6 Ideas to Increase Parent Engagement [Infographic]

Parents and teachers have a shared interest in the success of individual students, yet there are often challenges to maintaining open communications by both parties. The infographic below, by National PTA, outlines six insightful ideas on how teachers can encourage and support parent and family engagement.

One of the basic tips outlined above that stands out focuses on communication—specifically about communicating “in a way that not only reaches them—but also generates a response.” This only reinforces the importance of two-way communication between teachers and parents.

For additional insights on fostering stronger communications, be sure to check out Atomic Learning’s online course, Improving Communications Between Teachers & Parents. The course explores best practices for communicating with students' families and tools that can make that communication easier, including apps for texting families from your computer, creating and sharing calendars, and more.

Don’t have access to Atomic Learning? Request information on how you and your entire school can access this course and hundreds of others focused on effective professional development, shifting instructional approaches, and other highly-relevant topics..

5 Simple Ways to Develop Students’ Digital Literacy

While there are a variety of ways to help build and encourage your students’ digital literacy, we’ve gathered five of our personal favorites below that you can implement yet this year—complete with links to related resources to get you off on the right foot!

  1. Build an Understanding of Digital Literacy
    It sounds redundant, but helping students build an understanding of digital literacy is a fundamental way to develop digital literacy skills. Knowledge is power, and helping students to understand that digital literacy is about so much more than simply using technology creates a foundation to build on.

    Related resource: Literacy Reimagined (with Angela Maiers)

4 Soft Skills Every Student Needs Before College

While many occupations have specialized skillsets, there are underlying, often career-agnostic skills that individuals need to utilize on a daily basis. These skills, commonly referred to as career or soft skills, are a hot topic not only for many schools, districts, colleges, and universities, but also among companies seeking qualified job applicants.

A multitude of studies, surveys, education-related articles have published various takes on the importance of soft skills, yet often overlook what can be done to build these skills. In this post, we’ll examine four of the most discussed skills—and provide some of our own ideas and resources focused on building each individual skill.

  1. Collaboration
    One of the most sought-after soft skills is collaboration. It only makes sense, since so many professionals today work together on functional teams to achieve a common goal. As anyone who’s worked on a group project knows, collaboration is closely tied to other skills and behaviors, such as communicating, offering and accepting criticism, delegation, and a host of others.

    Students participating in extracurricular activities, such as a sports team or club, are already working on these skills.  Teachers can also support students’ skill building in the classroom with group projects. Outside of school-related activities, students can practice collaboration through volunteer opportunities or after-school employment. (If it seems like a lot to balance, be sure to check out skill number four: Time Management.)

    Looking for a place to start?
    Here are just a few Atomic Learning courses around this topic:
    Integrating the 4 C’s in Your Classroom

    Strategies for Working with a
    Evernote in Instruction

2 Words that Can Change Lives - #YouMatter

We've all had those certain moments that leave a lasting impression, maybe it’s a line from a book, or a scene from a movie. That's the affect experienced educator and renowned speaker Angela Maiers has on everyone she meets—school leaders, teachers, students, everyone.

As a young teacher, Angela had an epiphany:  People NEED to Matter.

They need to be noticed.

They need to feel valued.

They deserve to be honored.

In a June 2011 TEDxDesMoines talk, Angela shared her powerful message, and these two words have been changing minds, hearts, and lives ever since.

In the video below, she challenges each of us to accept our own personal genius, understand just how much each of us matter, and realize the impact that each and every one of us can have on our students by sharing two simple words: You Matter.

(You may want to grab a box of tissues... Angela tends to tug at the heartstrings.)

1 Statistic on Student Success in College that Can’t be Ignored...

An article posted by U.S. News stated that “As many as 1 in 3 first-year students won't make it back for sophomore year.” A staggering statistic that colleges can’t ignore. One might ask themselves, what causes so many students to end their college experience?

A lot of factors can be involved, including everything from lack of money and roommate issues to not being academically prepared or emotionally ready.

A recent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education provides several insights on the challenges that many students face during their freshman year of college. Although each student’s experience can be very different, there are emotional readiness factors that seem to overlap.

"Several factors can contribute to "emotional readiness," including students’ ability to adapt to new environments, handle negative emotions in constructive ways, and forge healthy relationships. The survey found that the more prepared a student is for the emotional challenges of college — and for the anxieties that might come with it, such as covering expenses, making friends, and dealing with increased independence — the better and more successful that student’s college experience is."