Somewhere along the way I developed the habit of using an unproductive questioning pattern called "guess what's in my head." This is when I ask questions that the students couldn't possibly respond to because they haven't yet learned the material required to answer the questions.
When I first started teaching 4th grade, I inherited a social studies unit on Ancient Egypt, a topic that is universally adored by students at this age level. Over the years of teaching this unit, the 4th grade teachers had developed a document - what we'd now call a knowledge organizer - of all of … Continue reading The Sad, Sad Story of the Hollow Curriculum
Frequent readers of this blog will know that I am the Director of Educational Technology at a 6-12 independent school. My role is to design and implement the strategy around online learning and train teachers how to integrate various online tools into their lessons. This post is a reflection on whether my beliefs about teaching … Continue reading Beliefs, Evidence, and Educational Technology
As readers of this blog will know, I've recently been writing a bit about cognitive load theory and how it's led to changes in my thinking and teaching. I debated some of its foundational ideas on a recent podcast, as well. After presenting on CLT in the fall, NWAIS asked me back as part of … Continue reading PD Opportunity on Cognitive Load Theory
Many teachers allow students to play "brain games" as part of the curriculum. When I say "brain games", I'm referring to short - often fun - activities that are unrelated to the core content, but which are thought to engage the mind or make you smarter. When I was a student, if I finished my … Continue reading Is Working Memory Fixed or Can it be Trained?
There's an interesting essay called "Five Meanings of Direct Instruction" where the author (Rosenshine, 2008) shows how even a term as commonly used as direct instruction can take on different meanings depending on who you talk to. Some people use it in the pejorative to refer to non-stop passive lecturing, while those familiar with the … Continue reading 5 Meanings of Student-Centered Instruction
Most teachers will be familiar with Khan Academy, or similar learning programs, that offer a mixture of 1) problems to solve and 2) instructional supports that students can use to learn how to solve the problems. Common instructional supports in online learning environments include partial hints (e.g., click here for a hint to get you … Continue reading Does More Learning Happen When Students are in the Driver’s Seat?
In a couple weeks, I will be conducting my first research study at a school in Seattle. Here's a slightly edited version of the post I wrote for their community newsletter. In 1885, Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered that we tend to forget the things we learn at a highly predictable rate. What made the discovery of the … Continue reading My Research
I am happy my community is back on campus; a beautiful learning space where teachers utilize their physical presence to guide attention and support students towards new understandings. I also realize, having been fooled too may times by COVID, that it’s possible that we’ll be forced to shift once again into a hybrid model (and … Continue reading Shifting to Online (again)? Check out this Poster
A reoccurring theme (e.g., here, here, and here) of this blog is that we can improve education by leveraging findings from the science of learning. Most people in the field seem to agree with this statement, but it's not uncommon to find people who are convinced that there is no science of learning. The reasons … Continue reading Is there a “Science of Learning” and what is in it?