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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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

bean counter

Personalized Deeper Learning. No Bean Counters Need Apply

Categories: Assessment

“I am not a bean counter,” Mary, a 7th grade language arts teacher, told me. Her eyes flashed as she spoke. “I used to teach kids to understand what they were reading. If they needed to know new words or even how to pronounce a word, I worked on that. That was teaching. Now my principal expects me to put aside all the literature and info text that drew my kids’ interest. He wants the computer to ‘personalize’ their learning. What those programs that profess to personalize do is bore my kids to death and turn me into a data bean counter.”

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Deeper learning

1Comment tail

Five Keys to Deeper Learning

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Authors

Driving Question: What Helps Teachers Enrich Learning Through Project-Based Learning (PBL)?

When talking with teachers who have the freedom to plan their lessons and projects so that students make many choices about what, how, and when they learn, this driving question is unnecessary. These teachers know and do what it takes to promote the work the thoughtful students do. They also know the benefits.

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Raising their hands

Seven Ways to Give Students Freedom to Learn From Mistakes

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Assessment

Driving Question:  How can I help students learn from their mistakes?


“So let’s talk now about what you can do differently in your next project,”  Mr. Pecht asked.  “This review is the most important part of this project. Tell me what you would do.”

“We hadn’t thought about that,” Rosalea answered. “Those are just usually red marks that lower our grade.”
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hitting the target

Toward Deeper Learning With Personal Targets

Categories: Instruction

Driving Question: How Deep Can Students Dive with Personal Learning Targets?

At the pool last month during vacation in Cabo, I met a retired state school superintendent. It didn’t take long to figure out that retirement was the best place for him. “Learning,” he said, “is not important. What I did was make sure that the test scores were there. That’s what still makes everyone happy.” He didn’t mention children as members of his everyone club. Read more