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December 21, 2022
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ASCD’s Most Popular Blog Posts of 2022

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From teacher “mattering” to Wordle, the year’s most popular posts cover a wide array of education topics.
Professional Learning
ASCD’s Most Popular Blog Posts of 2022
Credit: AKaiser / Shutterstock
It’s almost time to pop the (well-deserved) champagne and leave 2022 in the rearview mirror. In a year defined by highs and lows—punctuated by signs of academic recovery alongside mental health challenges for students and educators—ASCD published more than 120 blogs on topics from empathy building to literacy instruction to classroom management.  
With the calendar year winding down, it’s a great time to catch up on the posts that resonated most with readers. Here’s the list from #10 to #1. 

10. The Biggest Problem with Mastery-Based Learning and How to Solve It by Jon Bergmann 

Jon Bergmann, one of the pioneers of the flipped classroom movement and a full-time science teacher, is no stranger to mastery-based learning. He wrote a book on the subject and a recent Educational Leadership article on what flipped mastery (a combination of mastery and flipped learning) looks like. This blog post zeroes in on a question at the core of mastery-based learning: What can teachers do when students fall behind? If your new year’s resolution is to narrow learning gaps, you’ll find no firmer starting ground than Bergmann’s carefully crafted guide. 

9. Setting the Tone for a New School Year by Roberta Kang 

Many educators remember the challenges of 2019-2021 like a restless fever dream. The pressures of remote instruction, new demands placed on teachers, and anxieties surrounding what could potentially become the next tumultuous Covid variant led most of us to wonder: What comes next? The 9th most popular post on our list addresses that uncertainty and names five practices toward starting a new school year refreshed. Director of Professional Development Roberta Kang recommends, among other practices, doubling down on a unifying message: “Reconnecting each group [teachers, students, and families] to their purpose and shared identity by reaffirming or revising the mission and vision is a great way to generate momentum,” she writes. These practices are still relevant today, especially as we turn the page into 2023.  

8. Showing Up with Empathy by Chase Mielke 

As an Educational Leadership columnist, Chase Mielke writes on topics from teacher well-being to staving off burnout, and his relatable perspective regularly attracts readers’ attention. In this blog, Mielke entreats us to embrace our humanity as educators by finding common ground with one another. In doing so, we can bridge the empathy gap in ourselves, in our students, and in our communities. Mielke is also the author of the bestselling book The Burnout Cure (ASCD, 2019). 

7. Navigating DEI in Schools: Five Crucial Considerations by Nichole Kohlbecker  

 Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts often fail in schools because they focus on isolated fixes, not integrated solutions, writes Nichole Kohlbecker. The five considerations she outlines here can help create a systemwide response to inequity where all students feel they belong. “As leaders,” she writes, “we need to put in the work to recognize bias and privilege in our policies and practices, learn and implement techniques to mitigate them, and apply that work to all aspects of our school system.” 

6. Feeling Like You Matter: A Checklist for Teachers by Shelly Wilfong 

With persistent, ongoing educator shortages, school and district leaders are looking for ways to stave off high attrition rates. Assistant Superintendent Shelly Wilfong says increasing teachers’ sense of “mattering” and belonging can lead to higher job satisfaction and lower levels of stress, among other research-based benefits. Wilfong shares a “mattering” checklist that educators can use to assess where they fall on eight elements of mattering. The checklist (available as a downloadable PDF) is designed to be shared and posted on a wall as a constant reminder because anyone, in any profession, deserves to feel like their work matters. 

5. 5 Steps to Create Richer Class Discussions by Kate Stoltzfus 

Strategies to improve an educators’ teaching toolkit are evergreen—especially when the topic centers on fostering rich class discussions. The fifth most popular blog of 2022 tackles the differences between conventional conversation and rich conversation, and provides five steps any teacher can follow to prompt greater student engagement.  

4. Ending the School Year Strong by Kimberly Parker 

 As the 2021-2022 school year wound to a close, many readers were interested in how to maintain strong literacy instruction in those final months. Educational Leadership columnist and Literacy Is Liberation author Kim Parker offers five perspectives that can help educators “rethink the remainder of the school year, make peace with reality, and work toward helping our students feel a sense of accomplishment in their literacy classrooms.” 

3. Why It’s Not Enough to “Teach Reading” by Rebecca Burgess 

In this provocative blog post, 3rd-grade teacher Rebecca Burgess makes a strong argument for transitioning away from a guided reading foundation in schools toward a knowledge-building curriculum. Working with Marcus, one of her students, Burgess recognized the importance of intentionally choosing texts that respond to student questions and inspire follow-up inquiry. “We need to let all students read and write about compelling topics that build important content knowledge about our world,” she writes. 

2. 5 Ways to De-Escalate Challenging Student Behavior by Scott Ervin 

When students returned from remote learning, many educators expressed concern that some classroom behaviors had become more challenging. Enter bestselling author and student behavioral expert Scott Ervin. In this blog, Ervin explains the “impossible choice” (a choice between a teacher having to ignore student behavior or making a declarative statement denouncing it) and gives five solutions toward making Gentle Guidance Interventions instead. [Ervin’s Educational Leadership article, “Creating the Safe and Calm Classroom,” also cracked this year’s #Top10EL list.] 

1. What Wordle Reminds Us About Effective Phonics and Spelling Instruction by Nell Duke 

And . . . drumroll . . .Wordle, the online word game now published by the New York Times, rocketed into worldwide popularity this year and became the most-searched Google term of 2022. Unsurprisingly, "What Wordle Reminds Us About Effective Phonics and Spelling Instruction" is also ASCD’s most popular blog post of 2022. Underneath the hood of popularity is also a highly practical post. Duke, a University of Michigan literacy professor, identifies five lessons the game can teach educators about how to approach phonics and spelling in the classroom. "Effective phonics and spelling instruction," Duke writes, "require carefully designed, explicit teaching combined with volume reading, vocabulary building, and high levels of engagement." 

Esteban Bachelet is the associate writer of Educational Leadership magazine.

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