We may have less than 5 years to change how we learn, earn and care


In one work the post is brilliant.  It was written by Saadia Zahidi and comes from the World Economic Forum.

“Globalization and technology are accelerating both job creation and destruction. Some estimates have put the risk of automation as high as half of current jobs, while others forecast a considerably lower value of 9%. Still, all occupations will go through change: we found that on average one-third of the skillsets required to perform today’s jobs will be wholly new by 2020.”

Here are the highlights of the Common Vision.

1. Transform education ecosystems. .

2. Facilitate the transition to a new world of work.

3. Advance the care economy.


Read the article for the details!  You will not be disappointed.


4 Things All Project-Based Learning Teachers Should Do


Image borrowed from article.

Lauren Ayer does a GREAT job outlining the “4 Things All Project-Based Learning Teachers Should Do” and it is published by TeachThought.

I believe that she hits the nail on the head.  I spent a year in a PBL high school before being transferred to another campus in my district.  The transition from a “standard” learning environment to a PBL environment does not come without some significant challenges.  As a teacher I found it incredibly difficult to:

  • Help students to be critical thinkers and develop/design their own projects
  • Guide students in developing essential questions that their projects will answe
  • Aide students in time management, organization, and presentations
  • Research, Research, Research.  Students have to be able to read for understanding, develop their own thoughts, and then cite them
  • Appropriately assess and grade students based on a variety of skill sets
  • Connect projects back to classroom concepts to use them to deepen understanding
  • Prove the value of being an independent learner and show that these skills are crucial to being a successful adult.

I could keep going!  When I read this piece and thought about how Lauren’s 4 things would have helped us as teachers be more organized and prepared to guide our students.


10 Tips Guaranteed to Bring You Success Early in Your Teaching Career

AAEE ( American Association for Employment in Education) published a great article for Education Week Top School Jobs.

Here are the 10, check out the article for more details:











On Becoming More Than Preparing: 10 Tips on Developing Humans



Image is borrowed from the article.

Check out more from this article written by Tom Vander Ark via GettingSmart.

Here is the introduction to the article…

“Talk about delayed gratification. Rather than a two-minute wait for a marshmallow, we try to convince kids that 10 years from now they’ll need a particular skill to get a job. That may work for some, but it’s a pretty weak incentive.

The importance of social emotional learning (SEL) — the ability to manage yourself, to collaborate with others and make good decisions — is widely recognized as key to success in life. But it’s not just about what students are preparing for it’s who they are becoming as people. It’s about being a better learner, team member, contributor, and friend tomorrow than you were today.”

Why Executive Function Is A Vital Stepping-Stone For Kids’ Ability to Learn


Katrina Schwartz writes a power article called, “Why Executive Function Is A Vital Stepping-Stone For Kids’ Ability to Learn”.

The article focuses on the importance of executive functioning and cites work done by Bruce Wexler.  He and his company have created a program called Activate and they are celebrating some astonishing results.

“The data just keeps coming in about the importance of focus, self-control and working memory for learning and life.” – Bruce Wexler

Teachers Are Stressed, And That Should Stress Us All


Image is borrowed from the article.

Cory Turner writes “Teachers Are Stressed, And That Should Stress Us All” after talking with Mark Greenberg, a professor of human development and psychology at Penn State via NPR.

Forty-six percent of teachers say they feel high daily stress. That’s on par with nurses and physicians. And roughly half of teachers agree with this statement: “The stress and disappointments involved in teaching at this school aren’t really worth it.”

It’s a problem for all of us — not just these unhappy teachers.

Here’s why: “Between 30 and 40 percent of teachers leave the profession in their first five years,” says Mark Greenberg, a professor of human development and psychology at Penn State.”

Arkansas School Administrator Urges More Teachers to Embrace Video


Image is from http://www.tarveracademy.com/

Tyler Tarver is not your standard Director of Curriculm, Instruction, Communications, or Technology.  Tyler is an innovator and his story is highlighted on the Curriculum Matters blog by Marva Hinton.

“Tarver’s educational videos have more than 10 million views.  He runs two channels on YouTube and the website tarveracademy.com, which includes his math videos as well as tutorials for teachers on using technology and career advice.  I recently caught up with him to ask about his success.”

This article hits home because I am a HUGE advocate for videos and using them to aide in the learning process.  I used Khan Academy when I was a teacher and I loved it.  The major issue with it, as Tyler states in his interview, is that it is boring.  I was able to use it to fine tune my craft while my students were not engaged enough.  After watching a couple of Tyler’s videos, he brings humor and fun into the videos making them more engaging.

Makes me wish I was still in the classroom to share this great content with my students but instead I will share it with all of you!

3 Tips to Use Your Master Schedule to Embark Change in Your District


I LOVE the scheduling process.  It is a challenge and a fun puzzle that I enjoyed being a part of during my time in education.  We had the old school “whiteboard” mentality when it came for building the master schedule, and then we scheduled students 1 at a time, by hand!  We had a small population but we did not trust the scheduler to customize the schedule with the best interest of the school, students, AND teachers in mind.

I recently read an article by Katrina Schwartz that sparked my interest in how a school’s master schedule can foster growth and change.  The power of the master schedule cannot be underestimated and it is often overlooked.  I see this ALL the time in demonstrations where people quickly point the finger to those who are responsible!  You know what I mean.  It is similar to when someone brings up state regulatory reporting and everyone defers to the few people who deal with it on a daily basis!  The master schedule is much more than a laboring, tedious project.

“The master schedule is to a school, what grading policies are to teachers and classrooms.  It reveals the true beliefs, attitudes, values, and priorities of the school.  The school’s master schedule is looking at an MRI of the inner workings of a school.  It is the window to the soul of the school.”

“The Master Schedule: A Culture Indicator.” – NASSP

Chew on that thought for a moment.  (No really, think about it for a minute or two!)  The quote takes all that finger pointing that I described above and turns the finger to yourself.  Yes, a few people might lay the master schedule out, but it takes all stakeholders involved to fulfill it and satisfy the main objective: giving students every opportunity to discover their love, passion for learning while providing them all the experiences they need to prepare them for their future.

3 Tips to Prepare Yourself for Scheduling Season:

  1. Decide what your vision as a district/building/campus is and what skills you want them to possess when they leave. This is the start and honestly, you cannot go to 2 and 3 before ironing this out.  I know it is late in the year to start drastic changes, but it is not too late to take baby steps.  The other positive is that now you know where you want to be in a year so you can analyze this schedule process for 2017 and really start to iron out where you want to be in 2018.  Rome was not built in a day and neither will your scheduling masterpiece! 
  1. Analyze your course catalog and consider revising their names and descriptions. It is all about the foundation and your course catalog is just that: The foundation of all learning that will occur in your school.  I have talked with many districts who are in love with the idea of change, personalized learning, flipped learning, 1 to 1 technology, BYOD, etc. BUT have had issues with getting others to buy in.  While reviewing your course catalog, take time to ask yourself if the course titles, descriptions, objectives match your district vision.  If yes, move right on to number 3!  If not, this is your chance to foster change and encourage growth!  Take time to rewrite the course titles and descriptions to match your vision and encourage your teachers to provide their input.  You may discover that teachers are already meeting the standard and would welcome a chance to define their own course.
  1. Find a product that supports your scheduling needs, goals, and objectives. This is a crucial part because if you hand schedule like me for 150 kids it takes about 2 ½ days, but if you are doing it for thousands, well, get some coffee and buck up!  Finding a program that will allow you to customize how your schedule is run is crucial so that you can be sure that you can break the pedagogical model and re-define the process.  (Contact SunGard K-12 to see how we can aid you in this journey)

So who is ready to embark on a journey for change at your school, district, or campus?  Remember, this cannot happen overnight and that this is a project that can easily take a year or more, but why not start now!?

Get your group of advisors together, discuss your vision, analyze your course catalog, find advocates for change in your district, get your messaging straight, and find a program that fits your scheduling needs and let’s rediscover (Insert your district name here)!  Good luck and best wishes!

Here is a video that highlights how Henry County School in Georgia is doing this very thing.

Carol Dweck Explains The ‘False’ Growth Mindset That Worries Her

“Carol Dweck Explains The ‘False’ Growth Mindset That Worries Her” is written by MindShift. (It is a MUST follow blog in my opinion)

In it they highlight Carol Dweck’s concerns over the ‘False’ Growth Mindset.  I love this post because again she shows her honesty and transparency about the Growth Mindset.  I have read several articles from “haters” who suffer from a fixed mindset who attack the growth mindset for not solving all of educations issues.  Well here again she shows that it is not supposed to!

Here is a great quote from the interview that inspired the post:

“Nobody has a growth mindset in everything all the time. Everyone is a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets.”

10 Big Ideas We Are Learning Through Our High School Internships

Internships is something that I was never lucky enough to experience in high school but have worked at 2 high schools that offered them and they are GREAT!  I would love to see more schools go to this model because it teaches our children so many things.

This post comes from Getting Smart and is highlighted by two 9th grade students who share 10 things they are learning through their internships.

iris and kim.jpg

Image borrowed from Getting Smart

Here are their 10 but you know the drill… you have to check the article for the details!

  1.  Focus on Curiosity and Interests
  2. Be Yourself
  3. Celebrate Uniqueness
  4. Follow Dress Code and Language Code
  5. Use Connections
  6. Conduct Interviews, Follow-ups, & Job Shadows
  7. Do Your Paperwork
  8. Be a Good Communicator
  9. Keep in Touch
  10. Trust Each Other: “Once you’re at Big Picture you never really leave”