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August 11, 2016

Laying the Groundwork for the #1st5days

Rest up and get ready because being in school is a great adventure, but it does take a lot of work. Being ready and relaxed makes it easier to be successful for the whole year. Read on to get some tips for a successful year.

July 17, 2016

How Can Teaching and Using Questions Improve Learning?

We must cultivate conversation in our classrooms, real dialogue between more than just one teacher and one student, but rather strive to have the students talking to each other, with us as facilitator. We can scaffold this into our everyday practice, starting with think-pair-shares, writing activities, small group assignments and then full classroom discussions where all student have something different to offer.

July 03, 2016

Teaching Wisdom from #HarryPotter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

With the shift in the novel, we see a shift in Harry, like we often see in our students as they begin to mature. The issues become more complicated and helping them stay on a positive path more challenging. How do you help your students make good decisions as adolescence begins to entice them in different directions?

June 30, 2016

Are You Up for the No Grades Challenge?

Are you curious about giving up grades and sharing your journey on YouTube? Check out these videos and some thoughts about documenting reflection on video. Share your ideas once you try.

June 16, 2016

Inquiry Based Lessons Require Flexibility (Part 2)

Projects in this environment grow so many skills that go beyond the classroom learning, consider the whole child and promote interpersonal skills that make learning interactive and connective. Putting students in charge of their own learning with the implementation of a project-based environment allows students to truly own what they learn and create meaningful learning memories.

June 14, 2016

Inquiry Based Lessons Require Flexibility (Part 1)

Planning for a project-based, student-led learning environment starts with a well-made assessment that allows for student choice while addressing many standards at the same time. Once the teacher determines and develops the assessment, he/she must backward plan to sculpt the look of each class period to best provide students with the instruction and resources needed to be promote successful outcomes.

June 12, 2016

"Of Course I Know How to Google!"

Using technology for the sake of using it serves little purpose, but once we make it an integral means of developing understanding it becomes essential. Students look to us as models of this usage, so the learning must begin on our laptops so we can show kids how to use these tools with proficiency.

June 09, 2016

End of Year Projects Show Mastery Levels Better Than State Mandated Tests

As the conversation about communicating learning continues to evolve, it's not just grades we need to reconsider but the means in which we assess students that determine that level of mastery.

May 26, 2016

Student Self-Assessment Practices That Work

Self-assessment is a valuable tool as it gives students the ability to really consider their learning and equally as importanly, share that understanding with the teacher. Once we understand what students know and can do, both demonstrated in the work and their ideas about the work, we can adjust instruction and/or class pacing as needed. The more adept students become with this tool, the better tailored class time and assessments can be.

May 24, 2016

Reconsidering End of Year Grading for Student Mastery

The more involved and authentic we make end of year assessment of learning, the more engaged the students will be in their learning all year. Ownership of one's learning is an essential way of making learning more meaningful for each individual child and that's what we must shoot for as much as we can.

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