The Worst Learning Environment I’ve Ever Seen and the Principal LOVED it!

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!

Why Do Those Who Hate “Boring Phonics” Endorse Boring Comprehension Strategies?

Things often come to my attention in education that make no sense. One of these has do to with the current state of the "Reading Wars", which has changed slightly since the days when it was characterized as a battle between phonics vs. whole language advocates. The phonics people won, but conceded the point that … Continue reading Why Do Those Who Hate “Boring Phonics” Endorse Boring Comprehension Strategies?

New Workshop in Beijing: Hands-on, Minds-on: Keeping Play Cognitive

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

Lessons from Cognitive Science that I’ve Used to Improve my Teaching

I  recently gave a presentation called The Cognitive Science of Creative Subjects at Learning2Asia, a conference which I thought was an incredibly well-run by Nanjing International School. The format of the workshop was really fun: Teachers do mostly hands-on, design-related experiments on themselves to sort of demonstrate how different principles in cognitive science work. I also … Continue reading Lessons from Cognitive Science that I’ve Used to Improve my Teaching

Is Math Anxiety Totally Avoidable?

Math and me have had a tumultuous relationship. When I (Zach) was in high school I had a pretty bad math teacher, whose cynicism and poor teaching skills - students were meant to “discover” the solutions to problems before receiving proper instruction - played a role in my decision at the time to never pursue … Continue reading Is Math Anxiety Totally Avoidable?

Beyond Piaget and Vygotsky: Why Teachers’ Cognitive Science Education is Insufficient

I have a challenge for you readers. Name two psychologists/cognitive scientists whose research has impacted education in the past twenty years. Were you able to? Perhaps that was too easy. New challenge! Name two psychologists/cognitive scientists who have published impactful work in the past twenty years AND were also featured at a workshop or PD session that … Continue reading Beyond Piaget and Vygotsky: Why Teachers’ Cognitive Science Education is Insufficient

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?

What constitutes “Balanced Literacy” depends on who you’re talking to.

I recently finished reading Dan Willingham’s book, Raising Kids who Read: What Parents and Teachers can do. Of particular interest to me (Zach) was the chapter in which Willingham described the infamous “Reading Wars”. Having just facilitated design thinking around literacy at my school, during which we started a discourse (Described in this recent post) … Continue reading What constitutes “Balanced Literacy” depends on who you’re talking to.

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