This past April, I signed up for the Innovative Teaching Academy. Prior to the course, I thought of myself as an innovative educator, looking for new ideas and trying them out in my classroom. Some worked, some didn’t. George Couros’s criteria for … Continue reading Reflection + PLN = Innovation
In my opinion, giving presents can be much more rewarding than receiving them. When you give a great gift – a gift that the recipient really wants and needs – it feels amazing. It feels like you have the inherent power to improve someone’s life. What can be more rewarding than that. Unfortunately, giving the wrong gift, especially when you thought it was the right gift, can be incredibly disappointing, for everyone. Continue reading The best teachers choose the perfect gifts (most of the time)
How might we create a teaching challenge that encourages the passion and joy we hope to see in the classroom? Continue reading The Glass Classroom Challenge
For nine months in 1915 in the city of San Francisco, the Panama Pacific International Exhibition hosted 18 million visitors from all over the world. They saw a Ford Model T assembly line, a model of the recently completed Panama Canal, brand new planes, new foods grown in California, and a glass classroom. Continue reading The Inspiration of a Glass Classroom
There is a challenge in education in which we must show patience – with students, parents, fellow teachers – but if we want to accomplish certain goals, we have to work hard, even impatiently, rather than waiting for them to happen. Finding that balance is a challenge, but it is also important to improving your student’s experiences and your teaching.
We often hear teacher-led or student-led when describing classrooms, mistakes are an essential characteristic of learning. We don’t simply walk into learning. Even when someone guides us there, we typically have to make a mistake before it sinks in. As a teacher, I know that my students will make mistakes, and lots of them. Therefore, if I am not teaching them how to respond to a mistake, then I am not teaching. Continue reading 5 ways to design a Mistake-Driven classroom
Wagner made me realize one of the reasons that I find these students so appealing – they cling to passion and play longer than most students. I have taught third and fifth grades, and most students have figured out how to play the school game by the time they have reached the age of 9. Young Originals, however, maintain their desire to find the humor and joy in the mundane. Continue reading Young Originals: The importance of passion and play, the challenge of purpose
For the last two days, I’ve been reading Paul Solarz’s (that looks weird, I think it should be Solarz’) book Learn Like a Pirate. I am pretty sure he is the best fifth grade teacher ever. This bothers me for two reasons. One is that I am pretty sure I can never reach his skill level. And two, I just left my fifth grade classroom and feel like I need to go back right away to try out all of the things I just learned from his book. Continue reading I’m annoyed and I blame it on Paul Solarz (because he is awesome)!
What are Young Originals? Inspired by Adam Grant’s best-selling Originals: How Non-conformists Move the World, I developed this term to identify the non-conformist students who occupy our classrooms every day. Continue reading The Young Originals: Non-conformists in the classroom
Don’t do genius hour because it sounds good. (Who wouldn’t want to be a genius for an hour if all you had to do was put those two words next to each other on a schedule.) Continue reading Don’t do Genius Hour (Unless it’s the best thing for you)