Category: Knowledgeable, but Open-Minded

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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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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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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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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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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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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