Reforming the Annual Reflection on Professional Learning

The Annual Reflection on Professional Learning (ARPL) is, I believe, a colossal waste of effort, but not for the reasons you may think... Knowledge Building Schools are filled with very creative and insightful professionals who, every year, craft statements or artifacts that reflect on, and make sense of key learning and experiences in their professional lives. […]

How on Earth do you know that?!

Gathered around the NY Times Crossword every morning in the staff room before heading to class we would collectively work our way through the entire puzzle. Few of us could solve Thursday or Friday’s puzzles on our own, but together we were pretty successful. One colleague was famous for knowing some of the most obscure […]

Touching story of integration and an insightful teacher aide

Middle years Halloween dances are loud, energetic, and smelly. Almost every student is there, dancing and shouting conversations over the thump thump of the music. Near the back of the room a teacher aid moves in front of a severely disabled student: blind and restricted to a wheelchair. She holds the arms of the chair […]

#eduwin Changing student self image through positive talk

There is always one. Sometimes more. The challenging kids that show up with reputations and rap sheets. My strategy is to talk up a positive year, right from the start. Focus on the good, build up the image of a positive individual, delight in achievements, focus on the feeling of legitimate accomplishment. Use lots of […]

Middle School Students Advocate for Social Justice as Global Citizens

Social Justice in the Middle Years This post briefly describes and assembles some media from a social justice project we did after working with the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation. The project evolved from a fundraising effort likely to raise a few hundred dollars to something much larger. The entire school was brought on board engaging […]

If the teacher dances faster will students learn more?

“I’m an entertainer. I have to do a song and dance to capture their attention,” These are excerpts from a New York Times article Titled, "Technology is Changing How Students Learn" suggesting student attention spans are decreasing and teachers struggle to engage students in classwork. I added my own somewhat flip reactions. Teachers who were not […]

"I don't want to need it someday. I need to want it now."

If school is preparation for work, and work is what we do to live, then when do we live? Viewing school as something we do to prepare for the "real world" or for some career in "the future" we lose sight of the present. Today's activities are not done solely to achieve some nebulous future goal. […]

Commence #BYOD publishing and text me your essay #FTW

Student: do we have to type our essays? Me: yes, then you can run it through and get some feedback on grammar and spelling Student: but there are no computers available in the room right now Me. type it on your device, in the notes app Student: don't you need wifi for that? Me: […]

Stories from the School Parking Lot

The car pulls up to the middle school entrance. A parent and her child - one of the ones that can be a challenge sometimes, one that takes that extra effort to really appreciate. He leans over, gives his mom a kiss on the cheek. She smiles and cups the back of his head with […]

Blogs and Twitter Engagement Detriment to Employment?

On an education related discussion board, someone asked for advice on how to increase their marketability as an already-qualified, but unemployed teacher. The poster asked about pursuing further qualifications at a university. Here is a portion of the surprising discussion that followed between me and another responder with very different opinions: Me: Consider your web […]

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