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Professional Development and the Modern Teacher: Six Steps to School Success

“Before our very eyes, teaching in America is undergoing a revolution.” So opens a report by the National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL), which examines just how much teaching has changed over the last twenty years and what teachers need to succeed in the modern classroom. In short, the report asserts that teachers simply need more time to collaborate with their peers. According to their research, teachers spend roughly 80% of their time in the classroom, leaving very little room for them to prepare outside of the classroom for ...

Close Reading and Student Engagement: How to Break Down a Text

[Aubrey Ludwig is the AP English Coordinator here at NMSI, but before that she taught high school English at Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia for 9 years. Please give her a hearty welcome as a new member of the NMSI blogging team! –Timothy] One year, while I was teaching high school English, whenever I would say, “Let’s get ready to complete a close reading,” all of my students, in near perfect synchronization, would press whatever we were reading to their faces. It became a running gag. At the beginning ...

Not Why, But How: 3 Ways to Foster Inquiry Based Learning

We are living in an age where our society is inundated with technological innovations and resources that make accessing information and answering questions easier than it has ever been. A simple Internet search will answer virtually any question on any topic, subject, person, or time period – access to a world of information is literally at our fingertips! But, as amazing as this is, we must be careful that we don’t sacrifice valuable critical thinking skills for the sake of convenience. That is why we at NMSI believe that, ...

Teaching Kids to Argue: Critical Thinking and the Scientific Method

There exists among members of our society a stigma against arguing. From a young age, children are told not to bicker and quarrel, and many adults tend to purposefully avoid conflict because getting into an “argument” is something that is viewed as bad and punishable. However, the act of arguing is not as bad as we make it out to be. When used properly, arguing is really just an extension of critical thinking and analysis. To elaborate more on the subject, NMSI’s expert science coordinator Robert Gonzales affirms our ...

The Four Pillars of Flipping the Classroom

Flipping the classroom has been a hot topic amongst circles in the education world recently – so much so that we even wrote an article about it ourselves! It is clear that teachers are excited about this different way of interacting and engaging with their students to generate new ideas and deepen their understanding. Education Week picked up on this trend as well and hosted a brilliant webinar featuring two expert presenters – Todd Nesloney , a 5th grade math teacher, and Kristin Daniels, a board member of the Flipped ...

Foreboding Fog and Slippery Slime: When Science Meets Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, which means it’s time to create some fun in the classroom! We believe creating an engaged classroom is essential for student success, so we contacted our STEM subject matter expert, Jonathan Edquid, to share some exciting activities that students of all ages will not only think are fun, but they’ll learn something important about science as well. Creating Slime. Kids love to get dirty and play with their hands, so what better activity is there than creating slime they can ...

Is the STEM Crisis a Myth? The Truth About STEM Education

The STEM crisis is considered by many to be one of the foremost issues facing America’s education system and our economy. However, there are some who call the shortage of STEM graduates and professionals a myth. NMSI STEM Student Engagement Director, Lynn Rogers, explains the nature of the STEM crisis and what we need to do to fix it. According to Lynn, there are some professionals who believe that the STEM crisis is a myth, based on the idea that recent STEM graduates are having trouble finding positionsin their field. ...

Technology in the Classroom: The Benefits of Blended Learning

As we advance further into the 21st century, technology is becoming more and more integrated into our society. Smart phones are now commonplace, tablets are replacing or substituting for computers and laptops, and social media has become second nature. The rapid and widespread adoption of these technological innovations has completely changed the way we conduct our daily lives, including how knowledge is digested and taught in our classrooms – but is it a positive change? Should we be worried about teachers and students using technology in the classroom? Our ...

Math and Science in Middle Schools: The Elements of Student Success

A successful middle school classroom contains a teacher who is fully prepared to give their students the time and support they need to develop higher level and critical thinking skills, rigorous coursework that fits properly into a vertical alignment system, and students who are engaged in the material and making real-life connections – the last of which is crucial to mastering the subjects of math and science. To talk about the influence that rigorous math and science courses can have on middle school students, we reached out to our STEM ...

Pencils and Brainwaves: An Analysis on Handwriting and Memory

This week we reached out to our Director of Elementary Development, Freddie Kendrick – you may remember reading about her efforts to transform elementary teaching – and she provided us with a wealth of insight into the benefits of handwriting. There’s a lot more to writing things out than initially meets the eye, but we’ll let Freddie explain it herself: ~*~ [Freddie] Despite the fact that more and more people are communicating through text, and even though technology is making an increasingly significant impact on our classrooms, handwriting is an invaluable skill ...

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