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Blogs

RIDE supports several blogs throughout our website where Rhode Islanders and RIDE staff share their thoughts.

On this page, we have collected all of the blogs on our site - many of which share posts from Rhode Island educators other than RIDE staff. Blogs are listed in alphabetical order:

  • Commissioner's Corner: Commissioner Wagner's blog posts and messages to the Rhode Island community.
  • District Teacher of the Year (DTOY): Posts from the Rhode Island District Teachers of the Year, past and present, who share about instructional successes and challenges they encounter in Rhode Island classrooms.
  • Equitable Access to Excellent Educators: Rhode Island educators and RIDE staff explore factors and perspectives on the importance of ensuring that all students are taught by high quality educators.
  • Leadership: Reflections and insights from RIDE’s Leadership Fellow and other district and school leaders on the challenges and opportunities of being a school leader.
  • Rhode Island Poet Laureate: Reflections and poetry focused on teaching, learning, and the experience of education from Tina Cane, Rhode Island Poet Laureate.
  • Rhode Island Science Education (R.I.S.E.): A communication blog to update stakeholders in education and in the community on important developments, events and accomplishments in science education in Rhode Island.
  • Student Voice: Because student voice is an essential component of our discussion on education, RIDE will post essays written by students from around Rhode Island.

Click on a category below to filter by a particular blog:




Posted by: Kamlyn Keith on 4/12/2019 | [PRC_COMMENTCOUNT] Comments

Karen Festa
2019 Narragansett District Teacher of the Year
Special Education Teacher
Narragansett Elementary School

Click...click...whisper. Click...click...click...giggle.

The presence of positive energy buzzed within the classroom. Delightful giggles and smiles filled their faces as they leaned in together.

As I carefully scanned the classroom, I was blown away by how well students worked collaboratively. I watched how they meticulously constructed Lego-based designs. I witnessed students persevering through problems as they tested their designs and leaned in to one another as they coded each movement. I saw students taking risks to apply new features to enhance their designs. My heart filled with joy witnessing the power of STEM project-based learning, as I could not help but smile from ear to ear. I smiled so much my face hurt (and that’s a good thing!). It was a mic-drop moment, for sure!

NES classroom teacher, Lauren Spink, leans in to listen and watch grade 4 students build, design, and code with SnapologyNES classroom teacher, Lauren Spink, leans in to listen and watch grade 4 students build, design, and code with Snapology.

This would not have been possible without the support of a grant. If you can capitalize on funding that supports student learning, engagement, and social-emotional development... the hard work and efforts that are put into grant writing are truly worth it!

Here’s what happened at our school as a result of a grant funded by Westerly Community Credit Union… As part of our Gems-Net/Fossweb science curriculum at Narragansett Elementary School, students investigated electricity and magnetism, its related effects, and explored useful applications of electromagnetism in everyday life. Students were inspired to spark innovation and creativity through implementation of real world, project-based tasks. Students worked collaboratively while communicating and sharing ideas alongside their peers in a small group.

In conjunction with the team of professionals from Snapology, a Lego-themed company that incorporates robotics, engineering, and more, classroom teachers and students worked with builds from Snapology’s Amusement Park Adventures class. Students led a discussion about motors and how they convert electromagnetic energy into mechanical movement.

NES grade 4 students designed and coded a mechanical leg that could kick a soccer ball a great distanceNES grade 4 students designed and coded a mechanical leg that could kick a soccer ball a great distance.

The vanilla whipped icing that topped off our event was when students responded to the Google Form I created. Student feedback can be quite telling, and it is a critical component of my “why” when teaching. I wanted students to have an opportunity to share their voice, honest opinions, and provide feedback for moving forward. When asked if they were able to communicate as a group, 80 percent of the students responded “Yes!” I asked students to share about a problem their group encountered. I appreciated comments like: “we could not find all the pieces;” “we had to figure out how to take turns;” and “our group did not face a lot of problems – when we did, our group usually lost a Lego piece and had to make a new one.” Furthermore, when asked, “Do you think we should plan Snapology for next year’s fourth grade class?” about 90 percent of the students answered “Yes!”

I pursued writing the grant because I’m interested in researching project-based tasks that align with our units of study. My hope was to create a community of learning where students could share this experience with others and help them discover skills and interests that will drive them towards successful college- and career-ready paths. I may never know which students may have been inspired that day... but I do know that being present with them has inspired me and filled my heart! If you see an opportunity to apply for a grant, do not hesitate to go for it. If you’re looking to extend learning beyond the classroom, there are amazing resources out there! I encourage you to reach out and connect through Twitter, local community-based organizations, and through colleagues within your school district. You have the potential to create opportunities for students that they (and YOU) may never forget!

Posted by: Kamlyn Keith on 3/29/2019 | [PRC_COMMENTCOUNT] Comments

Susan Morgan
2019 Warwick Teacher of the Year
Visual Arts & Technology Teacher
Winman Middle School

My journey, trials and successes in STEAM learning and teaching in the middle school setting. I hope to inspire others to introduce STEAM through arts integration.

Winman Teachers at our STEAM workshop. February 2019

Several years ago, I found myself caught in the teacher “slump.” I had been teaching Technology for 10 years and there was nothing exciting or new about it. Then, I had the opportunity to team up with a Visual Arts teacher to do a collaborative project and I jumped at it! For me, it was the beginning of a new phase in my teaching and more importantly in my lifelong learning. After all, as teachers, shouldn’t we be lifelong learners, too? ...

Posted by: Kamlyn Keith on 3/22/2019 | [PRC_COMMENTCOUNT] Comments

Rachel DeNofio
2019 Providence District Teacher of the Year
Kindergarten
Asa Messer Elementary School

As you enter my Kindergarten room at Asa Messer Elementary School, you will see Kindergarten Kiddos learning how to collaborate. We have been working on STEM activities to help us build our vocabulary and to work cooperatively in group activities. These activities give all kiddos an opportunity to actively participate and engage in conversation while focusing their learning on a challenging task! Kindergarten is a wonderful time for hands-on exploration and activity. These kiddos are so interested in learning about the world around them. STEM activities encourage these future engineers, scientists, astronauts, doctors, and programmers to think creatively and critically throughout life. ...

Posted by: Kamlyn Keith on 2/1/2019 | [PRC_COMMENTCOUNT] Comments

Drew P. Virbila
2019 Compass School Teacher of the Year
The Compass School
2nd Grade Teacher

Personal connection and community is a universal human need. Schools should be no different. That is why, at The Compass School, a social responsibility and environmental sustainability focused public charter school in Kingston, we have chosen to create year-long buddy pairs with our students to help forge strong relationships among our students.

In early September, teachers from paired grade levels collaborate and create buddy pairs. Kindergarten and first grade students are paired with fifth and sixth grade students, second grade students are paired with fourth grade students, and third grade students are paired with seventh grade students. These groups are carefully and strategically created to ensure each pair is set up to maximize success. ...

Posted by: Kamlyn Keith on 1/28/2019 | [PRC_COMMENTCOUNT] Comments

In August, RIDE and the Office of Innovation awarded $30,000 to help teams of educators – comprising both current K-12 educators and faculty of ed prep programs – improve teacher preparation in Rhode Island. These awards came after a six month Design Thinking process, with nine teams ultimately submitting proposals. After a rigorous review process and a presentation by five finalists to a panel of judges, two teams were ultimately awarded funds. ...

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