Great teachers work best when they work together. TNTeacherTalk is a place for Tennessee teachers to connect, share our stories, and learn from one another. Join us as we discuss the issues affecting Tennessee students, teachers, and communities.

Professional Learning
Micro-Credentials – Personalized Learning for Teachers
June 7, 2018
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Micro-Credentials – Personalized Learning for Teachers

Jessica Childers
@JDouttChilders

According to the Center for Teaching Quality, 84% of teachers report that they have participated in inservice days but only 20% are satisfied with their professional development. I believe we can do better than this. In the past few years, personalizing learning for students has become a focus for many educators. iNACOL defines PL as “tailoring learning for each student’s strengths, needs and interests...to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery..." We should apply these same ideas for professional learning for teachers as well. Through micro-credentials, I have found a way to personalize my learning in a way that directly influences student learning in my classroom.
In the Classroom
What are We Missing with Story Problems?
June 6, 2018
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What are We Missing with Story Problems?

Cindy Cliche
@CindyCliche1

This summer a colleague attended a conference and was so excited to share her learning. One “take away” was a speaker that shared teachers should use the term “story problems” instead of “word problems” because the word “story” indicates that it is more than just a bunch of words and numbers. There is a context. Reflecting on this discussion, I begin to think about how much focus we are seeing in math instructional resources with numberless word problems, Bet Lines, and “notice and wonder.” I wondered if what we call the word/story problem is the whole solution, or is it how we support student understanding of the context of problems?
In the Classroom
End of the Year Letter to Parents
June 3, 2018
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End of the Year Letter to Parents

Amy Crawford
@AmyKCrawford

Every year, I write an End of the School Year letter to parents. This year, I took advantage of the opportunity to share some wisdom I’ve acquired through raising four children and teaching for over 25 years. Admittedly, I was a bit anxious to find out how the letter would be received. Thankfully, I’ve received multiple requests to “share” the letter on social media, as well as notes of appreciation from parents and grandparents. I’d like to share the letter with you in the hope that you will have the courage to share it, modify it, or simply think about the responsibility we have as teachers to educate our students.
In the Classroom
Six Ways to Incorporate Student Voice in Your Classroom
June 2, 2018
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Six Ways to Incorporate Student Voice in Your Classroom

Erin Glenn
@erin_glenn_edu

``So why do I have to do this….Because I said so!” Unfortunately, this type of conversation may occur all too often when students do not see the benefit or purpose of what they have been asked to do. Providing opportunities for students to have a voice in their classroom practices allows them to help shape their class environment and increases the likelihood they’ll follow outlined procedures and protocols. There are many ways to incorporate student voice in your class. Six of my personal favorites are found below:
In the Classroom
Literature in the Math Classroom
June 1, 2018
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Literature in the Math Classroom

Cindy Cliche
@CindyCliche1

The biggest challenge for so many teachers is finding time in the day to teach each content area. Teachers that traditionally set a block amount of time to teach math and then another block of time to teach language arts are finding that integrating the two subjects gives more time for teaching the curriculum, and students are engaged in their learning. Integration of literature in mathematics activities and tasks helps develop the context for the lesson. If students can make a connection to mathematics content in a story, the literature can make mathematics more interesting, engaging, and applicable to students’ experiences in the world.
In the Classroom
Day to Day in One to One
May 31, 2018
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Day to Day in One to One

Ashley Corey
@ms_corey8

Many schools and districts are taking the initiative to give all of their students access to technology on a constant basis. What is now referred to as “one to one” typically means that every student is given some sort of device such as a tablet, a laptop, or similar type of hybrid. The largest and most obvious hurdle to this kind of initiative is funding. With individual devices you tend to get what you pay for, and that makes giving over a thousand students a similar device cumbersome at best. When my school first presented us with the idea of one to one as a common practice, my actual questions did not deal with funds. As a classroom teacher there is only a limited scope of what I can control when presented with budget dilemmas.
In the Classroom Policy
Students Are Compelled to Attend School, But Is School Compelling?
May 30, 2018
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Students Are Compelled to Attend School, But Is School Compelling?

Casey Ward
@caseytward

“The right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school” - Ivan Illich from Deschooling Society “From the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen” - Cat Stevens from “Father and Son”
In the Classroom Professional Learning
Why I Pursued National Board Certification
May 28, 2018
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Why I Pursued National Board Certification

Erin Glenn
@erin_glenn_edu

If someone peeked in my classroom years ago, they would have seen students seated in desks, aligned in straight rows attentively completing their work. This would have likely followed a typical lesson that required they take notes, as I lectured, and required they read a passage and answer corresponding questions. My students were quiet, well behaved and accustomed to this routine. Though this may have been perceived as effective classroom management, I knew hadn’t met the mark. I’d often implement new strategies I’d learned in professional development but continuously sought to discover how I could grow as an educator and become more effective for my students. In my search, I discovered National Board Certification, a process that forever changed my traditional routines and methods of practice.
Policy
Educational Dreams Deferred
May 28, 2018
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Educational Dreams Deferred

Letecia Skae
@LSkae

``What happens to a dream deferred?” asked Langston Hughes. I ponder this as well. Recently teachers have been speaking out and advocating for their students, ALL of their students, because in recent months our country’s ideals about immigration have been in constant turmoil. So, it has become apparent that telling our students’ stories has become the most powerful way to remind our country that these children are all of our children and that we must support diversity and unity. Now please, close your eyes and imagine this story.
In the Classroom
How I’ve Learned to Take Care of Myself While Teaching Students Impacted by Trauma
May 24, 2018
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How I’ve Learned to Take Care of Myself While Teaching Students Impacted by Trauma

Candace Hines
@Mrs_C_Hines

Just as most clothes are not one size fits all, teaching students that have been impacted by trauma is not a one size fits all situation. Each case must be treated very differently. One student may benefit from gentle reminders, private conversations, or social stories which give students an example of how to positively handle situations in the future. Another student may respond to firm consequences, consistent routines, or reflection journals.