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April 2-4, 2016
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ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

2016 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

Learn. Teach. Lead.
Get the tools to put it all together at this can't-miss education conference—with more than 200 sessions and five inspirational keynote speakers.

Learn more and register.



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Publish in ASCD Express

ASCD Express is the association's free e-newsletter. Published twice a month, this resource seeks to give educators practical, actionable strategies and information from the most reputable sourcesthe colleagues and experts working in the education field. ASCD Express content is developed and curated for brevity and relevance to the real experiences of working educators.

ASCD Express seeks brief, practical content. Article submissions typically range from 600 to 1,000 words, and multimedia submissions should be no longer than 10 minutes. Please send submissions to

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 to


2015 Themes 

 denotes a theme that corresponds to an issue of Educational Leadership.

September 10: Questioning for Learning 

One of a teacher's most important practices is asking questions—to spark students' interest, evaluate their readiness for instruction, reinforce their learning, develop their critical-thinking skills, and assess their understanding. What kinds of questions help students deepen their thinking rather than merely reach the "right" answers? How can teachers create written and oral assessment questions that reveal student knowledge? How can they engage students in exploring intriguing essential questions and reassure students who are afraid to show they don't know something? How can they teach students to generate their own questions and research topics in depth? We welcome articles about oral and written questioning strategies at all grade levels and in all subject areas.

Submissions due: Closed

September 24: How to Begin and End Lessons

How do you hook students on a topic from the moment they step into your classroom? What are the best ways to communicate lesson expectations? How do you share objectives and a general roadmap for a lesson with students? What are your strategies for activating background knowledge or making connections to previous lessons? When you're winding down a lesson, or pressing pause until the next class meeting, how do you bring students to closure? What tools do you use to check for student understanding? How do you help students organize and evaluate their new knowledge within the context of the lesson objective and the overall goals for a unit?

Submissions due: Closed

October 8: Emotionally Healthy Kids 

Cognitive science tells us that students' emotions affect their motivation, attention span, memory, behavior, and ultimately, their academic achievement. Yet anxiety and stress among students seem to be on the rise. How can educators help all students learn to deal with their emotions to enhance learning? How can teachers best support students who have emotional and mental health problems—and whose behavior may disrupt other students' learning? And how can educators connect with counselors and mental health professionals to reach students who need intensive help? Articles will look at strategies for creating emotionally safe classrooms, building social skills and empathy, and helping kids learn to support one another.

Submissions due: Closed

October 22: Staying Centered

For teachers, October can be the cruelest month. Start-of-the-year idealism fades as day-to-day challenges pile up, and goals and a sense of balance can seem beyond reach. How do you reconnect to your motivation and purpose in one of the most stressful professions? What school-level supports mitigate the stress of teaching? Which collegial partnerships—virtual or face to face—are most sustaining? How do you make time, and a plan, for taking care of yourself? This issue will include tips for managing stress, adopting mindful educational practices, and feeling engaged and productive with your goals.

Submissions due: Closed

November 12: Doing Data Right

Most educators receive mounds of data that they're not sure what to do with—yet they can't always get the information that they need day-to-day. This issue looks at how educators can extract useful data (both quantitative and qualitative) from the flood of information available, cope efficiently with data they're required to gather, and generate learning-centered information about their students and schools. We seek articles on such topics as expanding our view of data beyond test scores, setting up a school culture in which teachers examine student data and translate data into meaningful action, using qualitative data-collection techniques like peer observation and home visits, harnessing technology to organize data, and sharing data with school stakeholders to help them mobilize support.

Submissions due: Closed

November 25: Managing Personalization

At its root, personalized learning is about giving students choice and agency to pursue learning that is individually meaningful and resource rich, at their own pace. This can be challenging (and some say, impossible) to accomplish with every student, in a class of thirty or more. Some argue technology can fulfill the promise of differentiation, but tech solutions to personalized learning are criticized for being standardized and modular, and counter to an authentic, whole child approach. So what are some practical suggestions for how teachers can diagnose different learning needs, help students tap into interests, and set parameters on choice? With or without technology, what's realistic for differentiating how students will learn something and how they will demonstrate mastery? How do you create a rubric that allows for a variety of approaches to a topic or skill, without sacrificing rigor? How do you stay open to the unknown directions a lesson or unit might go, based on student questions and reflections? How do you prepare units with these multiple paths in mind, making sure resources are at the ready to support student inquiry?

Submissions due: Closed

December 10: Teaching in Tandem

Today, many educators are finding innovative ways to teach together. But do teachers have the skills and supports they need to make such collaborations work? This issue will explore the benefits and challenges of two or more professionals working together to plan and deliver instruction. Articles will address how teachers can develop relationship-building skills, how regular classroom teachers and special education teachers can coordinate instruction to serve learners with special needs, and how instructional specialists (such as reading or math specialists, English as a second language teachers, and school library media specialists) can best work with classroom teachers, including assisting remotely through technology. We welcome articles on teaching integrated content-area units at the secondary level and on the role of the school leader in supporting teacher collaboration.

Submissions due: Closed

December 24: Best of 2015

Revisit this year's most popular posts with this collection of the most viewed Express content in 2015. See what your colleagues were clicking and sharing. 

No Submissions

January 14: Feeding Student Entrepreneurship

On the popular show, Shark Tank, contestants vie for investors (or "sharks") to take a stake in their invention, and help bring it to a broader market. That same entrepreneurial spirit is alive in a fourth grade classroom, where students participating in their own shark tank exuberantly present a tool for testing the freshness of watermelons, a password protected backpack, and a jacket that features both warming and massaging components ("Because sometimes, people get too stressed."). In lessons like these, kids are encouraged to be creative while designing solutions to real world problems. To succeed in classroom shark tanks, sounding cool isn't enough—students must be able to explain how their design works, its rationale, and its impact on society. Where do entrepreneurialism and academics intersect, in your classroom? What makes this type of learning meaningful and rigorous? How do you set objectives and assess outcomes? How have your students applied entrepreneurial skills for social good? Comedian Lily Tomlin said, "I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody." In this issue, teachers ask students, Are you that somebody?

Submissions due: Closed

January 28: Tech Your Teaching: When, Why, How

Teachers are inundated with apps; but knowing when, why, and how to integrate technology in the classroom is more important than any particular tech tool. This issue will discuss how to use the SAMR model for tech integration, check for superficial uses of technology, amplify engagement, work around logistical constraints, and transform learning with technology. Special attention will be given to what technology integration actually looks like in practice. So, if you find yourself at the buffet of ed. tech. options, but can't find a fork—this one's for you.

Submissions due: Closed

February 11: Better Relationships with Students

Relationships are the heart of a school; they impact everything that happens there. And yet, it can be hard to isolate and replicate how positive relationships in the classroom are formed, maintained, and given room to grow. In this issue, educators will identify scalable strategies for building better relationships with students. How do you balance empathy with high expectations? Can feedback be both constructive and caring? How do you cultivate compassion for oppositional students? Are there hidden messages in how you lead your classroom? And if so, how can you align them with your goal of a joyful, high achieving community. James Baldwin wrote, “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” This issue seeks to remove the barriers to connectedness and demystify the steps toward better relationships with students.

Submissions due: Closed

February 25: Helping ELLs Excel

As the U.S. population becomes increasingly diverse, schools are serving more English language learners (ELLs). These students come to school with many gifts, as well as challenges. This issue will address how schools can set high but achievable expectations for ELLs to ensure that they can not only survive academically, but also excel. For example, how are schools recognizing English language learners' strengths and integrating their cultural experiences, background knowledge, and home language skills into the learning environment? Supporting academic learning with active, hands-on activities that transcend language barriers? Providing differentiated opportunities for ELLs to demonstrate learning? Helping ELLs develop the academic vocabulary they need to learn in subjects like math, social studies, and science? Grouping students so that native English speakers and ELLs can interact with and learn from one another?

Submissions due: December 1

March 10: Removing Barriers for Students in Poverty

How does poverty affect learning, and what can teachers do to enhance the well-being and improve the achievement of those students whose families have the fewest economic resources? In this issue, teachers share the ways they ensure their students experiencing poverty have equitable opportunities to learn. We are seeking to profile best practices in urban and rural settings for homeless youth, for responding to the effects of poverty on students' brains, for removing economic barriers to school engagement, and for welcoming families in poverty.

Submissions due: January 1

March 24: Learning for Life

Educators are supposed to prepare students for life beyond school, but it's not always clear what that life will look like. What do students need to know and be able to do when they finish school? How can educators foster skills for lifelong learning? What nonacademic skills are essential to future success? What models—such as the maker movement, project-based learning, and online learning—best prepare students for the kind of learning they'll need to do outside school? And how are schools using community and business partnerships to expose students to a variety of career options and hands-on learning experiences, such as apprenticeships and job shadowing?

Submissions due: January 15

April 14: Fair and Effective Classroom Discipline

Amidst evidence of racial bias in the type and frequency of disciplinary actions educators take, what's fair? How can educators check for and correct biased policies? How can schools work with parents and communities to ensure just and appropriate consequences for behavior? Which approaches to discipline encourage student responsibility for behavior, and which programs are most successful in reducing the frequency and scale of infractions? We are looking for strategies for managing classroom behavior that transfer agency and responsibility to students, conserve instructional time, and establish a positive classroom culture.

Submissions due: February 1

April 28: Looking at Student Work

Students produce a great deal of work both in and out of school. What can these products tell us about what students have learned? This issue will describe how teachers can best examine student work to provide feedback, assign grades, assess students' strengths and learning needs, and differentiate instruction. What kinds of class work and homework yield the most information about students' learning? What kinds of feedback truly encourage learning and growth? How can teachers guide students to assess their own work as well as that of their peers? And how are teacher teams collaboratively examining student work and using their findings to improve instruction? We welcome articles that highlight a wide range of student work—from traditional seat work to authentic performances—in all content areas.

Submissions due: February 15

May 12: Encouraging Curious Minds

Curiosity nudges us toward the unknown. We ask questions, conduct research, and, often, get lost in a love of the pursuit. When students have their curiosity piqued, studies show they are more likely to remember what they learn, and feel more reward in the learning. So how can teachers unleash this magical elixir of engagement and enrichment in their classrooms? How do you stimulate students thirst for knowing? Tell us how you use lesson and unit design, write essential questions, engage student choice, choose materials, configure student groupings, design extension activities, or set up your classroom to catalyze curious minds.

Submissions due: March 1

May 26: The Working Lives of Educators

Teachers today must navigate unprecedented public scrutiny and criticism, resource shortages, increasingly diverse student populations, and stringent accountability pressures. Meanwhile, in many districts, working conditions are changing: Tenure is being eliminated, more demanding evaluation systems are in place, and teachers work a longer school day to address student needs. This issue will examine the new pressures teachers face and the support they need at different career stages. How can schools mentor new teachers and provide opportunities for midcareer ones? What are good models for both providing job security and encouraging teachers to improve their practice? How can leaders use evaluation to empower teachers and help them grow professionally? We are looking for articles from practitioners on how they set up sane and sustaining working conditions for pressured teachers.

Submissions due: March 15

June 9: Reaching Reluctant Readers

"We learn to do well what we learn to love," writes Pam Allyn ("Taming the Wild Text"). For many students, reading is a source of stress and anxiety, or a chore and a bore. What can teachers do to help these students cultivate a love of reading? In your classroom, how do you create lots of opportunities to read and talk about texts? Do you have trusted source for engaging, lexile-appropriate materials? What strategies do you coach students to use when they feel stuck? How do you use relationships as a lever to propel students' reading lives? Send us your best ideas for helping all students become joyful readers.

Submissions due: April 1