Our Blog

The Power of Student Teams

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Sept. 6, 2019, noon

I'm so excited to share a new book just out on using student teaming to increase the learning. In the book The Power of Student Teams, by Michael Toth and David Sousa, you will explore collaborative learning and crosswalk this strategy with SEL learning, 21st Century Skills, Habits of Mind, and more.


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Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Students

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Sept. 6, 2019, 11:56 a.m.

This August, Sanford Elementary rolled out the red carpet for their students. Literally! Students were greeted by high school football players, cheerleaders, administrators, teachers, and even the district mascot (Panthy) as they walked the red carpet to their new classrooms!

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First Week Reflections

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 16, 2019, 12:30 p.m.

Looking for some easy ways to have students reflect on their first week of school? We have you covered!

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Starting the Year Off with Writing

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 13, 2019, 9:15 a.m.

To get students excited about writing (or anything) we need to begin by tapping into their interests. One way to do this is by having students start the year off with expert journals. Expert journals are small books of paper that students use to record their questions, findings, and information about a topic of their choice. Think of this as an introduction to research!


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What's Your Weekly Theme Song?

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 13, 2019, 8:52 a.m.

Have you heard the song High Hopes by Panic at the Disco? This is 5 year old Whitten's favorite song right now. He begs for it to play on repeat. I am so glad he did, because after listening to it, it became my theme song to kick off the year! The message is ageless and the vocabulary is amazing. Students will be surprised when their teacher plays this song the first week of school!

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Great Reads for the 1st Weeks of School

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 13, 2019, 8:35 a.m.


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Reflecting & Revising Learning

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 13, 2019, 8:33 a.m.

At the end of each content block, students need an opportunity to reflect on their learning for the day.This is a great opportunity for students to validate their efforts and learning, while also giving teachers an opportunity to formatively assess who hit the target and who needs more practice time.

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Using a Graffiti Wall

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 13, 2019, 8:28 a.m.

Graffiti walls are simple to do, but can illustrate complex thinking. I ran across an article entitled "20 Ways to Teach With Graffiti Walls" on Twitter. The ideas in the blog go so well with my goal of making learning visible! Using words and/or graphics, student can share thinking and see their classmates' perspectives. This could be in a station, a center, or to start or finish class.

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Building a Learning Community

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 12, 2019, 1:04 p.m.

Building a community atmosphere at the beginning of the school year is so important for the emotional and academic well-being of your students. Here are a few tips to building a successful community of learning this year.


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Creating a Team Culture in Your Classroom

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 12, 2019, 1:02 p.m.

Effective learning communities do not rely on just one person to do everything. When citizens work together in teams to accomplish goals and share the work load, everyone benefits!


In the first weeks of school, we establish the learning community culture. We want to establish student-centered classrooms starting on day one. Everyone will need a learning job that requires thinking. We've created six roles that incorporate listening, speaking, reading, and writing.


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