If we allow ourselves to...we can learn more from a bad situation than we can from the good ones. Bad situations force us to dig a little deeper, and reflect a little harder. After three years or more of some negative situations in education it's time to look at what we can learn from this. There must be something that we can do in our own practices to make things a bit more positive. We don't control the accountability coming at us, and we certainly don't control testing but we do have input into our daily interactions with students ...


"Daily 5 takes the students from where they are in relation to their ability to be independent, and teaches them to become intrinsically motivated as they build stamina." Gail Boushey Sharing best practices is one of the most important components of any inservice or professional development session. Teachers are the experts in their field and sharing best practices allows them to bring their most creative and innovative teaching ideas to a venue where they can share with colleagues. Sometimes, teachers learn their most useful ideas from their colleagues. Five years ago I taught an inservice in the Averill Park Central ...


"Approaches based on lecturing by teachers, passive reading of textbooks, and "fill-in-the-blank" worksheets keep students from making decisions, from becoming actively involved in their learning, and from learning how to think and communicate effectively." Bob Peterson We are at risk of losing what is important about education. With new mandates and accountability, there is a risk that some of those student-centered experiences may disappear. Some state education departments are making things pretty hard these days but we are bigger and better than the state. We need to step back and take a breath and focus on what is really important. ...


Principals set the tone every day and the flipped model could represent a symbolic way of telling adults that we still have to be innovative, and it's really hard for a principal to preach innovation if they aren't using it in the venues they lead. Faculty meetings are as good or as bad as we want them to be. Some faculty meetings can be a time when there are great discussions about education and we feel as though we are a part of inspirational moments that we would only find in the Dead Poet's Society. Other times they are an ...


"The term Feedback is often used to describe all kinds of comments made after the fact, including advice, praise, and evaluation. But none of these are feedback, strictly speaking." Grant Wiggins As educators there are two types of impressions we can leave on our students. One is that we leave a positive impression and they remember us fondly as they move through life. The other is a negative impression, and those memories of us are not very fond at all. Both of those impressions can have a powerful impact on our students. Even in our own formative educational experiences we ...


"Districts wading into the "bring-your-own-technology," or BYOT, waters are wrangling with which issues should be tackled through districtwide policy, and which should fall under school-level procedural codes. In the process, they're trying to leave room to solve unanswered legal questions about Internet security and privacy." Quillen (Education Week) As our students get older, they become more responsible...we hope. A laptop or tablet has replaced the notebook and pen over the past few years since our present technological explosion. Many students can't wait until the age that their teachers allow them to bring in their own devices. Unfortunately, no matter ...


Invest: Expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting it into financial schemes, shares, or property, or...: "getting workers to invest in private pension funds"; "the company is to invest $12 million in its new manufacturing site" Devote (one's time, effort, or energy) to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result (google). We have experienced many changes in education over the past few years. Anyone reading this blog knows that already. We have had to implement Common Core State Standards (CCSS), new teacher and administrator evaluation which includes high stakes testing ...


"Compared to more affluent children, Wen says, kids on Medicaid may be less likely to live in neighborhoods where they can play and exercise safely outdoors, and their caretakers are less likely to have access to supermarkets selling fresh, healthy foods" (CNN). About ten years ago I began teaching as an adjunct at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y. It was exciting to go to the collegiate level for a few hours after teaching elementary school during the day. I taught a course in social justice, and one of the assignments, which was given to me by ...


"To get anywhere you have to build relationships with many different people-people who disagree with you, the skeptical and cynical. If you are to have any chance of progressing, you have to have enough empathy for their situation so that you can relate to them." Michael Fullan (The Moral Imperative Realized. P.6) Educators will tell you that teamwork is vitally important to moving forward, especially during our present times in education. Without a team teaching, building or district leadership can feel very lonely. The problem is that a team dynamic can create problems when trying to confront an issue. ...


"The old image of a teacher is one where they keep their lesson plan books at the end of the school year and do not take the time and effort to change their lessons year after year." Have you ever woken up and just wanted to do something different? As an educator, do you long to do one thing new in your instructional practice with students? The old image of a teacher is one where they keep their lesson plan books at the end of the school year and do not take the time and effort to change their lessons ...


The opinions expressed in Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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