There is a widely-held theory that by learning an instrument, playing chess, or even swinging a Wii remote around in P.E, students' cognitive abilities and academic skills will increase, which will help them be better thinkers across the subjects. This isn't a new theory; people used to think taking Latin unlocked something inside you so … Continue reading Transferable Skills Are Cool. But Do They Transfer?
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?
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?
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
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?
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
I recently had the chance to distribute a survey to students in my design classes, one of those school-wide ones that all students have to complete on all of their teachers. I was happy with the results. It included questions such as "My teacher likes me" and "My teacher takes time to speak with me about … Continue reading How would your students grade you on Rate My Professors?
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?
In 1975, a couple of phycologists confirmed an interesting hypothesis: If you send a learner underwater in a scuba suit to memorize a list of words, they will remember those words better when tested underwater than when tested on land. But if the learner learns the words on land, they will remember them better on … Continue reading Learning Lists Underwater: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Design