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Six Fictional Teachers We Can Still Learn From

Posted by Jenna Ryan on August 11, 2017

Have you ever considered that pop culture might be a good place to start when studying pedagogy? From the pages of books to screens of all sizes, fictional teachers can be great sources of inspiration for teachers and students alike. Check out these tips and tricks from some fictional favorites!

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Topics: educators, Inspiration, pedagogy

The Teacher Diaries #summergoals

Posted by Hannegan Roseberry on July 21, 2017


I made it through another year and now summer awaits! Sure, it is only about eight weeks, but it is eight weeks without any commitments. Time for a summer goals list!

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Topics: balance, educators, summer break

Books to Read for Summer 2017

Posted by Cheryl Adams on July 12, 2017

Educators are life-long learners. It's what we do! So, before summer comes to an end, make sure you check out these awesome reads recommended by our very own Five-Star employees. 

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Topics: balance, educators, leisure activities, lifelong learning, relaxation

Taking Time this Summer is an Absolute NEED for Educators

Posted by Val Herald on July 5, 2017

Burn-out: fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity (Dictionary.com, 2017)

We have all been a victim of burn-out. While every individual regardless of age, intelligence, and profession has the potential to experience the effects of burn-out at some point in their lifetime, educators seem to struggle often with this negative phenomenon.

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Topics: balance, educators, Healthy Living, leisure activities, relaxation

Making Connections

Posted by Adam Cole on April 26, 2017

This is the first post of an eight-part series about classroom activities that will help raise student engagement and create awesome learning experiences for kids! Check out the series introduction Make Sure Students do These 8 Things in your Classroom!

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Topics: educators, teaching strategies, education, connect

5 Reasons Your School Needs a Data Warehouse

Posted by Adam Jones on April 20, 2017

What do you think of when you hear the word data? Do you envision numbers rapidly scrolling on a computer screen like in The Matrix? Or of spreadsheets with endless rows and columns filled with figures and formulas? Even worse, maybe the word is anxiety-inducing because you’ve heard the phrases data-driven instruction and data-driven decision-making a few too many times.

What do you think of when you hear the word warehouse? Do you imagine forklifts carrying pallets of cardboard boxes across dusty concrete floors? Or a place where things go to be stored, perhaps indefinitely?

Despite some of these connotations, a data warehouse designed for educators is a platform for exploring questions tied to improving teaching and learning. A data warehouse built for teachers should bring together multiple sources of student information so that strengths and areas for improvement become clear. Any single source of information is likely insufficient to draw conclusions. But by storing, sorting, and synthesizing summative, diagnostic, and formative assessment results, a data warehouse can help educators identify problems and solutions more effectively and efficiently.

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Topics: assessments, Data Warehouse, educators, Pivot, education, teaching, school improvement

Can the Tech Team Help Teachers?

Posted by Vanessa Eldridge on March 28, 2017

This is the second post of a three-part series about ways to strengthen communication between technology staff and educators within your school district.

The answer to the question in this post title may seem obvious: the tech team helps teachers by fixing their technology, right? Yes, that's true, but I would like to look at ways we can go beyond basic fixes. How can we make the process of repairing technology more efficient? Less painful? As I mentioned in the first post, the key to making this happen is effective communication. 

Patience, empathy, and word choice are very important when techs are sharing information with teachers. Computer techs must be skilled at communicating simply and clearly, both on the phone and in person. Here are some ways to create awesome correspondence from techs to teachers.  

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Topics: educators, Managed Services, technology, technology in the classroom, communication, computer technicians, teamwork

Can Teachers Help the Tech Team?

Posted by Vanessa Eldridge on March 8, 2017

Yes! Effective communication is the key that helps you deepen your connections to others and improve teamwork, decision making, and problem solving. It enables you to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust.

When you hear the word ‘key’ several words may come to mind; lock, unlock, guard, protect. Communication has been important for years. We have gone from telegrams and the Pony Express to USPS (or "snail mail" as it is called today), email and IM. It has gone from taking months or days to instant answers to questions you have. In order to have effective communication you need to understand the keys that unlock those doors.

In this blog series, we will look at ways to strengthen communication between technology staff and educators within your school district!

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Topics: educators, Managed Services, problem solving, technology, technology in the classroom, understanding

Make Sure Students Do These 8 Things in your Classroom!

Posted by Adam Cole on February 13, 2017

This is the introductory post for an upcoming series about classroom activities that will help raise student engagement and create awesome learning experiences for kids!


Let’s say for a minute that, together, we do some distillation. Let’s boil down learning to what we truly need to make it happen in its most concentrated form. I will name off some of the ingredients in your average school day...Classroom? Don’t need it. Books? Don’t need those. Standards? Nope. Projectors? I don’t think so. Are you getting the picture?

The only thing a teacher truly needs to help make learning happen is a student and a relationship with that student. As teachers, the power to build relationships is always in our hands, but it isn’t always easy. One way to strengthen a relationship is by giving. As teachers we can give students experiences and opportunities that they might not ever be able to access again. In other words, we can create opportunities for learning that will go a long way in strengthening student relationships and result in deeper learning. If we focus on the right things, all of the other outside pressures and influences that we struggle with daily will fall into place.

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Topics: educators, engagement, impact, methodology, resources

Teaching Without Fear

Posted by Adam Cole on May 11, 2016

The bell rings, and as I stand in front of the class on my first day of teaching, I remember having two very distinct and paralyzing feelings...I’m terrified, and I’m a phony.

I wasn’t sure of too many things during that awkward time as a beginning teacher, but I was sure that I had no business trying to teach these kids how to read and write. I was also sure that they could see right through every insecurity and imperfection. During that school year, as I worked to get better and gained more confidence, one of those feelings eventually left. I became less nervous and realized that I did have both the ability and the right to teach reading, writing, and many other valuable skills. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was still a phony. I came in every day wearing my teacher tie, using my teacher voice, and performing my teacher tricks. It was like a mask that I put on every day before school. I tried hard. I tried different teaching styles. I tried to make jokes, yet there was always something stopping me from feeling like I could reach the majority of my students.

During that first year, the “feeling like a phony” never left, at least not until I finally recognized it for what it was...

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Topics: educators, failure, fear, fear of failure, habits, modeling, professional development, questioning