LeVar Burton: Digital Devices Can Embrace Storytelling


Image borrowed from the article.  (http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2017/01/levar-burton-digital-devices-can-embrace-storytelling)

Jena Passut interviews LaVar Burton, the former host of the PBS show Reading Rainbow. Check it out here!

I love this quote from the article, “she always had at least two or three books going for her own personal enjoyment. I always saw my mother reading. I got the example from my mother that reading is an important part of the human experience”

This is something that I struggle with as a parent.  I read all the time at work or while I am traveling for work but not much at all while I am home.  If I am, I am reading articles and things on my phone.  Literacy is crucial to the development of our children and I respect how Mr. Burton sees the value that digital devices can play.



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:











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!

10 Tips to Make Learning REAL



“10 Tips to Make Learning REAL” is brought to you by Eric Sheninger.  He runs a great blog and provides insights from his experiences as a principal.  Check it out!

Critical Thinking in the 21st Century and Beyond


Love this post by Eric Sheninger on his blog called A Principal’s Reflection.

Here is a powerful segment of his post: “What separated Mr. South from his peers was his passion for helping students learn and love the sciences.  His lessons were light on direct instruction and heavy on authentic connections and application. He didn’t teach science. We learned science.”

What I got from his post was that he feel in love with learning by the dedication and creativity of his teachers during his time as a student.  This resonated instantly with me as I was the same!  I became a teacher because of the great impact that some of them had on me, I wanted to do that for others.

He continues to connect this to 21st century learning style where he discusses 7 elements, that when mixed together, will “provide students with the types of learning opportunities that they will carry with them no matter what path they choose”.

Awesome post Eric!

How to Spark Curiosity in Children Through Embracing Uncertainty

This article is written by Linda Flanagan and comes via Mind/shift.  She does a great job highlighting strategies to spark curiosity.  I highlighted her thoughts below.  Read the article for more details and to see how this can happen at home as well as school!

Address the emotional impact of uncertainty. 

Assign projects that provoke uncertainty.

Adopt a non-authoritarian teaching style to encourage exploration, challenge and revision. 

Emphasize the current topics of debate in a field. 

Invite guest speakers to share the mysteries they’re exploring.

Show how the process of discovery is often messy and non-linear.


Personalized Data Units or Personal Learning?

“The assumption here is that curriculum can be broken into little pieces, that skills are acquired sequentially and can be assessed with discrete, contrived tests and reductive rubrics. Tracking kids’ “progress” with digital profiles and predictive algorithms paints a 21st-century gloss on a very-early-20th-century theory of learning.” — Alfie Kohn

Read this article by Mike Crowley via Medium that discusses how “personal” some personalized learning really is.  His school uses the term Personal Learning and he layes out what a Personal Learning program looks like!

Here is the number 1 highlighted piece of the article: “empower students to make meaningful learning choices that reflect their own personal needs, wishes, beliefs, feelings, aspirations, strengths, and challenges.”

Happy reading and awesome work Mike!