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How to find more funding to help more children

Educators share many common traits: creativity, commitment, a love for society and children. However, one trait is seldom mentioned but very deserving of recognition: making the most of available resources. In many classrooms you’ll find examples of teachers using available resources to enhance their teaching. For example, you might find common household items used for memorable lessons, old magazines sliced and diced for classroom bulletin boards, or school supplies purchased by generous educators reaching into their own wallets. If educators are forced to creatively stretch their budgets when the economy is strong, what are they to do when the economy weakens? In times like these, educators will want to add one powerful tool to their toolbox: additional funds in the form of grants.
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Classroom kit giveaway!

***UPDATE*** Due to extremely popular demand, we've decided to give away a few more classroom kits. Everyone who leaves a comment through the end of today (Friday, Jan. 28) will be entered in a drawing to win the remaining kits. We reached 25 comments too quickly! And to you 25 first-responders, we will be in touch. To everyone else: keep the comments coming! We've enjoyed the discussion and love hearing your innovative ideas for teaching your students with technology. In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama stressed the need for continued innovation and technology in education. With that in mind, we're giving Imagine Learning classroom kits to the first 25 of you who leave a comment telling us one way that you use technology in your teaching. Your classroom kit contains the following: Booster stickers and removable Booster tattoos for the whole class A full-size Imagine Learning English poster A set of window clings featuring Booster and the other characters from Imagine Learning English Booster is a flying robot who offers students feedback as they progress through Imagine Learning English. As students learn new skills, Booster is there to encourage them when they're doing well and to nudge them in the right direction whenever they need a little extra assistance. Kids love Booster, and you will too. Ready to claim your prize? Leave a comment below and share one way you use technology in your teaching.
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The State of the Union address

Last night, President Obama addressed the nation in his State of the Union speech. In case you missed it, you can watch the speech in its entirety at the end of this post. Education is always an important issue for government, and President Obama talked about it extensively Tuesday night, emphasizing the need to invest in education and technology and return the United States to a place of global prominence when it comes to educating our citizens. We really enjoyed this Wordle created by Richard Byrne on the Free Technology for Teachers blog:
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School name-calling: 15 tips for eliminating bullying

No sticks. No stones. No dissing. That’s the motto for No Name-Calling Week, a project inspired by The Misfits, a young adult novel written by popular author James Howe. The book tells the story of four friends who grow tired of being constantly teased in middle school and decide to run for student council on a no name-calling platform. Inspired by this idea, GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing created the No Name-Calling Week Coalition, which now consists of over 50 national partnering organizations. In March 2004, the coalition organized the first No Name-Calling Week in schools across the nation. Since then the project has gained thousands of supporters who believe in its cause, which is to end name-calling of all kinds and provide schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an ongoing dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities. As someone who has seen close family members suffer from the effects of bullying, I was thrilled to learn about this project and how I can participate. While it originally began in middle schools, the NNCW project has since been extended from kindergarten through twelfth grade because all students can benefit from learning how to be more understanding of one another and how to address name-calling and bullying. Would you and your students like to participate in this powerful project? Here are 15 ways you can make the eighth annual No Name-Calling Week meaningful in your school or classroom:
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The question tiger mothers aren't asking

With the Wall Street Journal release of Amy Chua's controversial essay "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior," parents across the country have been defending their own parenting methods and definitions of adolescent success. While the debate grows more and more polarizing, both sides seem to agree on one thing: a significant amount of the development and measurement of a child's success happens at school. Think of it. Without the grades, competitions, and class ranks to measure by, where would Chua set the bar? And if students weren't dealing with the cafeteria scene, social statuses, and group projects, David Brook reminds us in his New York Times rebuttal, how would they develop the skills necessary to survive outside academia? With such a significant amount of growth and development occurring at school, maybe the question shouldn't be whether or not Chinese mothers are superior, but rather what skills make up a superior education? Here are a few skills up for debate.
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The best-decorated classrooms and a tour of Imagine Learning

Whenever I get a chance to visit a school, I’m always excited to see how teachers have decorated their classrooms. The majority seem to take great care in using decorations to create fun and engaging learning environments for their students. My favorite classrooms to visit are the ones where teachers have covered the walls with important lesson points and an assortment of student projects. I like how this not only gives students fresh learning environment but also makes the physical space a reflection of the class’s personality. It tells a story of the uniqueness of the class and the curriculum they’re exploring. With this in mind, I thought it might be fun to let you all see how Imagine Learning's physical space reflects our personality. We have a lot of dedicated professionals who work hard to create engaging products that fulfill our goal to teach English to the children of the world, and, like so many classrooms I’ve seen, I think our workspace provides a good reflection of who we are and what we do. Since most of you have never had a tour of our office space, I’ve posted some pictures of our headquarters in Provo, Utah. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do everyday.
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Portraying students with disabilities in children’s books: A call for change?

Recently I came across an interesting article from a local newspaper on students with disabilities in children’s literature. The article explains how researchers from Brigham Young University examined the portrayal of children with disabilities in award-winning children’s books. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they found that the representation of children with disabilities isn’t quite proportional or accurate. But some of the specific findings made me think twice.
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3 ways to make your classroom an innovation zone

Do you put your clothes on in the same order every morning? Do you take the same route to work every day? Do you eat the same kind of food for lunch or listen to the news at the same time every evening? We’re all creatures of habit to some degree, and we will rarely change our habits if they don't negatively affect our lives. But what if there is a faster route to work that you just haven’t found yet? Or what if there is a delicious new food you just haven’t tried? You might be missing out on something incredible if you never change the status quo.
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2 new ways to get your kids Common Core-ready

If you're already thinking about how to get your students ready for the new Common Core Standards, then we've got some good news for you: Imagine Learning English has two new activities designed to help students master important reading comprehension skills emphasized in the Common Core English Language Arts & Literacy Standards. Identifying the main idea and key details of a text are a big focus for the Common Core Standards. In fact, the Common Core English Language Arts & Literacy Standards call for all students from kindergarten through twelfth grade to be able to find the main idea and key details of the texts they read. So why all the fuss about these two comprehension skills?
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The difference a year makes: Israa's story

As part of our One Year Later series, we’re sharing the stories of four students who have made remarkable progress with Imagine Learning English in just one year. This is the fourth post in a four-part series; read part one here, part two here, and part three here. Like Khalid, Israa was not part of our original filming plan when we visited Place Bridge Academy in November 2009. It was Israa’s teacher, Della Hoffman, who introduced us to Israa. She had moved to the United States from Iraq earlier that year and, in just a short time, had benefited significantly from using Imagine Learning English. Israa Back in November 2009, Ms. Hoffman led us to the computer lab where Israa and her class were using Imagine Learning English. While it is not uncommon to hear students talking and singing, blissfully unaware of their surroundings as they listen to the computer through headphones, I remember walking into that room and immediately hearing one student singing louder than the rest: Israa.
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