The 10 Most-Read Discovery Education Stories of 2016

What can we learn from 2016?

Based on some of the most popular posts to the Discovery Education blog, educators are hungry for reliable ways to engage students with classroom material. That’s encouraging to hear — because that’s part of our mission at Discovery Education! Also popular this year were a number of touching stories of success from educators, and guidance from proven leaders.

A special thanks goes out to all our readers who continue to share and love our posts!

So without further ado, based on your clicks, shares, and searches, here are the most popular posts on the Discovery Education Blog in 2016:

1. Pokémon Go in the Classroom

It should come as no surprise in the year that brought Pokemon Go to millions of phones that a post demonstrating how to integrate the popular augmented-reality game in classrooms drew more readers to our blog than any other this year. But how can teachers utilize the game “Pokemon Go” in your classroom in a meaningful way? As it turns out, student excitement about this game can easily be harnessed to support all kinds of fun and pedagogically-sound lessons and activities.


2. Five Strategies for Using Primary Source Documents In Social Studies Classrooms

The availability and accessibility of primary sources on the Internet has revolutionized social studies instruction. But how are primary sources used in the classroom? Are students working with primary sources to make their own claims supported by self-selected evidence?

3. Why This Career Corrections Officer Went Back to Middle School

For more than 15 years, Michael Pillsbury was paid to put people in prison or make sure they stayed there. And it was that experience that led him to become a teacher.

“People may not understand this, but I could see that these were not bad people,” he said. “Our life is a series of decisions, and when they continue to make the wrong choices, they feel that it’s too late to turn back.”

4. Mathematical Learning Through Rigorous Tasks

Traditional mathematics classroom instruction typically plays out with the teacher providing some form of direct instruction on a topic followed by guided practice and then independent student practice. It is often skill based and filled with a variety of “tricks” and mnemonic devices to help students remember a formula or strategy. This approach may work for the mathematically proficient student for whom the concepts come easily.

5. Five Strategies for Developing Student Compassion in Core Instruction

Learn how to get access to standards-aligned resources for grades K-8 that teach important social and emotional learning skills and stimulate thoughtful conversations between educators and students about the importance of kindness in their daily lives. Explore five curated strategies that promote kindness, compassion, and empathy from Discovery Education’s Spotlight on Strategies series – research-based instructional that incorporate digital media in meaningful, effective, and practical ways.

6. Busting the Myth of Student Engagement

How do we as leaders support our teachers in creating routine learning opportunities that promote authentic student engagement? We must first dig deeply into our existing definitions and perceptions of student engagement. Traditionally, we deemed students “engaged” when they were on task, participatory, and well behaved. While we’d love to see this occur in all of our classrooms, we must set our expectations for student engagement much higher.

7. Eight Steps for Improving Math Achievement with Assessments

In the last decade, there has been a growing movement toward integrating assessment in instruction and learning. Research has shown that embedding assessment opportunities for teachers and students provides insights into student progress in the moments of learning, maximizes learning, and moves learning forward. Examine the following eight suggestions for integrating assessments into mathematics instruction and learning.

8. Ten Reasons Superintendents Are Taking the Digital Leap

School districts across the nation are in the midst of a challenging digital migration — but they aren’t making the leap alone. Discovery Education asked three experienced superintendents to round up why making the transition from paper textbooks to digital, interactive learning tools makes a difference. Their feedback, spanning the benefits and opportunities that digital initiatives offer, should give anyone on the fence an idea of what they stand to gain by considering a digital alternative in their classrooms.

9. How to Tap the Power of Teacher Leadership

There is such a strong need for teacher leadership that a group of educators met in 2008 to form what we know today as the Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium. This consortium, comprised of a variety of stakeholders, formed to discuss how to best foster teacher leadership so that it brings about change in student learning and achievement. In 2011, this group released the Teacher Leader Model Standards, which help teachers and school leaders foster leadership within their schools.

10. Four Elements of a Great STEM Education

Today’s students live in a world of constant stimulation. Whether it’s Xbox, social media, or television, students have continuous access to highly enticing visual information, entertainment, and connectivity. As educational leaders, our task is to implement a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education program that will capture the imagination of today’s students. How do we engage students amid all the diversions? The era of the teacher as the sage on the stage is over.



  1. said:

    Great list! I was surprised because i didn`t read some of them, going to fix this now. What about high education? Are you going to post some articles about colleges, universities and student life? I think it would be really interesting to read some of them. What do you think about this idea? Probably you could conduct a survey among readers to find out whether they have an interest in this? Thanks!

  2. NATA 2019 said:

    Hello Frank Smith, No doubt, the story mentioned on 6th bulletin i.e. Busting the myth of student engagement is my favourite. Also, I appreciate the fact that different people have different choices.

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