Educators: Win a Dodge Journey

As a busy educator, your journey through life offers new adventures at every turn: enriching students, finding work/life balance and giving back to your community.



The “Wherever Your Journey Takes You…We’ll be There” Sweepstakes is a reminder of the importance of having the right insurance for every stage of life:

  • New teacher
  • Just married
  • Growing family
  • Teen drivers
  • Empty nester
  • Retirement


Make sure you have the right insurance for the detours or bumps in the road – and enjoy the ride in a new Dodge Journey – visit



How to Make the Most of Your Summer Break Without Breaking the Bank

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.

Making the Most of Your Summer Break Without Breaking the Bank


If you are lucky enough to have some free time during summer break, take advantage of it.  Don’t let the summer days slip by.  Make the most of your summer without spending much money!


Sleep In and Take Naps

How often do you really get to do this?  According to the American Sleep Association, sleep is a basic, biological need, and if we are deprived of sleep, our bodily systems fail.  The average adult needs about 8 hours of total sleep time each day (ASA).  So, no need to feel bad about sleeping in that extra hour or taking a quick snooze on the couch during the day.  It’s for your health!


Find Free Activities

Make a list of the free festivals, carnivals, fairs, and other summer activities that your city or town has to offer during the summer.  When you notice you have a free day, see what’s on the list for that day and have fun!



Use your summer days to get back into an exercise routine.  Use your break to fine tune your routine so you can transition easily into the following school year.  The best part about summer is that there are a variety of activities you can do: swimming, biking, canoeing, kayaking, skating, jogging, hiking . . . well, you get the idea.


Have a Staycation

It’s time to explore your own town or city.  Take a stroll through a local hiking or nature area.  Visit a local museum, zoo, or aquarium.  Eat out at a new-to-you restaurant.  Or simply lounge at the pool soaking up the sun.


Get Outside

There are many benefits to spending time outdoors.  As the Harvard Health Letter titled “A Prescription for Better Health: Go Alfresco” says, spending time outdoors will raise your vitamin D levels, cause you to get more exercise, make you happier, improve your concentration, and might make you heal faster.


Spend Time with Friends

Carve out time each week to have lunch with a friend, or a group of friends.  Maintaining meaningful relationships is important to your well-being.  The Mayo Clinic says there are many health benefits to having friends including boosting one’s happiness, reducing stress, improving self-confidence, reduced significant health problems, and  longer life spans.


Get Ahead on Professional Development

If you have “extra” time during your summer break, think about squeezing in some professional development so you won’t have to work on it during the school year.  Don’t have the monetary resources to take coursework?  No need to worry, I have created a list of 6 Free Professional Development Resources for Educators.



Take a few hours each week to do that “spring cleaning” you never got around to.  Focus on one room or area at a time.  Purge, clean, and organize.  You’ll feel like you can tackle the upcoming school year with ease if you have a clean and organized home.


How do you make the most of your summer break?


Take a Virtual Field Trip for Free!

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.


Field trips can be memorable, meaningful learning experiences for students, and can deepen student understanding.  However, teachers are limited by time, money, and location.  Virtual field trips allow students and teachers to go beyond the classroom, and even their own country and planet, to experience a variety of adventures.  Save time and money while introducing relevant and profound educational experiences into your classroom with our list of free virtual field trips.




Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Virtual Tour

This comprehensive virtual tour presentation allows visitors using a desktop computer (Windows, Mac, Linux) or a mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android) to take virtual, self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibit and other areas within the natural history museum building as well as select research and collections areas at our satellite support and research stations and even past exhibits no longer on display.


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Museum’s collections database contains more than 270,000 records, including: photos and albums—Images of life before, during, and after the Holocaust; Personal stories—Interviews, home movies, memoirs, and diaries; films—historical footage and contemporary films about the Holocaust.


National WWII Museum

The Online Learning Series allows an unprecedented look into the Museum’s collection for those WWII enthusiasts the Museum can’t always reach in person.


The Louvre

Visit the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries, contemplate the façades of the Louvre.


Virtual Colonial Williamsburg

Immerse yourself in an interactive 3D model of Virginia’s 18th-century capital. The project integrates architectural, archaeological, and historical information, presenting the city as it has not been seen in more than 200 years.


Go On A Journey

Reach The World

Since 2009, 930 travelers have shared their journeys online with more than 17,000 youth in the U.S., publishing more than 16,000 first-person travelogues in the process. By using technology to enable youth to form relationships with global travelers, RTW is sparking a process of personal development that can truly be described as “reaching” the world!


Polar Husky

Free to the entire K-12 community and our worldwide audience of all ages, our programming use the allure of long Arctic journeys pulled by powerful sled dogs and paired with Arctic research as the vehicle to explore natural and social sciences while we experience cultures and life in the Arctic.


World Destinations

National Geographic Education

National Geographic Education brings geography, social studies and science to life. Using real-world examples and National Geographic’s rich media, educators, families, and students learn about the world and the people in it.


Google Arts and Culture Street View and Google Arts and Culture Places

Tour famous sites and landmarks.


Panoramas is Virtual reality VR panoramas from all the world made by some of the best
360 VR Photographers in the world.



AirPano is a project created by a team of Russian photographers focused on taking high-resolution aerial 360° photographs and 360° video. Today AirPano is the largest resource in the world — by geographical coverage, number of aerial photographs, and artistic and technical quality of the images — featuring 360° panoramas and 360° videos of the highest quality shot from a bird’s eye view.


Do you have a favorite free virtual field trip?


Developing A Growth Mindset… For Teachers

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.


Dr. Carol Dweck, a psychology professor, created the terms “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” after studying behavior in children.  These mindsets refer to a person’s belief in their intelligence and learning.  Having a growth mindset allows one to believe they can develop and expand their intelligence, so they work harder to do so.  Students who exhibit growth mindsets are shown to do better in school than students who have a fixed mindset.  People with fixed mindsets believe their intelligence is limited and nothing can be done to change it.


Teachers LOVE to teach students to develop a growth mindset.  We are our students cheerleaders, support team, and personal encouragers in the classroom.  A student in our classroom will do their best and achieve to the best of their ability.  We recognize when students need help, encourage them to seek assistance, help them find strategies to succeed, and watch, smiling, as they use what we’ve taught them to become more autonomous in their school work, all the while patting yourself on the back and thinking “Yep! I helped do that; growth mindset. BAM!”


But what about teachers?  Can this growth mindset and fixed mindset stuff be applicable to educators, too?  Do you notice any educators who are lacking a growth mindset?  Are you one of them?


I understand.  Being a teacher can be rough.  Something changes each year, and it’s usually just after you’ve mastered it, like those fancy new tablets that were just ordered, or the latest writing textbook your building just adopted.  Typically, teachers aren’t excited about change when what we have been doing seems to be working . . . or so we thought.


Just like our students, we should be demonstrating a growth mindset.  We can’t get stuck focusing on the things that have worked for us for the last five years.  Our students are changing, their needs are dynamic, and the world we’re sending them out into is ever-evolving.  It is our job to continue finding innovative ways to reach the youth in our classrooms.  Educators must be open minded to changes and challenges that come our way.  We must believe that what those same changes and challenges will make us better at our job, and, in turn, create lifelong learners of our students.


Teachers who demonstrate growth mindset:

  • Collaborate with colleagues
  • Take ownership of mistakes and share them with students
  • Seek out assistance and mentoring
  • Share teaching goals with colleagues
  • Learn from weaknesses and challenges
  • Maintain a positive attitude and use positive language regarding their own abilities


So, at your next faculty meeting, before you scowl and snicker about the latest changes coming your way, stop and think about what you would tell your students.  Maintaining a growth mindset can make you a happier, more successful educator.



10 Essential Items Every Teacher Should Have At Their Desk

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.


You spend about eight hours a day in the classroom; it’s basically your second home.  You never know what your day in the classroom will throw at you, so be sure you’re prepared.  In addition to your basic supplies, stock up with these 10 essential items every teacher should have at their desk.


  1. Good Grading Pens/Markers – You can never have too many colorful grading utensils!  I like Papermate Flair Pens and they come in a variety of bright, fun colors.


  1. Stain Remover – I always spill my coffee on my shirt!  I use a quick stain remover, like Shout Wipes or Tide Pen, to clean myself up in a snap!


  1. Travel-Sized Deodorant – The temperature of my classroom is never consistent!  One hour I’m wearing my parka while I teach and the next I’m down to my sweat-stained shirt.  Keeping a stick of deodorant on hand is also helpful on those warm days that I have recess duty.


  1. Cough Drops – For those days when you’re not sick enough to stay home, but still have a scratchy throat.  Also great for the classroom so you don’t have to keep sending students to the nurse’s office during class.


  1. Pain Reliever – It’s hard to teach when you’re head is pounding!  Keep a small bottle stashed in your desk drawer so you can make it through a tough day.


  1. Disinfectant Wipes – Perform a “classroom wipedown” once a week, or more, to prevent nasty illnesses.  I enlist the help of students who thoroughly clean a designated classroom area.


  1. Bandages – No need to send students to the nurse for minor cuts and scrapes.


  1. Thank You Cards – When students or parents pop in with a gift, or when a colleague helps you out, be sure to send them a note of thanks!  I buy mine at the local dollar store.


  1. Snacks – Keep a few healthy snacks tucked away so you aren’t tempted to go to the vending machine.  I like trail mix, jerky, and fruit strips because they won’t spoil.


  1. Reusable Water Bottle – Try to make a point of filling it up a few times a day so you know you are staying hydrated.


Worried about shelling out your own money?  Ask parents and families to donate items that are for student use, like cough drops, wipes, and bandages.


What are your 10 essential items for your desk?


What Teachers Need to Know About Team Teaching

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.


Are you curious about team teaching?  Team teaching can be beneficial to students and teachers.  We have answers to some of your team teaching questions!


What is Team Teaching?

  • usually occurs in inclusion classrooms
  • two or more teachers working together to teach a group of students
  • together, teachers plan, organize, teach, and evaluate
  • teams may be single-discipline, interdisciplinary, or school-within-a-school
  • co-teaching = general education teacher + special education teacher
  • team teaching = both teachers plan and teach lessons
  • parallel teaching = each teacher instructs half of the class, same lesson
  • alternative teaching = one teacher instructs a small group of struggling students while the other teachers the larger group, might be same lesson or struggling group may receive extra support on previous lessons
  • teacher and assistant = one teacher instructs while other teacher monitors and assists students as necessary, this can also be used in a teacher/observer manner to gather data regarding student progress


How does it benefit students?

  • students receive more individual attention
  • students learn from teachers with different teaching styles, experience, perspectives, and ideas
  • improved student-teacher relationships
  • students achieve at higher levels
  • daily consistency: the likelihood of both partners being absent is slim


How does it benefit teachers?

  • easier to differentiate instruction
  • allows teachers to reflect on personal teaching strategies, style, idea, perspectives, etc.
  • improves teaching skills
  • cultivates professional peer relationships
  • improves parent-teacher communication


With your teaching partner(s), be prepared to:

  • plan everything together
  • create common grading standards
  • be honest, yet tactful
  • play to one another’s strengths
  • disagree politely
  • communicate openly and often
  • have humor
  • trust your teaching partner
  • be organized
  • be flexible


Team teaching can be rewarding for students and teachers.  If this sounds like an adventure upon which you’d like to embark, begin by talking with your administrator and potential teaching partner(s).  In some cases, it may take up to a year to prepare for a team taught classroom, so begin your team teaching dialogue sooner rather than later.


Have you team taught or co-taught before?  In the comments below, please share your team teaching advice!


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