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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 sources—the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
denotes a theme that corresponds to an issue of Educational Leadership.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
"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
Evidence shows that creative teachers connect their teaching to their own hobbies and interests, infuse lessons with real-world applications, are actively curious about the world around them, seek out others to gather and bounce ideas off of, and are willing to risk failure as they try new ideas. But with "many pressures and little leeway" (Henriksen & Mishra, 2013) characterizing today's teaching climate, is creative teaching endangered? How do you create loopholes that allow fresh approaches to content, despite limitations? How can school leadership nurture and protect teacher creativity? What are your best sources for inspired teaching? How do you make the case for creative teaching? We want students to take productive risks with their learning; is their room for risk-taking in teaching?
Submissions due: April 15
Students can play roles in facilitating learning, directing discussions, presenting new knowledge, and collaborating so that their interests drive lesson and unit design. How do you invite student leadership in your classroom? Many teachers can relate to being thrown in to the deep end as new teachers; how do you ensure that students are prepared for their leadership roles? What are the prerequisite skills for student-led learning, and how do you cultivate them? What scaffolds help students take the reins in meaningful ways?
Submissions due: May 1
Educators are often the experts in knowing what students need—and they are increasingly assuming prominent roles in making schools better. This issue will consider how educators are spurring improvement by advocating policy change, mentoring peers, implementing innovative projects, pushing for shifts in the status quo, and making positive change in the lives of children. How can classroom teachers, principals, and other administrators work together for change? How can educators gain a voice at the tables where big decisions about curriculum, testing, and the profession are made? What are the roles of PLCs and online communities of teachers in fostering change? And what does it look like when classroom teachers go beyond "random acts of great teaching" and lead by modeling hope, caring, and grit in tough times?
Submissions due: May 15
Grades support student motivation to learn when they provide feedback on where students are in their learning, and what they need to do to progress to a clearly defined target. However, for many students, grades are an epitaph to failure or achievement, the sum total of how smart you are or how much potential you have. Instead of this deflating view, we should want students to pursue a growth mindset, and see "grades as formative feedback that tells you how well you have met learning goals, and whether you need to work harder or change your strategy," writes researcher Lisa Blackwell. Students can't take this learning-centered view of assessment on their own. They need educators who create a "context where assessment is informative and motivating, not judgmental and scary" Blackwell adds. How do your grading policies help students grow as learners? How do you get students' families on board with this approach to grades? Practically, how do you ensure your grading practices are both meaningful and manageable?
Submissions due: June 1
The first days of school are an opportunity to set the tone and culture of your school or classroom. Clearly-communicated, student-centered routines create a sense of care and order, and that is the foundation for positive learning. What routines and procedures help you manage diverse learners? How do you consistently communicate expectations and help students develop the ability to self-regulate and self-assess their progress toward those targets? What do you do when things get off course?
Submissions due: June 15
There is no more universally relevant and enduring skill than the ability to self-regulate one's learning. It is the lifelong learning skill par excellence. Yet, authors Moss and Brookhart observe, "In too many classrooms, students are making poor decisions about what they should do, do next, or stop doing in order to improve. As a result, many students lack both the skill and the will to harness the workings of their own minds in order to succeed" (2009). How do you weave goal setting into the everyday workings of your classroom or school? What guides and models do you provide, and how have student-initiated goals shifted other areas of your pedagogy? How can students keep individual goals in mind while supporting each other's efforts?
Submissions due: July 1
"Students won't care what you know until they know that you care." Research shows that stable, warm, and trusting student-teacher relations are a prerequisite for learning. This issue will look at how teachers can nurture relationships—even with oppositional students, struggling students, and those who prefer to hide. What are fresh strategies for getting to know kids and their passions as well as their cultures and families? How can we handle tough discipline issues while preserving students' trust? Affirm the strengths of strugglers even as we push them to stretch to reach standards? Give more than lip service to improving social and communication skills—so that students and teachers alike can cultivate a caring classroom community?
Submissions due: July 15
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