Showing posts from September, 2013

It's Not Your Parent's Classroom Anymore

There has been a lot of chatter lately in the Twittersphere and at conferences about two ideas that seem to be slowly gaining traction in education:  1. Project Based Learning (PBL)--and you might as well include 20% Time in that conversation, and  2. the notion of schools being THE best place to allow our students to fail.   I have been ruminating on both of these concepts a lot the past few months.  In this post I am going to attempt to tackle both succinctly and intelligently Let's start with the first one: PBL/20% Time.  finally came to the realization that this is the way to approach learning at all grades.  And it only took my 7 year old and a talking bus to help me realize this.  After all, I'm a history teacher by trade so how exactly does one teach the French Revolution or the writing of the U.S. Constitution or the origins of civilization or the causes of WWI as a project?  I know that all you PBL evangelists are moaning at the notion that it has taken me

The End of the One-Room Schoolhouse

I was reminded that good coaching is not about dynamic coaches serving as heroic educators, but rather stems from the simple habits of connecting teachers to resources and asking them reflective questions.  ~Shane Safire  July, 2008 This week has consisted of a lot of coaching.  I know that last week I reflected on coaching.  However, I think our Monday #edleadchat topic on coaching and observing kept this topic in the forefront of my mind.  That coupled with a number of issues on campus related to new teachers seems to have forced my hand to circle back to this topic once again. I was not able to observe as many classrooms as I would have liked this week.  But the ones I did get into provided a real range of experiences and helped me to really think about the reflective process.  I realized that it isn't enough to observe a classroom and pen a few notes of gratitude and "way to go-s" for each teacher.  There were some real opportunities for growth in most of the cl

Benchwarmers Don't Win the Game

This week I feel as though I began my real work: observing and coaching.  It was a great experience and I referred to it as my "play time" rather than walkthrough time.  Why?  Because in just 4 days it has become my favorite part of my day.  I was in 20 different rooms this week.  I saw different subjects, different methodologies, different grade levels.  It was so exciting!  The benefits I found this week include: no "canned" lessons because I just showed up in peoples rooms rather than scheduling a formal visit I would spend only about 10 minutes in each room so I was able to see so much more teaching and learning in a short period of time the students were only too happy to fill me in if I had questions because it was more informal, I felt as though I was really seeing the "true" nature of the teacher at work I was able to provide timely feedback via email and this (and here is the truly awesome part) led to conversations between colleagues and