learning strategies

The One Thing Innovative School Leaders Must Do Before School Ends

For better or worse, another school year is winding down. For school leaders who have been hoping to kick off a new, student-centered approach to teaching, that means you have to act fast. The whole idea of student-centered, personalized learning may seem like a long and daunting task—and perhaps it is—but there is one small step that can lay the groundwork for a culture of generativity.

As Expectations of Teachers Change, Administrators Rethink Their Observation Practices

Have you ever been in a classroom when a principal walks in? Planned or random, evaluative or not, the atmosphere changes.The entrance of an administrator can create tension where there was none, or it can relieve stress—but that depends on the relationship between the administrator and teacher as well as the culture and purpose of observations in a school. In the best case, the teacher knows that the observer is there to support and welcomes the observation, but in my experience that scenario is the exception, not the rule.

Strong Conferencing Practices Help Kindergarteners Learn to Advocate for Themselves

As I turned the page of the big book, I glanced over at Peter and could see he was lost. I was conducting a choral reading activity with a small group of students and Peter’s mouth had stopped moving; his eyes were glazed over. He had started kindergarten slightly below grade level in literacy, but after a few months of foundational work, he was able to decode CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words like “cat.” Peter was getting hung up on words that didn’t follow that pattern—he couldn’t apply what he had learned to new words on the fly.

How These 26 Teachers and an Author Are Redefining Today's Student-Centered Classroom

One of Meg Ormiston’s biggest frustrations with education today is how long everything takes to roll out. Pilots drag on for years, technology changes and teachers start to lose enthusiasm. And the students are the ones most impacted.“We can’t wait years because these kids need to get college and career ready, and we’re not doing that by over-scripting lessons,” says Ormiston, a former classroom teacher who now works out of Chicago as a consultant, spending her time speaking, working with schools and writing.

How My Teaching and Technology Almost Failed One of My Students

I am a tech innovator, and my students are just like those kids in the Microsoft commercial—you know the one starring the rapping teacher in the bright blue vest with perfect hair, in the classroom where everyone looks happy and enthusiasm is exploding. Except that isn’t real, at least not in my experience.

Million-Dollar Advice: The High Cost and Limited Return on Personalized Learning Consulting

Follow education technology-reform projects, and you’ll find mixed academic outcomes and expensive consultants.

How to Support Teacher Innovation Within a Strict State Accountability System

For children who can stomach school through twelfth grade, the experience culminates with a walk across the graduating stage, and in far too many cases, we place in their hands a diploma not worth the cheap paper it’s printed on. This is the reality of my ever-abiding frustration with our outdated model of public schooling.

Here’s What Happens When Every Student Gets a Personalized Learning Plan

High school sophomore Olivia Surdam thought she wanted to have a career in healthcare as a doctor or nurse, but after recognizing that her sensitive stomach would cause barriers for a career path in patient care, Surdam started considering other options with her advisory teacher.

Why Is It so Hard to Teach K-12 Educators How to Personalize Learning?

As a long-time music teacher and instructional technology coach, modeling has been key to my work for over a decade. The concept of gradual release of responsibility is second nature to me when working with students in grades K-12, but in my new role teaching graduate students in an education technology program, I am struggling to model so many of the practices I expect these teachers to use in their own classrooms.

How One Educator Found Work-Life Balance By Teaching Online—From Her Living Room

World maps, colorful letter charts and a felt animal poster line the walls of LaShundra Wigfall’s classroom. Toy cars, her puppet (BaBa the sheep) and other teaching props lay waiting for her to bring them to life with her jovial voice and infectious energy. But Wigfall’s classroom isn’t in a school; it’s smack dab in the middle of her living room. Instead of 20 or more students, she teaches just one student at a time. And some days...she wears her pajama bottoms to class.

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