Educational & Cognitive Psychology

Alternatives to Traditional Homework That Work in Classrooms Around the US

Educators across the United States are continuously looking for innovative ways to enhance learning while moving away from traditional homework practices. As research emerges suggesting that excessive homework may not significantly contribute to student achievement, many schools have been experimenting with alternative approaches. These alternatives aim to encourage learning without overburdening students with hours of after-school assignments.
One popular alternative is flipped classrooms, a model where students watch lectures or educational content at home and then come to school ready to engage in discussion and apply their knowledge in hands-on activities. This method encourages active learning and ensures that classroom time is used for collaborative work, which can be more effective than completing worksheets at home.
Another approach gaining traction is project-based learning (PBL). Instead of discrete tasks assigned every day, students work on longer-term projects that integrate different subject areas and skills. These projects often tackle real-world problems, which can be more engaging for students and help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Reading logs have been replaced by reading goals in some classrooms, where students set targets for themselves based on their interests and abilities. Teachers provide guidance but allow students autonomy over their reading choices, which promotes a love of reading and removes the check-the-box mentality of traditional reading logs.
Gamification of education has also been employed as an alternative to traditional homework. Learning platforms like Kahoot! or Quizlet use game mechanics to make learning more fun and interactive. These platforms can be accessed at home but don’t require extensive time commitments. They provide instant feedback, making them a useful tool for reinforcing concepts learned at school.
Additionally, some educators are advocating for quality over quantity, assigning fewer but more thoughtfully crafted assignments. These meaningful tasks provide depth rather than breadth, allowing students to explore subjects more thoroughly without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
Lastly, there’s a growing trend towards “no homework” policies where students are only asked to finish classroom work at home if they did not complete it during school hours. This approach respects children’s after-school time for rest, play, and family activities while still holding them responsible for completing their classwork.
Each of these methods demonstrates an understanding that learning does not have to be confined within the walls of a classroom nor the pages of a textbook. As schools challenge the status quo of traditional homework, they open up opportunities for more effective teaching strategies that can lead to better educational outcomes for students across the country.

Does Flipped Learning in a Primary Classroom Really Work?

Flipped Learning, also known as the inverted classroom structure, has become a significant buzzword in the educational sphere. It is an instructional strategy that inverts the traditional learning environment by delivering content, often online, outside of the classroom. In a primary classroom setting, this approach indeed comes with a unique set of challenges and opportunities.

In essence, flipped learning moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. At home, students watch videos or interact with materials that replace standard lecture content. This shift permits class time to be allocated to reinforcing concepts through exercises, projects, and discussions.

Research indicates several potential benefits of flipped learning for young students:

1. Increased Engagement: Flipped classrooms can lead to increased student engagement. With lectures pre-recorded, class time is more dynamic and interactive, which can capture young children’s attention more effectively than traditional methods.

2. Differentiated Instruction: Teachers can better cater to individual students’ needs because they have more time during class to circulate and offer one-on-one assistance.

3. Better Use of Classroom Time: Students come to class ready with a foundational understanding of the material, allowing teachers to dive deeper into topics and spend more time on challenging areas.

4. Collaboration Enhancement: The model promotes collaborative work among students during class since they engage with the lecture content at their own pace before coming to school.

5. Responsibility Building: Young learners develop self-regulation and responsibility as they manage their learning outside of the traditional classroom constraints.

However, flipped learning is not without its drawbacks in a primary classroom context:

1. Home Access: Reliance on technology means students must have internet access and devices at home, which can be a barrier for some.

2. Parental Involvement: This teaching model often requires higher parental involvement to ensure children stay on task at home, which might not be feasible for all families.

3. Age Appropriateness: Very young students may struggle with the level of autonomy required or may not have the attention span for lengthier video lectures at home.

Despite these challenges, pilot programs and anecdotal evidence offer promising insights into the feasibility of flipped classrooms in early education settings. Teachers report that when implemented thoughtfully and with adequate support for both students and parents, flipped learning can result in positive educational outcomes with engaged and motivated learners.

While empirical studies focusing specifically on primary education are still emerging, there is cautious optimism surrounding this innovative instructional approach’s effectiveness. Flipped learning is not a panacea for all educational challenges but represents an evolving pedagogical tool that holds promise if integrated considerately into primary education curricula.

Energy Teaching Resources

In the rapidly evolving world of science and technology, energy remains a fundamental topic that intersects with various disciplines including physics, environmental science, and economics. As educators aim to enlighten and inspire the next generation of innovators and thinkers, having access to high-quality energy teaching resources is paramount.

Why Focus on Energy Education?

Energy education plays a critical role in helping students understand the complex relationship between society’s energy demands and the environmental impact of fulfilling those needs. With concerns such as climate change and energy sustainability taking center stage internationally, equipping young people with comprehensive knowledge about energy sources, conservation, and technology contributes significantly to their ability to make informed decisions in the future.

Types of Energy Resources for Classrooms

Teaching about energy can take many forms and utilize a wide array of resources, including:

1. Interactive simulations that allow students to explore scenarios such as managing a city’s power grid or simulating the effects of different energy sources on the environment.

2. Laboratory kits providing hands-on experience with photovoltaic cells, wind turbines, and other renewable energy technology.

3. Multimedia presentations and documentaries that discuss current events and advancements in the energy sector.

4. Project-based learning modules which may include designing sustainable homes, planning a local recycling program, or analyzing the cost-benefit ratios of various energy solutions.

5. Field trips to power plants, renewable energy installations, or scientific research centers where students can see energy principles in action.

Benefits of Utilizing Diverse Teaching Resources

By incorporating various teaching resources into their curriculum plans, educators can:

– Cater to different learning styles whether visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or reading/writing preferences.

– Foster critical thinking by presenting real-world problems related to energy production and consumption.

– Promote collaborative skills through group projects focusing on creating sustainable solutions.

– Reinforce STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education which is increasingly important in contemporary education paradigms.


The importance of having diverse and robust teaching resources cannot be understated when it comes to educating students about energy. As we prepare young minds for the challenges of modern society—and indeed for positions where they may one day lead efforts in solving global issues—teachers need to be equally empowered with access to top-tier educational materials. These resources help render abstract concepts tangible and inspire students not just to learn about energy but to engage actively in dialogue and action regarding its future.

Captain Yet – Growth Mindset Resource Pack

In the vast ocean of educational resources, Captain Yet stands out as a lighthouse, guiding young learners towards the shores of possibility and perseverance. The Captain Yet Growth Mindset Resource Pack is a treasure chest of tools designed to cultivate a growth mindset in children, encouraging them to embrace challenges, persist through obstacles, and understand that their abilities can be developed with effort and determination.

This innovative resource pack takes children on an exploratory journey where mistakes are seen as valuable learning experiences rather than setbacks. Captain Yet, the eponymous character, becomes the children’s ally in their learning quest. He inspires them to say “I can’t do it yet” instead of “I can’t do it,” subtly instilling the powerful word ‘yet’ that embodies the core philosophy of a growth mindset – that skills and intelligence can be grown with time and practice.

Captain Yet comes equipped with an arsenal of educational activities, worksheets, stories, and interactive challenges that foreground learning as an adventure rather than a chore. Each element is crafted to teach kids not only to enjoy the process of learning but also to set sail towards goals they previously thought unreachable. These resources, when integrated into the daily curriculum, help replace a fixed mindset with an adaptable and resilient outlook on personal capabilities and potential.

This growth mindset pack is perfect for educators looking to foster an environment where young students no longer fear failure but rather see it as a stepping stone towards improvement. With Captain Yet at their side, they learn resilience, adaptability, and uncover personal resources that they might not have recognized before.

The Captain Yet Growth Mindset Resource Pack includes:

– Engaging storybooks that feature Captain Yet helping characters overcome challenges.

– Interactive classroom activities that encourage group discussions about growth mindset concepts.

– Printable worksheets that reinforce the idea that abilities are not innate but developed through hard work.

– Visual aids like posters and reminder cards to instill key growth mindset phrases in children’s vocabulary.

By incorporating Captain Yet’s teachings into the educational syllabus, teachers and parents alike can build a foundation for lifelong learning in children. It raises aspirational levels by showing kids that they are all on a path of continuous learning and improvement. More importantly, it empowers students by providing strategies for dealing with frustration or difficulty when learning new skills.

Adopting the Captain Yet Resource Pack is more than just adding another tool to one’s teaching kit—it’s about changing narratives around education. As students learn to add ‘yet’ to their vocabularies, they also learn to remove limitations from their possibilities. They begin to recognize failures not as endpoints but as integral parts of their growth journey.

Captain Yet’s message is universal: with determination, resilience, and a bit of time—there’s very little we can’t achieve. The Growth Mindset Resource Pack not just feeds the mind; it nurtures the heart—reminding us all that in life’s grand voyage, ‘yet’ is our most steadfast compass towards potential beyond measure.

Positive Reinforcement Teaching Resources

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in the realm of education, shaping the ways teachers interact with students to enhance learning experiences. The concept of positive reinforcement hinges on the principle that certain behaviors can be increased through the introduction of a rewarding stimulus following those behaviors.

Incorporating positive reinforcement into teaching methods involves recognizing and rewarding students’ efforts, achievements, and positive behavior. This approach has been shown to boost student engagement, foster a love for learning, and promote a positive classroom environment.

Several resources can assist educators in implementing positive reinforcement strategies effectively:

1. Books: Reading materials on positive psychology and behavior management offer theoretical insights and practical applications. Titles like “Positive Reinforcement: Changing The Behavior of Students for the Better” by Adam Waxler provide valuable strategies focusing on how to encourage desirable behaviors in students.

2. Educational Workshops: Professional development workshops can provide hands-on experience with positive reinforcement techniques, allowing teachers to practice scenarios and get feedback from experts in the field.

3. Online Courses: There are numerous online platforms offering courses that delve into classroom management and effective teaching strategies centered around positive reinforcement. Websites like Coursera, Udemy, or the Positive Behaviour Management Online Course by New Skills Academy offer comprehensive insights.

4. Printable Classroom Resources: Websites such as Teachers Pay Teachers have an array of printable resources created by other educators that can visually remind both teachers and students about the rewards system in place.

5. Apps: Technological solutions like ClassDojo provide a platform for teachers to give instant feedback to students, engaging them with consistent and immediate recognition based on their classroom behavior and accomplishments.

6. Behavior Chart Templates: Charts that monitor student behavior over time can be used to reinforce good behavior with visual evidence of their progress, creating a sense of accomplishment among students.

7. Positive Reinforcement Toolkit: Some education companies offer toolkits or boxes containing tangible items such as tokens, certificates, or rewards that teachers can use to acknowledge student success promptly.

8. Online Forums and Communities: Participating in education forums or communities such as the Teaching Channel provides opportunities to exchange ideas with other educators about what works best for reinforcing positive student behavior.

In essence, a wealth of resources is available for educators seeking to implement or improve their use of positive reinforcement in the classroom. By utilizing a combination of these tools, teachers can create a more engaging and motivating environment that celebrates student achievement and encourages continual growth.

35 Back to School Tips From Teachers in the Know

Back to school can be an exciting but overwhelming time for both students and parents. To ease the transition from summer fun to academic focus, it’s beneficial to gather insights from those who know the process best – teachers. With that in mind, here are 35 back-to-school tips directly from educators who are truly in the know.

1. Set up a routine before school starts to adjust to earlier bedtimes and wake-up times.

2. Create a designated homework area that is quiet and free from distractions.

3. Encourage reading for pleasure to develop literacy skills and a love for books.

4. Establish clear communication with your child’s teacher from the beginning of the year.

5. Organize school supplies and label them with your child’s name.

6. Discuss with your child about setting realistic academic goals for the year.

7. Ensure a balanced diet, including a hearty breakfast to fuel the school day.

8. Teach your child time management skills using planners or digital calendars.

9. Review safety rules regarding travel to and from school.

10. Reinforce proper handwashing and hygiene habits, especially in younger children.

11. Attend back-to-school nights or parent-teacher meetings whenever possible.

12. Foster independence by letting children pack their own lunch or pick out their clothes.

13. Practice stress-relief techniques as a family, such as deep breathing or yoga.

14. Encourage participation in extracurricular activities to build social skills and interests.

15. Monitor screen time and ensure it doesn’t interfere with sleep or homework.

16. Discuss expectations about grades and effort, focusing on growth rather than perfection.

17. Teach respect for teachers and classmates to create a positive learning environment.

18. Set up systems for staying organized, like color-coded binders or folders for different subjects.

19. Prepare for sick days in advance by knowing school policies and having a plan for childcare if needed.

20. Invest in a sturdy backpack with proper support to prevent back problems.

21. Introduce yourself to other parents and form supportive community ties.

22. Celebrate learning milestones and successes, no matter how small they may seem.

23. Embrace educational technology but set guidelines for appropriate use.

24. Establish rules about homework – consistency is key to building good study habits.

25. Remind your child of the importance of regular attendance and punctuality at school.

26. Encourage questions and curiosity both in and out of the classroom setting.

27. Learn about your child’s curriculum so you can engage with what they’re learning about at home

28. Familiarize yourself with the resources available at your child’s school, such as tutoring or counseling services

29. Maintain an open dialogue about friendship dynamics, peer pressure, and bullying

30. Encourage active ways of getting to school if possible, like walking or biking

31. Advocate for your child if you feel their needs aren’t being met in school

32. Remember that all children learn at different paces – patience is crucial

33. Keep an eye out for signs of overwhelm or burnout, as both can affect academic performance

34. Empower your child by offering choices within limits – this fosters decision-making skills

35. Reflect on each week together, celebrating achievements and discussing any challenges faced

With these tips from experienced teachers, parents can help set their children up for success as they embark on another academic year loaded with new challenges and opportunities for growth!

Empathy Teaching Resources

Empathy is an essential human trait that allows individuals to understand and share the feelings of others. It plays a critical role in human relationships, conflict resolution, and creating compassionate communities. As such, teaching empathy, particularly to children and young adults, is crucial for fostering a more understanding and accepting society.

Empathy teaching resources often include a variety of materials that parents, educators, and caregivers can use to teach children about empathy. These resources may range from books and videos to lesson plans and interactive activities.

One popular empathy teaching resource is literature. Books like “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio tell stories that inspire readers to be kind and considerate. The novel follows a boy with facial differences as he navigates school life, giving young readers insights into what it feels like to be different and how kindness can make a difference.

Videos are also powerful tools for teaching empathy. The use of short films or animations that show characters coping with various emotional situations can provoke discussion and help students understand different perspectives. For example, the “Color Your World with Kindness” video demonstrates acts of kindness rippling through a community.

Lesson plans focused on empathy involve activities that promote emotional intelligence, cooperative play, role-playing scenarios, and discussions about feelings and perspectives. One example is having students walk in someone else’s shoes by asking them to write about how another person might feel in a given situation.

Interactive programs like “Roots of Empathy” bring babies into classrooms, allowing students to observe the baby’s development and learn about emotional cues. This unique approach encourages children to express their own feelings and recognize those of others.

Empathy maps are other practical tools; they’re visual aids that help users articulate what another person is seeing, hearing, feeling, and doing in an experience they’re going through. This helps in understanding the user or character’s emotional state on a deeper level.

Online platforms like Common Sense Education offer digital resources that include empathy games designed to teach kids how to recognize emotions, resolve conflicts peacefully, take on different perspectives, engage in compassionate communication, interact respectfully online (digital citizenship), and create positive school climates.

By incorporating varied empathy teaching resources into education from an early age, society can cultivate empathetic future generations equipped with the emotional skills necessary to navigate complex social dynamics throughout their personal and professional lives.

5 Ways Teaching Has Affected My Social Skills

Teaching is a profession that has a profound impact on an individual’s life. As someone who has spent years in the field, I can safely say that it has had a significant effect on my social skills. This article will discuss five ways that teaching has affected my social interactions.

1. Enhanced Communication Skills

Teaching requires a great deal of effective communication to convey information and ideas to students coming from diverse backgrounds. My experience in the classroom has taught me the importance of articulating concepts clearly, concisely, and engagingly. This improved communication skill has not only helped me in my professional life but also elevated my everyday interactions with friends, family, and colleagues.

2. Better Active Listening

As a teacher, attentively listening to students’ questions and concerns is crucial for creating an inclusive learning environment. Over time, this habit of active listening has become engrained in my daily life. I now find myself deeply engaged in conversations and better able to understand people’s needs and emotions outside the classroom, which has greatly benefited my relationships.

3. Increased Patience

Dealing with students of different temperaments and learning abilities has tested my patience time and again. As a result, I’ve developed the ability to stay calm under pressure and maintain composure even in challenging situations. The patience cultivated through teaching has translated into improved tolerance towards others’ viewpoints and made me approach disagreements with more diplomacy.

4. Greater Empathy

Being privy to the various struggles faced by my students, ranging from academic challenges to personal issues, has instilled a deeper sense of empathy within me. My experiences as a teacher have made me more compassionate and sensitive toward those facing difficulties, both in the classroom and beyond.

5. Improved Adaptability

Educators constantly face new challenges – advancements in technology, shifts in curriculum, or unique student needs. These situations require adaptability and flexibility to find the best solutions. As a result, I’ve become highly resilient to change and more resourceful in my personal life as well.

In conclusion, teaching has positively shaped my social skills in various aspects. It has made me more communicative, empathetic, patient, adaptable, and an active listener. The lessons learned from being an educator have not only molded me into a better professional but also enriched my personal experiences and relationships.

Implicit Bias Tests: Why Every Teacher Should Take a Few


In recent years, the conversation around implicit bias has gained traction in various sectors, including education. Implicit biases are attitudes or stereotypes that unconsciously affect our understanding, actions, and decisions. As educators shape the lives of a diverse student population, understanding and addressing these biases is essential to creating an inclusive learning environment.

This article discusses the importance of teachers taking implicit bias tests, showcasing why it is crucial for personal and professional growth, and ultimately benefitting their students.

The Importance of Identifying Implicit Biases in Education

1. Fosters a More Inclusive Environment

Implicit biases can lead to microaggressions, unequal treatment, and missed opportunities for students. By identifying unconscious biases, teachers can foster a more inclusive classroom environment that embraces individuality and promotes equal opportunity.

2. Improves Teaching Practices

Teachers who are aware of their implicit biases are more likely to tailor their teaching practices to suit the different needs, backgrounds, and preferences of their students. This may involve designing lesson plans that reflect diversity or adapting teaching methods to enhance learning experiences.

3. Enhances Student Achievement

Research suggests that when students feel valued, supported, and understood in the classroom, they have higher levels of achievement. When teachers tackle their implicit biases and create an equitable environment for all students, they enable every learner to reach their full potential.

4. Promotes Personal Growth

Any educator dedicated to continuous improvement should prioritize addressing their implicit biases. By doing so, they contribute to creating an educational system based on fairness and equity.

Taking Implicit Bias Tests: A Step Towards Positive Change

Several reliable tests can help teachers identify and understand their unconscious biases:

1. Harvard’s Project Implicit

This test allows participants to measure their attitudes and beliefs around various social topics like race, gender, and ability status.

2. Teaching Tolerance’s Social Justice Standards Test

This self-assessment tool measures four domains: identity, diversity, justice, and action. It helps educators understand how effectively they are addressing social justice issues in the classroom.

3. Kirwan Institute’s Implicit Bias Module Series

This series offers resources and suggestions about how to address implicit biases within the educational sphere.


While implicit bias tests are not a one-time solution, they serve as a crucial starting point for educators willing to confront their unconscious biases. Regularly taking these tests allows teachers to identify areas of growth, continue their journey towards inclusivity and equity in education, and create positive change for their students and communities.

8 Ways to Help Your Students Build Resiliency


Resilience is the ability to adapt and bounce back from adversity. It is an essential skill to cultivate in students to help them navigate life’s challenges more effectively. As educators, we can play a pivotal role in fostering resilience among our students. In this article, we will discuss eight ways to help your students build resiliency.

1. Promote a Growth Mindset:

Encourage students to view challenges as opportunities for growth and emphasize the importance of effort and persistence over innate talents. Praise their efforts rather than their abilities, and create a classroom culture that values learning from mistakes.

2. Build Strong Relationships:

Foster supportive relationships with your students by being approachable and showing genuine interest in their well-being. Encourage peer-to-peer bonding through collaborative activities, leading to a socio-emotionally healthy classroom atmosphere.

3. Teach Coping Skills:

Help students develop healthy coping strategies like deep breathing, mindfulness, and stress management techniques. Provide opportunities for them to practice these skills in class and encourage them to use them when faced with difficult situations.

4. Set Realistic Goals:

Assist your students in setting achievable goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Help them break down larger tasks into smaller steps, making it easier for them to cope with challenges and experience success.

5. Foster Problem-Solving Skills:

Instead of providing immediate solutions, guide your students through the process of analyzing issues, considering multiple perspectives, and weighing pros and cons before arriving at a decision. This helps them become more resilient as they learn to manage challenging situations independently.

6. Encourage Emotional Expression:

Create an environment where students feel safe sharing their feelings and emotions without fear of judgment or ridicule. Validate their emotions and teach them how to express themselves constructively.

7. Provide Opportunities for Success:

Design tasks and assignments that offer students the chance to experience success. Be mindful of their individual abilities and strive to provide differentiated instruction, ensuring each student has an opportunity to shine.

8. Model Resilience:

As an educator, demonstrate resilience by acknowledging setbacks, and bouncing back from them with optimism. Share personal experiences with overcoming obstacles and how you have grown as a result. By modeling resilient behavior, you inspire your students to do the same.


Building resiliency in students is essential for academic, social, and emotional growth. Use these eight strategies to foster resilience in your classroom and help empower your students for success in the face of adversities they may encounter throughout their lives.