My Own Untaming: Becoming a ScholARTist

By Elizabeth Laura Yomantas

This post is based on Elizabeth Yomantas’s article, “Becoming Untamed Educators,” in the current issue of The Educational Forum. You can access this article for free during the month of September.

Dr. Yomantas is a teacher educator and qualitative researcher. Her research interests include critical allyship and culturally responsive experiential education. Elizabeth enjoys conducting arts-based research, particularly narrative inquiry.

In my earliest years of classroom teaching, I was happy, but I suspected that something was missing. There was no whole me present – only selected parts of my identity made their way into the classroom. I thought this was the way it was supposed to be. The teacher version of me was present, but the creative, artist, human dimensions of my identity were absent. I had no idea how much more there could be.

Everything changed when I entered my doctoral program. One of my beloved professors, Dr. Penny Bryan, introduced me to arts-based research (Leavy, 2015, 2019). I finally felt like I had found my home in the world. In arts-based research (ABR), the personhood of the researcher is intimately connected with their work. Arts-based researchers identify as scholARTists (Cahnmann-Taylor & Siegesmund, 2008), meaning we are concurrently scholars, artists, and teachers. The boundaries are blurred, and therefore, we bring all of ourselves into our work as artists, teachers, researchers. Brenè Brown (2020) describes this as “living with antennas up” and making connections between things that seemingly do not have overt connections.

This idea was both transformative and exciting for me. I found myself asking, “I can be an artist and a teacher? I can be a scholar and an artist? I can be all of these things at the same time?”

Once introduced to ABR, I instantly decided to become an arts-based researcher and a person who embraces all dimensions of life from the perspective of a scholARTist. This was a new beginning for me. My scholarship, artistry, and teaching were transformed.

My recently published article, “Becoming Untamed Educators,” is a manifestation of my identity as a scholARTist who aims to live with “antennas up.” As I read Glennon Doyle’s New York Times bestseller Untamed (2020), I could not stop thinking about the implications and connections to our work as educators. Although Glennon’s writing is considered a memoir, the text is ripe for analysis in connection to our field. It was a holistic and joyful experience to work this article, and I appreciated the opportunity to expand the boundaries of what “counts” as academic scholarship.

Looking back, if it hadn’t been for Dr. Bryan introducing me to idea that it is acceptable to bring all of myself to my work, this journal article would never be. It takes courage to write outside the boundaries of the traditional confines of the academy, and I did not have the courage, confidence, or experience before working with Dr. Bryan. Through her continual invitation of creativity and her constant affirmations of creative risk taking, she nurtured the artist hidden deep inside me and set me on the path of scholARTistry. This journey is a dimension of “untaming” myself. To find out more about becoming untamed, please check out the full article, “Becoming Untamed Educators.”


Brown, B. (Host). (2020, April 7). Unlocking Us: [Audio podcast]. Alicia Keys and Brené on “More Myself.”

Cahnmann-Taylor, M., & Siegesmund, R. (Eds.) (2008). Arts-based research in education: Foundations for practice. Routledge.

Leavy, P. (2015). Method meets art: Arts-based research practice. Guilford Press. Leavy, P. (2019). Handbook of Arts-Based Research. Guilford Press.

7 Strategies to Make Professional Development Successful

By Marla A. Sole

Highly effective teachers continually innovate and refine their pedagogical practices through professional development. Committed teachers are interested in professional development that demonstrates best practices aligned with the content they are teaching and clearly communicates the steps, benefits, and challenges of implementing new lessons and innovative practices. Those running workshops can gain valuable insight into teachers’ classroom practices, the curriculum, and potential modifications that could better help students reach their full potential.

As part of a funded project titled “PRIME: Project for Relevant and Improved Mathematics Education,” I co-designed and co-ran a series of professional development offerings. Reflecting on my experience, I believe these seven tips can help make professional development more impactful and successful.

Serious Indian woman wearing headphones with microphone talking, using laptop, looking at screen, young female consulting client, video call, student learning language online, listening lecture

1. Time and timing matters.
Learning new pedagogical approaches or technology takes time. Therefore, when designing professional development, it is critical that the time allocated for a workshop is sufficient for participants to absorb new practices or create new activities. To facilitate effective professional development, workshop leaders also should consider when, during the school year, teachers would put into practice what they have learned, and whether there is enough lead time for teachers to successfully modify their lesson plans.

2. Create tangible products.
The comment most often made during professional development workshops was, I want something I can use in my class. Teachers have a strong desire for professional development that is carefully mapped onto their course learning outcomes and produces an activity or assignment that is ready to use, having been critiqued and refined by colleagues. With all the time teachers spend preparing lessons, their top priority is having the opportunity to collaboratively create innovative new lessons or modify existing lessons based on constructive feedback.

3. Develop a plan for implementation.
Effective lessons marry two components: content and delivery. It is not enough to create great content without simultaneously addressing which pedagogical practices will engage students. Effective professional development should discuss best teaching practices, clearly define and model new practices, and share the benefits and challenges of the approach. For example, during professional development, do not lecture about active learning. Instead, define active learning, model how active learning looks in a classroom, and share expected gains from actively engaging students.

4. Facilitate a shared learning environment.
Running professional development, I can attest to the fact that there is enormous potential, expertise, and energy in the room. Professional development will be significantly more valuable if those facilitating the activities capitalize on participants’ rich and varied experiences. Fostering a collaborative environment can have added benefits. Attendees leave knowing more about each colleague’s area of expertise and interests. This can help create a network of educators with intersecting interests who can support one another throughout the school year.

5. Follow up.
During professional development, educators may believe that new activities and pedagogical practices will work seamlessly in the classroom, but unanticipated issues may arise. For example, it may be challenging to help students adopt a growth mindset or to shift the class dynamic to include more inquiry-based learning. Assignments and activities that went through a peer review process may still seem unclear to students. Highly effective professional development finds ways to continue to support teachers when they are back in the classroom, with brief follow-up meetings or by pairing up workshop attendees who can continue to collaborate.

6. Collect feedback.
Provide time for attendees to reflect upon and share what worked and what would enhance future professional development offerings. Solicit anonymous feedback either soon after the workshop or after teachers have had time to use what they have learned in their own classes. In addition, during workshops, listen without judgment to the challenges teachers face. If a few teachers seem to be raising the same issue, consider whether you can integrate this issue into present or future professional development workshops.

7. Assess the impact in the classroom.
Professional development is not designed just to enhance and refine teachers’ skills. The goal is to improve learning! Therefore, effective professional development should not end with a workshop for teachers. It should include some reflection or formal assessment of the impact on students’ academic achievement and level of engagement.

Well-designed professional development can enhance teachers’ skills and reignite their enthusiasm for teaching. Effective professional development empowers and supports teachers to make the concepts in their disciplines come alive. This, in turn, creates a great environment for both students and teachers. Most importantly, with newly acquired skills, teachers can better set students up to excel and perform to the best of their abilities.

PRIME: Project for Relevant and Improved Mathematics Education. This work was supported by a grant from the Teagle Foundation. The opinions reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the funding agency. The author would like to thank Principal Investigator Dr. Alexandra W. Logue and Prime colleagues and guests for engaging conversations about mathematics education.

Dr. Sole is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Guttman Community College, the City University of New York. Her research interests include persistence in the mathematics pipeline, particularly of underrepresented populations, statistics education, and financial and quantitative literacy.

How to Shine Online: Tips for Virtual Interviews

By Anna L. Malone

As a graduate assistant, one of my roles is organizing mock interviews for student teacher candidates, a valuable task that increases confidence in interviewing skills (Hudak et al., 2019). Each semester, we invite local teachers and administrators to campus to serve as the interview panel and provide critical feedback to the upcoming graduates.

However, when COVID-19 caused classes to transition online in spring 2020, we had to shift the interviews to a virtual format, which proves a unique challenge in comparison to in-person interviews. Having organized and observed the mock interviews, I want to offer advice on how you can make a great impression in a virtual interview.

1. Research your responses.

Preparation is key to a successful interview, and you can harness the collective knowledge of the Internet. Look up interview questions for educators, which will yield thousands of results. Look for common themes, such as content knowledge, classroom management, and teaching philosophy (LaJevic, 2019).

Additionally, be sure to research the school by going to their website. Take note of any current events, such as an after-school STEM club, to incorporate into your interview responses. Showing your research will highlight your professionalism and attention to detail.

2. Consider your appearance.

Your clothing choices are as important in a virtual setting as they are with in-person interviews (Powers, 2010), but you should also consider what message your background conveys.

Choose a room that is orderly, well-lit, and quiet to ensure that the interview panel can focus clearly on you instead of extraneous noise or the scene behind you. Let others in your household know when the interview is happening to avoid nterruptions.

Also consider the placement of your device. Make sure the camera is positioned to display you from the shoulders up, with your whole face visible, and at an appropriate angle and distance.

3. Test your technology.

Access to functional equipment is a necessity for a virtual interview. If Internet access is unpredictable at your home, consider going to a friend’s home or a quiet public place like your local library or another wifi hotspot. Your college or university may also be a good alternative for privacy and connectivity.

Practice using the online platform prior to your interview. Enlist a family member or friend to conduct a trial meeting to test out your audio, video, and connection. This can help you identify any issues with lighting, device placement, and background distractions. Be sure, however, that your family member or friend is using a different wifi network or hotspot so you can identify connectivity problems unique to your network.

At the onset of the interview, check with the panel to ensure that they can see and hear you adequately, and vice versa. If something goes wrong, such as a lag in video or audio, stay calm and tell the panel as soon as possible without interrupting anyone. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat a question for clarification.

4. Showcase your portfolio.

During an in-person interview, you may reference a portfolio filled with evidence and examples that demonstrate your best work and illustrate what you are discussing. If the feature is available, share your screen to show the panel a digital version. Digital portfolios and screen sharing can be successful tools because they are highly customizable and can display your technology prowess (Kelly & Hancock, 2018). You can create a digital portfolio by using a word processing program, website builder, or by simply scanning the hard copy of your portfolio and saving it as a PDF. If screen sharing is not available, reference the portfolio verbally by providing detailed examples that support your responses.

Even though you should consider all these factors as you prepare, the most important aspects of an interview are your comments about yourself and your responses to questions. Don’t be intimidated by the process of interviewing virtually. Be sure to show off your unique strengths and passion for education!

Ms. Malone is a Graduate Assistant and student at West Liberty University. In this role, she works with student teacher candidates and teaches an instructional technology course. During the pandemic, she was tasked with the development of virtual mock interviews and professional development opportunities for candidates.


Hudak, K., Kile, A., Grodziak, E., & Keptner, E. (2019). Advancing student interview skills: Incorporating virtual interview technology into the basic communication course. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 13(1), 1–9.

Kelly, D., & Hancock, S. (2018). Alberta school principals’ use of professional portfolios in teacher hiring. Canadian Journal of Education, 41(4), 1050–1078.

LaJevic, L. (2019). Exploring the hiring process for K–12 art teachers: Tips for the job search. Art Education, 72(5), 8–13.

Powers, P. (2010). Winning job interviews (Rev. ed.). Career Press.

Let Kappa Delta Pi’s Career Center help you prepare for your next step! The following resources and more can be found at, including:

  • How to write résumés and cover letters
  • Developing hardcopy and digital portfolios
  • Interview preparation
  • Job search advice

Beginning Teacher Resilience: Considerations for Formal and Informal Mentoring

Today’s blogger is Dr. Brie Morettini, who authored “Building Beginning Teacher Resilience: Exploring the Relationship Between Mentoring and Contextual Acceptance,” published in The Educational Forum.

Each year, teacher candidates across the country graduate from colleges of education. Many of these recent graduates already have teaching jobs lined up for the following school year, while many more work earnestly and excitedly on applications for positions.

These beginning teachers are enthusiastic and qualified and possess the pedagogical content knowledge needed to effectively reach the diverse learners who will fill their classrooms. Yet, much more remains for them to learn—so much that it is hard to learn it all in a methods course, a clinical practice seminar, or even through a high-stakes assessment.

For those of us who look back fondly on our years spent in classrooms, the gift of time has rendered our daily challenges and struggles into memories. For beginning teachers, however, these struggles are not memories—they are living, breathing, real elements of their everyday lives in the classroom. The ability to thrive despite the daily struggles of teaching are what we have come to understand as resilience.

Scholarly and practical interest in teacher resilience has emerged as a topic of international interest, as the need to develop a stable teaching force has arisen as a global commitment.

To better understand the nuances of beginning teacher resilience, we sought to develop a study that focused on one rather commonplace aspect of beginning teacher resilience development: mentoring. I recently co-authored a piece with Dr. Kathryn Luet and Dr. Lisa Vernon-Dotson about mentoring as an element of building resilience, which is featured in The Educational Forum and is titled “Building Beginning Teacher Resilience: Exploring the Relationship Between Mentoring and Contextual Acceptance.”

Research shows that beginning teachers who receive mentoring from more seasoned, veteran teachers are more likely to return to their high-needs school than teachers who do not receive mentoring. Mentoring, therefore, has become a widely practiced aspect of first-year induction for beginning teachers in an effort to retain talent and diminish the high rates of teacher turnover that plague the profession, particularly in high-needs schools.

Our study is part of a larger grant-funded project aimed at improving mentor quality by drawing on tenets of sociocultural theory. We maintain that individuals learn and grow when educational opportunities attend to environmental factors and teachers’ specific needs, and when such opportunities progress in logical stages promoting incremental learning and growth. Specifically, the context in which beginning teachers work influences their learning about the nature of the profession.

As part of our grant-funded project, cohorts of mentor teachers received 2 years of intensive professional development on culturally responsive pedagogy, anti-racist education, and critical friends’ groups. These topics were identified through a large-scale needs assessment with teachers from Hillside Public Schools. This represents an organic approach to mentoring targeted at the needs articulated directly by beginning teachers.

The study explores whether and to what extent, if at all, this targeted mentoring support contributed to beginning teachers’ resilience.

What we found throughout our study was that resilience is best achieved through a nested approach. More specifically, beginning teachers begin to build resilience when they experience layers of contextual acceptance: acceptance from students, colleagues, and the larger community. And, mentoring offers entrée into feelings of acceptance from colleagues, which consequently prompts some beginning teachers to feel belonging or acceptance from their students and ultimately the larger community in which they teach. The feelings of belonging and acceptance that a range of mentoring experiences creates for beginning teachers enhances resilience, which helps beginning teachers overcome their perceived lack of preparation for the rigors of teaching, particularly in a high-needs setting.

The beginning teachers in this study referenced the support they received from some level of mentoring, whether the support occurred as formal mentoring required by the state for first-year teachers or as more informal, sporadic mentoring from colleagues. The study illuminates the importance of formal and informal mentoring spaces for beginning teachers and of building a community of support and acceptance so that beginning teachers can manage and overcome the chronic and acute stresses that accompany teaching.

KDP is proud to partner with Routledge to share an essay from The Educational Forum with the education community. Access the article at Taylor and Francis Online, free through March 31, 2019.

Dr. Brie Morettini

Dr. Brie Morettini is an Associate Professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education at Rowan University. She teaches courses on research literature and analysis, working with families and communities, and inclusive early childhood and elementary education. Her research focuses on beginning teacher identity development, beginning teachers’ perspectives on the profession, and the use of self-study methodologies to uncover and acknowledge epistemological frames.



Call for Manuscripts: The New Teacher’s Guide to Overcoming Common Challenges

An edited guidebook by Drs. Anna Quinzio-Zafran and Elizabeth A. Wilkins, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL

The New Teacher’s Guide to Overcoming Common Challenges: Curated Advice from Award Winning Teachers

Target Release: 2021

  • Proposal Submission Deadline: August 15, 2019
  • Acceptance Decision to Authors: September 20, 2019
  • Completed Article Due: October 18, 2019


New teachers need a quick resource to use as they navigate their first years of teaching. They don’t have the time to read long journal articles or books to make just-in-time decisions about classroom practice. Rather, they need practical advice on critical challenges they face each day and throughout the school year. This guide is designed to support new teachers during their first years in the profession through print copy and online networking with peers and accomplished teachers based on ten common challenges.

In addition to being compact and able to fit into a teacher’s plan book, the guide also leverages a high tech, high touch approach in order to appeal to today’s tech generations who want just-in-time support. We plan to build a community around the guide, building in participatory events like Twitter chats featuring the hashtag #newteachersupport, Instagram challenges, Facebook Q & A live events with authors, new webinars that feature associated challenge topics, short podcasts, and social media infographics that act as reminders of important ideas in succinct and practical ways. Finally, the guide will contain an access code to resources; the code will take the new teacher to a list of pdfs with related material that can be opened with the access code for immediate use in the classroom.

Your Submission

This guide will offer timely, best practice, and innovative concepts across ten common challenges for new teachers: (1) Classroom Management, (2) Curriculum and Instruction, (3) Student Assessment, (4) Differentiation, (5) Relationship Building/School Culture, (6) English Learners, (7) Culturally Responsive Instruction, (8) Navigating Teacher Evaluation, (9) Data Literacy, and (10) Work-Life Balance. The guide, divided by topic, will also feature links to web resources.

Additionally, if your submission is accepted, we would like to offer further opportunities for you to leverage your leadership by taking part in our planned social media community (e.g., co-hosting live Facebook chats, Twitter Q & A sessions, webinars, a vlog, Instagram challenges and/or online roundtable discussions). All authors will be asked to participate in the online support activities from 2021-2023.

Keep Audience in Mind: The guide’s primary audience is new teachers. Additionally, the guide can appeal to PK-12 schools who offer induction/mentoring programs for their new teachers. Finally, this guide can be used by teacher preparation programs (both traditional and alternative) who teach, supervise, and support new teachers as they begin their professional careers.

Submission Guidelines

The editors are seeking well-written manuscripts for new teachers on any of the ten chapter topics. Manuscripts are being accepted for one-page articles (500 words) or two-page articles (800 words). Your manuscript should offer practical suggestions and resources that first- or second-year educators and student teachers can readily apply in their classrooms. When you write and edit, think about writing very succinctly so that each sentence is meaningful (like a tip in itself). We would like you to also include an original related document that connects to your manuscript that can be downloaded from the book’s website. 

Scroll to the bottom of this post for New Teacher Voice submission guidelines.

Writer’s Guidelines

  • 500 or 800 word document
  • Include an author-created resource, related to your topic, to stimulate thinking, promote self-reflection, and support new (not part of your word count)
  • Word attachment in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-space
  • If you include references, use the APA Style (American Psychological Association, 6th Edition).
  • Consider using bullets or numbered points
  • Write using active voice
  • Submit your proposal to


Chapter 1

Classroom Set-Up and Management

Includes physical arrangement and how it can be easily modified for specific purposes, bulletin boards, record- keeping, procedures, and routines. This category also includes envisioning and maintaining a positive behavior management system, developing rules and practicing procedures, building relationships with hard-to-manage students, handling conflicts, averting bullying situations, and time management
Chapter 2

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Learn about children who might be living in poverty and its effects, with the myriad nationalities and ethnicities represented in today’s classroom.  How does one’s pedagogy acknowledge, respond to, and celebrate fundamental cultures?  Some examples of CRT include positive perspectives on parents and families, communication of high expectations, learning within the context of culture, and culturally mediated instruction.
Chapter 3

Curriculum and Instruction

Learning about district and/or grade-level curriculum, pacing guides, success standards, long-term and short- term planning, must be very how-to oriented, understanding grading expectations, how to plan highly engaging lessons for students. This category also includes Student Involvement – technology for learning, and anything you do with your students or you have them doing that motivates students to be involved in their own learning, including a wide variety of resources.
Chapter 4


Understanding how to implement accommodations, includes all types of differentiation with how-to’s – differentiating content, products, or processes – differentiating based on interests or abilities – scaffolding, tiering, cubing, RAFTing, etc., working collaboratively with other professionals such as special education/gifted/speech and language pathologists, etc., how to work with small groups, keeping the rest of the class engaged.
Chapter 5

English Learners

Especially looking for high impact strategies for helping ELs, ways to assimilate them into the classroom community,  engaging with their families, understanding how data from screeners correlates to curriculum design, best second language teaching strategies, developing strategies and materials using culturally relevant literature that focus on ELs and social justice, ways your communications can be translated, how to make tests less stressful for ELs, how to effectively plan so all students’ cultures enrich the classroom.
Chapter 6 Professionalism/School Culture Making the transition from student to working professional – establishing your professional identity with colleagues, administrators, support staff, families, students, and community members.
Chapter 7

Navigating Teacher Evaluation

Choosing the right lesson for an observation – preparing for the pre-conference – preparing students for classroom visitors – handling unplanned observations – how to advocate for your teaching.
Chapter 8

Relationship Building/Communication

Includes communications with students, parents, colleagues, administrators, and community members (including advocacy strategies to interact with city council, school board, or state or national legislators) – think about classroom newsletters, websites, use of social media, parent-teacher conferences of all types, what to say and how to say it.  This common challenge topic also includes becoming familiar with the community, its resources and values, how to get families and participating at school – especially how to communicate with and involve parents and guardians more involved in the education of the student, how to get whole families involved in learning.
Chapter 9

Student Assessment and Data Literacy

Learning about how to use formative and intermediate assessment to plan instruction – using summative assessment to determine how effective the instruction was – ways that student self-assessment contribute to success – interpreting data for different purposes.
Chapter 10

Work-Life Balance

How to juggle work and home life – seeing students’ parents in social situations away from school – how available you should make yourself after school hours – organizing work and home tasks – leaning on your

Call for New Teacher Voices:

New teacher voices are currently being accepted. Each chapter will feature three to five personal reflections on topics written by PK-12 early career teachers. The reflections may describe, for example, specific new teacher challenges or successes, insights or experiences that relate to a given topic. Each reflection should be written as a first-person narrative of 100-250 words and speak to strategies or anecdotal comments to serve as motivation for other new teachers.

Additionally, if your submission is accepted, we would like to offer further opportunities for you to leverage your leadership by taking part in our planned social media community (e.g., co-hosting live Facebook chats, Twitter Q & A sessions, webinars, a vlog, Instagram challenges and/or online roundtable discussions).

Complete new teacher voices should be submitted on or before August 15, 2019. Please include all of the following:

  • 100-250 word document
  • Word attachment in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-space
  • Working title for the submission
  • Chapter in which the proposed reflection best fits (see list of chapters)
  • Submit your proposal to

Technically Speaking: Ed Tech for the Danielson Domains

Hello, friends! In this issue, I am sharing educational technology tools across the Danielson domains.


The Danielson domains refer to four domains of teacher responsibility as defined within the Framework for Teaching ( This is a curated list from preservice teachers at Grove City College, who were tasked with identifying a tech tool for each domain.

Domain 1: Planning and Preparation

Domain 1 focuses on knowing your students beyond the student interest survey, understanding the content area and how to best teach it with evidencebased practices, assessing students’ learning, and ensuring that your content is coherent in sequence and scope.

  • Share My Lesson
  • Teachers Pay Teachers – Find a library of resources created by teachers, for teachers! Edit the lessons for your students’ needs.
  • Planboard – Organize lessons, share documents, track standards, and collaborate with other educators in your district. Record attendance, grades, and observations within this easy-to-use tech tool!

Domain 2: Classroom Environment

Domain 2 is about creating a classroom of respect and rapport among students, and between students and teachers. It is a space where students feel safe to think creatively, solve problems, and collaborate.

  • Classtools – Classtools is an EdTech treasure trove with a QR code creator, random name picker, Fakebook, fake Twitter, and more.
  • Adobe Spark
  • Canva – Don’t buy a motivational poster—make your own! Or better yet, have your students make them and display their work.

Domain 3: Instruction

Domain 3 is the heart of the framework, focusing on engaging students in learning and instruction. It pulls in features of teaching such as assessment, communication, and being a flexible educator.

  • Screencast-O-Matic – Record a lesson or presentation that is easy to share and embed in your class website or LMS.
  • Padlet – Add comments, links, pictures, and videos to this virtual sticky note board.
  • EdPuzzle – Do you want to make sure that students watched the video before class? Try this tool to embed questions into videos.
  • Kahoot
  • Gimkit
  • Socrative – These tools offer fun ways to conduct formative assessments.

Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities

Domain 4 relates to the power of reflection. You don’t want to be that teacher who uses the same lessons each year. Shake it up. Ask yourself, what is best for my students? This domain also relates to professional development (PD) and growing as an educator of excellence.

How can you implement educational technology based on the domains? Share your ideas!

Image result for sam fecich grove city collegeDr. Fecich is a former special education teacher and now is Assistant Professor and Instructional Technologist at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. She enjoys connecting with other educators about teacher prep, STEM, augmented reality, and mobile learning. Please send your educational technology questions to

Kappa Delta Pi and CourseNetworking Team Up to Support New Teachers

(INDIANAPOLIS)—Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), International Honor Society in Education, is partnering with CourseNetworking (CN), an innovative Indianapolis-based technology company in education, to draw on the Society’s rich legacy of high standards and excellence to support the professional growth and retention of new teachers.

Beginning teachers have high turnover rates that cost schools billions of dollars each year. One effective way to combat the revolving door of teachers and its negative effects on schools and students is to offer new teachers professional development. Dr. Richard Ingersoll, a prominent researcher and member of KDP’s esteemed Laureate Chapter, shared, “Somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of those that go into teaching are gone within 5 years.” KDP is perfectly positioned to address the needs of beginning teachers, as the organization has a presence on the campuses of more than 650 institutions nationwide, helping to graduate nearly 10,000 education students into the profession each year.

Beginning in fall 2018, KDP will offer new opportunities for educators to expand their knowledge and skills through online learning as well as to establish a permanent eportfolio. A selection of courses, which will be both affordable and convenient, will help teachers develop competencies that can be applied immediately in their classrooms. After successfully proving their competencies in each course, teachers will earn micro-credentials in the form of official badges, and have an opportunity to earn certificates they can use as proof of their skills, as continuing education, and as evidence of these accomplishments on their eportfolio. Among the initial topics for P–12 teachers will be areas that KDP research has identified to be the most challenging for new teachers. The majority of the course offerings will be asynchronous, with learner engagement both independently and within an online community.

“CN is very excited to work with KDP in implementing the most advanced new-age learning environment, the CN Learning Suite,” shared Dr. Ali Jafari, CN Chairman and CEO. “The CN LMS provides easy access to new KDP certification and badge-based courses while the CN Social Network connects KDP members globally to network and collaborate. The CN ePortfolio offers a lifelong professional cyber image for all KDP members. With this collaboration, we can change the way scholarly societies network and conduct continued professional development.”

KDP President-Elect Dr. Victoria Tusken, who has worked in education for 30 years—including 4 as a Secondary Curriculum Coordinator in Illinois—believes that KDP has an opportunity to be at the forefront of ongoing professional growth for teachers. “To think about micro-credentialing in terms of steps toward mastering specific skills is just good professional development,” said Tusken. “The typical professional development never sticks. Practitioners need ownership of their professional development, and the ‘one-size-fits-all’ format often pushed down from districts proves to be viewed by practitioners as a waste of their time. But, to provide short courses around specific topics and competencies has a deep impact and a lasting value for practitioners.”

Though the initial offerings will be geared toward practicing P–12 educators, KDP plans to leverage its innovative model to address all three major focus areas of the Society’s current strategic vision, which are to (1) Recruit qualified candidates into the profession, (2) Support and enhance quality preparation of teachers, and (3) Retain effective teachers—particularly in high needs areas.

The projected timeline will make the courses and eportfolio available to KDP members and other educators prior to the Society’s 52nd Convocation, to be held in Indianapolis, IN from Wednesday, October 31 through Saturday, November 3, 2018. This year’s Convocation, themed ”Designing the Future,” will feature a cutting-edge experience where all attendees of all generations and experience levels not only gain knowledge and strategies, but also collaborate to design a future that is sustainable, equitable, and promising for ALL learners.

For more information about the eportfolio, please visit, and for more information about KDP, please visit You can view the official press release here.

About Kappa Delta Pi
Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), International Honor Society in Education, was founded in 1911 at the University of Illinois to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. As a professional membership association and international honor society in education, KDP provides programs, services, and resources to its member educators to support and enhance their professional growth—all in an effort to advance quality education for all and to inspire teachers to prepare all learners for future challenges. With more than 650 active chapters and nearly 40,000 active members, the organization has seen great accomplishments and milestones in its 107-year history and is looking forward to a future where all children receive a quality education.

About CourseNetworking, LLC
CourseNetworking (CN) has a unique, next-generation technology solution for the education Industry supported by many years of thinking and research invested prior to the commercialization of the product. Built on a global education platform, the CN Suite offers a comprehensive Learning Management System (LMS), Social Portfolio, Global Academic Social Network, and Badging, as well as other social collaboration functionalities to transform teaching and learning. The CN was built to ensure that teaching and learning opportunities are available for everyone, anywhere in the world, at any time, through the web or the mobile app. The CN also provides a full turnkey solution for system implementation in institutions. The CN is the fourth major research and entrepreneurial project of the IUPUI CyberLab. The CourseNetworking LLC was created by a capital investment from Indiana University and Ali Jafari in 2011.

5 Ways to Provide Meaningful Experiences in the Classroom

Providing effective instruction is the key to supporting a student’s education. An important component of such instruction is the facilitation of engaging activities that will promote questioning and diverse conversations around subjects that are relatable to your students. The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4, which encourages quality education for all, promotes innovation and creativity. This goal can be advanced through your classrooms in five ways.

1. Collaboration

Organize collaborations amongst teachers and students on a weekly basis to foster a positive school environment. Grade team teachers can plan periods that are centered around whole group and small group instruction across the grade level. For example, dedicate a social studies period to joining three classes together for small group projects.

2. Peer-to-Peer Intervisitations

Following the path of collaboration, create differentiation of instruction through peer-to-peer intervisitations. The purpose of having students from one class visit students in another would be to pair students who have similar interests or strengths together and challenge them to develop their critical thinking skills. Guided reading groups would be a great channel for this because they can move at their own pace and be challenged through essential questions and inferring techniques.

3. Authentic Conversations

Commit to the SDG #4, quality education, by developing real connections to the students you teach and invest in. Individual conferences are valuable because the teacher becomes the learner. Students can teach the teacher about their culture through the labels that they add in their writing, their word choice, and the narratives that they share through the process of storytelling.

4. Professional Development

Work with other teachers during professional development to try out a new protocol that you are interested in using in your classroom or school. Fellow teachers can assist you in trying out a protocol prior to introducing it to your students. By sharing your ideas with colleagues, you can demonstrate your ideas and receive insightful feedback to make it better before presenting it to your students.

5. Social Media!

AAs members of Kappa Delta Pi, an organization that prides itself in promoting educational resources and successes, feel free to share your classroom activities on social media and celebrate your progress on meeting educational goals. This would support the SDGs, particularly within quality education, by sharing successful teaching experiences with educators across the world. If you are doing amazing work in the field of education, please share it with the UN using the twitter handle @GlobalGoalsUN and the hashtag #GlobalGoals. Have you found ways to reach out to friends, family, or colleagues about the success you have had with projects surrounding education? Please share below!

Happy Teaching,
Clairetza Felix

Clairetza Felix is a graduate student in the Literacy Specialist program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She chose to become a UN Youth Representative to be able to offer a unique approach to education.

New Teachers, Don’t Accept the Default: Suggestions to Ensure Success in Your First Year

araoz-lee2Our blog today comes to you from Lee Araoz, who maintains “The Golden Age of Education: Highly Effective Tools and Strategies”, who recently posted this blog. (He’s approved us to share it with you!) It was originally shared as part of a speech he gave for the KDP Initiation Ceremony at Molloy College on March 14, 2016. Enjoy!

I’ve compiled a list of statements offering new teachers advice as they enter their first year of teaching. It is my intention that these suggestions will dispel many of the myths preservice teachers encounter as they complete their training programs.


Don’t accept the DEFAULT. Seek out an option that will be BETTER for students:

  • Make it your mission to fight the “we’ve always done it this way” thinking.
  • Be a disruptor and shake things up. Create an epic classroom!
  • Start slowly with little tweaks like replacing rows of desks with clusters of four in all classrooms—especially those in middle school and high school.
  • Create the change you wish to see in your school.


Be so GOOD they can’t ignore you:

  • Do MORE than the default — arrive early and stay late.
  • Work during your lunch hour — hold review sessions, play RISK with students, treat them to lunch occasionally and allow them to work on projects.
  • Volunteer for everything — start a drama club, be a student government advisor, go to PTA meetings, and/or join the site-based management team.
  • Read Cal Newport’s book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, for more inspiration.










Establish a strong PERSONAL CONNECTION with your students:

  • Share family stories with your class — include your spouse, your children, and your pets. Describe how things were in school when you were a kid.
  • Share your writing folder — read stories you wrote when you were their age. Show them your horrible handwriting.
  • Get to know your students — provide ample opportunities for them to share verbally and in writing. Start a class blog. Go to your students’ soccer games, dance recitals, and drama shows. They will never forget this!



  • Establish clear and simple standards of behavior and stick to them. Students need to feel loved, and they all want limits (although they may not realize it).
  • Flexibility is a key factor to success in your first year. Every student is not at the same instructional level and has different social and emotional needs. For example, I had a student in my first class who was a genius. He absorbed knowledge like a sponge, but his desk was a mess inside and out. Rather than scold him repeatedly about his disorganization, I allowed him to “take over” the empty desk next to him so that he would have more room to put his things.
  • I’ll never forget the FUN I had in 5th grade. My teacher, Mrs. Weiner, made each learning task a joyful experience. We played game shows like Password to review material, created our own videos and filmstrips (cutting-edge technology in the 1970s), wrote extensively and read voraciously. We participated in a Gong Show talent contest, dressed up as our favorite book character and played kickball in her class. Content was being created on a daily basis and it made for an unforgettable experience. I credit Mrs. Weiner as a primary influence on my desire to become a teacher. And, I’ve made sure to incorporate fun activities like these into my lessons every year regardless of grade level. My students come back to tell me how they will always remember the Ancient History News programs they created and filmed live in front of the class.


Make a daily effort to be a “GUIDE ON THE SIDE” rather than a “Sage on the Stage”:

  • Move from a teacher-centered to a LEARNER-DRIVEN classroom.
  • Plan group work activities into ever lesson — play Breakout EDU!
  • Allow students to explore and innovate — do passion-based Genius Hour projects.
  • Incorporate student choice into learning labs — think-tac-toe.



  • Assess prior knowledge as soon as the lesson begins with Socrative, Nearpod, Padlet, Poll Everywhere, Google Forms, or plain old pencil and paper.
  • Then, group students accordingly for that lesson (Flexible Skills Grouping).
  • Offer multiple project options for students to create evidence of learning. Be sure to include choices that reflect various learning styles. Refrain from assigning “cookie-cutter” projects where every student creates the same exact thing.


Get students MOVING in the classroom:

  • Take your class on “learning walks” inside AND outside the school building.
  • Switch up the seats and your classroom configuration often.
  • Use GoNoodle, a fun, interactive way to get kids moving.
  • Don’t spend more than 30 minutes at a time engaging in seat work.


Don’t overwhelm students with too much homework:

  • Homework takes the joy out of learning for many kids.
  • “There is no evidence that any amount of homework improves the academic performance of elementary students,” shares Harris Cooper of Duke University.
  • Family across America battle over homework nightly. Parents nag, cajole, and often end up doing assignments for their children.


Establish a POSITIVE and PROFESSIONAL digital presence for yourself and your class:

  • Understand that your digital tattoo is permanent and you have total control over the content you put out there. So keep it positive!
  • Provide multiple pathways for students and parents to remotely access learning materials outside the classroom.
  • Model and demonstrate that “Learning Doesn’t Stop at 3 O’Clock”.


Don’t try to keep up with EVERYTHING in education technology:

  • You can’t; nobody can.
  • Curate your resources for quick and easy access using tools like: Padlet, Pearltrees, Pinterest, Smore, or Symbaloo.
  • Ask your students what’s new in technology and social media.
  • Test-drive a new tech tool this year.


Foster a GROWTH MINDSET in your students:

  • blog-image14

    For example: Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, and Michael Jordan all overcame many obstacles before becoming famous.

    Teach students that failure is an important part of learning.

  • Promote the power of positive self-talk. Change your words; change your mindset.
  • Give examples of famous people who failed multiple times before achieving success.



Don’t EVER stop learning:

  • Embark on self-directed, passion-based professional development.
  • Curate and share content with colleagues.
  • Listen to podcasts, view webinars, and READ whatever you can get your hands on.
  • Become an expert in your field at your own blistering speed. “The standard pace is for chumps.” – Kimo Williams


GET connected:


SHARE your work:

  • Brag about your lessons, your students, and your school on social media.
  • Use apps like Remind to send home positive messages and pictures of students in action.
  • Create a class blog, a digital newsletter, or a YouTube channel to spread the word.
  • Don’t hold back because you worry that it’s not good enough or original enough. “To be original, you don’t have to be FIRST, you just have to be DIFFERENT and BETTER,” – Adam Grant.
  • As a teacher in the new millennium, you are your own personal brand. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to promote yourself.
  • Read Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work, for more inspiration.


  • Keep a teaching journal and/or blog about your successes and failures in the classroom.
  • Take pictures, make “best of” slideshows, and share your work!
  • Keep a digital portfolio of your work.
  • Continually update your résumé.

I’d like to emphasize that teaching is a difficult job, but it is the MOST REWARDING profession there is. I had a friend who owned his own business and he asked, “Isn’t it boring teaching the same grade/subject each and every year?” and my immediate response was, “No, it NEVER gets boring because each year, you are challenged with a new and vastly different group of students.”

EMBRACE CHANGE and you will rarely be disappointed!

First Day of Summer 2015

Sally Rushmore taught science and math in grades 7-12 and computer applications in a community college. She currently is the Managing Editor for the New Teacher Advocate.

2 chaises and umbrella

“Teachers’ workday ends at 3 and they have all summer off.”

Have you ever heard people say this? What do teachers do in the summer? Some have to work another job, but most spend time relaxing and de-stressing, reconnecting with their own children and families, and preparing for the next school year. Here are some blogs with some good ideas for your summer. Enjoy!

What Teachers Really Do Over Summer Break by Outside the Box Teaching Ideas

This teacher asked her students to write about what teachers do over the summer break. Then she commented on what they wrote. It is both funny and poignant.

The Myth of Having Summers Off by Heather Wolpert-Gawron on Edutopia

This is a great list for recharging and de-stressing. Try just one of these ideas and you’ll feel refreshed.

The Teachers Guide to Summer Break: Tips for Fun, Relaxation, & Professional Development on Reading Horizons

Whether you want to relax, reconnect with friends and family, reflect on your teaching, or recharge with new ideas for the new year, this blog has good ideas.

Are you a new graduate? Do you need to make money this summer? How about some of these ideas?

25 Satisfying Summer Jobs for Teachers on the Rasmussen College website

10 Ways to Make Extra Summer Income for Educators by Jill Hare on Teaching Community