Does More Recess Equal Greater Success?

By Nancy Mikhail As soon as the recess bell rings, students run outside and disperse onto the blacktop. Children are so excited to go outside and play. From basketball, to handball, to tetherball, the list goes on as their imaginations run wild. This is their 15 minutes of free play – their chance to move […]

Student-Led Conferences: To Do or Not To Do?

By Nancy Mikhail Parents walk into their child’s classroom on parent-teacher conference day. Teachers sit across from parents and start telling them how their child is doing in class. This is the standard format for parent-teacher conferences. This is what we are all used to. But what if we could make it better? What if […]

Building Relationships with Your Students 

By Nancy Mikhail Building relationships with students is crucial for building a solid teacher-student connection filled with mutual respect and trust. This connection creates a safe environment for students. As a result, students are more motivated to learn and minimize classroom disruption. “Aligned with attachment theory (Ainsworth, 1982; Bowlby, 1969), positive teacher-student relationships enable students […]

My First Day As a Teacher

By Nancy Mikhail As a new Kindergarten teacher at a small private school, I walked into my classroom on a hot summer day to begin organizing my room. I had so many questions…wondering what I’ll teach, how I’ll teach, the personalities of my students? I started sifting through the resources in the room, while these […]

Art Integration: the Effects and a Few Implementation Strategies

By Kaldia Nigh Art is a topic that is usually looked at as “just for fun.” That however is not true. There are so many benefits of utilizing the arts into your classroom. According to Gurnon, Voss-Andreae, and Stanley (2013) art helps foster creativity, observational skills, and self-expression. Art also fosters something that many do […]

Standardized Testing – Helpful or a Waste of Time?

By Nancy Mikhail Amy Frogge, a mother in Nashville, is bringing light to how much time students are spending on standardized testing. Her frustration is clearly expressed in the title: “My third grader is losing 6-8 weeks this year to standardized testing – for no good reason.” Students are in school for 10 months out […]

Instructional Activities to Engage Learners

By Nancy Mikhail Last week, I gave a workshop to a group of teachers about different activities to help increase student engagement in the classroom. Why is student engagement so important? Brooks and Brooks (1999) argue that  “when a teacher arranges classroom dynamics so that she is the sole determiner of what is ‘right’ in […]