Topics in the News:
teaching issues and craft

Teacher to teacher | May 24, 2012 >>

As teachers of the 21st century, we are familiar with the buzzword “differentiation,” but is it just “buzz”? I regularly hear teachers ponder the effectiveness of differentiated instruction. They raise questions such as, “Are we setting them up for success in the real world?” My answer is YES! Preparing students for success in college and the real world is a consistent focus in our field.

President's perspective | May 10, 2012 >>

The UFT is taking the lead in New York City to help design a U.S.-based version of the British educational website TES, which boasts over 330,000 unique educational resources designed by real teachers to use in their own classrooms that they have decided to share. 

Teacher to teacher | April 19, 2012 >>

One of the best decisions I ever made was to teach hearing-impaired kids. When I took a sabbatical in 1999, I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship in deaf studies and was able to follow my dream to combine my love of language and special education and to breathe new life into a longstanding career.

Teacher to teacher | April 5, 2012 >>

“Who here is excited about college?” I recently asked my freshman English-as-a-second-language students. Silence. I took a step back; maybe they didn’t understand the word “college.” But no, they understood. “It’s where you go after high school,” one student said with a bored tone, “and it takes four years.” Other students nodded. Comprehension of the word was not the problem, but something was amiss.

New teacher articles | April 5, 2012 >>

With warm weather around the corner, students may become restless. Teachers trying to complete a demanding course of study by June will be doubly challenged if students misbehave. That’s why at this time of year teachers often find themselves brushing off those classroom management strategies they used when the school year began.

Feature stories | March 22, 2012 >>

Gold stars for jobs well done may thrill the little ones, but for middle school students, stars don’t cut it. That’s been the experience of Chapter Leader Jeffrey Williams of PS/MS 37 in the Bronx. But one imaginative teacher, Helena Itak, has come up with a solution that has kids so engaged that there are no serious behavior incidents in her classroom.

Teacher to teacher | March 22, 2012 >>

Most core curricula come with the caveat that schools are encouraged to expand and enrich the curriculum as they feel appropriate and should view the framework as neither restrictive nor exhausting. This is where many teachers find themselves struggling: having to develop a unit after being given only a core curriculum as a basis.

Feature stories | March 22, 2012 >>

The Metropolitan Opera's HD Live in Schools Program is enriching learning across the curriculum -- and creating a new generation of opera buffs.

Teacher to teacher | March 8, 2012 >>

During a recent government class, my 9th-graders were yelling and screaming so loudly that people came down to my room to make sure everything was under control. They also saw a smiling teacher. The students in my government class were participating in a three-day simulation of the original Constitutional Convention.

Feature stories | March 8, 2012 >>

They look like images from a super-powerful telescope aimed at the sky, rendered in radiant bursts of color. They are fractals: geometric descriptions of natural phenomena that do not conform to Euclidean geometry. Thanks to the work of math teacher Bryan Stern, students at Brooklyn’s IS 259 had their fractal work on display at a Bay Ridge fine art gallery.

New teacher diaries | February 23, 2012 >>

My teaching career is not yet “very long,” but I have honed some particular skills during my years in the classroom. Spotting plagiarism is one of them. I assigned my high school Spanish students the following project: Choose one holiday from a list of celebrations in Spanish-speaking countries and write a three-page research paper, including a picture.

Feature stories | February 23, 2012 >>

To get to the 4th-grade botany class at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, walk down the slope inside The People Tube, where kids are trailing their fingers through the water in a mini-aqueduct. Then enter the hands-on greenhouse, where Allison Lindon’s students from Brooklyn’s PS 52 are enthralled, learning about adaptation in the natural world from a museum educator.

Teacher to teacher | February 23, 2012 >>

“War is the worst thing that can happen to any nation,” declared my guest as my rapt intermediate-level English-as-a-second-language students carefully passed around the framed black-and-white photo of her brother, who had died in the Bosnian War during the mid-1990s. I had never seen my 9th-graders this attentive, polite or poised.

Teacher to teacher | February 2, 2012 >>

As part of a recent English language arts unit on technology, I decided to reach back 150 years and teach my 12th-grade students excerpts from a densely worded philosophical treatise on the virtues of simplicity. The reading, of course, was “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau, sections of which read like a “greatest hits” of American maxims.

Teacher to teacher | January 19, 2012 >>

This is my fifth year in the classroom and, aside from my first year as a lost but eager and wide-eyed freshman, it has been the most professionally challenging by far. Without quite the experience and confidence of a master teacher, but lacking the infinite energy of a newbie, I found myself in teaching limbo. By December, I asked myself: Why am I here?

Linking to learning | January 19, 2012 >>

Fraser Speirs, an influential Mac developer and a technology director at a Scottish school, recently wrote in his blog speirs.org that “the iPad is not the future of education. It’s the present of education.” Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is promoting the use of iPads in schools, says his company believes that the tablet can “change the way teachers teach and the way kids learn.”

Insight | December 22, 2011 >>

Could your 7th-graders predict the future of the whale population on earth after reading two stories about endangered species? Could your 11th-graders represent both sides of the debate on fracking, or evaluate the quality of a piece of writing?

Teacher to teacher | December 22, 2011 >>

Since creative writing is one of my favorite pastimes, I have tried to pass on that joy to my kids. Students often have wonderful ideas but have difficulty putting them down on paper. The thought of committing ideas to paper can be overwhelming and just getting started can seem daunting.

Teacher to teacher | November 24, 2011 >>

Let music into your elementary school classroom! I find that bringing music into my daily routine can create a sense of community, ease transitions and simply lighten the mood or bring energy back into a long day.

Linking to learning | November 24, 2011 >>

The era of children bearing backpacks stuffed with heavy textbooks may soon be over. Instead, they will open their leather binders and flick their fingers across the screens of their e-book readers. Those of you who already read using a Kindle, Nook or other electronic book reader understand the convenience, the interactivity and the easy portability of these devices.

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