The Evolving Role of the Teacher

Most educators in our schools and district offices have gone through their own education without the access and opportunities that exist today. To meet the needs of the learners in our classrooms today and align school with the world we live in, there is a need to embrace new mindsets about learning, along with new […]

8 Essential Questions for Planning Personal Learning Experiences

How many times have you heard, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”? Most teachers are taught this mantra in their preparation programs and held to it over the course of their careers. It is expected (and in some districts mandated) that teachers write detailed lesson plans, gather resources, effectively sequence the learning, differentiate […]

Empowering Teachers as Designers to #GoOpen

Traditionally, curriculum has been organized in a linear path that promotes a one size fits all approach to success.  When teachers are expected to follow directives, or implement programs without taking the context and unique individuals in their room into consideration, it often creates frustration because they see their students need something else, something different, […]

6 Questions to Align Your Vision, Policies, and Practices

Establishing a shared vision amongst diverse stakeholders is critical when trying to implement wide-scale change. Cultivating a shared vision requires “practices aimed at identifying new opportunities for the school, and developing, articulating, and inspiring others with a vision of the future” (Ng, 2008, p. 5). When systems struggle to meet desired goals, it is often a result of […]

Are You Trying To Solve the Wrong Problem?

I’ll never forget listening to a room full of high school teachers after interviewing their students. They were genuinely surprised and saddened as many came to a blatant realization: A significant percentage of their students are disconnected from their own academic experience and the reality of their not so distant futures.   Many of these teachers had […]

Why We Must Invest in Relationships First

It’s been 15 year since I opened the doors to my first group of 7th graders and I can remember it like it was yesterday. I moved across the pacific ocean from San Diego to Oahu, Hawaii to teach 7th graders.  Many thought I was crazy and maybe I was. To this day I will never […]

Are We Asking the Right Type of Questions?

If you haven’t seen Google’s video, Rubik’s Cube: A question, waiting to be answered, take a minute and watch it. One of my favorite lines, “…when the right person finds the right question, it can set them on a journey to change the world.” Yet, typically in schools, most of the questions that are asked have […]

Culture is Everything in Schools

I read this article recently, Workplace Culture is Everything: 20 Ideas For Building a Thriving Team. In the article the author describes two scenarios of workplace culture–one where workers are stressed and burned out and another where workers are empowered and inspired to create and grow. I love this description of a powerful culture: There is nothing more invigorating […]

Teachers as Designers

In a M.Ed course that I taught recently, one of the assignments was to design a learning experience for their own unique context.  The teachers were asked to integrate the research, strategies and/ or examples that we had been exploring throughout the semester into their practice. Anyone who has taken or taught an education class knows this is not necessarily an […]

Pedagogy Trumps Curriculum

I was thinking about what can hold us back from doing what we know is right for kids, despite our great desire to do so. I ran through the usual culprits of time, too much to cover, too many programs to fit in, new curriculum etc. These are all very real and good reasons that need to […]