“Student engagement is the product of motivation and active learning. It is a product rather than a sum because it will not occur if either element is missing.” — Elizabeth F. Barkley (Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty What are the best tools you’ve found to improve student engagement with the content/lesson and… Read More


Last weekend I got a haircut, and I had several inches trimmed from my length. I loved my longer hair, but as the inches grew they became less vibrant, and I realized those extra inches didn’t serve much of a purpose. Summer’s-a-coming, and this shorter new “do” made me think about what we, as educators,… Read More


Have you ever used the term “creative” to describe a student who perhaps did not conform to the “typical student” mold, for lack of a better word to describe him? In doing so, did you mean it as a compliment? You should have, because now more than ever, we need to embrace creativity in our… Read More


This past week our elementary personnel received professional development in the areas of Extending and Refining Strategies from Learning Focused Schools. When I think of extending and refining lessons, I think of the incorporation of more higher-order thinking skills and questioning techniques. Abstracting, comparing/contrasting, classifying/categorizing, analyzing perspectives, inductive and deductive reasoning, and error analysis are… Read More


This is for the administrators out there. The administrators who have, at one point or another, felt the way I feel now. Exhausted. Emotionally drained. Like a truck has run over you. Convinced that no matter what we do in the best interest of students, SOMEONE will be unhappy. Yet, mind racing. Processing and planning.… Read More


One of the perks of continued professional development in the form of college coursework is being required to read books I might not have otherwise taken the initiative/time to read. I received Zhao’s Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization in the mail many months ago through my ASCD… Read More


The Big Read, an initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. How do you do? 1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen 2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien 3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte… Read More


I’ve been on vacation, and it was sunny and dreamy and warm and there was turquoise water and white sands and now… it is back to work/reality, not to mention, home to about three thousand feet of snow. Harsh. This semester I’m enrolled in a graduate course called Change in Education. Considering the amount of… Read More


I feel like in the past year I’ve been surveyed to death, but each time I sit down to complete one, I trust that whomever is compiling the results of said survey will use the data for good. Not evil. In an attempt to “make sense” of the plethora of online resources/networks/communities/tools that are available… Read More


Inspired by #edchat’s Tuesday night discussion about the meaningful use of interactive whiteboards in classrooms, I began to ponder: Should I purchase more of these tools for use in my building next year, when I have 5-6 mobile SMARTboards already that aren’t being used consistently (and frankly, may not be used meaningfully when they are… Read More