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Inspired Teaching did a great job getting me to think creatively about how I teach – loosening my preconceived thoughts just enough to embrace some new approaches.
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Instigator of Thought – December 2015
Letter from Aleta Margolis, Executive Director
Imagine you could jump decades forward in a time machine and see that a student in your classroom was going to become a Nobel Prize winner, or a renowned brain surgeon, or artist. How would your teaching shift? You might listen a little more intently to his questions, ideas, interests, and concerns. You might not allow her to give up when she is struggling.
Inspired Teachers teach like this every day – helping students unlock their potential as leaders, innovators, and problem solvers – because students are capable of solving real world challenges and seizing real world opportunities. And because the need for this type of teaching is urgent.
I just returned from Istanbul where I spoke to educators and leaders at the Ashoka Changemaker Education Summit about a different kind of instruction that prepares students as changemakers. [Read the full piece here.]
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As you engage in end of year giving, please consider Inspired Teaching!
Click here to donate and support our work with teachers like Stephen.
Calling all Instigators of Thought! To celebrate 20 years of Inspired Teaching, we’ve launched a social media campaign featuring our Inspired Teachers’ great work. Until June 2016, we’ll be asking teachers to share how they build students’ 4 I’s — Intellect, Inquiry, Imagination, and Integrity — by bringing the 5 Core Elements into the classroom.
This December, teachers are posting photos showing evidence of IMAGINATION in their classrooms. We have received some wonderful examples, including the ones below.
In January, take a photo showing evidence of INTEGRITY in your classroom. Post your image to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook* with the hashtag #20YrsInspired. Every week, we’ll share top posts on our social media channels!
Each month we will also feature conversations with Inspired Teachers from all programs. Showcased this month are an interview with Liz Orfaly, a 2012 Inspired Teaching Fellow, and a blog post by Katherine Douglas Kindle, an Inspired Teaching Institute alum and 2012 Institute Teacher Leader.
Please carefully follow your school’s social media policies. Protecting students’ privacy is critically important. If you would like to share an image but keep your social media profile private, please post directly to the Inspired Teaching Facebook page.
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PREPARE new teachers for successful and sustainable careers:
The application for the Inspired Teacher Certification Program is now open!
The Inspired Teacher Certification Program is pleased to feature the Fellows Advisory Board (FAB). Founded in 2014, FAB is a group of Inspired Teaching Fellow alumni who are dedicated to cultivating a professional network of Inspired Teaching Fellows while informing program initiatives, including support for Fellows currently enrolled in the program. FAB works together to plan speeches from education leaders, professional development events, and social gatherings for members of the Inspired Teaching community. FAB events to date have included a discussion with Roman Krznaric about his book, Empathy: Why it Matters, and How to Get It, a film screening and discussion about the film “Good Morning, Mission Hill,” a relaxation yoga event for teachers, and a happy hour that brought together Fellows from all cohorts.
In the new year, FAB plans to host another series of social and professional development opportunities, including a general assembly meeting in January for all Inspired Teaching Fellow alumni, and a happy hour in January. Both events serve to cultivate a sense of community among alumni, reinforcing the notion that the connection to Inspired Teaching and other Instigators of Thought continues long after graduation day.
The Inspired Teacher Certification Program is excited that alumni Fellows are taking the lead in engaging their peers, and looks forward to great upcoming events.
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SHIFT the practice of inservice teachers:
Center for Inspired Teaching was well represented at the Learning Forward 2015 National Conference, held December 5-9 in Washington, DC. Teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators from as nearby as Maryland and as far away as Singapore joined Inspired Teaching’s Suzanne Katz, Dave Yarmchuk, Cosby Hunt, and Inspired Teaching Demonstration School Principal Zoe Duskin to explore inquiry-based instructional practices, including Inspired Teaching’s philosophical approach and practical applications in the classroom.
Over the course of the conference, Inspired Teaching led three separate sessions for attendees, including a panel session, “Bolstering Students’ Creativity in K-12 Classrooms”. Panelists – including Inspired Teaching’s Aleta Margolis and Suzanne Katz – shared research and ideas they drew from their expertise in the arts, sciences, and education with the audience through a rich discussion of how to engage students in creative processes in K-12 classrooms.
Participants commented that Inspired Teaching’s sessions were “more interactive and experiential than others” and recognized that the intellectually, emotionally, and physically engaging activities were designed to “put us in the mind of the student.”
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MODEL Inspired Teaching in action:
On December 3rd, the second annual Real World History Internship Fair took place at Cardozo High School. Staff members from DC museums and historic sites each interviewed 4-5 students to determine internships for the spring semester. In the second half of the course, students will spend 100+ hours at these sites between January and June 2016, putting into practice the skills they learned in the first semester.
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COMMUNICATE, leverage, and elevate:
– On November 28, Aleta Margolis, Inspired Teaching’s Executive Director, addressed a convening of school directors, educators, young people, civil society leaders, and philanthropists at the Changemaker Education Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. Aleta, an Ashoka Fellow, was invited to speak and lead a workshop for this audience of changemakers to teach them tools they can use to shift the mindsets of their colleagues about what the school experience should be for students.
– Earlier this month, Center for Inspired Teaching opened the Catalogue for Philanthropy’s
annual Inspiration to Action event, engaging an audience of philanthropists and community leaders in an interactive math activity that highlighted the difference between the conventional school experience and the Inspired Teaching school experience. In the activity, the audience was asked to ponder underlying mathematical concepts: What does it really mean to multiply fractions? What happens when we take a fraction of a fraction of a whole? When and how does this apply to real life?
Inspired Teaching has been included several times in Catalogue for Philanthropy, a resource that connects philanthropists with standout local nonprofits in the Washington, DC area.
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VISIT Inspired Teaching in action:
Learn more about upcoming program visits and RSVP here.