5 Concerns for Inquiry-Based Instruction

For 14 years I have been reinventing my instructional wheel each summer to build student achievement.  I’ve used creative images and rhymes (anchors), interactive games (engagement), 3-Acts, Notice & Wonder, Front Loading, and constant review. However, I am not happy with just high scores on state exams. What I teach, too often, doesn’t stick in … More 5 Concerns for Inquiry-Based Instruction

Unintended consequences in best practices: what we did TO our students when they didn’t get it

What educator has not been challenged by the question, “What will you do when your students don’t get it?”  In response to No Child Left Behind and high stakes testing, teachers have become masters at drilling concepts into students in engaging ways:  Kagan, Kahoot, Jeopardy, stations…  Teachers Pay Teachers is wildly popular, not to mention … More Unintended consequences in best practices: what we did TO our students when they didn’t get it

Redo’s for students: I do and I don’t

I suspect that most teachers experiment with retakes and redo’s and change their minds throughout their careers like I have.  Everything I decide upon, though, consistently aligns to my overarching goals which are to develop: Analytical skills Retentive mastery of content Self-efficacy Self-advocacy in asking questions To develop strong analytical skills, I capitalize on inquiry-based … More Redo’s for students: I do and I don’t

When students won’t ask questions

This photo from Lovemeow hangs prominently in my room as a visual aid to inspire transparency in learning.  I hold family meetings before school begins to explain the importance of learning math in today’s economy.  Often parents quietly mention to me that their student won’t ask questions.  Some parents are concerned and looking for answers; others are tipping … More When students won’t ask questions

Honors Classes and the Common Core

Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards for Math, does not include a  pathway for “honors classes.”  The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) recently released a book, Catalyzing Change, which describes the inequity of segregating students  such that some have access to higher order thinking in honors classes, while others do not. Once students … More Honors Classes and the Common Core

Building and Protecting Joy in School Climate

As we start the new school year, many of us are thinking through ways to make our jobs a little better than they were last year.  Few would choose to work in a depressing environment, yet in times of teacher walkouts, over-testing, and resentment over “top-down initiatives,” it isn’t unusual for educators to find themselves … More Building and Protecting Joy in School Climate