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Ep. 72: Taking the fuzziness out of reading comprehension with Jennifer Serravallo​

Understanding Texts and Readers Best selling author Jennifer Serravallo is already a rock star in the education community. Her previous books, "The Writing Strategies Book" and "The Reading Strategies Book" have helped thousands of educators offer strategies for reading and writing. Now, Serravallo is out with a new guide designed to help teachers make sense of reading comprehension. "Understanding Texts & Readers" offers the tools for an educator to identify if a student is comprehending a...


Episode 71 – “You Are Worth It”

Spreading the Anti-Bullying Message Mary Ann Mangini is an accomplished singer and musical theater performer, but she's also a teacher and mentor. Four years ago, Mangini created a youth show choir called the FANTASTIX. The group travels around the Pittsburg Pennsylvania area performing at nursing homes and community events, but one of their programs is now resonating with students. Last year, Mangini wrote, "You Are Worth It," a musical performed by her students, that tackles verbal...


Episode 70: Why a liberal arts degree is more valuable than you think

Liberal Arts in Crisis? You don't have to look hard to find news stories and books questioning the value of higher education. Bryan Caplan recently published "The Case Against Education - Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money." And on Fox News, Jon Stossel recently wrote: "What everyone's afraid to say about college and jobs." Often, the liberal arts are a prime target of such criticism. Naysayers question the potential job opportunities a liberal arts degree offers. And in...


Ep. 69: Preparing students to write in college

For the past ten years, Dr. Andrew (AJ) Ogilvie has been working with students on writing and communication. The University of Southern California professor knows first hand the challenges students face while transitioning from K-12 to higher education and in Episode 69 of the Class Dismissed podcast we asked Ogilvie about what writing habits he tries to get his students to break when they begin at the university level. Know your Audience Ogilvie says there are two things all writers...


Episode 68: How theater can bring your curriculum​ to the next level

Physical Theater in the Classroom Paul Rajeckas is an educator, performer, and choreographer. Rajeckas uses theater and storytelling to help students improve collaboration and interpret curriculum. Rajeckas does this by working with students and other educators in his “Telling Tales workshop.” In Episode 68 of the Class Dismissed podcast, Rajeckas gives us tips on how educators can use physical theater in the classroom so students can have a deeper involvement with general curriculum. Listen...


Ep. 67: Ways to make your classroom more inclusive

How to be inclusive and authentic Matthew Morris says that part of his journey becoming an educator involved a lot of reflecting on what school was like when he was growing up. "When I was going through my experiences as a child and thinking about some of my friends, even some of own my family, my own brother. It was kind of saddening for me to see some of the outcomes now as a grown man. Morris says that some many of those family and friends are geniuses in their own right, but he feels...


Ep. 66: Should you get rid of your teacher's desk?

Necessity or Obstacle For some, your teacher's desk is a must. Not only is it functional, but it's also a symbol of your leadership and authority in the classroom. To others, the teacher's desk is an obstacle; A barrier between you and your students. A large desk also takes up a big chunk of real estate in your classroom. In Episode 66 of the Class Dismissed podcast, we caught up with Matthew Morris. Back in 2015, Morris wrote an article about why he got rid of his desk in his classroom....


Ep 65: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in the classroom

This week on the Class Dismissed Podcast we speak with an expert on using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in the classroom. Jaime Donally writes a column for EdSurge and she’s also the creator of the website. Donally helps ease us into some practical applications to try out if you're interested in trying AR or VR and she explains why you don't need to break the bank before introducing the technology in the classroom. Listen to Episode 65 of the Class Dismissed...


Ep 64: Principals - Heavy is the head that wears the crown

Help! The first bell has rung, but parents are still hanging out in the halls and classrooms. I gave my PLC a principal performance survey, and the feedback was more negative than I was expecting. Why won't my boss give me positive feedback? If you're a principal, you can probably relate with one of these challenges. These learning opportunities are the driving force behind the Principal Hotline, an advice column on School Leaders Now. In Episode 64 of Class Dismissed we talked with Amy Lynn...


Episode 63: The Tech Rabbi | Creativity, Technology, and Empathy

The Cutting Edge Pencil Have you ever considered that a pencil is a piece of technology? It once was considered cutting-edge technology. Michael Cohen, who's also known as "The Tech Rabbi" says that there was a time where some philosophers felt that a pencil could destroy academia. There was concern that a pencil could disrupt the teacher-student bond and hinder learning. It's this big picture perspective and deep thought that has helped propel Cohen to being considered one of the upcoming...


Ep. 62: PledgeCents: Education fundraising without a fee

PledgeCents: Where Every Cent Counts For decades, teachers have reached into their own pockets to purchase new technology and supplies for their classrooms. However, over the past few years, fundraising tools online like DonorsChoose and GoFundme have helped ease the burden for educators by connecting donors to teachers. PledgeCents has emerged as a fast-growing alternative DonorsChoose, that educators should consider before selecting a crowdfunding platform. The Texas-based company has...


Ep. 61: The "non-traditional" teacher

Heading back to public school It's the first week in August, and thousands of students and teachers are heading back to school today. One of those teachers is Class Dismissed co-host, Lissa Pruett. Lissa has been teaching children for over 16 years, but this school year, things are different. She's signed on with a new public school district after spending six years teaching at a private school. Consequently, Lissa is now somewhat of a "non-traditional teacher." Much like someone in their...


Episode 60: “See Me After Class” author pens hilarious new novel about working in a school

What if the hit tv show "The Office" took place at a school? That's what you may think as you read Roxanna Elden's book, "Adequate Yearly Progress". Elden's new book, which will release August 1, tells the story of educators in a struggling urban high school in Texas. The novel is an honest and humorous portrayal of the day to day life of teachers and administrators. Many teachers are familiar with Elden's first book, "See Me After Class" which was published back in 2013. Elden wrote "See Me...


Ep. 59: How this principal extended the school day by two hours

In 2015, when Kristina Pollard took over as principal at Earl Travillion Attendance Center in Forrest County Mississippi, she was well aware of the challenge she was facing. "It is an extremely high poverty area. My school has consistently been a low performing school," said Pollard. "Economic status is pretty desolate, so we needed to do something outside of the box in order to make some significant changes in this area." Pollard says she spent the first couple of years focused on changing...


Episode 58: Is gaming helping or hurting our students’ brains?

Should we be worried about our students' gaming? Fortnite, Minecraft, Battlefield 5, there's a good chance that at least half of your students are spending a lot of time gaming. Back in the 1990s, there was a pretty steady chorus of criticism about the practice. There were and still are concerns about too much screen time and worries about viewing too much violence. Kim Bevill says when you play games or even watch movies, your brain goes from a beta to an alpha state. "It's a relaxation...


Ep. 57: Why students should be moving every 20 minutes

Over the past several decades we've learned about all the health benefits that come with exercise. There are the obvious benefits like increased energy, weight loss, and strengthening of muscles and bones. But activity also has a positive effect on brain health and memory and educators should use that to their advantage. Movement can help people think, focus, and process better. The change increases your blood flow and bathes your prefrontal cortex with your learning chemicals and increases...


Ep. 56: How to find "The Path to Serendipity"

Navigate the negative energy Often, someone in our lives may be surrounded by a negative energy. It may be a family member, a colleague, or maybe just a stranger on social media? Allyson Apsey has been in education for 20 years and she’s currently a principal for the Zeeland Public School district in Michigan. For years she's been sharing personal stories on her blog and researching strategies for understanding the source of negative energy. Much of her work is now included in her new book,...


Ep. 55: All in - Why this principal moved his office to the middle of the school

Part two of a two-part interview. To many Hamish Brewer is known as the tattooed skateboarding principal. However, he's also earned a reputation as a fixer. His intense but loving leadership style was a massive success while at Occoquan Elementary in Northen Virginia and this past year he took on a new challenge with Fred Lynn Middle school. Can he do it again? In part two of a two-part interview, Brewer tells us how he did not sugarcoat the challenge ahead for his students and teachers at...


Episode 54: Leading with love – The secret weapon of this tattooed principal

Part one of a two-part interview Hamish Brewer is not your typical principal. He rides his skateboard through the school, tattoos cover his arms, and he high-fives students as he walks through the halls. However, Brewer expects and receives results from his students and teachers. Under his high energy leadership, Brewer turned Occoquan Elementary, a school with sagging test scores and a large low-income population, into one of the best schools in the state of Virginia. He accomplished it...


Ep. 53: The "wild ride" being a 2018 Teacher of the Year

A Huge Honor The National Teacher of the Year Program began in 1952 and is one of the most prestigious national honors programs for educators. Annually, the Council of Chief State School Officers brings together every State Teacher of the Year for a meet-up in Washington DC. The carefully selected educators have professional development opportunities, and they often have access to top education policymakers. This past May, the group of teachers met privately with Secretary of Education,...