July 2021

In the Words of Ross Gellar: PIVOT!

In the Words of Ross Gellar: PIVOT!

PIVOT – the word for the 2020-2021 school year. There are also words and phrases like learning loss, zoombombing, unstable connection, and asynchronous. 

This past year has introduced a whole new level of challenges that we've never seen before. But challenges in the classroom are nothing new. These just have new names and virtual faces. Educators tend to be quite flexible and are generally ones who make the best out of difficult situations, which is why they – you – have been able to work through this year and come out on top of those challenges. 

While there's still a ways to go to get out from under the weight of COVID-19, we feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer and ever brighter. But looking ahead to the next school year is impossible without looking back and reflecting. We are proud of the educators who have taken this year to learn and grow into better teachers. Here's how some teachers have described the last year in five words: 

  • "Exceptional, unique, rewarding, learning curve" - Emily P. from PA. 
  • "Challenging, unpredictable, inspiring, thankful, innovative" - Melissa D. from NC. 
  • "Tough by necessary to grow" - Brianna from GA. 
  • "Amazing, challenging, full, fun, & meaningful" - Valerie E. from KS. 

As summer flies by, the country is gradually opening back up and settling into a new version of normal, and we are wondering what next year will look like. The pandemic has undoubtedly revealed a myriad of challenges but has also tapped into strengths and innovation that we've never seen before. Be encouraged as you begin to plan for the new year. Keep what's good and work to improve it. Make modifications to what didn't work. Throw out what's bad. 

How are you pivoting this year? 

Our Current Favorite Classroom Inspirations

Our Current Favorite Classroom Inspirations

With the pandemic forcing everyone online, maintaining connections with students has become harder than ever. Although challenging, keeping students engaged is still extremely important when creating a great learning experience. A good step is becoming familiar with online resources, and we’re here to help with that! We have curated a must-follow list of educators, authors, and other influential people that are sure to keep your classes (and timeline) lively!

Vicki Davis is a teacher in Georgia whose social media is full of articles to help organize classrooms and create activities! She also hosts her own podcast 5 days a week, each day consisting of a new focus (Motivation Monday, Edtech Tool Tuesday, Wonderful Classroom Wednesday, Thought Leaders Thursday, and Five-Idea Friday). The short episodes are always a nice start to a new day of teaching. Vicki Davis’ helpful tips can be found on her Instagram (coolcatteacher), Twitter (@coolcatteacher), and podcast, 10 Minute Teacher Podcast, available on your favorite podcast app.

David Jamison is a 5th grade English teacher who gained online popularity after a video of him greeting each of his students with individual handshakes went viral. Since the video came out, he has continued to share education-related advice and motivation on his platform. David Jamison can be found on Twitter (@thedopeeducator).

Emily Chang is both the host of a technology-based show on Bloomberg and the author of Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys Club of Silicon Valley. Her book discusses sexism in Silicon Valley, and became an instant hit. Her Twitter follows a similar path, discussing gender inequality within her field, but also highlights other note-worthy projects and events involving technology. Emily Chang’s show is called Bloomberg Technology, and she can also be found on Twitter (@emilychangtv).

Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code in 2010, after witnessing the gender gap in coding classes throughout schools in the United States. Her Twitter is full of information about influential women in the tech industry as well as discussions about being a parent in the 21st century. Reshma Saujani’s career is dedicated to uplifting girls and women, and her Twitter (@reshmasaujani) and Instagram (reshmasaujani) definitely reflect that passion.

Emily Glanker is a history teacher in Austin, Texas who started a podcast, Anti-Social Studies, after receiving many requests from friends and family to teach them things they had not learned in school. Her Instagram (antisocstudies) is full of amazing content to make teaching more fun for teachers and students alike. She has insightful and educational highlights there as well.

Brian Mendler is an author and educational consultant who shares advice on creating and maintaining relationships with students. His book, That One Kid, focuses on building connections with students who may disrupt class. Brian Mendler’s experience as a special ed teacher gives him insight into ways to engage with all students. His advice is accessible on Twitter (@BrianMendler).