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April 14, 2016

Making Computer Science "For All"

The state will have to decide if it wants to certify teachers or if instead wants to otherwise signal what it means to be qualified and prepared to teach computer science - because teaching computer science in school is not a new idea; but making computer science "for all" certainly is.

April 08, 2016

Math Ought to Make Sense: 3 Ways to Promote Meaningful Math Learning

As a young teacher, I dreaded that moment in class when a student's frustration boiled over into a shout: "This doesn't make any sense!" At this point I've started to embrace those as moments where real thinking is going on and as opportunities for real learning.

March 15, 2016

Social Media Opens Conversations

Social media is everywhere and it is a part of our culture. I am thinking about ways to use platforms like Twitter to model explicitly alongside my students and their families how it can be used to enhance, engage, and enrich not only learning, but our conversations and our relationships. As a nation we know in the future that we are going to need to collaborate globally, use digital tools, and think critically to solve world problems. Why not begin in kindergarten?

March 10, 2016

Habit of Perspective and the Little Prince

Harvest Collegiate High School school has organized our curriculum around four Habits of Heart and three Habits of Heart which we believe "promote critical thinking and active responsibility." Each month in our group gatherings, we focus on a different habit...March's focus is the Habit of Perspective, in which we try to answer this question: How does this look differently from someone else's shoes?

March 07, 2016

Teaching Big Ideas in Mathematics: Equivalence

Very big ideas lie behind even very simple mathematical relationships. One problem with math curriculum developed under pressure to cram in as many topics as possible, is that they often fail to adequately explore these big ideas. Instead, jumping right to the trick.

February 25, 2016

Learning by Doing: The Case for Experiential Education

Students learn better when they are actively engaged in the learning process. This is a lesson that I have learned time and time again on outdoor trips, and one that was reinforced on the survival skills course from which we just returned.

February 09, 2016

Teachers Are Civil Rights Leaders: What We Can Do to Stop the Next Water Crisis

There is no easy or "quick" fix to this problem. However, we can begin by coming together across color lines, income lines, and boundary lines to ensure that all members of our community understand how to advocate for change and are fully experiencing the benefits of our constitution. I encourage teachers and those in the community with knowledge and political capital to begin to facilitate lessons to build the capacity of both students and parents.

February 03, 2016

What I Learned About Growth Mindset When Students Taught Me

It's this time of year when I like to talk a lot about growth mindset. I won't let students say they are "bad at math," instead I'll push them to think about problem solving as a "joyfully messy" process that will inevitably lead to them getting stuck in "maze moments." I work hard to cultivate this kind of attitude in my classes, so I was pretty surprised a few weeks ago when a student accused me of having a fixed mindset.

January 07, 2016

So How Do You Know They Got It? Showing Evidence of Learning

We are in an age of education where proof is required to show true success. Teachers often hear the question: "how do you know your students understand?" As a middle school science teacher of ten years, it would be easy for me to say, "Well, I just do. I'm a good teacher, and I know my kids." This is not enough. We have to show evidence.

December 24, 2015

Together With Hope: A Teacher's Holiday Reflections and Local Actions

David Sherrin often pushes me and our staff at Harvest Collegiate High School to connect what we are doing to the larger world and the issues facing it. He did so beautifully in an email to our staff two weeks ago and I asked him if--in the holiday spirit and in the spirit of challenging educators to think deeply and broadly about our practice--he would allow me to republish it here. I hope you find it as thought provoking as I did.

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