Author: Dr. Christina Podraza

Best Practice Isn’t Always Next Practice

I walked into a 5th-grade classroom Tuesday morning during our math block and almost walked right back out because I was sure the students were taking a test and I didn’t want to interrupt.  The students were working fervently on a worksheet, pencil to paper, pausing periodically to reflect, erasing at times, and moving on

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How Administrators Can Support Teacher Leaders in Their Schools

Jeffery E. Frieden, an educator, and blogger I greatly admire put out this tweet in February: I have to admit the first time I read it I thought to myself, what on earth would cause an administrator to not support the efforts of a staff member to create meaningful change for students?? Since I began

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Goals Groupies: Synergizing the Passions of Staff

Last year, I read this post by John Spencer about the importance of being in a “Mastermind Group” with other educators.   It’s basically a group of teachers that meet regularly to explore and share ideas and also give one another feedback.  Because the members get to know each other well they can push one another

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A Culture of Inquiry Vs. A Culture of Learning

We were discussing data at an EC-12 meeting this week when one of my colleagues posed a question I had never really considered before: Would you rather have a culture of learning or a culture of inquiry in your building? He had recently gone to a training for a grant he was a part of

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Teaching Students to Respectfully Disagree

I observed a teacher this week who was doing a lesson on creating theories and finding evidence to support one’s thinking.  She used a text from our curriculum called, The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery by Jane Yolen.  It’s a great text for a variety of reasons, but one of the best things about the book is

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Putting a Stop to the Right Way of Education

I recently saw this tweet by Dr. Brad Johnson:  I liked this post for several reasons, but mostly because it goes against what is frequently heard in education, that there is only one right way to teach children.  I’m guessing this has stemmed from the No Child Left Behind era that we are all still

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Slowing Down

“Why are you so mad at that driver mama?” asked my daughter Alexandra on the way home from the grocery store last Saturday.  I wanted to say in my most indignant voice, “Because he is driving slower than molasses and deserves to be yelled at,” but something about the way she asked the question snapped

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Who’s Doing the Thinking?

It’s no secret.  Education is a “mile-wide, inch-deep” endeavor with new ideas about what’s best cropping up in district initiatives all over the nation.  Some people attribute this to caring deeply about students and wanting what’s best for kids.  Others say the world is changing quickly and it is our responsibility to keep up.  Whatever

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Putting an End to the Meaningless Agenda

We’ve all been there. Sitting at a meeting or a grad school class where the agenda is ten miles long, broken up into either short little choppy increments or hour-long blocks without a break in sight. Half of the items on the list seem to come from out of nowhere or could easily have been

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Wildly Important Goals: Calm in the Chaos

This past Thursday I attended a training on evaluating administrators.  As much as I enjoyed talking with my peers and listening to the presenter, the part that was most meaningful was learning about a concept called, “Wildly Important Goals” from the book, The Four Disciplines of Execution by Covey, McChesney, & Huling. The beginning of the

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