Listening to Be Heard: Elizabeth Evans at TEDxWellsStreetED

At the TEDxWellsStreetED event “Teacher Voice Beyond the Classroom,” on Sept. 28, 2013, New Voice Strategies Founding CEO Elizabeth Evans shared her vision for VIVA: to give teachers the opportunity to raise their voices and work together to elevate their profession and practice to make public education better.

At the event, Elizabeth joined nine teachers, one principal and five other community members to share stories, ideas and proposals about teaching and learning, and the role of teachers’ voices in education policies. The event sponsors have posted the talks on Youtube to “better inform the public and decision-makers about the important work teachers do and the impact of practices and policies – existing ones or those proposed by the speakers.” They hope the talks will “encourage more educators to speak out and join the local and national conversations on public education issues.”

To access videos of the talks, visit www.TEDxWellsStreetED on Youtube.

VIVA Teacher at Education Nation 2013 Teacher Town Hall

VIVA Teacher Glenn Morehouse Olson (VIVA Minnesota I) was featured on a Town Hall panel about teacher teamwork and collaboration with NBC Anchor Brian Williams and Jeff Duncan-Andrade.

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Glenn teaches high school English, Journalism and Theater in rural St. Francis, Minn., while Jeff teaches high school English Literature in urban East Oakland, Calif. They have more than subject matter in common. During the panel discussion, both Glenn and Jeff emphasized the value of teachers learning from and sharing with each other to better serve their students.

The segment is about 30 minutes long. Just before the 20 minute mark, Glenn stresses the value and importance of teacher voice.


Education Nation 2013: Submit a “What It Takes” video

On Sunday, Oct. 6, NBC will kick off its 2013 Education Nation Summit, and New York Public Library, with a Teacher Town Hall. VIVA Teacher Glenn Morehouse Olson (VIVA Minnesota I) will be featured on a panel with NBC Anchor Brian Williams.

The theme of this year’s Education Nation Summit is “What It Takes” for student success in college, career and beyond. Leading up to the events, NBC is collecting thoughts on “What It Takes” through short video messages.

If you’re game, we encourage you to record a video. It will be played in the “What It Takes” interactive installation at the New York Public Library, posted to, and used in social media.

1) Record a video message and email it to

The videos should follow these guidelines:

• Start your message with the phrase, “For student success, it takes…”

• Look directly into the camera.

• Keep your message to 2 seconds or less.

• Include your name in the body of the email.

If you’re using a smartphone, have a friend hold the phone for you or use the phone’s front-facing camera. Please hold the smartphone horizontally when recording the video.

2) Tweet or post to Facebook a short text message starting with “For student success, it takes…” Please include the hashtag #WhatItTakes for these written messages.

For more information and to see submitted videos, visit

Implementing Common Core Standards for Literacy

By Mark Anderson

A few months ago on this blog, I advised ELA teachers to be willing to fight misinterpretations of the Common Core standards and stand up for literature. That led to the Core Knowledge Blog posting a series of articles continuing my examination of the obstacles facing the effective implementation of the Common Core.

In the series, I examine three major pitfalls we face:

•    Allowing skills-based teaching to remain predominant.
•    Placing the burden of teaching literacy entirely on ELA.
•    Infantilizing teachers.

Finally, I’ve made a video summarizing some of these points and outlining what we can do to actualize the transformative intent of the Common Core.

How are the Common Core standards being implementing in your state, district, and school? What is your advice to policymakers?

Mark Anderson is a 7th and 8th grade Special Education teacher in the Bronx.

Once Upon a Time …

Glenn Morehouse Olson has some thoughts on testing and evaluation.

Glenn Morehouse Olson teaches high school journalism, theater, writing, and literature in St. Francis, Minn. She participated in the VIVA Minnesota Idea Exchange on principal evaluation.

Video: Ms. Playford’s class connects culltures

Our Teacher leader Kathleen Sullivan sent us this video of her colleague’s class. Watch it and be inspired by her students!

Sullivan explains that Rebecca Playford’s second grade Sheltered English Immersion class represents the cultural collaboration taking place daily at the Salemwood School.  These students featured in the video reflect the full diversity of their Malden community.

These students demonstrate what happens when barriers between people are removed so they see can each other as friends, classmates, and neighbors. They remind us we are one world, one people, and one city all reflecting a common vision of  community, a hometown for us all.

Featured Video: VIVA Chicago Teacher Leaders meet with Chicago Ed Chief

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Featured Video: Chicago Asked, Teachers Answered

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Featured Video: VIVA Teacher Education Nation – Lisa Hantman

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Featured Video: VIVA Project Perspectives

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