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Let’s Be Honest

Freeda Pirillis- Educators possess a moral authority that exemplifies the values we strive to teach our children, our students, and even the adults around us: the value of being honest. We teach Character Education lessons on communicating your feelings when another person has called you a name, identify mentor texts that demonstrate how children can stand up for themselves when they are being bullied by a peer, and engage our students in role playing activities to build their self-esteem.

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Lowering the Expectations of Our Students

View image | by Kelly Waller Should students receive half credit for an assignment they didn’t even bother to turn in? That is the new trend sweeping across the country in our public school system. District leaders are either strongly encouraging or making it mandatory for teachers to change their grading criteria so that […]


How Can a Teacher Make a Difference in Education Policy?

View image | by Sara Arnold Seems a bit ironic, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t changes in education be made by well-trained educators? Shutting our doors and teaching is no longer an option. I used to believe that all I needed to do was be the best teacher I could be for my students. I had […]

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Current Events & Policy

VIVA Teacher Speaks Out on Chicago Teachers Union’s Common Core Vote

Freeda Pirillis, a first grade teacher in Chicago Public Schools, was a member of the very first VIVA Idea Exchange, Voices from the Classroom. For the last three years, she has been working with the Chicago Teachers Union to develop Common Core curricula. As she describes in this story on Chicago Public Radio, she was […]

Idea Exchange Updates



An Innovative Way to Improve Teacher Observations…

by Paul Toner, President of the VIVA Project Observations are a vital part of teaching practice and career development, but sometimes they can be a burdensome source of tension between teachers and administrators. So researchers at Harvard have been experimenting with new technology based on the input of teachers and administrators to improve and streamline […]

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