Education Elements

Habits that Drive Great Teams

Education Elements

Early in my career, when I was a middle school science teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, I didn’t think that the ritual of shaking my students’ hands, fist bumping, or hugging my students as they entered our classroom meant anything. But now, I realize it’s the opposite.

Personalized Learning: Reflection and Goal-Setting

Education Elements

Reflection and goal-setting is the simplest way to begin personalizing learning because it mirrors a practice we engage in every day of our lives. Sometimes this shows up in small ways, like aiming to show gratitude more often, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or reading more.

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Four Types of Learning Walks for Every School Leader

Education Elements

Everyone's first year at a new school comes with growing pains -- no matter if it’s their first role as a new Principal, or their 25th year opening a new, or newly redesigned school. One approach is particularly useful at helping to alleviate the growing pains - a “secret sauce” of sorts.

How Leaders Can Prioritize Hiring For Equity In This Moment

Education Elements

As a 25 year veteran in education leadership, I can't remember when hiring has never not been a thing. Every year brings sometimes significant turnover in teaching staff, and leaders come and go as superintendencies shift. But as is true in so many other domains, this year is markedly different.

How Bias Affects Our Perceptions of Data: 3 ways to guard against unconscious bias

Education Elements

It’s that time of year again - we’re shopping for school supplies, teachers are returning to their classrooms, and students (as well as their parents) are eagerly awaiting the news as to who their teachers will be.

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Personalizing Learning: Flexible Pace & Path

Education Elements

In 2014, Education Elements promoted the notion of "Integrated Digital Content" as a core component of blended learning. In 2017 we changed this term to “Flexible Content and Tools,” recognizing that both online and offline content have an important role to play when personalizing learning.

Personalizing Learning: Collaboration & Creativity

Education Elements

Two common misconceptions about personalized learning are that it requires technology and that it must involve significantly more independent work.

Slow Pivots — What’s Driving the Change to Reimagine School Schedules?

Education Elements

School schedules and use of time are one of the few remaining relics of the industrialized learning model. Even when most schools moved to virtual learning in March 2020, many organizations replicated the existing bell schedule and instructed teachers to move their onsite instruction online.

How to Onboard Teachers Better

Education Elements

Across the country teachers are welcoming students into their virtual and in-person classrooms, as schools are welcoming new teachers to their teams. These teachers - new to the profession, early career and veterans - are starting at schools while conditions remain unprecedented and unpredictable.

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Why I Joined the Ed Elements Team

Education Elements

In my 22 years in the K-12 education profession, I have worked for, and led organizations that run the gamut - from those that are very process and compliance driven, to those that multiply and engage creativity.

On Self-Care and Leadership

Education Elements

With summer break already in progress for most school districts, leaders can finally plan a week or two to step away from the daily grind and have a chance just to be. But if you are like me, this is not as easy as it sounds.

What Type of Facilitator Are You? Understanding Your Strengths to Improve Professional Development

Education Elements

There’s a line from You’ve Got Mail (yes, I’ve seen it hundreds of times) where Tom Hanks says, “Don’t you just love New York in the Fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”.

Virtual Schooling Is Here to Stay: Reimagining Post-Pandemic Virtual Learning in Public Schools

Education Elements

From North Carolina to California to Alaska, public schools around the United States are planning to preserve a virtual school option for students after the pandemic is over.

Secret Lessons and Common Pitfalls from a Former Instructional Coach

Education Elements

With an influx of ESSER funds, many districts are choosing to invest in instructional coach positions. That’s not just a recent trend. From 2000 to 2015, the number of coaches in school districts doubled.

4 Practices to Immediately Improve the Teacher Experience in Your School

Education Elements

There are 88 million opportunities in the human genome for trait variations to make us unique, but when it comes to what we seek in the workplace, neuroscience suggests most humans crave the same three things – safety, belonging, and a sense of mattering.

Where Change Begins

Education Elements

I was recently struck by a piece by Elena Aguilar , the “coach’s coach,” about acting in one’s sphere of influence to create change. She writes that when looking at making change in the world, the best place to start is within one’s sphere of influence.

Leveraging Candidate Profiles to Improve Teacher Retention in 4 Steps

Education Elements

A recent survey of more than 1,000 districts found that nearly two-thirds of districts are reporting teacher shortages heading into the 2021-2022 school year.

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Success Starts with Heart: How Chicago Public Schools Centered Identity, Relationships, and Community to Welcome Back Students This School Year

Education Elements

Every first day of school is a new opportunity for a fresh start. As the first day of the 2021-2022 school year approached, teachers across the country were grappling with the question: How do I start fresh when faced with so much uncertainty? Social and Emotional Learning District Leadership

Learning Journeys, Learning Stories: Re-envisioning Instructional Learning Walks

Education Elements

There isn’t a lot of convincing you need to do to get these two former English teachers talking about the power of stories.

Built with Good Intentions: What a bridge in Honduras can teach us about coming back from the pandemic

Education Elements

There’s a bridge in Choluteca, Honduras. It spans nearly 500 meters long, but it isn’t well known for its size or even because it is one of the only replicas of the Golden Gate bridge still in existence. Nor is it known for its importance in connecting traffic in Central America.

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Education Predictions for an Unpredictable 2021

Education Elements

I got started with this tradition of predictions in 2010 after reading Disrupting Class, a book by Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn. In their book, they predicted that by 2019, 50% of all high school courses will be online in some blended learning model.

12 Things Equity Focused Teachers Can Say To Students In The New School Year

Education Elements

As school returns, we know this year presents unique challenges and changes to both educators and students. With such change, it may be especially difficult to communicate with students. While your intentions may be good, sometimes the impact of what we say can have unintended consequences.

Starting and Sustaining a Data Habit in Your School

Education Elements

Knowledge is Power! Measure what Matters! If our cliches are an indicator, we all know that data collection, review, analysis, and understanding is important.

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Redesign Learning Experiences by Rethinking Time with Competency-Based Education

Education Elements

Time is weird right now. Hours can feel like months, weeks can feel like days, and a year into a global pandemic feels both like an eon and a few seconds at the same time.

Tips For Setting Up An At-Home Learning Environment For Young Students

Education Elements

Here we are, looking down the barrel of another stretch of at-home learning. We always knew that it was likely not “if” but “when” we’d be back here, but the fact that many districts are announcing remote learning from day one has caught us all by surprise.

The Six Competencies that Every Leader Should Model Through COVID-19

Education Elements

There is something about this crisis that has brought out the baker in many. Even the two of us, people who have tried elimination protocols to reduce our gluten intake, have made a few attempts at biscuit and sourdough making. And it’s not just us!

What To Do When There's Not One Right Answer?

Education Elements

Educators across the country, and around the world, have found themselves in a whole new normal.

What We Know For Sure: Three Practices Every Innovative Leader Can Try

Education Elements

"We all get caught up in the business of doing, and sometimes lose our place in the flow” (O Magazine, August 2011). Recently, we were spinning in circles trying to figure out a new process for an internal role we stepped into when Jason shared a way we might reframe our conversation.

How Can Teachers Support Student Mental Health During COVID-19?

Education Elements

As teachers everywhere gear up to go back to school in various settings this Fall, one thing is for certain: they need to be prepared to deal with a number of issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic, chief among them being impacts to student mental health.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond: Supporting Students with a Justice Lens

Education Elements

Like many this past year, I suffered the effects of deprivation from proximity – that is to say, I miss humans.

Distance Learning Requires a Student-Centered Approach

Education Elements

Regardless of where students are physically learning this school year, educators must orient their instruction towards distance learning.

9 Things That Matter When Hiring Black Teachers

Education Elements

This year has exacerbated the national crisis of staffing in schools. Attrition was already a looming challenge, but with all of the changes in education this year alone teachers are leaving schools and the profession en masse.

Working on Working: How to Make Deliberate Decisions that Respond to the Needs of Your Team

Education Elements

The Education Elements team, like the rest of the world, has been adapting to life-during-COVID-19, striving to serve our partners and our mission with a set of unplanned-for constraints.

Leadership Questions to Help Guide Design of a Virtual School

Education Elements

To support the planning of opening a virtual school, leaders can be overwhelmed with the volume of questions to consider — logistics, strategy, and purpose to name a few. To guide the planning process, we offer the following table with phases of implementation with related questions.

5 Ways To Get on Top of the Education Recovery

Education Elements

Across school systems and around the globe, the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on students. Some have thrived in online learning environments, while others have suffered from low-quality or interrupted learning — often with disastrous results.

Planning for Change with Data: Lessons Learned from Spring Break

Education Elements

I’m writing this blog during a 17-hour road trip that was supposed to be a 2-hour flight. My husband and I wanted to take our two boys skiing for spring break and have spent the last several months meticulously planning the perfect trip.

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Upskilling and Reskilling for the ‘New Normal’ of Education

Education Elements

The abrupt shift to distance learning directly challenged the knowledge, mindsets, and skills of our teacher workforce this Spring.

Families and Distance Learning: A Guardian’s Guide To Kicking Off Distance Learning

Education Elements

There is no question that our lives have been flipped around over the last few months. For many of us, we are adjusting to redefining our workspace and even our roles. Our work has changed and so has how we interact.

7 Strategies to Develop Student Executive Functioning Skills for Remote Learning

Education Elements

The first time I tried to cook a meal in my own place was a disaster. Within 10 minutes, my kitchen was a disaster. Within an hour, my house smelled charred, and I had abandoned all efforts to cook myself dinner. I called my mom frustrated: what went wrong?

How to Create a Positive Teacher Experience in Your School

Education Elements

A few Fridays ago I got a message from my colleague Kelly. She asked what I wanted for lunch, said she would order it, and that we would eat together during our Zoom meeting later that day (where we would begin to reimagine what summer school could look like).

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What's Left, What's Lost, and What's Possible

Education Elements

Leading While Grieving In The Wake of COVID-19. In the Fall of 2019, I lost my husband.

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Adaptations for Flexible Learning in a Resilient School District

Education Elements

Fenestration, in architecture, is the way windows, doors, and openings are placed and arranged on a building. In medicine, fenestration refers to a new opening in the body made through surgery. There is another meaning of the word and it is used to describe openings in the leaves of plants.

Four Structural Changes to Address Learning Loss

Education Elements

Learning loss is the baby elephant in the room. It’s an issue that is currently small enough to briefly acknowledge, deprioritize, or ignore completely. Yet this elephant will continue to grow as the size and scale of learning loss due to the pandemic is better understood.