“Beliefs” About How Students Learn can Only Get You So Far.

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.

How to Make the PYP Design Space Accessible, Flexible, Responsive?

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?

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?

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

How would your students grade you on Rate My Professors?

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?

Was The Oregon Trail the Peak of Educational Gaming?

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?

Learning Lists Underwater: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Design

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

Should You Raise Your Kids Abroad?

If you're a fan of our website, you know that it's primarily a blog about teaching and learning overseas. Stephanie and I were both trained and certified as teachers in the United States, and soon after took our first international teaching jobs at an elementary school in Vietnam (Check out our video cruising around the … Continue reading Should You Raise Your Kids Abroad?

Internet Safety: If You Don’t Teach it, Who Will?

To get me started on this post, I asked Zach the question, "If I don't teach my students how to use the internet safely, who will?." His answer was what I had expected, "Hopefully their parents?" Although talks with my students have revealed that many parents are doing a fantastic job of teaching their children … Continue reading Internet Safety: If You Don’t Teach it, Who Will?