Help Students Out of Their Comfort Zones

Learning can be scary, especially if we are being pushed beyond something we have ever ventured to try before.

Remember your first bike ride? How many times did you fall off before your first successful pass on two wheels? (more…)

Make it visual: students draw Austen’s characters

 Even on a day a teacher is absent, learning can happen. Provide students with an engaging task and they will rise to the challenge.

Each year I change the character assignment for Pride and Prejudice. Some have been utter failures and others have worked out well. This year, when I returned to class the room was filled with a character mosaic.  (more…)

Reflections on a First Keynote

12669552_10153225272436879_7865771218869153007_nBoth exhilarated and exhausted, I’m proud to say that my first keynote is in the books.

I had the pleasure and honor of speaking to a room full of National Board Certified teachers who live or work on Long Island today  at Adelphi University, sharing my story of moving my leadership outside of the classroom.

Although I knew the keynote was upcoming, I didn’t have too much time to prepare for it because of the many things that I’ve been fortunate enough to be working on recently.

So over the last four days, I pseudo-scripted and made this haiku deck that speaks to my journey. You can check that out here.

But by the time I arrived at the conference this morning and I heard the first to speakers, I decided what I had would be redundant and decided to go off script completely. (more…)

Why It’s Time to Elevate and Celebrate Teachers and Teaching

whyiteach.JPGWe can all spout many things that need to change within our educational systems in order to improve them, but how often do we spend time actually talking about what’s right?

All around the world there are amazing people who dedicate their lives to the improvement of society, one child at a time; it’s a global effort.

And although we may not know each other, there is a commeraderie among teachers as we can share in the delights and challenges of the profession in a way that no one else can. (more…)

What I Wish I Knew As A New Teacher

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 9.46.51 AM.pngAt the beginning of my career, I was a hot mess; I just didn’t know it.

Although aware of the fact that I had no practical classroom experience beyond that of my formative years as a student, I still believed that if I could connect with kids, I could make them love English the way I do.

And one thing has remained true since that time is that relationships are the most important part of teaching, not what I think I know.


Diverse Definitions of Learning by Educators

recite-yb9lap.pngAt the very core of what we do is the basic understanding of why we do it.

And if the end goal is to help students learn (whatever it is they are to learn in our spaces), it is essential we come to some consensus about what it actually means to learn.

Although the question has been pondered often, the components of learning are varied. (more…)

What is Learning To Students?

Sometimes the simplest concepts are the hardest to define. This is the case with learning.