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August 25, 2016

Set Up a Student-Empowered Classroom

Students thrive in learning environments that value them as learners. The more control we relinquish to students in that learning process, the more we encourage them to own the outcomes that they progress toward. School shouldn't be about predetermined curricula and testing, it should be a student-directed/driven experience that empowers kids to embrace their successes and failures.

July 25, 2016

Throwing Out Grades Is Not Without Its Challenges

By getting rid of grades, students can focus on what they know and can do and develop strategies for skills and content they have yet to master. This is a much more inclusive teaching philosophy because no one is expected to be the same.

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 10, 2016

Character Development in the Half-Blood Prince

As a teacher of students and of writing, building, nurturing and understanding characters is essential to doing my job well. In the 6th novel, we watch characters we have known become dimensional individuals as we watch our students grow into young adults along the way. We must offer encouragement and support as our students face challenging choices, teaching them to make good decisions without making them for them.

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 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.

June 02, 2016

What Does it Mean to Be 'Educated' in the 21st Century?

Educational systems must be aware of the world they turn graduated students into and must adjust accordingly. We must consider changing the way the school day looks to better suit the needs of our learners instead of forcing all of our learners to fit into the landscape that was created over 100 years ago.

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The opinions expressed in Work in Progress 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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