compared to today’s. “You mean this giant ship was out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with no radios or radar or anything? No way!” he said in disbelief.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, titanic, museum, ship, education, pigeon forge, titanic museum, titanic pigeon, museum attraction, atlantic ocean, experiential learning, middle atlantic

Red Hill: A piece of history in South Central Virginia

In the 18th century when Patrick Henry lived at Red Hill, it was a 2,930 acre working tobacco plantation straddling the line between Virginia’s Charlotte and Campbell counties. In its prime, Red Hill supported more than 100 people but today occupies a little more than 500 hundred acres of the original plantation.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, red, hill, patrick, education, henry, plantation, red hill, patrick henry, 18th century, tobacco plantation, staunton river, american revolution

Busch Gardens lets your students watch their lessons come to life

We’re here to let you in on a little secret — but only if you promise not to tell your students. Busch Gardens® isn’t just an incredible theme park. Sure, we may have 422 acres of thrilling rides and roller coasters that will make even the most stoic teenagers shriek with glee. But we’re also a hands-on classroom, laboratory and performance space, where your students can watch their lessons come to life.

Busch Gardens makes lesson planning easier for teachers, too. We’ve created group tours and educational programming for a range of age groups, from elementary school to high school. Whether you’re explaining the principles of physics or the effects of green technology, the excitement of standing on stage or the importance of wild animal habitats, we have an unforgettable field trip for you. Many of our tours even have student worksheets and other educational planning materials — perfect for extending the impact of your Busch Gardens visit.

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, busch, students, gardens, education, busch gardens, roller coasters

Experience West Virginia debuts during 2013 National Scout Jamboree

The place to be July 15-24 is in West Virginia! While most of the hubbub surrounds the much anticipated move of the National Scout Jamboree and the opening of the 4th Boy Scouts of America High Adventure Base at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, everyone who’s anyone has a curiosity about what will be happening during those 10 days in southern West Virginia.

Not to be missed, a new initiative called Experience West Virginia aims to showcase Appalachian history and culture in an educational and entertaining way. This innovative program is a collaboration of six colleges and universities in southern West Virginia. 

Read More »

Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, west, virginia, education, product, jamboree, college, west virginia, experience west, scout jamboree, national scout, virginia debuts, technical college, bechtel reserve

Our Goal: to reinvigorate the spirit of American education.  The Southeast Education Network, through SEEN Magazine and, 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.