To Increase Student Motivation, Focus on Real-World, Project-Based Learning

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Instruction, Technology

Based on Implementing Project-Based Learning

When Hurricane Harvey flooded neighborhoods and destroyed property in Houston, Texas, teachers didn’t take long to turn the natural disaster into meaningful learning. In schools across the Humble Independent School District, students engaged in a wide range of projects that focused on protecting and restoring the Lake Houston Watershed—using drones to survey riverbanks, inventing devices to filter drinking water, and participating in hands-on conservation efforts.

These students have no reason to ask the tired question, “When will we ever need to know this?” Read more

Learning Community

What Does It Truly Mean to Be a Learning Community?

Categories: PLC

What If Our Actions Spoke Louder Than Our Words?

I have been a student of professional learning communities for well over two decades. I remember reading the first book that Richard DuFour and Robert Eaker wrote (Professional Learning Communities at Work) and being intrigued by the reasons that they chose the phrase professional learning community. It turns out that their choice of words was a purposeful decision, as they described in the breakthrough book that served as a call to action back in 1998. Read more

Why Should Teachers Differentiate? Five Compelling Reasons

Categories: Instruction, PLC, RTI

Differentiation is neither revolutionary nor something extra. It is simply teaching mindfully and with the intent to support the success of each human being for whom we accept professional responsibility.
David A. Sousa and Carol Ann Tomlinson (Differentiation and the Brain, 2018, p. 10)

Successful educators have been differentiating instruction for centuries. Great teachers design learning experiences that respond to their students’ needs/readiness, interests, and learning preferences. Read more

Rebecca DuFour at work with educators

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The “Now What?” Of Life: Celebrating Rebecca DuFour

Categories: PLC, Solution Tree

It was one of those wonderful mid-fall afternoons as I walked to my car, crossing the quad of the university campus. Tree colors were just starting to appear, and the air had that rare “higher temperatures than normal with crispness” smell.

I took off my suit jacket as I approached the car with this intense feeling I had done this very act of taking off my suit jacket and getting into my car, many times before. I had this awareness too that those moments had always left me feeling a bit empty. It was a feeling similar to the one you sense right after spending hours with friends and family, saying goodbye, going on your way, but feeling a bit homesick for them immediately. Read more