Category: Learner-Driven

What’s Your Classroom’s Reading Culture?

As an admin or coach do you ever have a moment when you wish you could go back into the classroom?  This week it happened to me when I was attending a professional learning experience facilitated by my instructional coach and literacy coach about literacy instruction. The purpose of the PL was to give teachers

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The One Question That Will Change Your Data Review Conversation

Ever been to a data review meeting like this? Data is projected for everyone to see.   You group students into those who are exceeding, meeting, and not meeting the target expectation. Everyone gives reasons for why students have reached varied levels of proficiency. In the last 5-10 minutes, you come up with some ideas for

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What Is My Principal Really Looking for in my Summative?

It’s that time of year where many educators (myself included) are preparing to meet with their administrator for the glorious summative meeting.  Throughout my career, I’ve experienced a wide variety of these that have been anything from a short five-minute conversation to an hour-long meeting where I was required to bring a binder of evidence

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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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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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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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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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