Teaching for Racial Justice

Categories: Instruction

After the white supremacist riots in Charlottesville last summer, many of us felt moved to act. We tweeted with the #CharlottesvilleCurriculum hashtag, shared articles and resource lists, and liked each other’s posts on Facebook. We knew that white supremacist thinking and action thrive under white complacency, and that if we continue to teach the same stuff the same way, we can only expect the same result. It seemed we were in a moment of renewed commitment to racial justice in our classrooms.

How about now? Now that the school year has started, are we putting our racial justice values into action, or are we back to covering content and meeting benchmarks? Are we using the Charlottesville curriculum resources, or have we set them aside, promising ourselves we’ll return to them at some point, because our curriculum is too prescribed and tightly packed for us to stick in content we’re not required or allowed to teach? Read more

How to integrate technology for students

How School Leaders Can Support Student-Centered Technology

Categories: Technology

When it comes to digital technologies, facilitating effective learning integration is the most important—but also perhaps the most difficult—task school leaders face. Like teachers, administrators often are unfamiliar with the affordances of many digital devices and environments. Even if they are users of digital technologies in their personal lives, school leaders may not adequately understand the learning and teaching uses of those tools. Ramping up entire schools to robust technology-suffused pedagogy is necessary but also can be quite a challenge. Read more

We Need to Create PLC Dream Teams

Dream Teams: Collaborating for the Success of All

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

“We really need to get together now and make a big push.” —Peter Jones

Up until about ten years ago, most cancer researchers and institutions would work in direct competition with one another, trying to be the first one to come up with life-saving treatments. Undoubtedly, they worked diligently and passionately, every day laboring over one of the most critical challenges in our society, and doing all this in isolation and in direct competition with other individuals committed to the same cause. Yet, this is the way research had always been done, and in many ways, it made sense to some of the world’s most talented individuals and respected institutions. Read more

Student feedback can include: "I noticed that..." and "I'm not sure I see..."

Practicing Peer Feedback: More Observations, Less Evaluation

Categories: Instruction

Over the last several years, I’ve done a ton of experimenting in my sixth-grade classroom with peer feedback—structured opportunities for students to give and receive feedback from one another.

That’s primarily a function of efficiency. Teaching close to 120 students with a wide range of skills and abilities every single year makes it darn near impossible for me alone to provide feedback to the learners in my classroom. If the best feedback is both timely and directive—an argument that Bob Marzano made nearly a decade ago—we need to teach students to look for guidance and support from one another, rather than simply waiting to receive feedback from classroom teachers, who are perpetually buried in stacks of papers that need to be graded. Read more

Diving beneath the cultural surface

Moving Beyond Visible Culture: Diving Beneath the Surface in Global Learning

Categories: Instruction

“People are tied together and yet isolated from each other by invisible threads of rhythm and hidden walls of time.” —Edward T. Hall

Most global educators have a challenging relationship with the “Fs of Global Education.” The Fs, which include cultural facets such as food, festivals, flags, and fashion, are those elements of culture we can see most easily. There’s nothing wrong with exploring the observable aspects of culture, of course, but staying there can create superficial learning experiences, even leading to cultural misrepresentation and stereotypical assumptions about other cultures. Read more