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December 17, 2015

Knowing What Students Know: The Power of Documentation

There is no denying the testing mess, and recent efforts to reduce our dependence on testing have renewed conversations about what it means to assess in ways that serve learners as much as they serve educators and the systems they work in.

November 25, 2015

A Mathematical Model for the Gratitude We Spread

"If I accept the premise that being grateful is good for our health, then shouldn't I be interested in promoting a habit of thankfulness in my students and in the world?"

November 19, 2015

3 Phrases I Won't Be Saying During Conferences This Year

As I've progressed in the teaching profession I've come to a different understanding of what this night means and how I can leverage it as part of the overall work I'm doing to make students better thinkers and problem solvers. In reflecting on conferences from years past, I realized a problem. There are three phrases I used say which were undermining my larger goals. I'll share them with you alongside my reasoning for striking them from my vocabulary.

November 10, 2015

Ease The Sail: Navigating Classroom Culture in Stormy Seas

I had avoided shipwreck. In the words of educational philosopher Patricia F. Carini, I was "attending to children with care." When in doubt, our first response to our students should be listening and connecting - not pulling harder on the ropes in search of a sense of tight control that leaves the collective boat going nowhere fast.

October 23, 2015

Our Union-Based Reform Movement

These innovations are possible thanks to our school's membership in the Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence (PROSE) program created in the UFT agreement with the city and the Department of Education. PROSE allows us to revise aspects of the Chancellor's Regulations and the UFT contract, enabling us to apply creative thinking and approach our students' problems in more effective ways.

October 15, 2015

Performance Assessments Push Students to Work Harder

Teachers, especially math teachers, need to ask an analogous question of their students. We understand what students need to know, we ought to partner with them in figuring out a reason why they should know it. This might be because they need to present it to a fellow student. Or it might be because the solution can help make the world a better place.

October 08, 2015

What Secretary Duncan Could Learn About Performance Assessment From Our School

Fortunately for me, I have been able to move beyond the bubble. My school is a proud member of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a group of schools that has accomplished your goal of collecting meaningful, formative data through performance assessment.

September 15, 2015

A Strategy for Moving Through Math Anxiety: Maze Moments

Try something. See that it fails. Re-evaluate. Try something new. Repeat until successful. That's problem solving: whether in a maze, math class, science experiment, or relationship. The power of the "Maze Moments" language is that it explicitly teaches students to anticipate being stuck from time to time in the problem solving process. Naming and normalizing this experience supports all students' ability to think critically and creatively in math.

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