Best American teacher blogs

Teacher standing in front of a whiteboard in a classroom

Here’s the secret to being an extraordinary teacher
Image: Monkey Business Images

With schools closed across the country and millions of children studying at home during the COVID19 pandemic, we know many moms, dads, and grandparents will be concerned for their children’s education. Educating our kids at home has given us all a whole new appreciation for the extraordinary job our teachers do. 

To provide some fascinating insight into the professional life of teachers, we’ve found a selection of great teachers’ blogs, YouTube channels and podcasts. If you’re a teacher looking for new ideas – check these guys out. And if you’re a parent who’s wondering how on earth teachers do it – here’s how.

The Effortful Educator

Blake Harvard from The Effortful Educator

Blake’s site is full of useful and thought-provoking information
Image: Blake Harvard from The Effortful Educator

Moving to online learning? Keep it simple, says The Effortful Educator and AP Psychology teacher, Blake Harvard. “This isn’t the time to assign elaborate work with complicated instructions and difficult to complete problems.” This is the first of Blake’s five pillars of a successful online classroom, a series of essential adjustments to make online teaching work for your students – check out his post for more.

Hailing from Alabama, Blake says he has “a particular affinity for all things cognition and psychology; especially when those areas are also paired with education and learning”, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at his thoughtful blog. Wondering what kids are thinking about in class? Blake says “frequent low/no-stakes assessment from our students” offers opportunities for insights.

The Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson from The Jose Vilson

José Vilson speaking at The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference
Image: José Luis Vilson from The Jose Vilson

If you’d like to know the truth about the impact of COVID19, do the math, says José Luis Vilson. And if you’d like some help interpreting the statistics around this terrible disease, José offers a YouTube tutorial to help you interpret the numbers, plus math lessons for sixth and seventh graders, all delivered in a teaching style that’s friendly and easy to understand.

A math educator for a middle school in the Inwood/Washington Heights neighborhood of New York, José is a committed writer, activist, web designer, and father. He’s also the co-founder and executive director of EduColor, an organization dedicated to race and social justice issues in education, and the author of This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and the Future of Education.

Moving at the Speed of Creativity

Online teaching on a laptop

Wesley’s site has been advocating digital teaching since the 90’s
Image: Shutterstock

The flood of COVID19-related memes and videos in their social media feeds makes it difficult for children to sort fact from fiction, says teacher Wesley Fryer of Moving at the Speed of Creativity. But that also presents an excellent opportunity to teach media literacy. In his class one of the things he emphasises is the “importance of lateral reading instead of just viewing the ‘About page’ on a website to evaluate credibility.”

As an educator who has been advocating for the transformative use of digital learning tools since the mid-1990s,  Wesley says “it’s been a bit surreal to find myself in the midst of the past few weeks of preparations when everyone’s ‘new classroom normal’ is immediately expected to be virtual, online and interactive digital learning.” Looking for help to take your classes online? Wesley Fryer (and his school) are happy to share advice.

Gerry Brooks

Gerry Brooks from Go See the Principal

Gerry’s brand of educational-based humor is addictive watching
Image: Gerry Brooks

What do you call the person in charge of assigning who is going to proctor each classroom? That’s the “proctologist.” What do you call it when you’re mobbed by kindergarten kids? That’s a “hugsault.” If you’re not sure of your teaching terminology, it’s probably best to take educator and YouTuber, Gerry Brooks’ hilarious catchup class.

Go See the Principal is principal, Gerry Brooks’ highly humorous YouTube channel and the place to go for some fun and laughter. What do you call the person who’s overworked, underpaid, under appreciated, but unbelievably dedicated? These people we call “educator”, says Gerry Brooks – and he has a flashcard to prove it…

Hip Hughes

Tune into Keith’s fascinating lectures
Image: Hip Hughes from Hip Hughes History

Can you name five failed presidential assassination attempts? Here’s a clue to the first target on Hip Hughes’ hit list: “I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” Do you want to know more about the liberty amendments? Hip Hughes is the man for all your American history and political science questions.

In fact, for entertaining, informative online lectures, Hip is hard to beat. With over 500 lessons available on his YouTube Channel, Hip Hughes History, his videos are perfect for “Social Studies flippers, desperate crammers and the cray cray on the internets”. Highly recommended.

Shanahan on Literacy

Timothy’s blog is an expert dive into the world of literacy
Image: Timothy Shanahan from Shanahan on Literacy

The thing that keeps Jeff Bezos awake at night, Timothy Shanahan says, is “the last mile problem” – the final part of the journey from the distribution center to the destination. He explains that in terms of literacy, “classroom implementation is the last mile in reading reform”, and that when it comes to getting educators to change how they teach in the classroom, gentle persuasion is superior to “hair on fire” rhetoric.

Tim is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chi­cago where he was Founding Di­rector of the UIC Center for Literacy. A former first grade teacher, he has dedicated his career to researching the “connections between reading and writing, literacy in the disciplines, and improvement of reading achievement.” Want to know if there really is a ‘window of opportunity’ for learning to read? If you’re looking for a balanced, well researched approach to helping kids to become more literate, Tim’s blog is the place to start. 

Nicholas LeTarte

Nicholas’ channel is a great way to get an insight into high school life
Image: Nicholas LeTarte

For one teacher who is really missing hanging out with his class at school, a lunchtime live stream is a great way to connect with students. “Come on guys, ask me a question,” Nicholas LeTarte says to get the ball rolling. Learning at home makes it hard to stay on track, but when kids have the support of a great bunch of teachers like they do at Novi Highschool, Michigan, you get the sense that everything will work out just fine in the end.

And as kids go, Novi students are pretty cool – check out the Novi HS Lip Dub. For a closer look at the life and times of a French teacher and high school life, Nicholas LeTarte’s YouTube Channel is fun, energising, and yes, if you want to know Le Conditionnel, Nicholas has it covered.

Teach Me, Teacher

Tune into the Teach Me, Teacher for fascinating discussions about education
Image: Teach Me, Teacher

What does e-learning look like? How do we serve our ‘special pops’? How do we still do this job of teaching in the current world?” Join educator and podcaster Jacob Chastain as he goes live, discussing all your questions about teaching during the quarantine and more. In this live-recorded episode of Teach Me, Teacher, Jacob begins by exploring the art of communicating with parents: “being the bridge between the child’s learning and what the parent knows.” 

If you’re a teacher, a parent, or just someone with an interest in what goes on in the classroom, Teach Me, Teacher features “honest conversations with real world teachers and administrators in the classrooms we are all experiencing today”.  

Have we missed a  teaching blog, podcast or YouTube channel you love, please do get in touch. Just leave a message on our Twitter page – we love to hear from you!

Posted in Blogs we love.

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