The 10 best ASCD Express articles of the year


By Kate Stoltzfus

Need an engaging education-related read over the holiday break, but not sure where to start?

Every year, ASCD editors read through the nearly 100 original articles published in ASCD Express newsletter to pick 10 of our most thought-provoking essays (in chronological order). We hope these ideas will spark renewed discussion, insight, and strategies for your teaching, learning, and leading in 2020. 

(If you’re not signed up for the ASCD Express email yet, it’s free—and easy—to do so.)

1. After March for Our Lives: The Collateral Damage 

The landscape of learning has been forever changed by school shootings. Kentucky teen Sanaa Kahloon reflects on learning in an increasingly locked-down school environment and the lost opportunity to build on the momentum of student activism. 

2. 3 Steps to Supporting the Crusade for Better Student Collaboration 

Aligning language and goals, creating a schoolwide rubric for assessment, and scaffolding subskills will bolster your campaign for student collaboration, writes CraftED founder Jennifer Pieratt.

3. Co-Teach Your Way to Successful Inclusion 

When combining teaching styles and practices in inclusive classrooms, both teachers must be open to growing, developing, and learning from each other. Sabrina L. Dawkins, a special education teacher,  

4. Start Talking with All Students About Consent 

Conversations around consent, puberty, body image, and healthy relationships should start early in a child’s life as a critical component of their education, just like math and history. Lincoln Mondy of Advocates for Youth recommends talking points for the classroom.

5. A Perfect World Is One with No Grades 

High-quality feedback should describe work against criteria students themselves understand and suggest attainable next steps at the appropriate level of challenge. Author Susan M. Brookhart makes the case for rethinking traditional grades altogether.

6. Making Classroom Libraries the Hubs of Reading Engagement 

Three ideas shape classrooms where reading engagement thrives, according to literacy expert Gay Ivey: Students have access to complex and meaningful texts, students see themselves and their interests reflected in the available literature, and students have many opportunities to build relationships with and through books. 

7. Is the Research Trustworthy? Learn to Think Like an Investigator 

In the long game of telephone that reaches from researchers to readers, context and evidence often go missing. Rachael Gabriel, an associate professor at the University of Connecticut, cuts through the misinformation with four ways to test a source’s reliability. 

8. First Year, Worst Year: A Case for New Teacher Networks 

For teachers to persevere through challenges, Teachers College’s Roberta Lenger Kang says they need a community of peers, ongoing professional development, and on-demand support. 

9. The Social Media Survival Kit Every Student Needs 

By directly addressing the challenges and benefits of technology, teachers provide more opportunities for learning, increase trust, and improve classroom harmony, write Devorah Heitner, the author of Screenwise.

10. Identity-Affirming Schools Need Race-Conscious Educators 

Inclusive environments are catalysts to students’ success. Equity and inclusion specialist Erica Buchanan-Rivera shares the steps necessary to foster belonging and dismantle systems that marginalize students. 

Check out “Best of Express” 2018 and other past picks in the ASCD Express archives.