Month: October 2021

AFTNJ NewsNewsPre-K to 12 News

Teacher stimulates, engages students with her creative course

During the pandemic, Rhode Island educator Marielle Burt took up designing escape rooms as a hobby, and when asked to teach a custom two-week course at her school, she infused her new avocation into her occupation.

“In my game design course, students tackled grade-level standards — developing their writing skills as they composed game narratives and embracing logic and math to create puzzles,” Burt writes for Chalkbeat.…

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AFTNJ NewsClimate JusticeNews

Credit for fossil-fuel divestment decisions in higher education not always acknowledged

Even though myriad contributors often play a role in getting a college or university to divest from fossil fuels, “one group is seldom credited as the catalyst: student activists,” writes Emma Whitford for Insider Higher Ed.

“Many institutions give a nod to activists without elaborating on their efforts. … But in other cases, students get no thanks at all,” adds Whitford.…

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AFTNJ NewsNewsPre-K to 12 News

Finding focus, productivity through outdoor learning

Scavenger hunts to find items connected to that day’s lesson and walks to explore a school’s green spaces are among the outdoor learning activities that also are “easily adaptable to a variety of topics and age levels,” according to Massachusetts first-grade teacher Alissa Alteri Shea.

“Being outdoors relieves stress and anxiety, gives kids the freedom to move, and helps them focus,” she writes for Edutopia.…

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AFTNJ NewsDiversity and inclusionNewsPre-K to 12 News

Report explores issues with teacher diversity, school culture

“To Be Who We Are: Black Teachers on Creating Affirming School Cultures,” a collaborative report by Teach Plus and the Center for Black Educator Development, delves into “the questions of what affirming school conditions look like and what educational leaders can do to create those conditions,” its introduction reads.

Through focus groups conducted in spring and summer 2020 with teachers of color from 12 states, Teach Plus identified five conditions, among them:

  1. Schools should recruit, support and retain a diverse school faculty.
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AFTNJ NewsCOVID-19Diversity and inclusionHigher Ed NewsNewsRemote learning

Virtual forum to cover the state of diversity, inclusion on college level

The Chronicle of Higher Education will present the virtual forum “Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in a Changing Time” on Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. ET.

Among the questions expected to be addressed:

  • How have those efforts changed, given the current political moment and the continuing pandemic?
  • How well does diversity and inclusion training, based in dialogues and workshops, work in a remote environment?
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AFTNJ NewsNewsPre-K to 12 News

Engage students by asking quality questions

Asking students high-quality questions is key to “sustaining deep learning,” according to Illinois high school teacher Chris Kubic, and so is incorporating one simple, specific query: How do you know?

“Asking this follow-up question after a student provides an answer prompts deeper thinking in a number of ways,” Kubic writes for Edutopia. “Students have to not only consider evidence and alternative answers but also support their thinking.…

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AFTNJ NewsNewsPre-K to 12 News

Teacher, students collaborate to make classroom library a shared space

When Connecticut middle school teacher Katie Durkin decided her classroom library could use “a serious facelift,” she turned to her students for help.

“I’d been researching the benefits of promoting student voice and choice — specifically by allowing them to assist in organizing an in-class library,” Durkin writes for MiddleWeb. “Now I wanted to give it a try.”…

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AFTNJ NewsCOVID-19Higher Ed NewsNewsPre-K to 12 News

New DOE resource supports student mental health

On Oct. 19, the U.S. Department of Education released “Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Needs,” a resource meant to supplement the three handbooks from earlier this year related to safe reopening strategies at public schools and colleges.

“Many children and students struggle with mental health challenges that impact their full access to and participation in learning, and these challenges are often misunderstood and can lead to behaviors that are inconsistent with school or program expectations,” reads the new resource’s executive summary.…

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AFTNJ NewsCOVID-19NewsPre-K to 12 News

Education community must step up for teachers’ wellness

Teachers are not only supposed to support the social and emotional well-being of students, they are also expected to take care of their own wellness, writes Beth Pandolpho in a column for Education Week.

“And we wonder why teacher burnout has been a long-standing issue,” adds Pandolpho, a former high school teacher and an instructional coach in New Jersey.…

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AFT NewsAFTNJ NewsHPAELabor NewsNewsPensions

Weingarten, Chiera speak at Murphy-LD 16 rally

AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera were among the speakers Oct. 16 at the Legislative District 16 Canvass Kickoff in Princeton, attended by Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate candidate Andrew Zwicker, and Assembly candidates Roy Freiman and Sadaf Jaffer.

Weingarten, the closing speaker, spent a few minutes addressing recent comments former Gov. Chris Christie made when asked on TV about threats of violence against educators and school boards.…

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AFTNJ NewsCOVID-19NewsPre-K to 12 NewsRemote learning

Lessons learned from remote teaching

Rather than focus on learning loss that may have occurred during the pandemic, South Carolina high school teacher Lauren Gehr would prefer that educators concentrate “on the teaching methods that worked for them and their students when they were forced to be resourceful during an unprecedented health crisis,” she writes for Edutopia.

Read her column here.…

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AFT NewsAFTNJ NewsNews

Weingarten is set to visit Paramus, Princeton on Oct. 16

AFT President Randi Weingarten is coming to Paramus and Princeton on Oct. 16 to campaign for Gov. Phil Murphy’s reelection.

Joining Weingarten at both events will be AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler.

Weingarten, Shuler and Murphy are scheduled to begin their day together by attending the Bergen County CLC Labor Walk, which starts at 8 a.m. and takes place at IBEW 164, 205 Robin Road in Paramus.…

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AFT NewsAFTNJ NewsHigher Ed NewsNewsStudent debt

Weingarten v. DeVos settled; AFT taps online resource Summer to navigate PSLF process

The 2019 lawsuit Weingarten v. DeVos, filed by AFT President Randi Weingarten, the AFT and eight other plaintiffs against then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education, was settled Oct. 12.

At the root of the lawsuit was holding DeVos and the Department of Education accountable for “gross mismanagement” of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which was established under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007.…

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