Instagram Photo of the Day 4.11.14

gingerjordy: So excited to have been chosen as Quentin Elementary's Teacher of the Year! This is an award that is voted on by all administration, staff, students and parents! What a wonderful year it has been. So thankful for my AMAZING students. I am so blessed #teacher #ilovemyjob #teachforamerica #tfaphoenix

gingerjordy: So excited to have been chosen as Quentin Elementary’s Teacher of the Year! This is an award that is voted on by all administration, staff, students and parents! What a wonderful year it has been. So thankful for my AMAZING students. I am so blessed #teacher #ilovemyjob #teachforamerica #tfaphoenix


Cultivating Happy Habits

(Photo credit: Elizabeth M)

(Photo credit: Elizabeth M)

If you are reading this post, it means that you didn’t let my cheesy headline deter you. I realize that it could have—I mean, how lame does the phrase “happy habits” sound? But I’m hoping you’ll soon understand that cultivating happy habits can actually be a very useful and powerful practice.

To give some background: as part of my training program in counseling, I participate in various field placements that give me the opportunity to conduct therapy in a variety of settings with a diverse set of clients. Currently, I am working with the U.S. Department of  Veterans Affairs. As part of my experience with the VA, I’ve helped lead a group that provides an introduction to mindfulness. Our group provides the group members—veterans who have often experienced trauma and are now dealing with subsequent anxiety and depression—with tangible things they can do to achieve improvements in their lives. One thing we encourage is the mindfulness practice of developing happy habits.

So what are these habits? Happiness researchers such as Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, have found that certain routine practices have been shown to literally improve one’s level of happiness in a rather short amount of time. Achor suggests a set of five simple things you can do every day that will make you significantly, noticeably, measurably happier:

Pop Links 4.10.14: Black American College Student Divide; Teenage Drinking and Music Link; History of English Language; Children’s Rooms Around the World

  • The story of the black teenager who gained admissions to all eight Ivies resurfaced the rift among America’s black college students—the self-labeled “just blacks” who can trace their lineage no further than the South vs. children of immigrants who proudly wave their parents’ flags.
  • You may have a hard time getting them to pay attention in your class, but teenagers are listening intently to and taking notes from the hottest songs on the radio. A new study found that teens who like popular songs with alcohol references are more likely to drink and binge drink.
  • Though English is not the most widely spoken language, it has unofficially become the universal language of the world. Teach your students the humble beginnings of this now dominant language.
  • At the end of the day, even the most energetic child has to lie down for rest. This series of intimate photographs shows 16 different children’s rooms across the world.
  • TFANet Resource: Cold War

Pinterest Pick: DIY Egg Shell Geodes


EdTech and the Corps: A Call to Connect

(Photo credit: Brad Flickinger)

(Photo credit: Brad Flickinger)

A new trend is emerging in the Teach For America corps, one that capitalizes on our energy, our willingness to learn, and our drive to do whatever it takes to help our students succeed: the adoption of technology tools in daily instruction. As Teach For America’s Director of Educational Technology, I talk with corps members daily, and their stories of technology use and its outcomes are remarkable. I want to share these stories, because one teacher’s work could benefit corps members nationwide.

I think it’s time we all connect.

Stephanie Linka (Baltimore ’12) encouraged 20 other teachers to adopt Kaymbu—an i-Pad-based teacher documentation system that captures student development through pictures and video and ultimately strengthens the relationship between home and school—and get free iPads after signing up for Imagine K12’s beta-testers program, which allows teachers to give valuable feedback to EdTech startups. It’s one of her top two favorite tools, along with Edmodo, which she considers to be the “gateway drug” of EdTech products. “This tool has allowed learning and engagement to go beyond our four walls and to students’ homes, to the point where parents have come to me emotional about having seen their child read for the first time on a Kaymbu video,” Linka said.

Instagram Photo of the Day 4.9.14

lani_del_rey: Today's adventure at the Children's Museum. #chicago #teachforamerica #feelinglikeakidagain

lani_del_rey: Today’s adventure at the Children’s Museum. #chicago #teachforamerica #feelinglikeakidagain


Pop Links 4.8.14: Lunch Tweets to the FLOTUS; Problem-Solving Skills; Econ Class April Fools’ Prank; Money Behind March Madness

  • When the FLOTUS vowed to fight childhood obesity, she probably did not envision being engaged in this sort of war: students are taking to Twitter to let Mrs. Obama know their distaste for healthier school lunches.
  • American students are really good at problem-solving! While they lag behind students in a few OECD countries, our nation’s pupils showed promising results overall in this subject area.
  • Though multimillion-dollar corporations like Google vied for this recognition, the award for 2014 best April Fools’ prank goes to a group of economics students at a small college. Watch the brilliant prank that put them on top!
  • To most of America, March Madness is simply a time for fun games, but to colleges, advertisers and the NCAA, it is big business. This PBS special follows the money trail and questions whether the NCAA takes unfair advantage of its biggest labor force: the unpaid college athletes.
  • TFANet Resource: World War II

Instagram Photo of the Day 4.7.14

jpitts_: Grading tests and Tigger cupcakes #tigger #winniethepooh #teacher #teacherlife #cupcake #test #causeandeffect #birthday #fourthgrade #tfachicago #tfa #teachforamerica

jpitts_: Grading tests and Tigger cupcakes #tigger #winniethepooh #teacher #teacherlife #cupcake #test #causeandeffect #birthday #fourthgrade #tfachicago #tfa #teachforamerica