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Revolutionizing Education

Virtual Math Mentorship Project: Partnering Elementary Math Methods Course with Rural Title 1 School

Two students working on math

Photo Credit: Ben Wyrick

Ed Prep Matters features the “Revolutionizing Education” column to spotlight the many ways AACTE, member institutions, and partners are pioneering leading-edge research, models, strategies and programs that focus on the three core values outlined in the current AACTE strategic plan: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Quality and impact; and Inquiry and Innovation.

This article was written by Jennie M. Carr of Bridgewater College and Tammy T. May of Rockingham County Public Schools.

Educator preparators are often seeking unique and meaningful experiences for their teacher candidates. With the knowledge that high quality mentoring relationships can demonstrate positive improvements in academic performance, attendance, feelings of self-confidence, resilience, perceived social acceptance, and relationships with others, we began working collaboratively to create a mutually beneficial math mentorship partnership between Bridgwater College and an elementary school in the Rockingham County Public School District (Coller & Kuo, 2014; Masters & Kreeger, 2017). The logistics of managing a traditional face-to-face mentoring experience was too difficult and there is no required field experience in the college’s elementary math methods course.  Because online tools are typically utilized on college campuses and with the school district’s recent 1:1 Chromebook adoption, we crafted the virtual math mentorship (Hartun & Harvey, 2015).

Connecting the virtual math mentorship to teacher candidates’ capstone project in the math methods course was vital to its success. The eight-week project consisted of a teacher candidate field trip to the elementary school, two virtual Google Hangout sessions, four virtual Seesaw pen pal exchanges, and the creation of a personalized and interest-based differentiated math lesson for a fifth grade mentee, which was implemented during the students field trip to Bridgewater College.

The Little Makerspace that Could

Student in maker space using two 3-D printer penThe Maker Movement has been gaining momentum over the past 14 years with the publication of MAKE magazine in 2005 and the first Maker Faire sponsored by John Dougherty. The book titled Invent to Learn, 2nd Ed.  (2019) has become what is known as the Maker’s Movement Bible. Written by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager, the book goes into detail about how teachers and students can let loose their creativity in a myriad of ways if they are provided with space and materials to do so. 

There have always been “makers” who used their hands, brains, and hearts to invent and produce the things that people use for work and play. Classrooms have long been known as places where students could be caught making things on any given day. Why the hype about maker spaces, then?

Perhaps it has to do with the disconnect that appears to have occurred due to the technology revolution that has moved learning through exploring with material objects to learning from screens. On our small campus in Northeast Ohio, we have seen a constant move toward emptying the library of books and journals in favor of digital texts. Getting a hard copy of a textbook from publishing companies is becoming more of a challenge as well. Students on all levels rely more on Google than library stacks to conduct their research. It may be that the pendulum, as it always does, is beginning to swing the other way, and humans are craving the need to get back to hands-on learning that can leave printing ink on your hands, and clay under your finger nails.

Author Interview: Educators Perspectives of Controversial Children’s Literature

Read the latest JTE Insider blog interview by the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team. This blog is available to the public, and AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—just log in with your AACTE profile.

In this interview, The JTE editorial team shares insights from the Sue C. Kimmel and Danielle E. Hartsfield, co-authors of the article “It Was . . . the Word ‘Scrotum’ on the First Page”: Educators’ Perspectives of Controversial Literature, published in the September/October 2019 issues of the Journal of Teacher Education.

What motivated you to pursue this particular research topic?

Sue: We both teach children’s literature, and we were interested in how our students who were pre-service educators reacted to controversy in children’s literature. We believe in the power of literature to promote empathy and positive inquiry into social issues. We were concerned with the willingness of pre-service educators to avoid “controversy” in the classroom and library with little critical thought about what it meant to withhold quality literature about difficult topics from their students. 

2019 Nation’s Report Card Shows Growing Disparity between High and Low Achievers in Math and Reading

2019 Nation's Report CardThe recent release of the 2019 Nation’s Report Cards for mathematics and reading in grades 4 and 8 illustrates a growing disparity in achievement between the highest and lowest achieving students. The results show the divergence is happening across the nation, across states, and for student groups by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), widely known as the Nation’s Report Card, provides data from the nation, states/jurisdictions, and urban school districts that volunteer to participate in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA).  Approximately 296,900 fourth- and eighth-grade students across the nation participated in the 2019 mathematics assessment and nearly 294,000 fourth- and eighth-grade students across the nation participated in the 2019 reading assessment.  Results are available for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools, as well as for the 27 participating large urban districts.

Team Wins 5-year, $1.98 Million NSF Grant to Improve Teacher Preparation


A team of Penn State College of Education faculty led by P. Karen Murphy has won a five-year, $1.98 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve the preparation of undergraduate preservice elementary teachers.

Murphy, distinguished professor of education (educational psychology), is the principal investigator (PI) on the study. She is joined by co-PIs Gwendolyn Lloyd, the Henry J. Hermanowicz Professor of Teacher Education and professor of education (mathematics education); Amy Voss Farris, assistant professor of education (science education); and Rachel Wolkenhauer, assistant professor of education (curriculum and supervision).

With support from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources, this project aims to serve the national interest by investigating whether teaching preservice elementary teachers how to use discussion-based pedagogy improves the quality of mathematics instruction in their classrooms. Specifically, the researchers will adapt Quality Talk (QT), a small-group, teacher-facilitated discussion approach, for use by teacher educators in STEM methods courses and classroom-based field experiences for future elementary teachers.

Avatar Lab at KSU Provides a World of Scenarios for Teachers of the Future

Child Interacting with avatars as educators observe.

This article and photo originally appeared in Cobb Life Magazine and are reprinted with permission.

Teachers encounter all sorts of situations when they’re instructing students in the classroom, and the Bagwell College of Education at Kennesaw State University is taking an animated approach to preparing teacher candidates for scenarios they will experience as educators.

Bagwell has a new laboratory where KSU students and faculty utilize mixed-reality technology to interact with avatars of children and adults, simulating a variety of situations and challenges teachers can encounter. The student avatars each have their own unique personalities, and the scenarios have low, medium and high settings requiring varying levels of problem-solving.

“The lab’s capabilities are endless for providing purposeful practice for teacher candidates before they ever step foot in a classroom,” said Kate Zimmer, interim chair of the Department of Inclusive Education and an associate professor of special education.

School of Education Receives $40K Grant to Continue Partnership with Berkeley County

Kristin Williams, Charles Town; Susan Stambaugh, Martinsburg; Kayla Shultz, Falling Waters; and Alexis Shearer, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania  Shepherd University’s School of Education received a $40,635 grant from the West Virginia Department of Education to continue working with five Berkeley County Schools providing professional development and to start a pilot program in which a select group of Shepherd student teachers spend the entire school year in a Berkeley County elementary school.

“The teacher candidate goes in from day one and works with the mentor teacher in co-planning, co-teaching, and co-assessing,” said Dori Hargrove, Shepherd’s elementary specialization coordinator. “By being involved from the first day, the teacher candidate gets a better understanding of all the decisions that go into planning. It helps the teacher candidate feel more prepared and helps the mentor teacher learn new strategies.”

Four Shepherd elementary education majors are participating in the pilot program—Kristin Williams, Charles Town; Susan Stambaugh, Martinsburg; Kayla Shultz, Falling Waters; and Alexis Shearer, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The typical length of time for student teaching is 14 weeks; however, the four are co-teaching in a school the entire year.

ECS Profiles the School Funding Allocations of States

Apple, ruler and pencil on a desk with a backdrop of money

As states work to allocate funding for school districts, they must take into account the various needs and populations of the students they serve. The Education Commission of the States (ECS) has developed a resource, “50-State Comparison: K-12 Funding” that helps clarify and compare each state’s school funding mechanisms, organized by method and category. 

Visit the ECS webpage to review data describing the funding mechanisms of the states as well as the specific funding allocations for a list of funding priorities, including special education, English language learning and at-risk and low-income students. 

As elementary and secondary teachers head back into their classrooms, conversations on teacher shortages, teacher salaries, and teacher strikes continue. Having an understanding of how your state funds its K-12 schools can help you support the schools in which your graduates will teach and engage in democracy on this critical issue. 

JSU Creates Teacher Prep Program with Southern Union State Community College

JSU and Southern Union State Community College are joining force
JSU and Southern Union State Community College are joining forces to provide a smoother route to an early childhood or elementary education degree through the newly established Teacher Prep program.

Teacher Prep creates opportunities for Southern Union students to seamlessly enter JSU’s School of Education through concurrent enrollment. Students are able to earn college credit simultaneously at the community college and university level, placing students on a quicker and more cost-effective pathway to receiving an associate’s degree and a

Guilford County Schools draws in, trains new teachers with Teacher Quality Partnership

This article originally appeared on Fox 8 News and is reprinted with permission.

The Guilford County School District is getting more teachers with the help of a new program.

Guilford County Schools, High Point University and North Carolina A & T State University partnered together for the Teacher Quality Partnership. It’s a federal grant that helps get highly qualified teachers into high-needs schools.

The grant awards more than $4 million to get 25 participants into an accelerated program. In this program, they will learn what they need to be an effective teacher while applying the skills simultaneously in their own classroom with the help of a mentor.

“I never thought I would be in the classroom. People have been telling me for years, ‘Oh, you’d be a great teacher,’” Rashida Queen, one of the 

Call for Book Chapters: Teaching Learning for Effective Instruction

Information Age Publishing LogoAs co-editors, we are seeking chapter authors for a book we are publishing with IAP: Information Age Publishing titled Teaching Learning for Effective Instruction. The volume is part of the series, Theory to Practice: Educational Psychology for Teachers and Teaching, and it is scheduled to be released in early spring 2021.

Education researchers and practitioners are invited to submit chapter proposals between 500-750 words by September 15, 2019.  Chapters in this volume may include

  • a review of the empirical research that supports the teaching of learning and cognition as it applies to P-12 settings;
  • a description of instructional practices used in college courses that have been effective in teaching about and modeling principles of learning and cognition; or
  • a systematic discussion of issues surrounding the teaching of learning and cognition theories, research, and classroom applications, with clear connections between the empirical literature and the instructional practices.

A Conversation with Donald Easton-Brooks on Culturally Responsive Practice

AACTE board member Donald Easton-Brooks is widely known as a scholar of educational policy and culturally responsive teaching. This year, he released his book Ethnic Matching: Academic Success of Students of Color. In a recent Q&A with AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, Easton-Brooks talked about the book and how his research shows diversifying the teaching profession will ultimately improve student’s success. The following summary highlights the conversation.

Donald Easton-BrooksHow would you describe the concept of ethnic matching and its importance to student learning?

What ethnic matching initially suggests is that teachers of color can play a significant role in enhancing the academic experience of students of color. As this research and other research progress, findings have shown that teachers of color can play a significant role in also enhancing the academic experience of white students and can assist in enhancing a more culturally responsive profession as a whole.  Therefore, the concept and research related to the concept suggest that we need to diversify teacher education. Mainly because as our communities are becoming more diverse, we are seeing our public schools also becoming more diverse. Yet what is happening is that our educator profession is not growing at a similar rate as these communities of students. The research around the concepts shows that perceived knowledge or knowledge from a preceptive culturally lens can play a role in students’ understanding of concepts, learning, and processing of information. This often can lead to these students being misinterpreted by teachers and feeling somehow misunderstood by teachers if they do not have that cultural lens to understand them. That is what teachers of color can bring to the table that can be of assistance to educational systems.

NYACTE Invites In-State and Out-Of-State Submission for Its Online Journal

The journal of the New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Cover - Excelsior: Leadership in Teaching and Learning, has successfully navigated from a print journal with a subscription price to an online, open access journal that is free. Our new co-editors, Christine Ashby and Julia White have just published their first issue. The journal welcomes submissions from all interested teacher and leader educators.

Excelsior is the key outlet for publishing work in teacher preparation for the New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. For over a decade, it has reported research across content disciplines, research methodologies, theoretical perspectives, and current issues in the field. 

In addition to presenting authors the opportunity to publish in an open access journal, we want to increase the diversity of manuscript topics, including the diversity of research methods, and extend the range of researchers and practitioners publishing in Excelsior. To meet this goal we will routinely solicit submissions from:

New NCLD Helps Teachers Unlock the Power of Students Who Learn Differently


One in 5 students in the United States have learning and attention issues. This includes those with identified specific learning disabilities, diagnosed attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or related disorders that impact learning. Despite often having above average or average intelligence, the majority of these students are achieving below grade level. This equates to millions of students across the nation whose strengths and potential are going untapped.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) and Understood set out to unpack and address this problem. We partnered with teachers—often the most consistent touchpoint for students after their caregivers—to understand their experiences and insights. We rooted these experiences in rigorous research focused on general education classrooms, where the majority of the “1 in 5” spend most of their time. The culmination of this work is found in “Forward Together,” a new report from Understood and the NCLD.

AACTE is joining several other education organizations to develop Forward Together Toolkits for our teachers and teacher educators. Stay tuned for more information on the dissemination of those toolkits!

New Initiative To Advance Teacher and Principal Preparation Grounded in the Science of Learning

Research shows that teachers are the number one in-school factor affecting student outcomes and principals are the number two factor. One important metric for those outcomes is how well and how equitably our nation’s diverse students are able to navigate our increasingly global and technologically complex world, where skills like critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and being able to apply knowledge in a range of contexts are crucial to success. Today, Learning Policy Institute and Bank Street Graduate School of Education have announced the launch of the Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab), a new initiative to help educator preparation programs ensure that new teachers and leaders are able to provide all k-12 students with the kind of deeper learning that helps them develop those skills. 

EdPrepLab brings together 15 of the nation’s leading teacher and principal preparation programs to collaborate on further developing and documenting models for preparation that equip educators to advance  deeper learning and equity, and that can inform  other programs across the nation. The initiative will also support research to improve preparation programs and work with policymakers at federal, state, and local levels to help leverage policies that encourage the use of research-based practices that ensure new teachers and school leaders are well-equipped to provide deeper learning and to build the next generation of equitable schools and instructional education practices.

“Our world has changed significantly since the U.S. education system was first developed, and students today need an education that supports and prepares them for that more diverse, technology-driven, knowledge-based society,” said Learning Policy Institute President Linda Darling-Hammond. “That means we need to prepare teachers and school leaders to provide this kind of education. Fortunately, we have research to guide the way. There is a wealth of new knowledge about the science of learning and development, how social and emotional skills support academic learning, and how to ensure that students really understand what they have learned.”

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