The ultimate back-to-school reader: 35 posts full of strategies and ideas for educators

Back-to-school lists are full of to-dos: Classroom supplies to buy, paperwork to fill out, cool weather clothing to buy (even if most of us are still sweating through these late-summer, early-in-the-school-year days).

To help ease your return to school, we present: another list! But this one is designed to do the heavy lifting for you. Here are 35 articles with tips and details on data-backed approaches to assessment, social-emotional learning, family communication, and more.

How to create a classroom that supports every student from day one

Students can start to feel empowered about learning from the moment they walk through their new classroom’s door—and that feeling can be reinforced each day that follows.

The articles below discuss instilling social-emotional learning concepts, like empathy and navigating emotions, creating lesson plans that incorporate accommodations for students with disabilities into a larger lesson, and how bringing learner context into teaching can support success.

  1. “Strong opinions, loosely held: Demystifying social emotional learning”
  2. “A step-by-step guide for using stress- and trauma-sensitive practices in your classroom”
  3. “3 ways gen ed teachers can support students with disabilities”
  4. “How to get to know your students”
  5. “5 little things that are really big”

How to bring families into the conversation about successful assessment

Understanding the goals and methodology of assessment can help caregivers know how best to support their learners, both in and outside of school hours.

Support an open dialogue with families throughout the school year with tips about activities students can do at home and answers to some of the most common questions we get about MAP® Growth™ and what results mean for kids.

  1. “10 ways for teachers and parents to communicate better about assessments”
  2. “12 common questions parents ask about MAP Growth”
  3. “MAP Growth 101: Everything families need to know”
  4. “Sharing assessment data with parents just got simpler”
  5. “Leading up to MAP Growth: 20 tips for families”

How—and why—to make student goal setting drive learning

Helping students reach learning goals is important. Helping them reach goals they set themselves can lay the foundation for a lifetime of motivation and achievement.

The articles below offer tips about working with students to define personal, meaningful, evolving goals for themselves. The sense of autonomy that helps foster can be further developed by involving students in the assessment process as well.

  1. “Read the latest in student goal setting guidance”
  2. “Educators share their tips for setting and monitoring effective goals”
  3. “2 types of student goal setting that empower early learners”
  4. “Goal-setting foundations for pre-K–2 teachers”
  5. “Proof that student self-assessment moves learning forward”
  6. “Formative assessment is not for grading”
  7. “Let’s stop making ‘growth mindset’ a buzzword”

How to maximize assessment effectiveness and efficiency

The following blog posts provide a start-to-finish overview of the assessment process: from big picture assessment strategies, to questions to ask beforehand, to strategies to employ during testing. You’ll also find formative assessment techniques and, most importantly, tips on turning results into differentiated instruction.

  1. “8 questions teachers should ask when giving assessments”
  2. “10 proctor tips for engaging students”
  3. “3 ways to use assessment effectively and equitably”
  4. “27 easy formative assessment strategies for gathering evidence of student learning”
  5. “You, too, could raise state scores”
  6. “3 ways to put assessment data to work in the classroom”

How to turn MAP Growth data into classroom results

Whether you’ll be using MAP Growth in your classroom again this year or are incorporating it for the first time, the posts below provide answers to common questions along with vetted approaches to taking the next steps to turn your students’ data into action.

  1. “6 commonly used MAP Growth terms worth knowing”
  2. “Top 10 MAP reports for teachers”
  3. “Here’s how to use MAP Growth results to achieve great things this school year”
  4. “Teachers, here’s how to use MAP Growth data”
  5. “7 ways to use MAP Growth–informed learning to challenge and engage students”

How to support progress in math and reading

Catch up on some of latest research-backed approaches to reading and math instruction, including explanations of the science of reading and formative math conversations. And after several years of discussion about unfinished learning, the idea of letting math instruction unfurl in its own time so that students have a chance to grasp the “beauty of mathematics” might be a useful perspective.

  1. “How data can inform and supercharge your reading instruction strategies”
  2. “The science of reading explained”
  3. “Demystify student thinking about math”
  4. “Pointless points and plotless plots: The dangers of accelerating mathematics learning”

How online tools and apps can support your teaching

Overwhelmed by all the options for incorporating digital learning tools and apps into your classroom? We’ve got you covered. Our experts discuss how to start your search for the most effective apps to use by identifying your learning goals and the actions required to achieve them. Once you’ve got a handle on what you’re looking for, reference our list of 75 tools to support formative assessment—and learn how some of the apps you use outside the classroom can be repurposed to help students meet their goals.  

  1. “4 apps you probably don’t use in your classroom—but should”
  2. “75 digital tools and apps teachers can use to support formative assessment in the classroom”
  3. “How to pick the right digital tool: Start with your learning goal”

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