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
One of the touchiest situations a teacher deals with is when a student raises a complaint and the whole class seems to jump in. It’s 30 to 1 because silence seems like congruity, and rarely will a student defend a teacher against those odds. Serious learning is unlikely to happen until the complaint is resolved. … More Mutiny in the Classroom
My school district requires teachers to collect data to show our students have grown over the year with respect to specific standards in our curriculum documents. As we teachers have grown in our understanding of learning, we have moved away from “answer getting” and toward process, but many of us have been at a loss as … More Avoiding Useless Assessments
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
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
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
Last year I piloted a guided inquiry-based textbook, CPM (similar to Open Up), to pull together all the wonderful strategies I have learned from educators at conferences and on Twitter that were also supported by research I was reading and what I saw in my own classroom. I blogged about the risks and advantages of inquiry … More Changing the Way Students Approach Math
One of the biggest concerns about homework is that some students don’t check their answers with those provided, so they essentially rehearse errors. There’s more about homework concerns & wars here. My strategy is to do quick scans and assign Khan Academy as supplementary homework for students who are not practicing correctly on paper…or who missed the … More What if Khan Academy told the Parents?