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A Mississippi-sized Love: Stories from ACErs on the Coast

Monday, September 23, 2019 by Grace Carroll and Emily Voorde, ACE 22, Biloxi

As for many newly-minted ACErs on placement night when they find out where they will be teaching for the next two years, our pictures on the cardboard trifolds next to the label “ACE Biloxi” elicited a flood of surprise and giddiness and questions.  

Biloxi? 
Are they sure?? 
Am I even saying it correctly?!

How Does Homework Fit into a Blended-Learning Classroom?

Monday, September 23, 2019 by Francesca Varga

How Does Homework Fit into a Blended-Learning Classroom?

As a former secondary English teacher, I battled the homework question many times throughout my ten years of teaching. On the one hand, homework, particularly reading homework, was necessary for students to build their literacy skills and stay on top of classwork. When studying a novel, assigning 20 pages of daily reading during class was not an effective use of class time. However, if I gave too much homework (more than 20 minutes or so of reading, unnecessary worksheets for extra practice, etc.) then students would not complete it.

We Have A Situation!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 by By: Sheila Doyle - ACE 24, Denver

Sheila Doyle Blog

Procedures, procedures, procedures! As new teachers, we hear this word repeated over and over. 

“Make sure you have procedures ready to go for day 1!” 

“What are your procedures for recess, lunch, Mass, lining up, transitioning to the carpet, transitioning to the desks, rotating between centers, turning assignments in, walking through the hallway, packing up at the end of the day, cleaning up at the end of the week?”

And Just Like That...There Were 2!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 by Christine Bonfiglio, Ph.D.

PIE 2 Group Photo

I’m not sure how it happened...but it is fall in South Bend, and the University of Notre Dame has renewed energy. People are walking to and from class and events, instruction and research are underway, the reverence of spiritual formation is powerful, and Irish football posted a “W” against Louisville in the season opener. Campus is alive and well after a short-lived summer break.

The Triple D Protocol

Monday, September 09, 2019 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Triple D Protocol

When I think of Triple D, I am reminded of my favorite show nicknamed Triple D (aka Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.) This culinary show is hosted by the immeasurably enthusiastic Guy Fieri. Everyone has something that they are “immeasurably enthusiastic” about, and for me, it is data. I used to go nuts about analyzing the progress my students had made. Now, I go nuts about measuring the progress our partner schools are making in Minneapolis.

In this post, I will spill the beans on three quick tips for practical data analysis – otherwise known as the Triple D Protocol. Please, take all my food idioms along the way with a pinch of salt.

Creating a Welcoming Classroom Culture

Tuesday, September 03, 2019 by Elizabeth Eby - ACE 25, LA South Cental

ACE Blog Post - Creating a Welcoming Classroom Culture

“Ms. Eby, you’ve never had Tajín?” 

     “You just HAVE to try Wingstop!”     

          “Do you have Starbucks in New Hampshire?”

During my first year with ACE at Our Lady of Guadalupe in East Los Angeles, my middle school students were continually shocked, and rather amused, by my ignorance of the places, foods, and traditions they found commonplace in LA.

I grew up in New Hampshire, where I shoveled snow, celebrated maple syrup season, and ice skated on frozen lakes in February. New Hampshire was as unfamiliar to my students as LA was to me.

I was initially unsure about how we were going to relate given our different cultural upbringings, but I ultimately decided to lean into these differences so that my students could teach me about their experiences, and I could share my own.

Blended Learning and the Social-Emotional Connection

Monday, August 26, 2019 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Higher-Powered Learning - Social-Emotional Connection

A growing body of thought emphasizes the importance of blended learning as a complement to social-emotional learning. The Christensen Institute recently wrote about how blended learning can build relationships between teachers and students. Today, we discuss three ways we’ve seen blended learning improve the social-emotional landscape in classrooms. 

Becoming Holy Heroes

Thursday, August 15, 2019 by Maggie Ellis - ACE 23, New York

Maggie Ellis - ACE 23 New York - Becoming Holy Heroes

One of the most incredible journeys of my short but wild teaching career began on a day when only half of my class showed up.

Go Back to School Like a PRO!

Monday, August 12, 2019 by Francesca Varga Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Higher-Powered Learning - Go Back to School Like a PRO

It is hard to believe that the lazy days of summer are coming to an end. School supplies and backpacks have replaced summer toys, and teachers are planning schedules, procedures, and classrooms for the upcoming year. If you are implementing blended learning in your school this year, here are some quick tips to start your year off as a PRO!

“Why Blended Learning?” ACE Teaching Fellows Respond from the Heart

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by Fr. Nate Wills, C.S.C.

Why Blended Learning? - ACE Teaching Fellows Elective

For the last several years, we have been invited to teach a summer course for our second-year ACE Teaching Fellows. These are teachers who already have a year of teaching and now want to improve their teaching practice. They take our class as an elective, so they’re making the choice to take an elective instead of having a couple hours of free time in the afternoon. It’s not surprising, therefore, that these students were incredibly motivated to learn how to use technology for meaningful differentiation. Over the course of the class, we introduced them to blended learning, created learner profiles, discussed classroom management and procedures in a blended-learning classroom, explored software, dove deep into data-informed instruction, and talked about planning for success. Whew! It was a lot, packed into a short amount of time, and this group of students was particularly energetic, creative, hard-working, and hungry to be better teachers for their kids.

5 Things You Need to Know About Blended Learning

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 by Francesca Varga Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

5 Things You Need to Know about Blended Learning

It seems like just yesterday we were beginning our journey with five schools in the Twin Cities. On the last day of professional development, we asked our teams to reflect on what they learned about implementing blended learning. We asked, “What is one thing you know now that you would offer to someone who is just getting started?” We received many thoughtful responses that centered around five major themes. 

How Exploration Led to Blended Learning

Tuesday, July 02, 2019 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

How Exploration Led to Blended Learning

Hi there Higher-Powered Learning blog readers! Today, I have the pleasure of introducing the newest member of our Higher-Powered Learning team: Kourtney Bradshaw. 

Kourtney is a native of North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina for her undergrad. She then moved to Baltimore to teach and attain her M.Ed. Most recently, Kourtney taught Kindergarten-2nd grade at KIPP One in Chicago. She came to understand and utilize blended learning in the best way possible: organically, thoughtfully, and because she wanted to provide her students with a better education that met the needs of ALL students.

Kourtney joined our Higher-Powered Learning team last month and by day three, she was traveling with us to our spring professional development in Minnesota. Her relentless curiosity, real-world experience, and caring approach quickly endeared her to our BLAST members in Minnesota. I’m thrilled to introduce Kourtney to you all and for you to read her great blog post below. We’re eager to help teachers meaningfully utilize technology in the context of Catholic education to help them engage in Higher-Powered Learning!

-Fr. Nate Wills, CSC
Director, Higher-Powered Learning Program

One Year Ago Today

Monday, June 17, 2019

One Year Ago Today

Last week, we had the privilege of spending three days with the members of the Higher-Powered Learning Program in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. This time together served two purposes: to reflect on the first year of implementation and to prepare for the next year of coaching and continuous improvement (check out the timeline to learn more about the structure of the program).

How to Combat the Summer Slide with Technology

Monday, June 03, 2019

Higher-Powered Learning - Combat the Summer Slide

If you’re anything like me, your mind is probably already on summer. Whether your students finished classes just before Memorial Day weekend or will be doing so within the next few weeks, I would guess that you’re ready for a little break from the early mornings and long days of school.

Is Blended Learning Just a Glorified Form of "Tracking" Students?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Higher-Powered Learning - University of Notre Dame - Mixed Groups

One of the most common concerns with blended learning is that it is a glorified form of "tracking" students. In case you are not familiar with the term, “tracking” refers to separating students by performance level and differentiating their instruction accordingly. The reason this method is called tracking is because students are typically put on an academic track at a young age and often stay on that track for the rest of their academic careers.

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