Welcome loyal readers and newcomers alike to the latest edition of Education Update, a collection of education articles and ideas from a variety of online sources. This week features some very interesting material, including three articles that look at ways to determine if your students are reading at home, how to hold them accountable for their home reading and how to engage the strongest readers in the class.

There are also insights into differentiated instruction, digital literacy and digital citizenship, as well as articles on teaching the toughest kids, the attributes of a quality school leader and the benefits, or otherwise, of homework.

This week also features an interesting piece that demonstrates how social media can be used very effectively in the classroom to enhance learning (as opposed to the fears of such technology that pervades so many schools), while media and film teachers should like the series of videos that offer an extensive behind-the-scenes look at the making of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

The final article today looks at how teachers need to set an example for students in the way they conduct themselves in their interactions with students and each other.

To get things started, check out these quotes and articles for some inspiration…click here

Education News

Authentic Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Home Reading

Let’s face it: reading logs are boring, and most kids hate writing down the titles and authors of books they’ve read in order to “prove” they’ve done their required 20 minutes of reading time at home. Here are some more authentic ways to hold students accountable for their reading time and foster a love of books….read more

1-Hour Extensive Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Making Of Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan’

Anyone who paid attention to the behind-the-scenes rumblings of Darren Aronofsky’s recent “Noah” knows the type of passion evident in the director’s work, and photographer/filmmaker Niko Tavernise, superbly and consistently, has provided a insightful peek into that creative process. Part of Aronofsky’s close circle since “Pi,” Tavernise has already crafted extended making-of docs on “The Wrestler” and “The Fountain” (which we’ve already highlighted), and now he’s turned his familiar gaze onto Aronofsky’s striking 2010 psychological thriller….read more

What Makes a Great School Leader?

This is the time of year when, for many different reasons, some teachers consider taking positions at other schools. I’ve received a number of calls from friends and colleagues this spring asking for my advice on this difficult decision. Here’s what I always say: It’s all about the principal or head of school. Find a site with a great leader and while your struggles might not be over, they’ll be significantly reduced. The three qualities I find most indicative of a great school leader are visionary leadership, community builder, and emotional intelligence….read more

Why My Students Are Connected

I have written a lot about being connected myself, even about connecting my students. I have written of the conversations that happen, the connections that happen, and even how it brings this amazing world of strangers in to our rooms. And yet, some people still don’t get the importance of being a connected educator, not just for yourself, but also for your students….read more

How I Know My Students Are Reading at Home

I remember the reading logs well, my brothers hastily whipping them out Sunday night asking my mom to sign off that they had read x number of minutes. My mother never checked, she did not want to be the reading police, after all, she knew my brothers read. She didn’t care how many minutes or which book, all that mattered was that at some point their eyes met something to read….read more

Students Matter: Steps for Effective Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated instruction (DI) is a vast system in which it is difficult for many teachers to find a foothold for supporting students in a meaningful way. Teachers want and expect everyone to succeed, yet the means to that end can be foggy at best. How can we ensure that planned learning experiences have a significant and positive impact on student learning?….read more

The Key Elements Of Digital Literacy

Many teachers have added ‘digital literacy’ as number four on the list of literacies their students should have (or be working towards, in most cases). Reading, writing, and math are now followed by digital literacy. Obviously, depending on the grade level you teach, your students will have different abilities in each of the four areas, so your expectations and your teaching approach may differ quite noticeably from your colleagues. But the nagging question still remains for many teachers – what exactly is digital literacy?…read more

What It Takes To Be A Good Digital Citizen

Digital citizenship is a critical skill right now. Many dismiss it as not being necessary since anyone who uses the web on a regular basis likely feels like they’re acting properly online. But what happens when your identity is stolen or you’re the target of online harassment? Time to brush up on your digital citizenship skills….read more

Tips for Teaching the Tough Kids

Every teacher remembers his or her first “tough kid” experience. Maybe the student ignored your directions or laughed at your attempts to utilize the classroom discipline steps. We all have at least one story to share, and for some teachers, teaching a tough kid is a daily challenge. It seems that no matter what teaching techniques you try to pull out of your educator hat, nothing changes their behaviour….read more

How to Engage Your Strongest Readers

This summer, I was lucky enough to be inn the presence of Mary Ehrenworth at Teachers College as she gave us strategies for how to support our strongest readers. Inspired by her words and knowing that I would have readers that were well beyond their years, I decided to put her words into action. But what did it look like in the classroom?…read more

Homework, Sleep, and the Student Brain

At some point, every parent wishes their high school aged student would go to bed earlier as well as find time to pursue their own passions — or maybe even choose to relax. This thought reemerged as I reread Anna Quindlen’s commencement speech, A Short Guide to a Happy Life. The central message of this address, never actually stated, was: “Get a life.” But what prevents students from “getting a life,” one answer is homework….read more

For a look at alternatives to homework, click here

Teachers Need to Follow Their Own Rules

Somebody recently said to me, “I can’t believe they way they misbehave and the lack of respect they show. They talk on their phones, text, and talk while I talk, don’t listen to each other, come in late, leave early and have no patience for those who disagree.” Who is this person talking about?
The sad truth is that you don’t know. Too many students, faculties, audiences, and education students all behave the same way….read more