Themes for 2013–14
Summer 2014 - DIGITAL ONLY
Making a Difference
Ask educators why they went into teaching, and the majority will respond that they wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. That initial idealism, however, is often challenged by the realities of heavy workloads, classroom discipline problems, and bureaucratic demands. For this issue, we welcome stories from (and about) individual educators and teams of educators striving to make a measurable difference—for example, by building meaningful relationships or designing innovative programs that helped students overcome challenges, raising academic achievement, supporting students' emotional and physical health and safety, building partnerships with parents, advocating for education reform, or empowering their students to make a difference.
Themes for 2014–15
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?
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?
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.
December 2014/January 2015
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.
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.
Deadline: September 2, 2014
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.
Deadline: October 1, 2014
Communications 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?
Deadline: November 3, 2014
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.
Deadline: December 1, 2014