Inspirational Educational Resources from the National Title I Conference
One of my favorite aspects from the National Title I Conference was learning about all of the inspirational educational resources that exist to serve the Title I student population.
We met some really incredible people who either owned or worked for companies that found ways to tackle problems Title I schools face.
Now, everyone in education knows about the big, heavy hitters in the education market: Scholastic, McGraw-Hill, Crayola and Capstone. Unsurprisingly, their booths at the conference were fantastic and definitely informative, but we thought we’d highlight some of the smaller organizations that truly inspired us.
We stumbled upon this booth right at the right time! As we walked up, they were just about to start a presentation.
This group trains parents at schools to lead parent workshops at their children’s school. We got to experience a demonstration of what a portion of a parent workshop would look like. We loved the heavy focus they put on parental involvement, positive reassurance for children and how they stress discipline over punishment.
Parenting Partners provides all of the handouts, slides and lesson plans for schools to use, which makes things incredibly easy and far less intimidating for parent volunteers who will eventually run these meetings. They even supply name tags.
Our favorite resource they handed out at the conference was a list of “101 Positive Power Words”. This list is the perfect size to keep on a refrigerator, or in a purse for easy reference.
Here are a few examples of positive power words they suggest using while encouraging children:
- “You have such a great memory. You’re my Google.”
- “You’ve been so persistent. How does it fel to be getting such good results?”
- “You patiently hang in there with difficult people. You’re so kind.”
- “You always like learning new things. You’ll really enjoy college.”
- “I missed talking with you today. I’m glad we have time now.”
A good teacher’s impact cannot be understated, but when parents are involved in their children’s lives, we really see positive results in our students, and our schools!
For more information on the wonderful things Parenting Partners is doing, visit www.parentingpartners.com
The Right Question Institute
Luz Santana, Author of “Partnering with Parents to Ask the Right Questions”
While waiting for a class to start, we began talking Luz Santana, co-director of The Right Question Institute. When we struck up conversation, we had no idea how much of an influential heavy-hitter we sat down next to.
Not only is this published author passionate about involving parents in their children’s education, but she’s found a way to teach how one goes about asking the right questions to ensure success for their children.
The Right Question Institute’s mission is to “provide a wide range of innovative educational resources that make it possible for all people, no matter their level of education or income, to learn to think and act more effectively on their own behalf.”
They promote what they call microdemocracy, or “a new idea that ordinary encounters with public agencies are opportunities for individual citizens to ‘act democratically’ and participate effectively in decisions that affect them.”
Involving parents is essential in all schools. Having a resource like The Right Question Institute available to schools is incredible.
For more information on The Right Questions Institute, visit www.rightquestion.org
No Red Ink
As a former English teacher, I went pretty crazy over this booth. This software allows students to practice mastering grammar. It also gives students feedback on their writing. Everything is aligned with Common Core standards.
What I was most excited about was the option for students to chat with a live online tutor while writing. This tool would have been invaluable for my Title I students who might not have the same access to help that other students may have.
Jonathan, the representative we spoke with, was not only excited about the product he was representing, but his story also captivated us. Jonathan has a heart for Title I students, and has worked at a number of schools in high-needs areas: Brooklyn and Oakland.
He felt himself begin to get overwhelmed and was feeling bogged down by the demands placed on teachers; instead of choosing to let himself burn out, he chose to start working for No Red Ink, a program he used as an educator. He said he’s treating his time with the company like a sabbatical, which we thought was incredible.
We think this resource could greatly help teachers and their students. Any organization that can attract quality talent like Jonathan is a company we can really get behind.
For more information on No Red Ink, visit www.noredink.com
We were blown away by the excitement and passion of Colin Seale, the founder of thinkLaw.
He argues that “critical thinking is still a luxury good: only 1 out of 10 educators teach it.” His company’s mission is to change that paradigm, teaching Title I students, students enrolled in juvenile detention and alternative education settings how to think critically,
thinkLaw accomplishes this mission by using real-life court cases to teach students not what to think, but how to think.
When we walked up to his booth, Colin briefly introduced us to a real-life case they use in thinkLaw curriculum.
He told us about a well-known case where a 6-year-old boy was sued by his aunt seeking damages for puling a chair out from under her as she was about to sit down. The aunt fell, injured herself and sued the child for battery.
Colin then posed the question: “should the young boy be held responsible?” “Why would the aunt sue?”
He led us through a series of questions that really got our brains working.
“Now, this is something my students would have loved,” I found myself thinking.
Because the curriculum is based on real-life cases, students will buy in much more to the lessons. If I was still in the classroom, this is definitely a program I’d approach my principal with.
For more information on thinkLaw, visit www.thinkLaw.us
Want some more free online resources for teachers? Check out our list of the 7 that we love best.
In the spirit of full disclosure, we want to be sure you know we are not being compensated whatsoever for raving about these organizations; we are truly just so excited about what they stand for that we thought their messages and missions should be shared.
We were so encouraged by all of the good work being done for Title I students.
Here are a handful of other organizations that you might be interested in checking out:
- The Violence Prevention Project
- Practical Parent Education
- Gunn & Cannon Empowerment Group
- Backpack Gear, Inc.
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