When I first started teaching 9 years ago, there was a palpable buzz in the air around a pedagogical approach called "Genius Hour," also known as "20 Percent Time." This is where students choose a project that excites them, such as crocheting or building a rocket, and work on that project, unguided, every week during … Continue reading Why the Genius Hour Fad Died
Time and time again I find myself coming back to an essay called "'How Obvious”: Personal Reflections on the Database of Educational Psychology and Effective Teaching Research" by Gregory Yates (2005). It is a rich piece of work that covers topics ranging from the process-product research of the 70's and 80's to the failure of … Continue reading Presenting Workshops that are Worth Attending
Educators continue to ask both the right and wrong questions about distance learning during this online learning period. In a recent post, I argued that instead of squabbling over which technology we use, or whether a synchronous format has advantages over an asynchronous format, we should look at distance learning through a different lens. Specifically, we … Continue reading Reducing the Distance in Distance Learning
How does your school solve problems, make changes, or figure out what works best? In my previous post I wrote about how important it is for schools to get used to the idea of conducting controlled experiments to generate new knowledge for how make decisions and solve problems. In this post, I am going to … Continue reading How Rapid Prototyping in Schools can Fail.
I have a 9-month-old daughter who still cannot crawl. I've tried having her build up her strength through various leg and abdominal exercises. I've shown her interactive diagrams and YouTube videos of babies crawling, and I've read her the definition of crawling from the dictionary. I've modeled the correct way to crawl so many times … Continue reading Help! I’m Trying to Teach My 9-Month-Old How to Crawl and it isn’t Working.
Like millions of people around the globe right now, I am practicing social distancing. One valid point that has been brought up online is that the term should really be physical distancing rather than social distancing; Of course self-isolation and quarantine separate us geographically, but the psychological space between us doesn't have to be so … Continue reading The Unproductive Debate of Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning
I love online learning. I love it so much that I decided to get an online degree in it. Working in a physical brick-and-mortar school is a pleasure, for sure, but I've long been interested in bringing the best of online learning into the face-to-face classroom. This is not because I think these tools are … Continue reading Has the Coronavirus Online Period Proven that all Teachers can use Technology?
Since moving into the role of PYP design teacher I have been playing with ideas about how to provide students access to their design space, which at my school we affectionately call The Pit. The students come to me two or three times every 8 day cycle for 45 minutes at a time and whenever … Continue reading How to Make the PYP Design Space Accessible, Flexible, Responsive?
Take a look at the featured image of this post. This bizarre juxtaposition of two teachers teaching a combined 50+ kids from two opposite ends of a room is 100% real. It was also my (Zach's) first student teaching experience. Bear with me as I describe what was going on in that classroom in detail, … Continue reading The Worst Learning Environment I’ve Ever Seen and the Principal LOVED it!
Note: For participants of this workshop, here's the presentation: Hands on MINDS on Final I'm excited to announce a new workshop that I'm leading at The Future of Education Now Conference (#FOEN2019) at Western Academy of Beijing. It is one based around some my recent explorations in cognitive science research, and creativity & design. It also includes … Continue reading New Workshop in Beijing: Hands-on, Minds-on: Keeping Play Cognitive