5 New Years Resolutions for Teachers

As the new year rolls around, it’s natural that we all start thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. A chance for a fresh start and revitalized energy. Unfortunately, we can all be guilty of setting resolutions that aren’t quite realistic, and while dreams of grand changes for the year ahead can feel inspiring, we can’t always follow through. To help make this year different, here are some more realistic New Year’s resolutions for 2022…

1. Declutter, refresh, and reorganize.

When is there a better time to refresh the classroom, if not in January? You could donate some of your old stuff and get rid of anything broken or completely worn out. Reorganize your files and ask yourself what you really need to keep. You don’t need to do it all in a day—try to set yourself a task one week, another the next, and perhaps take advantage of the post-holiday sales to buy some new storage. You’ll be surprised at how much an organized space can positively affect your mindset.

2. Drink enough water, and make time for a proper lunch!

We commend teachers for always putting their students’ needs first, but to be at your best you also need to take care of your own needs. We know that you’re busy, and some days it can be hard to find time to even go to the toilet, but staying hydrated keeps us healthy and helps your body work better.

It’s recommended that adults drink 2 (yes, 2!) liters of water per day. To help you get closer to this goal, why not set an alarm or buy a bottle with time markings to remind you to take a few extra sips of water than you usually would.

You also need fuel in your tank for it to run, so if you struggle to make time for a hearty lunch during your working day, why not set the goal of starting your day with a good breakfast and make sure you have your favorite snacks at hand for when you do get the chance to take a break.

3. Silence the inner critic.

That little voice at the back of your head nitpicking at everything you do… tell it to be quiet. We criticize ourselves far too easily and often expect absolute perfection, but it just isn’t realistic. You don’t need to be perfect all of the time (or even any of the time)—you’re allowed to make mistakes or have a bad day and know that you’re still a great teacher. Be kind to yourself!

4. Celebrate the little moments.

Celebrating the little moments—yours and your students—is so important. Sure, it’s great when we have an important observation, and it goes spectacularly, but what about those every day aha! moments? A student understands that tricky concept they’ve been struggling with, or—and it really can be as small as this—you managed to finish your morning coffee while it was still hot! Celebrate all of those moments because they’re all worthy of celebration.

5. Remind yourself often why you became a teacher.

It’s easy to get caught up in all of the stress of being a teacher and lose the passion and drive that motivated you to teach in the first place. Why not try writing down all of the reasons you became a teacher in the first place or make a note of things that make you smile in the classroom. Find any way to remind yourself why you started and what inspires you to keep going.

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Topical Science—January 2022

Happy New Year! We are excited to start a new year and we look forward to all that is to come. As always, our goal is to share quality science education with as many students from around the world as possible. As part of this, we will continue to share current scientific content each month. Let’s take a look at what’s coming in January!

Monday, January 1

National Blood Donor Month

National Blood Donor Month has been celebrated since the 1970s, with the aim to raise awareness of the importance of blood donation. Blood transfusion can save lives, but during the Vietnam War, doctors learned that sometimes, the body needs time to heal itself first…

Monday, January 4

World Braille Day

This day celebrates braille—a writing system that allows visually impaired people to read by touching a series of raised dots. At Twig, we believe in making science accessible, so we have created 145 sets of NIMAS files, enabling braille and large print versions of our K-6 Twig Books and Readers to be made. Find out more.

Tuesday, January 5

National Bird Day

This annual event celebrates birdwatching and the study of birds—while also supporting wild bird habitat conservation programs and bird rescue organizations. On this day, why not find out more about the nutcracker and the important role it has in maintaining the biodiversity of Yellowstone National Park? Learn more.

Thursday, January 7

Old Rock Day

On this day, geologists and rock enthusiasts celebrate the study of fossils, minerals, and rocks. Why not join their celebration and learn more about different types of rocks? Learn more.

Saturday, January 9

Static Electricity Day

Static Electricity Day encourages us to learn more about this strange type of electricity. We’ve probably all experienced it, but what exactly is it? Let’s find out:

Tuesday, January 19

National Popcorn Day

This day celebrates one of the world’s most popular snacks. But why does popcorn pop? Find out more.

Wednesday, January 20

Penguin Awareness Day

Did you know that there are as many as 20 species of penguin? They don’t all live in the cold places like Antarctica—in fact, they can be found on many of the world’s continents! On this day, why not learn more about the Fiordland crested penguin? Learn more.

Sunday, January 24

International Day of Education

This UN Observance Day celebrates the importance of education for peace and development, and recognizes education as a human right. This is a sentiment we share at Twig Education, which is why our goal is to provide quality science education to students across the globe. Learn more about our products.

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Topical Science—November 2021

This year has flown by, and we’ve already reached November. The days are getting darker and colder… at least in the Northern Hemisphere! Thankfully, we’ve got lots of fascinating science content to inspire your class. Below, we’ve collated some notable days of this month, along with related topical science videos and articles. Let’s dive right in.

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Friday, November 5

World Tsunami Day

World Tsunami Day encourages countries and communities to develop strategies for coping with tsunamis, with the aim to reduce the damage when they happen. Find out more about tsunamis:

Saturday, November 6

National Bison Day

Did you know that the bison is the largest land mammal in North America? It’s also the official National Mammal of the US. Bisons live on temperate grasslands, which they share with various other animals. Find out more about temperate grasslands:

Sunday, November 8

National STEM/STEAM Day

National STEM/STEAM Day inspires kids to explore STEM subjects and encourages them to pursue these subjects both in school and in their future careers. We’ve collated 10 exciting STEM careers to get your students excited: Discover now.

November 15-19

Geography Awareness Week

Geography Awareness Week was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, with the aim to encourage people (especially young people) to study geography. This week, why not learn more about time zones? Watch now.

Wednesday, November 10

World Science Day for Peace and Development

World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the importance of involving the wider public in discussions about scientific issues—including younger people! The recent NGSS Framework has changed how science is taught in schools in the US. Theoretical physicist Helen Quinn chaired the National Research Council committee that created A Framework for K–12 Science Education—the foundation of the NGSS. In this blog post, Twig Education CEO Catherine Cahn speaks to Helen Quinn about the importance of science education: Learn more.

Sunday, November 14

World Diabetes Day

Diabetes has become increasingly common around the world—in 2014, 422 million adults lived with the condition, compared to just 108 million in 1980. Find out more about diabetes and how it’s treated in this video:

Sunday, November 15

America Recycles Day

On this day, people across America are encouraged to learn more about the importance of recycling, with the hope that more people will get into the habit of recycling daily. But even more important than recycling is reducing and reusing. Find out more about the three Rs:

Saturday, November 20

World Children’s Day

World Children’s Day is a UN observance day that has been celebrated since 1954, with the aim to improve children’s welfare worldwide. On this day, why not find out more about how children’s brains develop, and how they learn to recognize themselves in a mirror?

Wednesday, November 24

The Origin of Species

On this day in 1859 “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection” by Charles Darwin was published. Charles Darwin was a British scientist whose theory of evolution changed the world! Find out more.

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Education Talk Radio Podcast: Twig Coach Assign and Go

Twig Education’s Dr. Kim Mueller recently spoke to Larry Jacobs for another episode of the Education Talk Radio podcast. This time, Kim speaks about Twig Coach Assign and Go, as she highlights how it helps boost student learning, provides equity and access for all students, and helps encourage independent thinking.

Click here to listen to the full episode!

Twig Coach Assign and Go is the interactive science subscription to accelerate unfinished learning. Students use interactive tools with more than 3,000 bite-sized video lessons bringing engaging phenomena to life through high-quality, in-class or remote STEAM investigations—fully aligned to 3-Dimensional science standards. Twig Coach Assign and Go is a flexible and cost-effective way to save time, find out more here.

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4 Reasons You Should Practice Student-Centered Learning in Your Classroom

Did you know that after listening to a lecture for 10–15 minutes, students start to disengage from a lesson?1 Student-centered learning is a pedagogical approach that moves away from this more traditional method of teaching—where teacher instruction is the focus—to putting student interests first. Let’s take a closer look at some key reasons you should integrate student-centered learning into your classroom…

1. Student-centered classrooms foster student autonomy

In student-centered classrooms, students take ownership of their own learning—taking an active role in decision making, goal setting, and lesson planning. Of course, this doesn’t mean that students can choose not to participate in math or geography if they don’t find those subjects interesting. Instead, teachers should find ways to intertwine individual interests with the key learning points of a lesson. In essence, the educator is no longer a lecturer but a facilitator, constantly assessing how they can better create learning opportunities.2

In practice, it can be as simple as giving your students a few options on how a topic could be taught and taking a class vote. Alternatively, where possible, plan a few different activities that approach the topic from different angles and ask your students which they would like to take part in. Give them the choice and autonomy to let you know how they learn best.

2. Students learn to communicate and collaborate

Communication and collaboration is at the core of all student-centered classrooms. As students are encouraged to voice their needs, they are learning how to effectively communicate with their teachers and peers. The classroom becomes a space for problem-solving and working together—students aren’t reprimanded for asking questions, they’re encouraged to.

3. Student-centered learning approaches can increase positive attitudes in the classroom

It’s much easier to absorb information and even find learning fun when the relevance of what is being taught is clear. How can we expect young people to stay positive and focused in the classroom if, frankly, they’re bored and disengaged? Student-centered learning encourages students to be intrinsically motivated, explore real-world problems that relate to their own lives and recognize that their ideas are worthy of respect.3 The result is a classroom full of students who are excited to learn, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

4. Students develop better resilience

It can be remarkably unmotivating to feel as though we aren’t succeeding, even as adults. Now, imagine how this must feel to a young person, in an environment where they know they’re supposed to be learning, watching their peers excel while perceiving themselves to be a failure. Unfortunately, this is commonplace in today’s classrooms—where the emphasis on summative assessment strategies can result in pupils comparing themselves with one another.4

Feedback in student-centered classrooms centers around formative assessment—for example, ongoing feedback and goal-setting—enabling students to identify gaps in their own knowledge and understand where they need to develop. An abundance of evidence has shown that this type of assessment cultivates long-term resilience as the students learn that, whether or not their work is correct, it is part of their learning process.5

  1. https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/The_Routledge_International_Handbook_of/MujyDwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=child+centered+learning&printsec=frontcover
  2. https://potatopirates.game/blogs/learning/why-student-centered-learning-matters-and-how-to-apply-it
  3. https://stemeducationjournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40594-018-0131-6
  4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241465214_Student-centred_learning_What_does_it_mean_for_students_and_lecturers
  5. https://suitable-education.uk/systematic-review-confirms-that-assessment-damages-motivation-to-learn/

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Topical Science—October 2021

Happy October! We’re well and truly into fall now, and Halloween is just around the corner. Below, we’ve collated some notable days of this month, along with related topical science videos and articles. These are perfect for helping you bring real-world phenomena into the classroom. Let’s have a look.

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Monday, October 4

World Habitat Day
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World Habitat Day raises awareness of the importance of protecting the world’s different habitats. Find out more about habitats:

Tuesday, October 5

World Teachers’ Day
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On this day, dedicated to all the fantastic teachers around the world, let’s find out how Twig Science supports teachers to deliver the Next Generation Science Standards: Watch now.

Friday, October 8

World Octopus Day
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Celebrate one of the world’s coolest animals by learning more about invertebrates:

Saturday, October 9

World Migratory Bird Day
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This day brings attention to the importance of protecting migratory birds. Learn more about these fascinating birds:

Friday, October 15

Global Handwashing Day
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Now more than ever, it’s important to remember to thoroughly wash our hands. Want to know the best technique for washing your hands? Our Handwashing Song will help you out! Watch now. 

Saturday, October 16

World Food Day
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World Food Day brings attention to the importance of having reliable access to food. Food gives us the energy we need to live and be healthy—but how do we know how much energy is in different foods? This experiment shows one technique:

Wednesday, October 20

International Sloth Day
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Did you know that there are two types and six species of sloths? Let’s find out more about one of the smallest species, the pygmy three-toed sloth: Watch now.

Sunday, October 31

World Cities Day
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This UN Observance Day encourages the sustainable development of cities. Cities are a type of settlement, just like villages and towns. Find out more about settlements:

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Happy Halloween! Here are five facts you might not know about this spooky holiday: Find out more.

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