Teacher's Toolbox
Oct. 10, 2012

Get the most from your ITA membership
I Teach America's mission is to enhance, improve and further the teaching profession by easing the demands and financial burdens of teachers and promoting the value and importance of teaching. Your membership and use of your member benefits helps ITA accomplish this mission. Learn more about ITA and how to join if you are not already a member.More

Deep travel discounts available
Planning any upcoming travels? I Teach America members receive deep discounts on hotels, vacation condo stays and car rental rates through the ITA Online Travel Booking Service. It's convenient and gives you the ability to check rates and book your hotel, car rental, airfare or condo rental all at the same time. Save big on time and money with ITA's Online Travel Booking Service — your one-stop travel shopping spot. Check rates, availability and make your reservations today.More

5 skills for blended-learning teachers
THE Journal
As more schools adopt blended-learning models, the role of the teacher is shifting. As a result, teachers need different skills to be successful. Although it is hard to generalize across the landscape of blended learning because of the rapid pace of innovation in the models, the differences between the models and the continued changes in technology, there are five common skills that teachers will likely need to be successful in a blended-learning environment.More

DOE provides guidance to help classroom teachers combat bullying
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education has released a free, two-part training toolkit designed to reduce incidents of bullying, for use by classroom teachers and educators. The toolkit was developed by the Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center, supported by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students, in collaboration with the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers. More

Common Core Standards are a 'heavy lift' for districts, educators
U.S. News & World Report
Implementing the Common Core State Standards will be challenging — but not impossible — according to experts speaking in New York at the Education Nation summit, part of an NBC News initiative. The new standards, adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, require English and math lessons to go more in-depth to teach students critical thinking and analytical skills, in order to develop students who are more prepared to succeed in college and the workplace. During an informal survey at a discussion panel, 92 percent of those attending said they thought rolling out the new standards would be either difficult or very difficult.More

DOE boosts district-led efforts to recognize and reward great teachers and principals through the 2012 Teacher Incentive Fund
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education announced 35 grants awarded to improve pay structures, reward great teachers and principals and provide greater professional opportunities to teachers in high poverty schools. Winning applicants comprise districts, partnering districts, states and nonprofits that together serve nearly 1,000 schools in 150 urban, suburban, and rural school districts in 18 states and D.C.More

Google says Apps for Education now has more than 20 million users
Google just announced that its Apps for Education suite is now being used by more than 20 million students, faculty members and staff worldwide. Google Apps For Education launched almost exactly six years ago. The service seems to be growing at a rate of about 5 million new users per year. In 2010, Apps for Education had about 10 million users and last year, Google announced that it had signed up an additional 5 million users for the service since.More

Education chief wants textbooks to go digital
The Associated Press via NPR
Worried your kids spend too much time with their faces buried in a computer screen? Their schoolwork may soon depend on it. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called for the nation to move as fast as possible away from printed textbooks and toward digital ones. "Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete," he declared. It's not just a matter of keeping up with the times, Duncan said in remarks to the National Press Club. It's about keeping up with other countries whose students are leaving their American counterparts in the dust.More

Standing up for teachers is an international endeavor
ED.gov Blog
Recently, teachers across the globe, from Budapest to Ramallah, are celebrating World Teachers' Day. Using the theme "Taking a Stand for Teachers!" educators are meeting with students to encourage them to become teachers, holding rallies and leading discussions about the strengthening the teaching profession.More

How important is grit in student achievement?
Before she was a psychology professor, Angela Duckworth taught math in middle school and high school. She spent a lot of time thinking about something that might seem obvious: The students who tried hardest did the best, and the students who didn't try very hard didn't do very well. Duckworth wanted to know: What is the role of effort in a person's success? More

When do students and teachers cross the line through social media?
The Internet arrived with both a bang and bubble. Once social media platforms came into being, sites including Facebook and Twitter began to permeate every facet of life. With the phenomenon's expansion, it raised a number of issues involving privacy, protection and responsibility. Teachers are not exempt from these concerns. By being in a position of power and working with adolescents, their behavior is often scrutinized thoroughly. Naturally, if something happens to a child when they are in the care of the school, it is the organization and staff member who are liable. In relation to the Internet, not only is cyberbullying an issue — especially when conducted on school grounds — but social media is considered by some as an inappropriate way for teacher and student to communicate.More

Oversimplification abounds in teacher evaluation discussion
Education Week
Should student achievement data be a major factor in teacher evaluations? While the political winds are whispering "yes" more loudly every day — and in many places, the whispers have become shouts — it seems that the louder we yell, the dumber we get. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has been widely misquoted as having said that there is no way to measure teacher effectiveness. More

How technology is empowering teachers, minting millionaires and improving education
Thanks to the rise of in-classroom technology, the focus in education tends to be on student engagement and how to improve learning. It becomes easy to forget the importance of great teachers. Startups, entrepreneurs, businesses (and the rest) need to remember that technology doesn't have to put teachers in jeopardy; it can help them lead the education evolution, even if their traditional role in the classroom becomes obsolete.More

Chicago teachers vote to approve 3-year contract
The Associated Press via Bloomberg Businessweek
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union overwhelmingly have approved a new three-year contract that includes pay increases and a new evaluation system, union officials announced. Union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said the contract was ratified by 79 percent of the union's membership. The contact was ratified by a vote of 16,428 to 4,337. The contract now must be approved by the Chicago Board of Education, which is scheduled to meet in late October. More