NEW WORKSHOP: The Cognitive Science of Creative Subjects at Learning2 2019!

I'm (Zach) excited to share that I will be presenting at yet another conference, this time at Learning2 in Nanjing, China. Take a look at the description of the workshop below, which I hope will merge some of my passion for utilizing research to inform teaching with my work in creativity. Hope to see you … Continue reading NEW WORKSHOP: The Cognitive Science of Creative Subjects at Learning2 2019!

11 Books to Start a Book Club for Teachers

I love professional book clubs. If schools are serious about teacher agency and differentiating professional learning for teachers, administrators should consider teacher book clubs as an option. The following is an updated list of 10 books for professional book clubs that I've had the pleasure of either facilitating, attending, or just think could be great if … Continue reading 11 Books to Start a Book Club for Teachers

Does Design/MakerED/STEM even need a curriculum?

I get the sense from some in the creative subjects that the simple practice of putting something down in the form of a written curriculum is too restrictive or too cold and methodical to be worth doing. While schools tend to provide math and reading teachers things like off-the-shelf resources, scope and sequences, and pacing … Continue reading Does Design/MakerED/STEM even need a curriculum?

3 Big Ways Schools Can Enable A Culture of Creativity and Design Thinking

Recently I had the opportunity to present at ETC 2019 in Bangkok with my colleague in MYP Design, Nik Madalinski. Our workshop, called Cre8 Design, was a weird one. We gave participants the chance to pick from 8 micro-presentations around current trends and topics in design technology over the course of 80 minutes (If time … Continue reading 3 Big Ways Schools Can Enable A Culture of Creativity and Design Thinking

10 Year Olds Ask You to Play Their Games for #HourofCode

The #HourofCode is a special time that is meant to demystify the skill of coding for all ages of learners. In previous years, my students have created a Caine's Arcade-style event for the community where the frames of the arcade machines were made out of cardboard and the screens were the students' iPads. You can … Continue reading 10 Year Olds Ask You to Play Their Games for #HourofCode

After 100 Years of the Same Teaching Model It’s Time to Throw Out the Playbook

In looking back at my parents' education in the 1950s and 60s, and my own education in the 1990s and 2000s, I worry sometimes that despite the huge advances that we've seen in technology, not much has changed when it comes to how we view learning and how we design learning environments. The transmission model … Continue reading After 100 Years of the Same Teaching Model It’s Time to Throw Out the Playbook

Empowering Students to Take Creative Action

Action can come in many forms, and, depending on the group of kids you're given, students' attitude towards action ranges from the enthusiastic to the idealistic to the unsustainable to the irresponsible. While taking action is a major component of the IB PYP, it can be tricky for teachers to get it right. https://youtu.be/WN0yCYVBD5U In … Continue reading Empowering Students to Take Creative Action

That digital program your school bought will never transform learning

It seems like most teachers and students have access to a paid-for digital learning program. You know the kind - RAZ kids, IXL, Spelling City, any one of those listed in the featured image of this article - and they all promise to raise achievement while making learning "fun". These CAI (computer assisted instruction) programs … Continue reading That digital program your school bought will never transform learning

Student Inventions Face Evaluation in the Shark Tank

This week, my students will be presenting their inventions to an audience of parents and community members. Instead of doing a traditional exhibition, where students stand for an hour and answer questions next to their display, we are doing something different: A Year 5 Shark Tank. Many of us already know the reality show, "Shark … Continue reading Student Inventions Face Evaluation in the Shark Tank

Ways to Enhance Reading and Writing Workshop with Technology

Our school recently made the switch to Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Although Stephanie and I received some surface level training on the project in our previous school, this has been the first time that we have been asked to follow the program with a high level of fidelity. Like with any … Continue reading Ways to Enhance Reading and Writing Workshop with Technology