A J the Inspiriter

Guest blogger Lynn Cashell is a 4th Grade Teacher at Bethel Springs Elementary School in the Garnet Valley School District, located in Delaware County, PA.  Lynn has been teaching for 21 years, the past 15 in 4th grade. Her first role in the district was as the Instructional Support Teacher. Lynn is certified in Elementary Education, … Read moreA J the Inspiriter

You Graduated! You’re a Teacher! Now What?

I’m honored to introduce you to guest blogger, Katie Robinson.  Currently the Technology Integration Specialist at Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock, Arkansas, she serves students and faculty in grades 6-12 and has close to 12 years experience in education.  Before moving to Little Rock, she taught 7th, 9th and 10th grade English in Memphis, … Read moreYou Graduated! You’re a Teacher! Now What?

The Power of Downtime

Summer break has officially begun for those of us on Traditional Calendars in the Northern Hemisphere.  For this reason, I invited guest blogger, Julia Galvan, to share one of her recent posts on the timely topic of downtime.  Is there really such a thing for educators?  Her frank and honest reflection resonated with me, as … Read moreThe Power of Downtime

Do You Have the Time?

I have the pleasure of introducing guest blogger and contributor, Karl Steinkamp, currently in his 12th year as head of Dalat Int’l School in Malaysia*.  The school has about 600 students and is located on the beautiful island of Penang.  I asked him to share his blog’s inaugural post below because Karl’s reflection underlines the importance of … Read moreDo You Have the Time?

Call Me Loopy but I’ve Loved Looping!

The 2016-2017 school year provided the opportunity to loop up with my 3rd graders to 4th grade.  Everyone I knew and/or met asked me what I thought or how it was going before it was way too early to tell.  But now it’s nearly the end of the school year, and there’s been time to reflect.

The negatives of looping up:  (I haven’t personally experienced any negatives but want to be clear that they exist.)

  1. It needs to be a mutual decision.  The teacher and the family should opt in to make the journey for another year together.  I had two families opt out for various reasons, but it was the best decision for everyone involved.  Two other students were placed in different classes because it was going to be best for their academic experience.  I love all 4 students and their families to death, but it wasn’t about me, it was what was best for them.  One student moved out of  our school’s base area, and the rest of us chose to spend 4th grade together.
  2. The teacher needs to be passionate about educating in the 21st Century.  This covers a lot, but a year with any adult with a poor attitude and an arsenal of worksheets is too much, let alone two years.  Just saying.

The positives of looping up:

Read moreCall Me Loopy but I’ve Loved Looping!

Reflecting is Sharing

Participating in the #InnovatorsMindset Book Study along with the opportunity to attend #EdCampWake had my mind exploding in a way that wouldn’t have come close to making the 200 word challenge this time.  The chance to meet, connect, and share with so many #EduHeroes inspired me to tweak a Fractions Hyperdoc I found at #TsGiveTs … Read moreReflecting is Sharing

Are You Teaching at Blockbusters or Netflix?

Sylvia Duckworth’s image of “School” versus “Learning” from George Couros’s “The Innovator’s Mindset” captures the latest great divide that is happening in education today.

When Couros writes, “I’m not saying today’s schools are irrelevant yet,”  I believe he’s thinking of innovative communities like those at the Mount Vernon Exploratory School in Georgia.  From their mission statement:

 “While allowing for some degree of student “voice and choice,” rigorous projects with a STEM focus are carefully planned, managed, and assessed to help students learn key academic content, practice 21st Century Skills (such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking), and create high-quality, authentic products and presentations. “

After listening to A.J. Julianni interview Bo Adams, Executive Director of the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation, I’m convinced the schools that Adams’s team works with are “starting with questions, exploring deeply, pursuing passions, challenging perceived notions, and creating.”

But what if you’re at a school that leans heavily toward the “School” side of Sylvia’s image?  What if you’re still enabling students to complete those “Rite of Passage” Grade Level projects without even stopping once to ask why or what if?  

Read moreAre You Teaching at Blockbusters or Netflix?

Consuming Doesn’t Equal Learning

If you’re like me, you could spend weeks choosing which Blog Prompt to reflect on and/or even more time making that site just right, but Bill Ferriter’s post encourages me to forget about the verb “blog” and focus on the verb “reflect”. The adjective “reflective” happens to be the eighth characteristic of the “The Innovator’s Mindset”.

Read moreConsuming Doesn’t Equal Learning

Why We Need More Blue In Education

Diego Téllez Rodríguez posted this animated short film, Alike for the Innovative Teaching Academy group in early April.  Shortly afterwards, A.J. Jullianni thankfully shared his own reflection here because otherwise I may have missed this tiny treasure:

There are so many ways to reflect on this short film, but one thought is how we have squashed creativity and wielded compliance in so many aspects of what we call school.  Regardless of how we earned our teaching certificates, it’s unlikely that this was ever a vision that we created for ourselves or for our students.

Read moreWhy We Need More Blue In Education