Living a metaphor about the unexpected 

This happened to me on the drive home from work, on the highway while I was traveling at the speed limit... life can really toss some unexpected turns, how do we deal with them?

This happened to me on the drive home from work, on the highway while I was traveling at the speed limit… life can really toss some unexpected turns, how do we deal with them?

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, so they say, but what about rebuilding it when it’s broken?

Sometimes we’re driving around and the lights randomly turn on in our dashboards, we take it for granted that things will be okay.

Then the picture to the left happens… You have a full tire blow out on the highway, and you do everything in your power to safely make it to the side of the road without too much damage.

Education, like the wheel doesn’t necessarily need to be reinvented, but it does need to be reimagined because it’s broken in the United States.

Although other systems seem to be doing things differently and better, we seem to be focusing on the status quo and accountability instead of the quality of student learning which is where the emphasis needs to be. (more…)

Learning Library Skills is Still Important

IMG_9128.JPGAlthough Google seems to be an omniscient entity and searching it seems the most effective way of finding information, for academic research, this may not be so.

Google searches are great preliminary starting points for research but once students make it to the academic big time of college, they need to know how to navigate an academic library to ensure optimal success.

When I was in college, the enormity of the college library overwhelmed me and therefore I avoided it at first, only to realize much later the foolishness of my choices.

Librarians are tremendous resources and the same way teachers love to help students succeed, librarians are very knowledgeable in how to navigate information both online and in the building. (more…)

It’s Time to Uplift the Teaching Profession

An amazing panel at OPPI festival talking about education reform. Not on the panel but pictured in Pasi Sahlberg. On the panel is Kevin Dykes, Frances Strickland and Andy Hargreaves

An amazing panel at OPPI festival talking about education reform. Not on the panel but pictured in Pasi Sahlberg. On the panel is Kevin Dykes, Frances Strickland and Andy Hargreaves

Other than being a parent, what is the most important job in helping to raise the future?

Teacher.

(It was rhetorical, but just in case, I figured I’d answer :))

In many countries, teachers are revered for their positions and statures as the health and well-being of the future rests in their hands.

After listening to Pasi Sahlberg talk about Finland, there is a longing inside me to go visit there and maybe even teach there for a year if possible at some point in my career.

Not only is teaching respected, but it is held in the highest regard and the health and well-being of teachers is a part of their national mission. All are invited to try and only those dedicated enough succeed.

With a rigorous program of preparation, teachers are ready and excited to teach with a masters when they are done. (more…)

Our System Needs a Facelift

recite-32587-1900499982-1wjdf80.pngFrustration.

It’s a noun and an experience, an annoying one.

Since I began teaching 13 years ago, I’ve undergone some incredible growth as an educator.

Fortunately, like attracts like and I’ve met others who continue to inspire and challenge my thinking. They make me believe that as a group we can actually make magic happen, make change happen.

Unfortunately, the system I teach within hasn’t changed very much at all. Sure initiatives have come and gone like make up washed off after a day’s use, but real, permanent change has yet to happen. (more…)

Sometimes It’s OKAY to be an Attendee and NOT a Presenter

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 4.30.49 PMFlattery will get you only so far and although I have been overwhelmed by the response that folks have had to my speaking and presenting lately, I’m really happy that I will be an active learner at the OPPI Festival this weekend.

It has been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to sit back and take in new ideas rather than share the ideas I’ve been batting around.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m super passionate about what I’m doing and it’s essential to give wherever and whenever possible, but in the same vein, it’s just as important to receive and grow wherever possible.

As with everything, it’s all about balance. (more…)

Making College Freshmen out of Second Semester Seniors…

recite-1m066u0It’s “pep talk” season.

Those of you who teach seniors know exactly what I’m talking about. Their motivation is waning and so is your patience.

AP exams are just about done and most don’t have state tests in NY at the end of the year, so the high stakes of passing are no longer propelling them…even the best of them.

But this is NOT okay.

Not saying I don’t get it. I was them once, but my job is to make them college and life ready and in life you don’t get to take a several month vacation just because you’re tired or bored with it all. We need to teach students to persevere particularly through this ennui. (more…)

Tweeting to Transparency

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 7.49.08 PM.pngI’ve been tweeting with some frequency for a while in and out of the classroom.

After I understood Twitter’s power for me as a learner, it wasn’t long before I introduced it in my classroom.

Students responded well to class chats, but I still didn’t feel like I was using it to its fullest in the classroom capacity.

So it was time to start implementing something new, take it to the next level.

Enter the class hashtag. (more…)