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Strategy of the Week


Students Describe Qualities of Great Teachers
Viewing students as consumers -- and consumers with strong ideas about how their instructors should treat them as learners and individuals -- can help good teachers become great teachers in the eyes of the people who matter most, according to a new book.

ABC Books
Creating ABC books reinforces language skills and develops research skills. The activity also is a unique tool for turning students into teachers, as they share what they learn about a curriculum-related topic.

Anger Management
A student whose emotions are out of control can sabotage the learning of an entire classroom. Discover a variety of strategies and programs for dealing with the angry, frustrated, or aggressive student.

Book Reports
Book reports are a classroom staple;that doesn't mean they have to be boring. Discover 50 ideas for book report formats that engage students and motivate them to read more.

"Brag" Phone Calls
Many teachers see the value in calling parents to report good news. Teacher Donna Kelly believes in the power of "brag phone calls," but she lets her students make those calls!

Brain-Based Teaching
Discover the latest research on the brain and learn how it affects teaching and learning. Learn how to make the most of brain research in your classroom and in your personal life. Where did you leave those car keys?

According to expert Dan Olweus, bullying affects the social climate and learning environment of the entire classroom. Set the right tone in your classroom by making it clear that bullying will not be tolerated.

Career Education
Job shadowing helps students make a connection between what they learn in class and what they need to learn to achieve their career goals. But it's only part of a comprehensive career education program.

Character Education
When the educational system works well, the best indicator is the character of its students. Read about the importance of character education and about some of the programs schools are using.

Research reveals that chess improves children's critical thinking and problem solving skills. In addition, chess develops kids' visual memory, attention span, spatial reasoning, and prediction skills.

Curbing Cheating
Is cheating a problem in your school? Education World explores the issue with students, teachers, and other experts who offer workable strategies to curb classroom cheating.

Classroom Management
Effective classroom management creates an environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. It is the most important -- and the most difficult -- skill a teacher must master.

Debates can help students develop skills in critical thinking, public speaking, organization, persuasion, research, teamwork and cooperation, and etiquette. And that's just the beginning.

Designer Homework
One teacher discovered a unique way to add interest to homework assignments and get parents involved. Kids say the technique allows them to be creative and teaches them responsibility.

Differentiated Instruction
Differentiated instruction is a teaching approach in which educational content, process, and product are adapted according to student readiness, interest, and learning profile.

Electronic Portfolios
Hardcopy portfolios of student work have been used for some time; the use of electronic portfolios, which allow students to save and display sound and video files as well as text and graphics, is a relatively recent, trend.

"Every Day" Activities
Most students love routine. Use that fact to your advantage by offering daily activities in curriculum areas. "Every Day" Activities offer reinforcement and practice, ensure retention, and improve end-of-year test results.

Exit Slips
Exit slips are small pieces of paper on which students share what they learned from the day's classroom lesson. Exit slips help students take stock of their learning and let teachers know whether they "got it."

Family Fitness Nights
Sending students a message about the importance of fitness isn't enough. Many schools are going for the gold with events designed to make sure kids -- and their families -- put that message into motion.

Family Reading Nights
Many schools are placing a renewed emphasis on reading. Planning a special night to showcase student reading and to get entire families involved is a sure way to boost reading excitement and achievement.

Few teacher education programs today teach handwriting instruction. If you've been avoiding teaching handwriting because of a lack of knowledge or training, the following resources can help.

Homework builds skills and responsibility -- but it also can be a hassle. How to keep track of homework, what weight to give it, and what to do if students don't do it are issues most teachers face.

Homework Study Hall
Startled by his students' failing grades, one principal made making up missed work a mandatory activity. The policy raised student GPAs and improved teacher morale. Could it work for your school?

100th Day of School Celebration
The 100th day of the school year is a classic "teachable moment." Celebrate the day by organizing a classroom or school celebration that engages students in activities that promote special fun and memorable learning.

An icebreaker is a simple activity that enables teachers to get to know their students and students to get to know their teachers and each other. Most of the activities are short and fun, and most require little or no preparation.

A generation ago, few classrooms included students with disabilities. That all changed, however, with the passage of IDEA. How are schools meeting the challenge of including all students in the regular classroom?

Interest Fairs
More flexible than a Science Fair or a Social Studies Fair, an "Interest Fair" taps all subjects and students' interests. Whatever their ages, students are ready to share interests and answer questions on Interest Fair Night.

The "Jigsaw" Technique
In "jigsaw" cooperative learning, each student works to master a segment of information; then group members share information to "piece together" a clear picture of the topic at hand.

Journal Writing
Journal writing in the classroom can take many forms and serve many purposes. Whatever the intent or structure, however, for many teachers journal writing is an integral part of the curriculum.

Literature Circles
A classroom literature circle is a small group of students who read, discuss, and then showcase a particular piece of literature. Learn how literature circles help improve literacy skills while motivating students to read.


In looping, a teacher moves with his or her students to the next grade level rather than sending them to another teacher at the end of the school year. What are the benefits and disadvantages and looping?

Mini Whiteboards
Individual student whiteboards provide a great way to actively involve students in the learning process -- and a terrific tool for providing immediate feedback and assessment.

Motivating Reluctant Readers
The key to turning reluctant readers into enthusiastic readers is to make sure all students are active participants in their own learning, not just passive recipients of teacher instruction.

Teachers motivate students by engaging their interest, demonstrating the relevance of what they're learning, displaying enthusiasm; and establishing challenging, but achievable goals.

Multiple Intelligences
With an understanding of Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences, educators can allow students to direct their own learning and understand and appreciate their own strengths.

Parent Involvement
Research shows that children are more likely to succeed academically, and less likely to engage in violent behavior, if their families are involved in their education.

Parent Open House
Open house night is the perfect opportunity to make connections with parents. With a little planning, your school can improve open house attendance and make a good first impression too.

Parent-Teacher Conferences
When it comes to parent-teacher conferences, it's a toss up as to who least wants to be there -- the nervous parents or the teacher who must deliver news that isn't always expected or appreciated.

Playground Maps
A large-scale map painted on playground asphalt "provides a 'clean slate' on which students can do all kinds of activities," says Ed Bonne, known throughout the United States as "The Playground Map Guy."

Poetry Slam
Blend poetry and theater to create a fun event that emphasizes creativity while developing students' thinking and presentation skills. Use a slam as a Poetry Month fundraiser or an antidote to the winter blahs.

Pretzels -- an activity from the Northeast Foundation for Children -- is a primary-grade strategy that focuses on students' kindnesses and results in improved classroom behavior.

Learn how you can use the inherent appeal of puzzles to sharpen students' thinking and problem-solving skills and reinforce concepts in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Reader's Theater
Reader's Theater is a strategy in which students read from scripts. Repeated reading of Reader's Theater scripts builds students' comprehension and fluency as it improves their self-esteem and reading confidence.

Reading Aloud
Reading aloud has been touted as "the single most important activity for eventual success in reading." Teachers agree -- and they offer their thoughts on using read-alouds in classrooms across the grades.

Reading Response Journals
A reading response journal is a notebook that students use expressly for "talking" -- thinking and writing -- about what they read. Response journals can help teachers assess students' comprehension and critical thinking.

"Responsive Classroom" Approach
The Responsive Classroom® approach emphasizes students' social and academic growth through morning meetings, organized play, guided discovery, and academic choice.

Review Games
Reviewing for tests can be a dreaded chore for both students and teachers. These resources will help tired educators liven up review time; students will enjoy the games, and teachers will see the results in improved test scores.

In a perfect world, the acquisition of knowledge would be reason enough for children to want to learn. In the real world, however, some extrinsic motivation often is required.

One of the most basic factors in establishing a positive classroom climate is the development of class rules. In these articles, education experts discuss how to develop and implement effective classroom rules.

Service Learning
In its truest form, service learning connects deeply to the school curriculum. It offers unique opportunities to learn responsibility, experience satisfaction, and provide benefit to the community as they acquire new skills.

Shared Reading
Many teachers use shared-reading -- an approach to teaching reading that engages students and makes them better readers. Reading expert Dr. Janet Allen and two teachers offer tips for a successful start to shared reading.

Are you and your students tired of the same old spelling lessons week in and week out? With just a few new strategies and activities, you can turn your spelling practices from dull to dynamic.

Stress Relief
Do you ever find yourself dealing with unmotivated, disrespectful, or unruly students? With large classes, heavy workloads, or unreasonable accountability standards? With job-related stress? What teacher doesn't?

Student-Led Conferences
Student-led conferences help students take responsibility for their own learning, as they reflect on what they have learned and set goals for themselves, teachers say.

Teaching About the Election
Teachers across the United States use news stories about elections to teach citizenship. Don't forget one other tool for teaching citizenship and critical thinking -- editorial cartoons.

Teaching Current Events
Every teacher must play a role in building students' current-events knowledge. A strong current events program can also teach essential skills related to writing, geography, and history.

Teaching Geography with E-Mail
Are you looking for an easy way to incorporate technology into your geography lessons? If so, you might consider one of the excellent collaborative projects available via e-mail.

Teaching Manners
Character education is a hot topic, but education in manners often receives scant attention. Teachers who "teach" manners say, however, that they notice a real difference in students' attitudes and academics.

Teaching with Games
Games help build students academic confidence, improve their problem-solving skills, and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships.

Teaching with Music
"I started writing [music] as a way of helping myself (and my colleagues) survive the year with an intact sense of humor," educator and songsmith Eric Baylin told Education World.

Teaching Writing
A new SAT, as well as the mandates of NCLB, make it more important than ever that teachers at all grade levels provide students with increased opportunities to practice and develop their writing skills.

Timelines are the ultimate graphic organizers. They provide visual tools for studying brief periods of time -- a day, a year, an individual's life -- or for examining a topic across centuries.

Tools for Teaching
Dr. Fred Jones has developed a method of classroom management in which the prevention of discipline problems and training children to be responsible are carried out in a positive and affirming context.

Visualization (A Reading Comprehension Strategy)
Students often view reading as a passive activity. A simple technique -- visualization -- can help transform students from passive to active readers while improving their reading comprehension.

Word Walls
Word walls, teachers say, promote literacy by providing a print-rich environment and creating in students an excitement about words. Learn how to create and use a word wall in your classroom.

Writing Prompts
Writing prompts are descriptions of situations designed to interest students in a topic and encourage them to write about it in a thoughtful and creative way. Are you looking for effective writing prompts? Try one of these.