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Regular professional development often does not extend opportunities for colleagues to interact and engage, but Inspired Teaching does.
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Instigator of Thought – February 2016
Letter from Aleta Margolis, Executive Director
What kind of school experience do all children need?
At Inspired Teaching, we believe every child should have a school experience that builds his or her Intellect, Inquiry, Imagination, and Integrity. These 4 I’s are inherent qualities that must be fostered with care. The Inspired Teacher who focuses on the 4 I’s does not fill students with information, but challenges students to wonder, experiment, and learn.
The 4 I’s are deeply intertwined, and they mutually reinforce one another. You can see how they work together in the classrooms of Inspired Teachers across the city. [Read the full piece here.]
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Save the Date! On April 21, 2016, Inspired Teaching will host Chocolate Inspiration at the Embassy of Italy, an evening gala celebrating 20 years of Inspired Teaching and featuring the finest DC-area chefs who prepare and serve their most creative, decadent, and delicious chocolate creations. At Chocolate Inspiration, we will present the Inspired Teaching Changemaker Award to longtime writer, educator, and activist Jonathan Kozol.
This February, teachers are posting photos showing evidence of MUTUAL RESPECT in their classrooms. We have received some wonderful examples, including the one above. In March, take a photo showing evidence of STUDENT AS EXPERT 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!
*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:
“Take a look around the room. This is a physical representation of what we mean when we tell Fellows that they are joining a movement; that they are changemakers.”
Lead teachers of the Inspired Teacher Certification Program considered this during a recent professional development meeting. Using Cheerios to create a visual representation of the number of students reached, lead teachers saw how they not only play an integral role in preparing Fellows to become changemakers, but that their influence extends even further – to the students their Fellows go on to teach.
The application for the Inspired Teacher Certification Program is now open!
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SHIFT the practice of inservice teachers:
– “The class we observed wasn’t just about playing with toys; after experimenting with the cars, students were expected to explain the physics behind each car’s motion. ‘I think there’s a spring inside,’ suggested one student, supporting his claim by demonstrating the sounds you hear when the car is pulled back. ‘Can we open it up and see what’s inside?’ asked another. That type of curiosity may be lacking in some science classes, but it’s certainly not unusual in Mr. Sholtas’ room.” In this piece, David Yarmchuk, Senior Manager of Science Education, shares evidence of inquiry and imagination found in SCALE Teacher Leader Stephen Sholtas’ classroom.
– Registration is closing soon for the 2016-17 cohort of BLISS and SCALE Teacher Leaders! This is an opportunity for charter school teachers to become Teacher Leaders through our yearlong, standards-aligned professional development program.
If you’re a teacher or school leader interested in our BLISS and SCALE program, click here for more information, and sign up to speak directly with an Inspired Teaching staff member.
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MODEL Inspired Teaching in action:
– “I am beyond excited to have stumbled – well, scrolled – into an organization that is working hard to make sure all students are challenged, valued, and respected at school.” Rachel Gold, a student at Brown University, shares her experience seeing Inspired Teaching in action while interning this winter and supporting our various programs. Read her blog here.
– In December, Real World History students completed an oral history project in which they interviewed a local Washingtonian who was a part of the Great Migration. In this blog, one student reflects on her experience with this project: “One moment that struck me the most was when she recounted experiencing racism in a restaurant in Raleigh. Listening to someone describe a hurtful experience involving discrimination is a lot different than reading about it in a textbook. Ms. Mitchell’s stories gave me a more comprehensive understanding of the Great Migration.” Click here to read the full piece.
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COMMUNICATE, leverage, and elevate:
– On February 11, Inspired Teaching’s Executive Director Aleta Margolis hosted an evening for the Brown University Women’s Leadership Council. A panel of noted education specialists joined to discuss what kind of school experience every child deserves. The evening concluded with panelist and audience reflections on what it means to be an educational changemaker and how to keep oneself motivated – by hope for a better world and dissatisfaction at the status quo – in the movement to transform education for all children.
– President Lincoln’s Cottage, an internship partner site for Real World History, is the small Washington, DC home in which President Abraham Lincoln lived. Unlike most historic homes, you won’t find velvet rope separating the visitor from Lincoln’s furniture. Instead of the traditional visitor experience of shuffling through a space looking at items, guests at President Lincoln’s Cottage are invited to get up close and personal with the Cottage itself and the ideas that developed during the President’s time at his home; as the Cottage’s vision statement explains, their goal is for visitors to “meet the true Lincoln and continue his fight for freedom.”
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VISIT Inspired Teaching in action:
Learn more about upcoming program visits and RSVP here.