Our Top 10 Ed Blogs of 2021: The Best of Shaped

Most Read Shaped Blogs Of 2021 Hero

Every year, I’m reminded of how selfless, skilled, and creative teachers are. These efforts do not go unnoticed. If you're a teacher, we hope you’ll have the opportunity to carve out some “me” time during the winter break to allow you to come back refreshed and ready for the new year ahead.

Rest assured, the Shaped team at HMH is continually working to bring you insights, lessons, and downloadables to help you make the most of your classroom time. To wrap up 2021, we’ve curated a list of blogs, a mix of our most-read and our personal favorites. These articles are the education must-reads of the year. We hope you enjoy them while kicking back with a cup of coffee (or your drink of choice) during your much-deserved break. Happy reading, and see you around the blog next year!

1. How to Boost Students’ Social and Emotional Skills Using Current Events
1. How to Boost Students’ Social and Emotional Skills Using Current Events

Social and emotional learning (SEL) has been top of mind this year. We asked fourth-grade teacher Perry Hollins to share how he leverages SEL to help his students navigate discussions about current events. His secret? He spends time at the beginning of the school year establishing social and emotional learning routines before diving into potentially fraught current events discussions—and that makes all the difference.

2. Nutrition Activities for Elementary and Middle School Students
2. Nutrition Activities for Elementary and Middle School Students

Looking to focus on student health and nutrition? We’ve got you covered! Our nutrition activities for elementary and middle school—and an additional post on nutrition for high school—will help students kick-start a commitment to healthy eating. And don’t miss our Math at Work Olympics: Post-Workout Smoothie downloadable activity!

3. Math at Work Olympic® Edition: How Is Math Used in Sports?
3. Math at Work Olympic® Edition: How Is Math Used in Sports?

Speaking of the Olympics, the 2020 Summer Olympic Games finally happened—in 2021. In the sports world, calculations and mathematical thinking are everywhere—and that makes the Olympics a great way to get students excited about math. Check out our Math at Work Olympic Edition episode and classroom activities.

4. Podcast: The Future of Happiness and Education with Tal Ben-Shahar
4. Podcast: The Future of Happiness and Education with Tal Ben-Shahar

Educators, parents, and caregivers everywhere want to equip students with the tools they need to build a future for themselves—and to attain the ultimate goal we’re all striving toward: happiness. TED Talks guest and Happier author Tal Ben Shahar joined us on the Shaping the Future podcast to discuss the science of happiness and the role education can play in helping students lead fulfilling lives.

5. Tips for Introducing Notice & Note Signposts in Your Classroom
5. Tips for Introducing Notice & Note Signposts in Your Classroom

If you’re teaching ELA, you may have heard of Notice & Note Signposts, developed by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst, authors of Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading and Reading Nonfiction: Notice & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies. In this Shaped blog, we offer eight strategies to introduce Notice & Note signposts to students and give tips on how to use them successfully. Be sure to download the free anchor charts, too!

6. Research-Backed Ways to Close the COVID Learning Gap
6. Research-Backed Ways to Close the COVID Learning Gap

The pandemic has taken its toll on students. We are seeing learning gaps widen and a heightened need for social and emotional learning. In this article, our chief research officer breaks down six ways to close the Covid-19 achievement gap. From leveraging digital tools to deepening family connections, you’ll find ways to improve student outcomes—both academically and socially.

7. First-Day-of-School Icebreaker Activities
7. First-Day-of-School Icebreaker Activities

The importance of building relationships is a theme that we’ve heard about from teachers again and again this year. Anytime you have students meeting classmates for the first time, you’ll want to have these strategies in your back pocket. You can visit our page with icebreakers for all grade levels. Or dive into one of this year's most popular posts with icebreakers for high schoolers; it will get students warmed up and ready to collaborate!

8. Teaching x- and y-Axis Graphing
8. Teaching x- and y-Axis Graphing

Math was a hot topic in 2021. Readers flocked to the Shaped blog for teaching tips on everything from order of operations and absolute value to ratios and rational numbers. A particularly popular blog was on teaching x- and y-axis graphing on coordinate grids.

9. Middle School Classroom Management Strategies That Work
9. Middle School Classroom Management Strategies That Work

Are you teaching middle school students? Do you need new classroom management strategies to get you through the day? We asked two strategy and instructional support officers from the San Diego Unified School District to share tips on how to best meet the needs of the adolescent brain. It’s a must-read for new and seasoned teachers alike!

10. Podcast: Shaking Up the Kindergarten Curriculum with LaNesha Tabb
10. Podcast: Shaking Up the Kindergarten Curriculum with LaNesha Tabb

Teachers in America podcast guest LaNesha Tabb teaches kindergarten in Indianapolis. Tabb discusses everything from self-care and finding work-life balance to how she engages the littlest learners in writing and social studies. Listen in or read the transcript.

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