Sometimes You Just Need to Go All Gerry Brooks

Roses are red. Violets are blue. I need a break, how about you? It’s February.  As much as routines are in place and students are usually flying academically this time of year, it can also be an extra stressful time with second-trimester report cards around the corner, summative evaluation meetings, and students pushing limits with

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Compassion Fatigue

If you’re in education you’ve probably either heard of or experienced ” teacher burn-out,” a condition that results from being over-worked or under-valued or the experience of a disconnect between the work you required to do with the truths you know to be true about teaching.  This Wednesday my social worker gave a presentation to

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Tapping Into the Strengths of Your Staff

So I used to think that there was some magical formula or a needed in-depth plan to building capacity and strengths of others as a leader, but the longer I am a principal (I know a whopping 6 months) the more I realize this isn’t necessarily true.  This week my reading specialist came to me

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A Mathematical Conundrum

It’s Wednesday.  I’m sitting in my office with two students waiting for a third to arrive when one of them shares this epiphany. “I couldn’t stop Dr. Podraza.  I worked on this problem the entire weekend.  I looked up articles.  I had my parents Google stuff.  I got everyone involved.” “And I don’t think the

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What are Your Blind Spots?

I had the privilege of attending an amazing workshop on Monday with author and researcher Jane Kise.  It was a part of our Elmhurst D205 Professional Learning Strand initiative where teachers get to pick one topic and delve deeply into it throughout the year.  Her presentation was part of the Teacher Leadership cohort, but could

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Am I Doing It Right?

During my five years as a coach in Naperville, we implemented at least 15 new initiatives, maybe more.  So it makes sense that I was frequently asked, “What’s the right way to do this?” or similarly, “Am I doing it right?” Questions of this variety reflect our desire as educators to do our best.  Many

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Predictions for the Next Decade of Education

I recently read this article from the Atlantic titled, Elementary Education Has Gone Terribly Wrong.  It’s an interesting read for a variety of reasons, but what stood out to me was the plethora of evidence that confirms what many of us have known for decades: the standardized testing movement simply doesn’t work.  Despite our efforts to

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Do We Need Grade Level Standards Any More?

I’m writing this post as a question, not a statement for a reason.  I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I’m honestly not sure.  Writing this post is an effort to organize my thoughts. This struggle is mostly connected to the conviction I have that students are all individuals who have a variety

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The Phrase in Education That Needs to Go

Teach with Fidelity. If you want to get me riled up, tell me I need to do anything with this as the standard. I remember when I first started teaching almost 20 years ago, I was told by a colleague that the first year we implemented a new curriculum we had to, “teach it with

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Empowered Learning Experiences

I recently finished, Innovate Inside the Box: Empowering Learners through UDL by George Couros and Kative Novak.  Full of inspiring anecdotes as well as thought-provoking ideas, the book is split into three sections:   The Core of Innovative Teaching & Learning Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset You are the Change You Seek One of my favorite things about

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