Introverts in the Classroom

Most often, when we talk about trends in education, there is a big shift towards student centered learning. By this, we mean group projects, classroom discussions, and even seating arrangements that resemble little pods of students. Naturally, this shift has had positive reactions from students and teachers alike. The only group we fail to ask input from are the introverted students. This blog will explore introverts and what kind of education best serves them.

What is an introvert?

An introvert is someone who is extremely introspective, has a deliberate need for solitude, and is a more effective written communicator than conversational. Introverts also spend a fair amount of time reflecting on the world around them to sort out all the stimulation we face every day.

Solitude is extremely important to introverts. When introverted people are out in the world interacting with other, they become drained from overstimulation. Part of this is due to the consistent reflection and introspection that comes naturally to them. It can be exhaustive to work through every interaction, sound, and environment change. The retreat to solitude allows them to process the day and recharge. This last part is extremely important when it comes to a classroom setting.

Recent shifts

Recent trends in education have turned towards a much more extrovert focused system. You have heard buzzwords like, flipped classrooms, student centered learning, and project based learning, which all focus on group interaction and discussion. For an introvert, this can be extremely exhausting! Especially if every classroom moves towards this type of learning. For introverts, a six hour period of interaction and stimulation can be hard to process. We need to begin doing things to help out students escape this, even for a little while, to recharge and engage in the next lesson.

Here’s a few things we can work on:

Quiet spaces

Make a space or time within your classroom that is for quite, individualized learning. This could be a reading nook or just a dedicated area that enforces a strong “individual, quite learning only” policy. You may find introverted students heading here after a particularly noisy lesson or after a group project. They are going to recharge, process the day, and will be ready to tackle the next group activity in no time.

Think first, then answer

Create a classroom policy that is “think first, answer later.” This gives all students a time to reflect and come up with their own answers before someone else has the opportunity to shout out the first thought in their head. This not only helps introverts process, it also teaches the rest of the classroom how to apply deep learning techniques to even the simplest of tasks.

Evaluating the 4 day school week

The idea of a 4-day school week is not a new one, but rather an old idea that’s gaining traction lately. Some districts and individual schools have run pilot programs to see the effects of a 4-day school week. Part of the decision stems from the hopes of increasing attendance rates and also as an effort to save money. No matter what the motivation is, there are pros and cons to a 4-day school week. Here are some of the implications of shaving a day off the traditional model.


Improves attendance – Going down to a 4-day week has been proven to increase attendance. Less students are skipping school because they are receiving an extra day to themselves each week. Additionally, with the extra day off, parents are less likely to pull their children from school to go to doctor appointments.

Encourages responsibility – A shorter week does not mean less work. There is more expected of students and a 4-day week encourages an increase in personal responsibility. Students must also think more seriously about their understanding of a subject. If it is Wednesday, for instance, and there is only one more class period before a big test, students must prioritize their time to get their questions answered before the week comes to a close.

Opens up time for interest based learning – With the additional day out of the classroom, students are free to pursue interest based learning. This may result in a part-time job, taking up a new hobby, or shadowing a professional. No matter path of interest based learning a student decides to follow, they now have more time to devote to it.


Longer school days – A 4-day school week means longer school days. The same amount of information needs to be taught, but with one less day a week. This can put a lot of stress on teachers and students. Younger students especially, may have a difficult time with staying focused and engaged for a longer day than what they have grown accustomed to.

Raises childcare concerns – For younger students again, 4-day school weeks are not ideal. One less day in the classroom means that parents need to find consistent childcare for that extra day while they are at work.

Costs parents – Piggybacking off of the childcare concerns, a shorter week unloads a financial burden onto the parents. They now are responsible for childcare, lunches, and transportation on a day they have to work. If childcare cannot be secured, parents may be forced to change their schedules and, in turn, earn less money.

How Machine Learning Will Affect Education

Machine learning falls under the larger umbrella of Artificial Intelligence and is taking education by storm. Machine learning algorithms are nothing new, but their implementation into the educational realm is. Educators are starting to use and encourage others to do the same for a number of different tasks. Below, you will see a few ways teachers are starting to use and develop machine learning algorithms to help them every day.


Algorithms can be programmed to optimize schedules for both teacher and students. If a student is struggling in English and needs one on one attention. The program can quickly sift through everyone’s schedule and the student’s availability to get them the help they need. Instead of taking the time to do it all manually, a student can ask for help and walk out minutes later knowing when they will get it. This may not seem like a lot, but it can make all the difference.


When it comes to grading, teachers have been looking for a better way to do it for decades. Now with machine learning, even open ended questions can be graded. Teacher will feed the algorithm with the information they are looking for and if a student has hit those points, the machine can grade it. This does not completely eradicate grading by hand, but it can cut down the work significantly. With the help of machine learning, our teachers will now have more time to give personalized instruction and tutoring.

Student Data Analysis

Schools are already collecting a lot of student data. We records things like their grades, attendance, and behavior, so why not feed it all to a machine learning algorithm to help predict learning paths, points of struggle, and even have it recommend a solution based on what the data is telling us. When we get our students’ data to work harder for them, we learn so much more about how to best educate them.

Identifying Areas for Improvement

Finally, with machine learning, we can give algorithms data about processes, the school structure, or anything related with the behind the scenes work that makes a school run. Then with that information, we can identify what areas need the most attention. Things like where money is being wasted and identifying what lessons have been largely ineffective. From there, we come up with solutions and make our schools and education better and better!

EdTech Companies You Need to Know

Education technology is a rapidly expanding market that many entrepreneurs have flocked to. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. We are putting iPads in classrooms and offering hybrid learning courses. Those things on their own don’t revolutionize education. With the help of some innovative companies, we are doing things we never thought possible. The list below highlights a few of the companies you should be in the know about.


Udemy is an online marketplace for users to buy and sell classes. The classes are all tangible skills like app development, learning the office suite, and learning to program. The classes fall within a range of about $20 and up to $100. For those thinking about sharing their expertise, there’s serious money to be had. Some courses have enrolled over 230,000 individuals. That’s some serious cash.


Coursera is similar to Udemy in the fact that it provides online classes. That’s just about the only similarity. Coursera’s classes are real college courses and they are totally free. Coursera helped design and offers certifications from the top schools in the nation. This type of platform us unparalleled. Free education at your fingertips – 24/7.


Voxy is a customizable, english language learning tool. As a user, you are able to set specific goals and learn skills relevant to your individual needs. Voxy operates off of language acquisition science, but also integrates video conferences and other resources to enhance the user experience.


Kramer offers a wireless system to facilitate real-time collaboration between different groups of students on any device. The platform is flexible enough that a single classroom can share on centralized monitor or break into smaller groups using multiple devices. Teacher’s particularly love it because of it’s flexibility and the integration of a central control panel. From it, the teacher can supervise, send different content to different groups, and participate in the lesson. The possibilities are endless!


Story2 is a comprehensive, online online college essay-writing tool. It’s the first of it’s kind and is helping students all over the country prepare. Story2 tries to take all the pressure out of the equation by providing an interactive writing tool. Story2 helps students step by step through the process of identifying and perfecting their personal story.


ExecOnline came about due to partnerships with prestigious business schools. The online platform uses university curricula, puts it online, and makes continued professional development available to corporate employees. Corporations have flocked to use the service because it put the education tools in front of employees without shipping them out of the office for days at a time.

How to De-stress as a Teacher

Teaching is one of the most demanding and stressful jobs out there. If not managed correctly, it can be overwhelming. Some teachers only work in the classroom for several years before deciding it’s too much for them. But, there are those teachers who have a genuine passion for what they do and spend their entire working career in the education field, shaping the young minds of tomorrow. Here are some great ways to de-stress as a teacher!

Break it down

Teachers have a seemingly endless amount of tasks to get done throughout the day. To avoid feeling like you’re drowning, break down your major tasks into smaller, more manageable assignments. You’ll be able to tackle it step-by-step and feel as though you’re making a lot progress. Before you know it, you’ll have done that monstrous project you were so worried about!

Make work fun!

As the teacher, you’re in charge of the classroom. You get to determine how you’ll run it and what activities you’re going to do. While there are certain schedules and subjects you have to follow and teach, you still have freedom to dictate how your classroom is run. Because of this control, you have the ability to make your classroom fun. By bringing fun into the classroom, you’re providing an opportunity for your students and you to look forward to class each day. Through actually enjoying what you’re doing, you’ll feel less stressed out.

Avoid work politics

In any profession, there will always be office politics. In schools, this fact is particularly true. Teachers often gather together and talk, so avoid any negative gossip about colleagues or students. Don’t play the power game with other teachers or join a teacher clique. Strive to get along with all of your colleagues, or be neutral toward those you don’t connect with, and you’ll feel good about your coworkers instead of worrying about who said what about whom.

Get sleep

There is nearly nothing better for your body than a good night’s rest. You’ll feel refreshed in the morning and ready to tackle the new day. It can be hard to sleep if you’re feeling really stressed, so take steps to help yourself. Avoid looking at screens for an hour or two before you go to bed and take some time to unwind before trying to sleep, like reading or just relaxing. Not drinking caffeine will also help you fall asleep because you won’t be on edge or alert for hours after drinking that third or fourth cup of coffee. Try switching to a slightly caffeinated tea if you really crave the caffeine fix.

Make time for yourself

Overall, sometimes you just need to step away from your job. You have a life outside of work and it’s important to remember that, especially if you have a family. Spend time with your loved ones or by yourself, doing an activity you enjoy. Exercise, do yoga, or meditate and you’ll likely feel much more centered and ready to return to work. Make relaxing or fun plans for your weekends and remember it’s okay to say no to responsibilities at work you don’t absolutely have to take on.

Back to School Tips: Student Edition

Now that the summer is over, you may be struggling to get into the back to school mindset. We’ve all been there – even the teachers! It can be hard to get back into the swing of things, so here are a few tips on how to jump right back in!

Grab Supplies

You don’t want to start the school year off on the wrong foot. Get a hold of new supplies. Your teachers will give you an specific list of things you need, but before you get a hold of that list get the necessities. Things like pencils and notebooks should be able to hold you over for the first few days. Once you have your complete list, go out and pick up all the supplies needed for a successful school year.

Know your schedule

You don’t want to wind up lost or in the wrong class at the wrong time on the first day. To avoid this, take a look at your schedule ahead of time and know where you should be and when. It won’t take long to have your school schedule memorized, but until then, keep a copy with you.

Get involved – the earlier the better

The new school year also signals a whole new set of activities and extracurriculars to get involved. Look for clubs and activities that meet your interests and also push you. Thought about going out for the debate team? Make this your year! Most schools also have a list of all activities, clubs, and sports that are offered. Take a look and pick a few that stand out to you!

Set goals

Think about what you want to achieve in your studies this year and come up with some goals. They can be large goals like achieving all A’s or smaller scale. No matter what goals you set for yourself, stick to them. Goal setting gives you something to work towards, but also measures progress.

Stay organized

Being organized will be a large part of your success this school year. Without proper organization, you will start to forget important things like due dates and what tests are on what days. Start off on the right foot and get a planner. Additionally, have a binder, folders, or a trapper keeper. Find out whatever method of organization works best for you and use it to your advantage.

Good luck this year!

Back to School Tips: Parent Edition

Back to school is not just for students. Parents have plenty to do with all the back to school fuss too. Parents play a vital role in helping their children switch out of summer vacation mode and back into the routines of school. In order to do so, here is a list of the five best ways to help your kids get back in the swing of things.

Meet the teachers

Take the time to go in and personally meet your child’s teachers. It is good for them to know who you are even before back to school night. This way you can get their email address and they can have yours. It’s good to know what’s going on right from the start.

Set a homework/study area

Create an area that is designated for homework and studying. By doing so, you can limit distractions, encourage quality work, and give students the tools needed to succeed. Additionally, having a designated work area early on will teach your child good habits early on. One day when they are off to college on their own, they will remember what it was like to have a designated area to get work done and they will stick to it!

Read with your child daily

Reading is vital to every learner’s success. Read with your child daily to teach good habits and to be involved in their learning. You will also begin to see what your child likes to read and can suggest other books they will love. Also, reading together is a bonding experience that your child will pass on to their children.

Hold firm to bedtimes

Routines are especially important for the success of your child. Set an appropriate time to go to bed each night and stick to it. If your child is receiving the right amount of sleep they will be more alert in class and easier to wake up in the morning! It’s a win win. This also reinforces the extreme importance of routines for the body.

Stay on top of homework

Be involved in your child’s homework. Know what they are doing, when it is due, and be there to help them. The more they can get out of their homework, the better. Their teachers will also be pleased with the attention that is paid to their homework. Teacher’s assign it for a reason, so it should be taken seriously.

Motivation: Exciting Students to Succeed

Motivation is something every educator struggles with at least a few times in their career. The real questions is, when you are faced with this problem. How to you combat it? How can we as teachers avoid this rut and excite our students into learning and engaging with the lessons of that particular day? We need to look to involve our students in the learning process more. Here’s a few ways to do this:

Give students the power to decide

By giving students options, they will pick things they are most willing to do and therefore, what they will be the most engaged with. I am not suggesting a free for all, but rather the option to pick between reading assignments or even pick specific topics of interest for them to study. Giving students choices also makes them feel like they have more of a hand in their education. Plus, if you give them choices, they may even feel more accountable for them!

Provide them with your own real-world experiences

Take time to think of personal or relatable real world experiences based on lessons. Relating what you are trying to teach with what is going on around students will help them make the connections to remember what you are teaching. They may also think more about a topic if they run into a similar situation outside of the classroom.

Open their minds to the outside world

Get students excited to engage with these topics outside of the classroom. Provide homework assignments that allow them to interact with their own world in a way that will excite them. Making work seem like fun to students will be the easiest way to get them engaged. You can have them write a character evaluation of a favorite video game character, have them help with budgeting a grocery shop, or even have students interview a family member and write a report based off the interview. Taking this interactive approach will have your students working diligently without feeling like they are doing an assignment.

Be flexible

Every year, every class, and every student will interact with your lessons a different way. Be open to this. Not every lesson will be a hit, but a less than exciting lesson will give you the opportunity to rework it and engage the whole class. Be patient and willing to make tweaks when needed. The more flexible you are, the more you’ll be able to tailor lessons to individual classes and students.

Exciting your students will be harder some days than others, but seeing you class light up at the idea of making their own choices or being engaged with an awesome lesson will be extremely rewarding. Your students will thank you and their test scores will reflect it.

Classroom 2.0: How Technology is Shaping Education

It goes without saying, technology is everywhere. Tech has simplified our lives, is able to give us information rapidly, and now is an integral part of education. These are exciting times. Students have a mass amount of knowledge and tools that are only a click away, but how are we using them?

Technology Assisted Collaboration

Our classrooms are becoming even more collaborative with the help of technology. Students can work with other students around the world, collaborate with different classes within the same school, or simply collaborate at home using google docs. By putting an emphasis on collaboration through technology, we are preparing students for the workforce and also getting them more engaged and active with the lessons.

Blended Classrooms

Over the years we have become better equipped to offer classes with in-class and out of class instruction. The flexibility of blended instruction has been vital for students. Not every student learns the same way or comes from the same background. By offering blended classrooms, we are offering more resources and options for success than ever before!

Mobile Devices

iPads have been an increasingly adapted classroom technology. There are new, exciting educational apps being developed at a rapid pace and the way we can incorporate them is endless. Having 1-to-1 iPad instruction allows for more feedback on assignments, quicker research means, and a way for students to continuously perfect their work with the help of others in the class.

Increased Engagement

Technology has been a catalyst for increased engagement. When we think about it, students now have grown up with technology and interact with it consistently on a daily basis. If you put tech in front of them they will use it, troubleshoot it, and engage in activities because they are using methods they are used to and familiar with.

Valuable Work Experience

Students can gain valuable work experience from an educational use of technology. Learning how to problem solve, stay organized, and complete tasks in an increasingly technology driven world will help them in any job the seek. Many employers are looking for the exact lessons and big idea lessons we are teaching our students right now. Through technology, we are setting our students up for success in the workplace and expanding their minds.

Playtime May Become Part of Curriculum in Early Childhood Education

children-playing-329234According to Ali Ingersoll of ABC news, 90 percent of development happens during the first five years of our lives. The more children are exposed to quality care and learning during their early stages, the better the child’s cognitive skills are in his, or her, later educational years. However our focus on educational “needs” may be misconstrued. More and more studies show that early childhood education should be balanced between work and play. Focusing solely on the school work, and ignoring emotional and physical development may be indeed missing the mark for childhood development.

Lynn Pullano, CEO of Child Care Resource Network believes that child development depends largely on playtime as much as “work time” Playtime brings with it an array of benefits for child development. “At those earliest ages, we’re really missing the mark if we’re not engaging the child physically as well as emotionally and mentally in learning. We do have to be careful not to expect from children things beyond their age,” says Pullano. Children must be allowed to use their imaginations and creative abilities. Playtime in certain activities can provide just the right amount of frustration and experience needed to develop cognitive abilities such as problem-solving and task management.

So, what kind of skills are children learning during playtime? For starters, playtime stirs motor skill development. This includes better hand-eye coordination, visual tracking, and muscle development which are used in physical activity. Playtime also allows for social learning. Cooperative play where children play amongst each other helps develop important social skills such as decision making, communication, negotiation, and conflict management. Of course, cognitive skills such as creative thinking, as well as problem solving, are also put into practice in cooperative play.

According to the Urban Child Institute, play also encourages language development. “Parents can encourage language development during play by speaking in longer sentences and introducing new vocabulary to describe play and toys.”

If you found this read useful, and would like to read more on children’s education and development, check out my blog here. Thanks for reading!