DIY Textbooks – Their Time Has Come!

  • August 28, 2013

For years, as a supervisor, principal, and superintendent, I chided teachers not to refer to the textbooks and workbooks they used as curriculum. I would say endlessly, “They are support materials. They are not driving what you teach. Approved curriculum guides are the foundation for your instruction.” Yet, no matter how much I admonished them, I would still hear teachers … Continue reading

Making Learning Fun and Worth the Effort

As a teacher, I always struggled with how to make information relevant and useful. It was, to say the least, a daily challenge that never got easier. I took the challenge seriously and, as a result, spent countless hours reworking standard material so it would come across as intriguing, exciting, and worth the effort to learn and to hold. That … Continue reading

ACT Scores Are Down – Students Say “Ready or Not, Here I Come!”

  • August 22, 2013

In a new report from the folks at American College Testing (ACT), the conclusion is that “most students are not prepared to face the rigor of college.” This is disappointing news, indeed; especially given the high profile efforts of the Gates and Ford Foundations and other philanthropic groups that are trying to improve the caliber of the high school experience. … Continue reading

Blended Learning – A Win-Win Option for Delivering Quality Information in Classrooms Everywhere

Blended learning is quickly becoming a highly incorporated addition to the many tools that teachers and trainers have to enhance classroom instruction of all types.  Whether you are a K-12 teacher, university or college professor, or a business trainer, blended learning is an instructional platform that offers a great deal of promise. And, I’m not alone in this belief. In … Continue reading

7 Guides for a Successful New School Year Training

With the new school year looming large, teachers and administrators across the nation are beginning the annual rituals of returning to school. In each school and school district, these rituals will be somewhat different; however, one will be the same everywhere and that is a nod to some type of professional development (PD). Beginning of the year PD can take … Continue reading

Common Core State Standards – Leveling the Playing Field or Creating Greater Turmoil in America’s Classrooms?

There is just so much controversy swirling around the Common Core State Standards Initiative that it is hard to remember why it ever got off the ground in the first place.  If memory serves me, the effort began in response to the concern that sufficient numbers of students were not faring well on national assessments of educational proficiency (e.g., NAEP) … Continue reading

Active Listening – Do I Hear You or Do I Hear Me?

For those of us who are engaged in working with people, and most of us are in some way or another, active listening is an important and very necessary skill.  There are countless examples of situations that have gone wrong from business deals to personal relationships to international relations, and all due to the failure of the parties to not … Continue reading

The Value of Early Age Education

The importance of getting a leg up early in the education journey is a long understood value proposition.  As a former Vice President of the Early Care and Education Consortium and Secretary of the National Child Care Association, I spent countless hours speaking on the worth of a pre-school experience.  In that process, I often referred to the multiple studies … Continue reading

The Importance of Strong Executive Function as a Way to Help Primary Students Own Their Learning

In a recent post, I looked at an essential question regarding primary school education – do primary students “own” their learning, or are they just borrowing it for quizzes/tests and daily routine performances?  Put another way, can primary students take the knowledge and skills they’ve learned and apply them successfully in varied situations without a script to follow?  I concluded … Continue reading

Do Primary Students Own Their Learning?

I’ve found this is a question that is not often considered; yet, in my opinion, it should be a first order question.  Do primary school students own their learning?  That is, can they apply learned information and skills in varied challenge situations that are not common to a classroom environment (e.g., known surroundings and ritualized expectations), that are not ordered … Continue reading