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September 24, 2017

Final Post: Did We Prove It?

I started this blog more than two years ago. And this last post will soon join all of the others I've done in the great Internet Archive in the sky (luckily still searchable!). But before we say goodbye (for now), I want to gather up part of what I've learned, contributed, and where I went wrong.

April 30, 2017

Have a Plan for Success

It is a complicated world and it feels like it gets more complicated every day. I'd never suggest to a student that I know how to navigate this complexity, but I do believe that there are some etablished principles that can help. One of these is to develop a road map to use to track where you are going and evaluate whether or not you've gotten there. Requiring students to devise a plan for a complex problem and discuss that plan in detail in order to graduate high school will help them develop that map for the problems to come.

March 30, 2017

I Used to Think...Creating Aha Moments by Proving Our Intuition Wrong

Math teachers ought to look for situations where we can leverage the "aha" power of situations that conflict with our initial intuition. This task utilizes a redirection by setting students up to intuit an incorrect solution at first glance. They then explore the context and realize that what was the "obvious solution" is not even close to the best choice.*

January 26, 2017

The Motivating Value of High-Stakes Assessment

The movement against high stakes assessment is in danger of throwing out the motivational and organizational benefits of assessment with the proverbial bath water. Many "opt-out" activists (a movement of which I am generally supportive) seem to suggest that any increase in stress or consequences for students is inappropriate. Perhaps this perspective is well-intentioned, but it seems misguided to try to shield students from healthy stress which could build their resilience.

October 13, 2016

Imagining a Five Year Reunion Gift: A Task to Move Beyond College and Career

What I do know about the emphasis on "college and career" which so dominates our thinking about students' post-high school lives is that it excludes a lot: we are so much more than where we went to college and what we do for a living. I try to get students to more fully imagine their lives after college by asking them to send a gift to their friends at their 5 year high school reunion.

August 05, 2016

A Teacher Leadership Elevator Pitch and an Invitation to Write Your Own

I bet at some point you've overheard a teacher complaining to another about something coming from the district or administration: "why are "they" doing this to us?" I am a teacher and teacher leader who doesn't hear that any more and I want to help make New York City the one place in the country where teachers won't ever say it. Let's stop talking about "they" and create a system of "we."

July 20, 2016

3 Ways That Performance-Based Assessment Addresses 3 Important Critiques of Standardized Assessment

My critique of Matthew Lynch's "3 Important Critiques of Standardized Assessment," might take steps toward clarifying his argument and answering his critics' complaints: he conflated the words "assessment" and "test." We need to leverage both tests and performance assessment in thoughtful ways to create a set of healthy assessment habits which don't have the giant footprint of the current system.

June 21, 2016

Against Field Day: Experiential Education Shouldn't be a One Day Event

To be meaningful and worthwhile, "field experiences" should be coherent within students learning, thoughtfully planned, and provide opportunities for reflection and feedback.

June 15, 2016

The Opt-Out Debate: Parental Perspective

Two teachers respond to a parent's question about opting his child in or out of state standardized tests.

June 02, 2016

From "Very Cool" to "Well Designed:" Tips for Engineering Tasks

Students who build something "cool" are not necessarily engaging in engineering design. As teachers, we should find ways to guide our students towards thoughtful design instead of making cool stuff.

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