Apurva Apurva

I write for kids, and I write for fun. I write about how we all grew up, and I write about education.

All articles by Apurva

 

Proficiency or Growth: Why the Debate Matters




This debate isn’t just theoretical. In the long run, both proficiency and growth are valuable indicators. If a student cannot be deemed proficient by high-school – he is sure to face difficulty in college and career. Similarly, if a student fails to show reasonable progress – it is certain that he would be left behind...
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Personalized Learning – A Fresh Approach




Did Jon got to choose his brain? Then, whose fault is it, if he’s cannot do simple multiplication, and keeps on nagging you for a calculator? Is it Patricia, his teacher, who must teach as well as prepare a class of twenty-eight students, so that everyone scores ‘proficient’ over the end-of-year standardized computerized state tests?...
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How To Ensure Students Take Your Feedback Seriously




“Stop ranting!” That’s what students are thinking, whenever a teacher begins giving feedback. Research, too, suggests that most children label feedback as demoralizing, irrelevant and unhelpful. Here we share a few ideas to ensure students take your feedback seriously. But, first   Why students hate receiving feedback As a teacher, you understand the value of your...
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Warning: At-risk Students!




Chasing Common Core goals isn’t easy; especially, if one teaches at-risk students. The popular approach is – identify the students at risk, and place them in relevant intervention programs. The problem is- pulling out students from the classroom – to attend an intervention program – threatens their social standing among their peers. Fact is, pull-out...
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Personalized Learning, Really! – The 7 Components of personalized learning




What does it mean to “implement personalized learning”? We believe personalized learning implementation should emphasize on student-centered classrooms. As discussed in previous posts, it depends on your understanding of personalized learning, and your belief in student-driven instruction. Here, we list seven components of personalized learning. Understanding these components would help you design classroom programs that...
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Are Your Students On Track for the End of the Year Test?




Take a spin through the infographic below, and consider the variables of the approaching end of the year test. Are you students on track for success? Do something about it – Try PracTutor for FREE.   Try PracTutor for FREE...
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Transforming Schools for Language Learners: The Push-in Model




Do you have students struggling with Language Arts? Failure to read proficiently and independently by fourth grade can hinder student progress seriously. If your students cannot read properly, they would fail to comprehend the grade-level material. Most of them would end-up juggling between the basics-of-reading and the advanced grade-level material. Schools utilize various models of...
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How to Teach Math Through Problem-solving




Teaching Problem solving isn’t an easy process. A teacher by nature is an expert; problem-solving is easy for them, and they are so fluent in their fields that they find it difficult to articulate the principles, strategies and the process of problem solving. To them, these have already become a second nature. And that’s where...
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The Real Secret to Being Great at Math




Of all the subjects, why do kids hate only Math? Many people would tell you, it’s because, well, they aren’t cut out for Math. I mean, REALLY! …If it was so impossible to master Math, why would all the schools – across the globe – teach it to every student? I assure you, there is...
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How To Engage Gifted Students In A Regular Classroom




Teaching gifted students in a regular classroom isn’t an easy job. It’s a grand challenge. Gifted students have unique abilities, and deserve special attention. The crucial question is – How to attend to the needs of the whole class without isolating the gifted? It’s possible, but it demands special skills and tools.   Gifted learners must be...
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How To Create A Student Centered Classroom




What does it mean to have a student centered classroom? Generally, when people discuss student centered classrooms, they begin by talking about technology, how technology helps create a student centered environment. My question to you is – “Can technology, really, be considered as one of the foundations of student centered classrooms?”   What is a...
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PracTutor Signs the Student Privacy Pledge




PracTutor reinforces its commitment to responsible data practices and safeguarding student privacy.   Louisville, KY  – Dec 14, 2016 – PracTutor announces that it has signed the Student Privacy Pledge. By signing this pledge PracTutor has reaffirmed its commitment to keeping student data private and secure. The Student Privacy Pledge is facilitated by the Software...
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5 Top Network Security Strategies For Your School




As more and more schools opt for technology; several challenges are cropping up. A major challenge is that of security, particularly student data and network security. Digitization of schools has multiplied the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information, such as exam papers and students’ personal details. Use of technology, in particular, the Internet, makes...
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10 Tips to Help Your Students Develop Reading Skills




Are you sure that all your students would attain basic reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade? Language proficiency by the end of 3rd grade is important – not just because students could get retained – because it is essential for knitting their future. Substantial evidence exists to suggest that poor language skills by...
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How to Organize Your Back to School Supplies Shopping




You should have received your back to school supplies list by now – have you? Most teachers send it in the first few weeks. (If you aren’t expecting one, you can use the sample school supplies list provided here.) Once, you have the list. First thing that you need to do is- develop a game...
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7 Misconceptions About English Language Learners







It’s a novel experience – the start of a new school year – fresh faces, a new atmosphere, and off-course brand-new challenge.

Students come to school with unique learning needs.  A major challenge, that every teacher faces, is how to support the English language learners (ELLs) in their class. These students come to school with different...
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10 Things I Wish I Knew as a New Teacher




Long ago, when I started out as an ELA teacher, I wasn’t aware of the challenges that I were to face as a new teacher. New at school, I started with high hopes in my mind; and quickly filled up my book-of-incidents. As I reflect over years, I wish I had known a few things,...
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How to Deliver Professional Development Sessions That Work




Why is professional development for teachers so difficult? This question haunts most PD trainers. Since, most of the ongoing training sessions are conducted by external trainers. Here we share a few insights into how teachers actually learn, and help you open a window into their minds, so that you can deliver professional development sessions that...
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The Secrets of 21st Century Classroom Design




It is really possible to design a truly student-centered classroom? Here are five novel approaches to classroom design, in use by various schools, that could take you by surprise. Schools with two-teacher, team-taught interdisciplinary classes. These classrooms are nearly twice the size of regular classrooms, and they have double groups of students. Plus, students are taught...
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How to Use Technology to Deliver Differentiated Instruction




If differentiated instruction really works, why aren’t more teachers using it? Let’s count the reasons…limited classroom time, a huge curriculum, increasing demands of classroom management… add to it the time teachers spend on lesson planning and designing instruction… there is no spare time. Moreover, several teachers don’t feel prepared to address students’ diverse needs. Schumm...
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30 Technology Tips to Help Your At-risk Students




Can technology help reduce the number of at-risk students? As per SCOPE, Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, when implemented properly, technology can produce significant gains in student achievement. The question is– How to do it? How to use technology to help the at-risk students of your class? Here we list eleven highly effective...
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How to Help Your Class Improve Their Grammar Skills




Have you ever prayed for a class with perfect grammar skills? I have. I used to teach literature. And, I have taught students who couldn’t create sentences, didn’t understand the value of punctuations, and couldn’t differentiate among tenses. They weren’t very good at reading either. Coincidence? No. You see, grammar and literature may be two...
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Why Quality Professional Development Matters for Successful Technology Integration




Often, professional development programs for teachers focus over hardware-usage and certain software applications. However, there is another aspect to educational technology training- developing teachers’ knowledge and skill in using the technology tools in their classrooms. And, in this aspect professional development programs considerable changes are required.   Quality professional development matters For the success of...
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5 Ways to Improve Your Kids’ Creative Writing Skills




I often hear kids ask, “What should I write about?” It’s a classic situation. Kids write a few lines, after that… go blank. I’ve seen kids scratching their heads – searching for ideas – feeling anxious, frustrated, and disappointed. And, I have seen kids give up on writing too. I have tried motivating my kids...
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Technology Integration For Your 21st Century Classrooms




Successful technology integration doesn’t end at the blackboard. Interactive whiteboards, LCD projectors, web-tours, may be considered as a part of technology integration; however, they are nothing more than supplementary teaching technologies. They do nothing more than re-enforcing the traditional lecture-based learning experience. Meaningful change requires that changes are made to the core – the pedagogy....
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How to Help Spelling Strugglers




Students often struggle with spellings. They get frustrated as they cannot memorize their spellings. They are not able to relate the spellings with the vowels and thus, they give up very easily. They should be taught the spellings so that they can excel in their higher-grade studies. How to identify spelling strugglers A simple round...
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Tips and Tricks to Help Motivate Reluctant Readers




Encouraging kids to read, and motivating them to continue doing it, is important to every teacher. Instigating reluctant readers to read is an integral part of this endeavor. It’s a challenge to motivate them to pick up a book, and read till they finish it. Howbeit, it is achievable. What you need is patience, proper planning,...
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How Technology can Help You Create Student-Centered Classrooms




How technology helps create student-centered classrooms. You can individualize the learning experience. With technology you can implement individualized learning in your classroom. Once you have mapped the dominant learning styles of your students, you can create a bank of learning tools for them. The array of available options includes- videos, podcasts, virtual labs, manipulatives, etc. Student can select tools...
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Your Strategies for Success: Metacognition




In our last blog on Metacognition, we discussed how it could help your students make the grades. In this article, we discuss in depth how students really learn, and why it is necessary to teach metacognition in your classrooms. Is it necessary to teach metacognition? Most often kids attribute their success at school to good luck,...
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5 Keys to a Great Classroom – Classroom Management Tools




What does a great classroom look like? In a classroom, and it’s true for every one of them, keys to a successful classroom lie with the teacher. The tools you use; the way you manage your class; the quality of the student-teacher interactions; the ambience of your classroom; everything, affects them. The central idea is...
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8 Tips For Parents to Seed Good Reading Habits




Good reading habits are seeded at home. The bridges that you create for your kids allow them to work hard, and help them develop a life-long love of reading. Here are 8 ideas to help you seed good reading habits in the hearts of your children.   8 Tips for parents to seed good reading...
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How to Help Students Fall in Love with Math




Do your students hate Math? It’s okay, if your answer is yes. As per a survey conducted in 2011 to understand Math relevance to middle school students, 56 percent of students said that they would rather eat broccoli than do Math homework. Why so many students hate Math? I think, it has more to do with...
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How to Rock This Summer while You Prepare For Next Year




  Tip no. 1. Get rid of that alarm clock Wake up!  There is no school tomorrow. There are no assignments, lesson plans, or weekly reports waiting for you at school. You can choose when you want to wake up, and when you want to go to bed. Summer break is a precious time. Use...
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Why Teachers Assign Homework, and Why It Doesn’t Work




Why do teachers assign homework? Does it really work? Year after year, I have questioned myself, “Is it really so necessary?” I am among those teachers who think homework is indispensable. I know- student hate it. But if you have struggling students in your class, there is no other way out. Only quality instruction won’t do...
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7 Strategies for Student Success with Online Learning




Are you considering an online learning program for your class? Numbers speak a lot.  As per CDE (2016), nearly 62% of districts have a digital content and curriculum strategy, while other 33% have confirmed that they have one under way. It is just a matter of time that you too would be using online learning...
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10 Summer Learning Activities Every Parent Should Know




Is summer learning loss real? The RAND Corporation, in a report, has highlighted that kids can lose up to a month of learning during summer.  As per NSLA, these summer losses add up, and by fifth grade, they could leave students 2 ½ to 3 years behind their peers. All in all, statistics say, kids...
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How to Cultivate the Love of Reading




How much time do your kids spend reading each day? An hour? 30 minutes? 15 minutes? As per a survey conducted during the 2014-2015 school year, nearly 54% students were found to read less than 15 minutes per day. And, on an average, only 18% students read for more than 30 minutes. Challenging statistics aren’t...
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The Shocking Truth about Creativity –Failure is Compulsory




If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. -Sir Ken Robinson Answer these three questions- Is creativity really such an important skill? Why do you want to teach creativity? What if your students were not creative? These are extremely important questions. Because, you see, creativity just cannot be taught....
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Why Schools Need to Opt in for Computer based Testing




“Why should our kids sit endlessly in front of a computer, and take a standardized test?” Many teachers query frequently. Several ask, “Why should kids opt for a test administered via a computer.” “Students just don’t feel comfortable,” is a common argument. “If a student is not proficient with computers, and if he has bad typing...
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Why Flip? A Closer Look at Flipped Learning




As we progress rapidly into the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, questions continue to be raised about how education addresses the ever increasing demands for change, integrating emerging technologies, and maximising the possibilities for every student. Teachers are searching for ways to focus on engaging students in authentic, complex and powerful...
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7 Things to do Before End of Class




Utterly chaotic! Mrs. Wilson continues, “The classes always end with me shouting out the last-minute reminders, while students are busy chatting about the day’s lunch menu, packing up their books and exiting the room.” The truth is, by the end of class most students feel drained and exhausted. Some even feel sleepy. If you are not alert,...
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4 Steps of Problem Solving




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Why to Use Videos in Your Classroom




Should you use videos in your classroom? Even today, many teachers consider watching videos as a passive activity, and it hampers academic achievement. However, if you are teaching the generation M, you should consider integrating videos with your lessons. Visual media is the medium of choice for 8 to 18 year olds. Videos provide students...
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7 Strategies for Successful Collaborative Learning




Collaborative learning In a collaborative classroom students team together, and explore questions and create projects. They engage in multiple activities – they discuss lectures, work on group assignments, share their views, and create solutions. Classrooms with clear objectives engage in multiple tasks that help improve their understanding of the concepts. Moreover, as students learn to...
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15 Creative Tips to Deal With Chatterboxes




Has it ever worked – shouting – “Silence, please!” How many times have your instructions got lost in the loud hum of student noise? Many of us have had this same experience. The voltage in our voice seldom works. Students grow quiet – for a moment – and then they start talking again. If it...
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How To Ensure Your Students Score On Standardized Tests




Why some students find Standardized tests easy, while others label them hard? How about your class? Do your students find standardized tests confusing, or do they find them surprisingly interesting?   Are standardized tests tough, or are they easy? Here, at PracTutor, we foster the mindset that scores are just a reflection of how our...
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10 Edtech Priorities of Top Ranked School Districts




What are the edtech priorities of our top schools? Here is a list of the top IT priorities of our top ranked school districts. Suggested infographics: 3 Keystones Of Competent Educational Technology Integration...
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EdTech Innovations That Really Work




Can the traditional classroom be really replaced with edtech? In teacher conferences, we still hear this question – Is it really possible? We’d love to say – Yes, it is happening. But, would you really believe it? Frankly, the temptation of using theories to support the theory of a tech-savvy classroom is always great. So,...
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Why You Need To Explore Collaborative Learning




Do you own a kangaroo, too? Ms. Jenkins has one. She keeps it over her desk, and attends to him ‘round the year.  Unfortunately, the kangaroo hops a lot –demands her undivided attention. His name is curriculum.  As it happens, many kids in the class demand her attention too. They are doing poorly, and need...
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The Zen of Digital Classrooms




Children learn from the company they keep. ~ Frank Smith How many students do you teach- Twenty five, maybe twenty? Let me pose it the other way around- How many students do really learn- Twenty-five, or is it fifteen, maybe ten? We spend countless hours on students. Prepare lesson plans, design instruction, teach, grade, and carry...
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