To Raise or To Ruin

A 3d graphic of the words in the question What Do You Think? This could be used to encourage people to participate in a survey or poll and ask their opinion or input on a customer service or other fact gathering project[/caption]I recently had an experience that had me wondering how we can keep children engaged and excited about learning as they progress through school. Recently, I joined with a…

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Teachers, Innovation and the Evolution of Schools

Last Friday afternoon at the Business Innovation Factory, four teams of teachers, including a team from my network, shared their stories of collaborative design thinking. This “storytelling” event was the culmination of a six week project called TD4ED, in which teachers were given the space and time to consider a problem of practice and design their own solution. While the four teams’ projects differed, a common thread appeared. Each team…

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Teachers’ Messages and Student Engagement

I spent an hour recently visiting classrooms. First day after a break, with an anticipated snow day to follow, it could have been easy to lose the student engagement fight. Indeed, a few kids seemed to be moving a bit slowly, going through the motions. Yet I saw students ready to go–hands waving in the air to give an answer and exclamations of excitement when arriving at correct responses during…

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Gorillas and Teacher Evaluation

Let me just say this at the start–I’m in favor of systematized teacher evaluation systems. Here in Rhode Island, we have taken elements of the Danielson framework and built a rubric for professional practice from it. In our network, we’ve spent considerable time focusing on the various sub-domains via Instructional Rounds and other forms of professional development and have conducted numerous partnered observations to norm our process.

Want to improve your PLC? Act like children.

During Instructional Rounds recently, I had the pleasure of joining a triad of 7 year old students engaged in conversation on the rug. The three had just read a book about tsunamis and had filled out a corresponding KWL chart (in full sentences, not bullets!) One student, I’ll call him Joe, shared his “what I want to learn” section. Rather than simply nodding and moving on to share her own written response, one of Joe’s partners, Shana, asked Joe if he had found the answers to what he wanted to know and written about those in the “what I learned” section. When Joe said, “no”, Shana pressed. “You should have found the answers in the text,” she said. “They are in there. Did you at least learn what a tsunami…

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