Author Archives: Lauren Audet

Take Charge of Your Teaching Evaluation: Study Guide Now Available

Take Charge of Your Teaching Evaluation

Written by Jennifer Ansbach, author of Take Charge of Your Teaching Evaluation: How to Grow Professionally and Get a Good Evaluation.

As I wrote Take Charge of Your Teaching Evaluation, I was thinking about how I could make it more useful and began reflecting on the professional development experiences that shaped my own growth. One of the best experiences I had was when a group of us would meet regularly on part of our prep period to discuss our students' work and our own planning and feedback to students. This powerful experience, shared across disciplines and grade levels, helped me focus on questions such as “What do good directions to students look like? How can I help my students see what doing their best work looks like?” or even “How can I ask better questions?” We would meet and bring samples of student products along with the assignment itself, with each of us given time to present our artifacts and questions and then listen while others offered their ideas for our consideration. Many others conduct this kind of collegial study, and it helps keep the focus on how we can improve student learning and student work.

[Download the study guide for Take Charge of Your Teaching Evaluation by Jennifer Ansbach here]

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Helping Students Bring Beliefs into Writing

Helping Students Bring Beliefs into Writing

The following is adapted from Poems are Teachers: How Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater


Many texts grow from idea-and-belief-soil. Writers write about what they believe is important, what they believe is wrong, what they long to preserve. Editorial writers, reviewers, and cartoonists lay their beliefs bare on newsprint, greeting sleepy morning readers with coffee and opinion: Where is the hottest new restaurant in town? For whom should I vote? What’s up with concussions in youth sports?

National Public Radio featured a show titled This I Believe for many years, and at the website thisibelieve.org, you will find hundreds of belief essays by people of all ages and walks of life, essays about everything from attending funerals to being kind to the pizza dude.

In her book Writing to Change the World (2007), Mary Pipher asserts, “Writers can inspire a kinder, fairer, more beautiful world, or incite selfishness, stereotyping, and violence. Writers can unite people or divide them”

When we write, we nudge change, and it is our responsibility to think about what kind of writing change agents we wish to be. Which beliefs do we hold dear enough to share?

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Heinemann Fellow Kate Flowers on Battling the Blahs

Battling the Blahs "Like a Boss"

Photo Credit: Brooke Lark


I know why so many teachers leave the profession in their first five years.

The Blahs.

For me, the Blahs come in October.

Unlike August, with her shiny new face, back-to-school clothes, and pristine notebooks, or September with his lenient Labor Day break and PTSA luncheons, October is a bit of a jerk.

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With Struggling Learners, Embrace The Power of Yet

Supporting Struggling Learners

The following is adapted from the introduction to Supporting Struggling Learners: 50 Instructional Moves for the Classroom Teacher by Patricia Vitale-Reilly

Believing in and teaching the transformative power of yet is perhaps my favorite of all moves and its power with struggling learners especially important. Life, learning, progress, and success is always about yet. What you can’t do now is not what you can’t do, but what you can’t do yet.

[Click here to download a sample chapter from Supporting Struggling Learners: 50 Instructional Moves for the Classroom Teacher ]

Wrapping your mind around yet is not always easy. “It’s about learning to fly. If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. Wherever you are is where you are. You will get there. Embrace where you are and believe that you will learn to fly.” These words are exactly the kinds of words we need to say to our students.

Begin by acknowledging that students are where they are. Embrace that, and believe that they will learn how to fly. Truly. Believing in the power of yet is not some touchy-feely ideology but is grounded in the belief that when we have a mindset that trusts that all students can grow, we can move our students to a place of great joy and success.

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How to (Re)Integrate Your Beliefs Into Your Curriculum

August-This-year-i-will-refile-my-papers-every-year

October-This-year-i-will-refile-my-papers-every-year


This post was written by Kristi Mraz and originally published on the author's own blog, kinder confidential. Find more at kinderconfidential.wordpress.com


Now is the time of the year when the daydreams of August turn into the real work of teaching. What were your hopes and dreams before school started? Have they gotten buried under a heap of paperwork, assessments, and things not going the way you hoped? Let’s dust them off and bring them back! My co-author and all around favorite human, Christine Hertz, and I are working on a blog series about integrating your beliefs into your curriculum, with (hopefully) some handy tips along the way.

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Maintaining Motivation To Teach

Valuing First-Year TeachersI am sure you have had those moments in your classroom where your students are completely engaged in the process of learning, where magic happens in surprising ways. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s identifies this immersion in a task as “flow,” which he describes as “a sense of merging with the activity” (2000). It’s what we imagine will happen when we enter our classroom in the first place. However, with the dis­ruptions and demands on our work, it can be hard to maintain. Csikszentmihalyi’s research explains that people can find that flow if they have “very high levels of in­trinsic motivation . . . marked by . . . strong interest and involvement in the work” (2000). Our challenge is to figure out how to do this in our daily work of teaching.

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