As a school leader, I'm often asked to read things that contain strong claims about the nature of learning. My old approach was to try to weigh the arguments presented in the articles and come to my own conclusions about whether the claims seemed reasonable, regardless of whether the authors had any evidence to support … Continue reading A Fence at the Top or an Ambulance at the Bottom?
My first grade teacher's name was Ms. Wee. Other than her last name, there wasn't much else funny about her. Ms. Wee was someone I would characterize as a warm-strict, traditional teacher. I still remember the contrast between how carefully she controlled our entry into the classroom on the first day of school compared to … Continue reading Memories of a warm-strict “DI-KR” teacher
This week I led a reading group session at my school on the article, "Have Technology and Multitasking Rewired How Students Learn?" by Daniel Willingham (here). Having led a lot of these, I'm convinced that reading groups are a more effective and enjoyable form of professional learning than ones that do not focus on a … Continue reading 5 EdTech Myths We Should Leave Behind
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
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.
What are your beliefs about student learning? How do students best learn? If you're like me you've been asked at the start of a PD session or a faculty meeting to discuss your deeply-held beliefs about some aspect of student learning in a Think-Pair-Share or a gallery walk. Or maybe you were interviewed for a … Continue reading “Beliefs” About How Students Learn can Only Get You So Far.
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?
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
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
Do you remember the game The Oregon Trail? Did it spark something in you that had you playing it for days on end? Something I share with a lot of nineties kids is the nostalgia for a game that made learning about a relatively brief historical phenomenon fun. On an old Macintosh computer my friends … Continue reading Was The Oregon Trail the Peak of Educational Gaming?