James A. Bellanca

James A. Bellanca is nationally recognized as a practical innovator who provides teachers and administrators with the how-to knowledge to make abstract ideas concrete and ready to go on the next school day.
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Resistance Undone

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Resistance Undone: Driving PBL Implementation

Categories: Instruction, School Improvement

A PBL Story

At an urban school with above-average STEM scores, faculty fought against the principal’s effort to raise expectations and do “even more.” When she had first urged her deeper learning vision with a call for project-based learning, many teachers balked. “Last year we worked hard to get our scores up. Don’t ask us to change what works. You can say that PBL will help even more, but who knows?” Read more

Professional development can be personalized for deeper learning.

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Low Cost, No Frills: Personalized Professional Learning of the Deeper Sort

Categories: 21st Century Skills, PLC, School Improvement

Driving Question: What might happen if professional development were personalized for deeper learning outcomes?
I was looking at the ever-popular Danielson framework for evaluating teachers.

I readily appreciate all the different contaminations that bubble up when school leaders aren’t ready or politically able to apply it so that it works for the good of kids. Read more

Healthy school environments

Joy in Mudville: Creating Healthy Environments for Deeper Learning (Part II)

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

Last month, Jim discussed how instruction and assessment practices seed the health of a school’s climate. He asked: “Is the school growing weeds in toxic soil or is it blooming flowers fertilized by teaching practices that inspire deeper learning for all?” In this second of a three-part post, he shares a successful way to make the shift.
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Bringing Joy to Mudville

Bringing Joy To Mudville: How Healthy Learning Environments Enable Deeper Learning (Part I)

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

“It makes it difficult, because the way school is set up, it has students working like machines. We get up early everyday to learn different things from 8 subjects, then forced to remember it in one day to move on to another subject the next day. It is exhausting. I go to school, I go home and study, I go back to school, and I repeat the process until I get so emotionally drained and mentally drained, that I want to give up…” Read more