We Need to Talk: Crucial Conversations

TU Director at Large Rachel Wiley shares her approach to engaging students in meaningful dialogue, even when there's the potential for conflict -- "In my classroom, we talk about conflict as the most significant part of telling an effective story. [...] Alternatively, in life, we often avoid conflict at all costs. We hide our true feelings, we speak around issues, we end up venting to other people instead of bringing it to the attention of the person with whom we have the problem."

Click the title for Rachel's latest writing for the CORElaborate blog and get ideas for how to support your students' collaborative discussions.

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Extra Eyes to See and Ears to Hear

TU Director of Organizing Hope Teague-Bowling's post for CSTP's Stories from School blog recounts her recent experience observing fellow teachers in her building in the role of an instructional coach. Sitting in on classrooms taught by both beginning educators and veterans, Hope got to "provide feedback to any teacher who wants an extra set of ears and eyes in their classroom". She also got the opportunity see her students in different environments.

Click the title to read about how this process works and how peer observations can inform staff beyond the data collected on a standard observation tool.

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Stop Berating Black and Brown Parents Over Charters (and Give Your Twitter Fingers a Rest)

On his blog A Teacher's Evolving Mind, TU Director of Government Relations Nate Bowling  calls out attacks on parents who turn to charter schools in an effort to serve their children's well-being. A "charter agnostic," Nate notes the related conflicting lenses: "For activists this is a long-term societal-philosophical-cultural-political issue; for parents it’s an immediate, pragmatic what-is-best-for-my-child issue."

Click the title to read some of Nate's suggestions on how to bridge the gap from adversaries to allies in the interest of children, particularly those most affected by this debate: children of color.

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Don't Be a Martyr

TU member Carinna Tarvin taps into an all-too-common educator dilemma: life-work balance in a career that demands so much of us not only mentally but also emotionally. Touching on a sentiment many can relate to, she shares, "In my heart, I was glad to have found such a noble profession to drown in. Yes, I was sleep deprived, malnourished and perpetually running on fumes, but it was my identity. My students were everything."

Check out Carinna's piece to see how she has come to find different ways to approach the demanding lifestyle of being a teacher, resulting in a more healthy and effective educator.

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Breaking Free of PowerPoint: Games as Lessons

TU Director of Communications Mary Moser's recent contribution to the corelaborate blog on using BreakoutEDU boxes to lead library orientation this year: "Intrigued by the idea of gamifying a lesson, pushing collaboration as our standards emphasize, and adding inquiry to this year’s library orientation, which is really the only sacred space that I have to create and teach a lesson of my design, I set off forward into creativity."

Click the title to see how Mary used these boxes to encourage problem solving and why "we need to build more time for our students to make mistakes and to simply try."

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