Author: Dr. Christina Podraza

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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The Paralyzing Effect of Stress

This week was not a stellar one for me.  I found myself in the familiar place of adulthood where there is too much to do and not enough time to do it.  I followed none of the advice I know is best and instead retreated into my office for large portions of the day, worked

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The Evolution of Parent Communication

I’ve been reflecting this week a lot about some conversations I’ve had recently with staff about parent communication.  In Elmhurst, we have something called, “Acceleration Block.”  It is a time when we group students based on a specific learning standard or need and plan learning experiences to accelerate their growth in that area.  In previous

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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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