We are teachers, parents, students and members of the community who care about our public schools.

Two strategies to combat test stress

This month across the state of Tennessee students will take assessments in math, reading, science and social studies to measure their learning over the course of the school year and their preparedness for the upcoming year. It’s easy to get overly amped during this time and create a stress-filled environment for kids and adults alike. Here are two research-based and…

15 Minutes or Less and It’s Free: Delivering Values through Morning Meetings

Want to play Buzzword Bingo: Teacher Edition? Easy. You’ll need a room of highly qualified educators and bingo cards. Best played in conferences and professional development settings. Bonus points if you use the math teacher’s blue flair felt tip pen you knowingly took from the workroom. Don’t worry, it’s fine, she buys in bulk from Amazon.   Add your buzzwords:…

History in the Making

Since I was in school we have learned about the same Black history heroes every year during Black History Month: Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriett Tubman, Malcolm X, George Washington Carver, W.E.B. DuBois, Sojourner Truth. These heroes and heroines helped shape the world today and can never be forgotten as integral components of American heritage, culture, and history,…

Teachers: You are someone’s hero

I hope you look at your student, frantic with explanations and remember, you are someone’s hero.   It is that time of year again. The black hole between winter and spring break. The ominous vortex of half read emails, after school meetings that seem to last decades, and Murphy’s law awakening from his winter long hibernation with a vengeance.  …

Simple strategies for reading comprehension

Teaching reading when one size does not fit all I love the experience of reading a novel together as a class. We laugh together, we feel sad together, and together, we develop a shared love for brave characters who face significant challenges with humor and grace. It’s also a useful touch point as we develop our understanding of literature. When…

Preparing for the state assessment together

  State testing is a serious topic, so I thought I’d lighten the atmosphere with a joke.   TEACHER (to class): Can someone tell me “How do you spell ‘crocodile?’” STUDENT: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L’ TEACHER: No, that’s wrong STUDENT: But you asked me how I spell it!   One day, the student might make a good lawyer. But, in a world with…

My Instructional Coach and Me

One of the best professional development opportunities offered at my school has been the regular and frequent observations and debrief conversations with my instructional coach. I believe these observations and follow up conversations are the single biggest contributor to my development as a teacher.   Once a cutting-edge idea, instructional coaches are now common place in many schools across America. The…

Mentoring: Meeting the social and emotional needs of scholars

I grew up in what people in Memphis call “South Memphis”. I was born to a teenage mother and father. If we consider what statistics say about the children born to teenage parents, I was destined to repeat the cycle.  Even though my mother was young, she realized she could not do it alone. So, I had a strong support…