Publish in ASCD Express
Published every two weeks, ASCD Express, launched in fall 2005, seeks to give a new generation of educators in the United States and around the world the practical information they need to be the best-informed in the field.
Because of the nature of the web and the demands made on typical educators—too much information and too little time to read it—ASCD Express seeks brief, practical content (articles of about 600 words; multimedia no longer than 10 minutes).
We welcome research-based submissions as well as your own examples from the classroom and advice about how to adapt successful strategies or overcome challenges, whether as a teacher, administrator, or specialist.
Read our list of upcoming themes, and consider publishing in ASCD Express. When submitting articles, please write the issue theme in the subject line of your e-mail.
denotes a theme that corresponds to an issue of Educational Leadership.
September 11: Motivation Matters
Motivated students learn at high levels, even when they start with knowledge or skill gaps. We know, for instance, that when teachers create an engaging curriculum, students will persist in the most challenging courses. Yet many students are unmotivated. Perhaps they feel that the work is too hard or too easy, that their own skills or styles aren't valued, that what they're studying isn't connected to their life goals or passions. This issue will consider how teachers can spark inner motivation in all students—from near drop-outs to high fliers to those sliding by in the middle. How can we change curriculum, instructional approaches, grading, and classroom culture to engage more students in learning?
September 25: Tools for a New School Year
Next year will be different. You're taking experiences from this year and translating them into a game plan for next year. You're seeking out professional reading, training, online resources, or a colleague that will help prepare and support you for next year's challenges. We want to know what aspect of your practice you're fine-tuning over the summer break and what resources are taking you to the next level. Looking back on the school year, what was lacking and what sustained you? What do you need to start next year right?
October 9: Instruction That Sticks
Good teachers know the importance of effective teaching strategies. But how do you know when a strategy is working, when it's not, and how to make adjustments? What do research and professional experience say about which strategies are most effective in raising student achievement? This issue will explore these questions and will include articles examining a variety of classroom instructional strategies, such as project-based learning, reciprocal teaching, inquiry-driven learning, group learning, direct instruction, backward planning, mastery learning, differentiated instruction, and timely feedback. How can teachers implement these strategies in ways that produce the richest learning for their students?
October 23: Managing Messy Learning
Project-based learning is a paradox. It can be the platform for deep immersion in interesting problems or topics, but it can also be wildly unwieldy to conduct. Sometimes depth is sacrificed for the sake of manageability, and the result falls short of the profound learning you’d hoped students would experience. With the mix of learners and the resource limitations in a typical classroom (namely, time), what are the secret ingredients for designing meaningful and manageable project-based learning? How do you align tasks to learning targets? What are the processes and routines that release responsibility to students to work autonomously on a project over time? How is assessment different when students work in groups? How have you partnered with other teachers or organizations to create interdisciplinary units, and what are the keys to keep such partnerships running smoothly? And, finally, why is project-based learning worth doing? How does it positively disrupt traditional templates for teaching and learning?
Submissions due: August 1, 2014
November 13: Talking and Listening in Class
The typical school day is abuzz with student and teacher talk—whole-class discussions, small-group and paired interactions, student presentations, teacher lectures, question-and-answer sessions, student-led debates—and of course, countless social conversations. How can we use all this talk productively to promote rich content-area learning and to develop the speaking and listening skills that are vital to students' future success? Topics in this issue will include teaching students to be active listeners, encouraging respectful debate, leading whole-class discussions that promote higher-order thinking and encourage all students to participate, teaching to the Common Core speaking and listening standards, and designing instruction so that students talk more and teachers talk less.
Submissions due: August 15, 2014
November 26: Are the Kids Alright?
In his essay, "The Purpose of Education," a young Martin Luther King, Jr. famously wrote, "Intelligence plus character--that is the goal of true education." Studies bear out the import of Dr. King's message – schools that intentionally cultivate the social-emotional aspects of learning, through shared norms, values, and language; report healthier and happier students and staff, as well as less behavior referrals. So what are schools doing to address the social emotional development of students? How can schools best leverage counselors, social workers, and other mental health specialists? Which approaches to character education are most promising?
Submissions due: September 1, 2014
December 11: Grade Smarter
Do your grades measure comprehension or compliance? Do they give students enough information on how they can improve? How do you communicate with families about grading practices? How do you deal with late or incomplete work? Does grading homework give an unfair advantage to better-resourced students? What are the hurdles to implementing standards-based grading? How can grading practices shift to put the emphasis on learning, not simply measuring? This issue will look at strategies and polices for making grades more fair and meaningful.
Submissions due: September 15, 2014
December 24: STEM for All
A STEM education is becoming increasingly vital, and not just in terms of a shortage of workers in these areas. Our technology-dependent society demands citizens with sophisticated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills who can apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems. How can schools foster student interest in STEM, especially among underrepresented groups? What effect will the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards have on the STEM curriculum? And what supports will teachers need to promote deeper understanding in these areas? We're looking for articles that target each of the subject areas as well as programs that integrate STEM-related subjects.
Submissions due: October 1
January 8: Questioning Strategies
Questions can be posed to engage student interest, check understanding, and challenge students to go deeper in their thinking. How do you spiral questions throughout a lesson or a concept? What are your strategies for ensuring equitable student participation? How do you engage students in generating their own questions? How do you get student to dive beyond basic, surface questions? What questions do good readers ask of different types of texts? What do you do with unanswered questions? How do you stay poised for the unexpected, or help redirect students when they got lost on a tangent?
Submissions due: October 15, 2014
January 22: The Second Chance Student
Many students who are capable of doing well in school get tripped up by behavior or a series of bad choices. How do you help these students push the reset button on their school performance? This includes setting expectations, providing a pathway to achieving or exceeding goals, reframing student and teacher mindsets, providing opportunities for restorative justice and advisory groups that guide student decision-making.
Submissions due: November 1, 2014
February 12: Improving Schools: What Works?
Many schools have implemented successful improvement efforts—yet others are struggling to lift their students to acceptable achievement levels. Articles in this issue will examine important components of school improvement, such as education policy, leadership, curriculum, school climate, and community support. We will look at obstacles to school improvement and how they can be overcome. What can we learn from the research on various turnaround models, including turning management over to a charter organization, replacing most of the staff, or even shutting down "failing" schools? We welcome profiles of schools that have gone from low-performing to high-performing, as well as those that have gone from good to better to great.
Submissions due: November 15, 2014
February 26: The Future of Education
Flipped classrooms, competency-based education, personalization, and cloud-based computing are some of the disruptive innovations shaking up education. But in many schools, the basic systems of teaching and learning look a lot like they did fifty years ago. What trends will significantly affect the future of education? What changes are already underway? What should we fix, keep doing, or abandon?
Submissions due: December 1, 2014
March 12: Culturally Diverse Classrooms
Children everywhere are coming to school with an array of cultural and linguistic strengths and challenges. How do students' cultural backgrounds influence their interactions with both teachers and classmates, and how can schools improve the academic achievement of their fastest-growing group of students—English language learners? Articles will tackle how schools can personalize learning, promote acquisition of academic English, increase students' access to challenging coursework, and close achievement gaps. What kinds of professional development do all teachers need to serve their culturally diverse students? We welcome articles that address the benefits of classrooms that have a vibrant mix of cultures as well as the challenges associated with poverty, mobility, and interrupted formal education.
Submissions due: December 15, 2014
March 26: Writing for a Purpose
Students who are college and career ready possess skills to communicate effectively in academic and work world environments. According to the 2011 NAEP, writing is a stumbling point for many students – only about a quarter of the students studied can write proficiently, and about three percent of students are deemed "Advanced" writers. For many students, writing is disconnected from their personal goals; it's something "you do in school." How do you engage students in writing for a real purpose? How do you design authentic writing assignments? What happens to the work, once it is published? How do (or don't) the standards support writing for a purpose? How can content area classes foster the skills related to academic writing?
Submissions due: January 1, 2015
April 9: Communication Skills for Leaders
From teachers to principals, formal and informal leaders must communicate well to forge a strong school climate and enhance learning. This issue will examine how school leaders can keep communication transparent and supportive. How can teachers, coaches, resource specialists, and other professionals communicate with one another constructively? How can leaders build strong connections with students, families, and business partners; use social media effectively; talk with teachers in ways that promote their professional growth; hold the inevitable tough conversations; communicate clearly in school crises; and shape their school's image?
Submissions due: January 15, 2015
April 23: Minds-On Learning
How do you design learning that strengthens connections in the brain, accounts for processing time and working memory capacity, engages multiple sense for deep inquiry, and otherwise capitalizes on how the brain learns? How do you develop students' metacognition and teach them about their own brains? What myths about the brain and learning persist? What new discoveries are most promising (and relevant) to educators? What would a brain-friendly school look like?
Submissions due: February 1, 2015
May 14: Teaching with Mobile Tech
The digital generation expects to be able to access learning anytime, anywhere. As mobile technologies emerge at breathtaking speed and become a ubiquitous part of students' lives, how are schools evolving? How are teachers using tablets, smartphones, netbooks, and e-readers to engage students as active learners? This issue will explore innovative ways to create more relevant and challenging learning experiences. We welcome articles about educators' experiences with 1:1 tablet and BYOD (bring-your-own-device) programs and about how schools are meeting such challenges as equity issues, security concerns, professional development needs, and school infrastructure supports.
Submissions due: February 15, 2015