Fences That Free

     It was 1948.  Willy Mays, an all-star major league outfielder and batter of all time, first played for the Chattanooga Choo Choos in the negro league.  Many ballparks back then had outfield areas with no fence to delimit or define left, center, or right field.  The real estate went on and on.  Willy hit a ball one day that … Read More

Purpose of Learning

ISN’T IT INTERESTING…… …that the gap between what cognitive science is learning and what schools are doing is getting wider and wider. The reality of education today challenges us to rethink our focus.  The solution for meeting the needs of our learners is not algorithmic, following a set path for all students to follow.  It is in fact heuristic, breaking … Read More

Collaborative Conversations and the Intentional Magic of Protocols

Recently, 21 of our teachers came together to experience a day and a half training on using different protocols to look at student work, receive feedback on unit plans and solve dilemmas. Though not an official Critical Friends Group training, we were able to practice a variety of the School Reform Initiative protocols (which are all free!) with the guidance … Read More

Isn’t It Interesting…

Isn’t it interesting……. …watching the excitement and anticipation of young children helping mom make cookies? Initially, they are mesmerized, watching the preparation of the cups of measured ingredients, asking questions like “What’s that?” and “Can I pour it in the cup?” As the supplies for the cookies come to the table, the struggle to keep enthusiasm in check becomes overwhelming … Read More

Walking With Each Other

Last week, I came home after a particularly challenging day, and I said to my husband, “I’m just going to sit here and watch Ted Lasso.”  He looked up with real concern and said, “That bad?”  To which I nodded and made my way to the couch, where I escaped the day’s drama with the escapades of Ted and the … Read More

Concerning Behavior? Let’s Understand Why.

“Rita is pantsing! For no apparent reason, she stands in the middle of class and pulls down her pants! This can’t continue. Can you recommend a pantsing program to help her stop this?” “Arthur hits his teacher and para. Staff say he should be in a separate class or different school.” “We are noticing much more aggression by students. What … Read More

Building Hope: Reflections on the Spotlight podcast with Jim Knight

Have you had a chance to listen to the recent Spotlight Podcast with Jim Knight?  Though my role has grown to encompass many more things, I will always first and foremost identify as a coach, and the writings and conversations of Jim Knight have been instrumental to that identity formation. I devoured The Definitive Guide to Instructional Coaching, Knight’s newest  … Read More

Isn’t It True That…..

Teaching is complex….it is situation-specific….and dilemma-ridden. No list of what a  teacher should do on a daily basis can capture the extraordinary subtleties involved in making instant decisions in the classroom to support students. Having in-depth conversations with students about the meaning of learning, instead of telling students to just DO the work, IS what teaching should be! ABOUT THE … Read More

A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish

Goal setting and reflective thinking are powerful components of a growth mindset classroom. We need a concrete idea of what we want and a plan to get there. Without this, it is easy to fall back to fixed mindsets. As you teach for a growth mindset, the belief that talents can be developed and all have the ability to grow … Read More

Finding Awe Everyday

How is your morning routine going, Dear Educator? Have you noticed any changes? And did you decide on a word to guide you? (You can read January’s post here for more on these ideas.) Another way we can care for ourselves and soothe our soul during troubled times is to focus on our perspective. What is it that we are … Read More