A few loose thoughts from the past week

Firstly, I want to thank those who have encouraged me to write more and share more of the issues in education that I learn about as I work with students and teachers. It seems that as I’ve made more of an effort to write, I’ve found more opportunities. Here are three different thoughts I’ve put to writing this week that I’ll share here.

“It’s a great day for a ball game; let’s play two!”

Last week the baseball player, Ernie Banks passed away. Here’s what I felt compelled to write the next day after being reminded about his legacy during a radio report:

If you aren’t familiar with this former baseball player, please find any brief obituary. Here’s what I’d like to celebrate about him: Win or lose Ernie loved his job and made an effort to share his optimism with those around him- fans, teammates, or reporters. I think this is a legacy I can aspire to. I’m going to make an effort, and I encourage each of you, to show up for work with Ernie’s level of enthusiasm and gratitude. I am very lucky that everyday I can be with compassionate and committed co-workers and endlessly fascinating students, and I will do what I can to let those around me on our campus that no matter how exciting or mundane the task at hand we are at the forefront of excitement and innovation in education.

The following Monday, Banks’ legacy was summed up this way: He was one of the all-time greatest ball players, among baseball’s inner circle of the best of the best. Yet, he will be remembered as a great person who did what he could to bring joy to those around him.

Want Relevance and Rigor? Immerse your school in current global affairs and global competency

I had an opportunity to apply for a scholarship to travel abroad for a week. The application gave me the opportunity to write about the importance of global competency and 21st century skills (which I hope to further define in future posts). In 400 words or less, here’s what I had to say about this.

Two of my roles in the school are instructional coach and classroom teacher and I use both roles to promote global competency and teach 21st century skills. In my AP Physics and AP Statistics classrooms I seek to have students investigate issues from around the globe. For example, in Physics we can study the use of rolling water containers to prevent women from needing to carry water for hours every day. In Statistics, we regularly use global data such as education levels or public health to learn about concepts like linear regression, finding summary statistics, and testing for statistical significance. In addition to understanding about the world, I want my students to be confident problem solvers who can direct their own inquiry, recognize the impact of multiple perspectives, communicate to a diverse audience, and be empowered that they can use their skills to take actions to improve their community. An important part of developing global competency is using technology and collaboration. For this I use Google Docs and Google Sheets to help students collaborate online with each other and learn how to share scientific data. I have introduced flipped classroom resources so that students understand that learning does not have to be confined to when they are in a school.

As an instructional leader I’ve made an effort to empower our school faculty to teach 21st century skills and promote global competency in their own classrooms. We have a school-wide focus on global citizenship and I make an effort to support teachers in making their lessons better in the following four ways: Include student choice, make the student task authentic to the work real professionals do, include a significant global issue, and require students to present or exhibit their work to a real-world audience.

Assessing and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom

Our campus faculty is reading the Rick Wormeli book, Fair Isn’t Always Equal in anticipation for his visit to San Antonio February 18th. The principal and I have worked together to help teachers process the book and in our next faculty meeting I will be facilitating our discussion of Chapter’s 5 and 6 about tiering assessments and designing good test questions. As a way of pre-thinking each faculty member is bringing three ideas they learned, two ideas they found interesting, and 1 question they still have. As a way of giving you a glimpse into how I am currently thinking about my classroom practice here’s my response to the three prompts:

3 Things I found out:

1. For tiering to be effective, it is best to stay focused on one concept or task for students to learn. When there are multiple learning objectives then it is harder to understand what level different students need to be working at and to make the objectives and purpose of tiering clear to students.

“To avoid a potential pitfall with tiering, be sure to stay focused on one concept or task” pg 57

2. Because feedback is so important to students and a key skill for differentiated instruction it is better to have shorter assessments more frequently instead of longer assessments over time. For one thing, longer, more complex assessments take more time to grade, thus making the feedback less immediate and useful to students. Additionally, shorter assessments make it easier to zero in on what students know and do not know. This in turn, makes the learning objectives clearer to students and makes it easier to know what to do next to reach the targeted level of mastery.

“In order to get an accurate rendering of students’ mastery and support the emphasis on formative assessment mentioned earlier, smart teachers give multiple, smaller, and focused tests over the course of the grading period…” pg 84

 3. For tests to be valid measures of understanding, students must have a clear idea of the format. For example if students are going to be asked to identify if a math problem is impossible to solve using only the given information, then students should have been exposed to this possibility leading up to the assessment and be familiar with how to recognize and respond to it. This aligns to the idea presented earlier in the book that to be clear about the objectives assessed, give students a blank copy of the test at the beginning of the unit and ask them to look it over to see what is coming next.

“We don’t call for an approach on a test question that wasn’t practiced by students extensively during our lessons” pg. 83

2 Interesting Things:

1. Frank Williams’s Taxonomy of Creativity immediately made me think of ways my classes may be boring to students, and ways that I could make it more engaging. I firmly believe that the best scientists are creative individuals and creativity is necessary for using the tools of math and science to their fullest potential. The go-tool method I use for increasing engagement is puzzling or challenging lab setups, but I would really enjoy having my students work their way through the taxonomy after a complex topic like conservation of energy has been introduced.

2. The discussion questions at the end of Chapter 5 were really interesting to me. I think I struggle with delivering the right amount of rigor to each student. The AP objectives are rigorous, but sometimes I feel that students are left behind as a topic is introduced and developed, and then half the class is stuck waiting, while I loop back to catch up those students who are struggling. While there’s intent to differentiate, often as I try to respond to the needs of some of my students, I pull the whole class into work that they aren’t ready for or already have learned.

1 Question I still have:

Is it best for students that I impose a uniform time limit (except for those with disabilities) under the justification that they need to be prepared for the time limits of the AP test, even though some students would be able to earn higher scores if I let them stay in class to finish the test? Will they cheat if I let them go to their next two classes and then come back at lunch or after school to finish a test?

 

Unpacking from SRI’s Winter Meeting

I’m on the airplane from Tucson to San Antonio as I begin this, and if all goes well I’ll be done before I’m told to “stow electronic devices.” However for this entry that may not be possible. What I would like to do is capture how my time was spent at SRI’s Winter Meeting: what I talked with others about, what I learned, and what I’m now aspiring to (in CFG work we call this What, So What, and Now What).

In general, I want my entries on this web site to help other educators think about their practice and share the ideas and actions that make a difference for students. For that to happen I understand that my writing should be brief and to the point. 20 or more paragraphs chronicling two and half days of learning is not likely to lead those who find this to urge friends and colleagues to come read what I’ve written and join the conversation in comments. So this post is for me- and maybe any supervisors who are wondering if it was a good idea to allow me to be off campus for two days to participate in the Winter Meeting.

Place

We began our conference by hearing from the principal of a charter high school in downtown Tucson. Carrie welcomed us to the meeting, shared our meeting’s theme, and encouraged us use our time well. What stood out to me from her opening remarks was her enjoyment at having so many (200? 400? 800? I couldn’t really count) of us gathered together in her hometown. She shared 5 words whose usage and meaning illuminate the Place where we were gathered. By introducing Place as a theme for our meeting a couple of big ideas about people and society were able to surface in my mind. The five words she shared with us to help us understand Tucson were mariachi, Sonoran, saguaro, roadrunner, and border.

The first big idea is that people want to be a part of a community. By this, I mean that I believe that people want to unify with those who they have something in common for the purpose of friendship, support, and inspiration. There are few things more natural for communities to form around than proximity. Though we don’t always form a community with those we live near as adults, the majority of the student population in schools is defined solely by geography. I think this point is important because it reminds me that even when students seem to have little in common and seem to be incapable of learning together there may be a common bond through the idea of Place that can be a starting point for building a classroom culture.

Secondly, the idea of Place reminded me of something I believe to be at the root of transformational education. I think transformational education is a fascinating concept to explore further, and since it likely means something different to me than it does to you, I think I should explain it a little bit more. The basic idea is that no matter what our role in the education system we all we want to make a change in a student, in a teacher, or in a system. For the change to take place it is necessary to understand the context that we want to make a change in. The discussion of Place at the opening of our conference reminded me that learning about the Place our students live and learn is essential to effectively enacting any changes.

Be Kind

Our keynote speaker was Jeanette Maré who founded Ben’s Bells Project and works to sustain and grow the project. Ben’s Bells is a project unique to Tucson that was created as Jeanette was coping with the loss of her son, Ben. As the anniversary of his passing approach she and her friends and family decided to honor Ben by creating chimes made of a bell and painted ceramic patterns that could be placed around Tucson. The bells included the phrase “Be Kind” and those who received them were asked to perform an act of kindness for another in the community and pass the kindness on. Over the years, Jennifer and Tucson have come to discuss and learn what it means to be kind. How it is an expression of love and a way to show unity that goes beyond being nice. Indeed sometimes being kind means offering critical feedback or helping someone make a better choice.

The most important piece of her talk to us was that she has found in both her work and her research on the mind that kindness is a skill to be learned and practiced. We don’t automatically know how to be kind to each other but we can learn if we have kindness modeled for us and are provided a trusting environment to practice kindness. It was fascinating to consider kindness in the context of schools. If we all aspire to have a school where students are kind to each other then what steps do we need to take to teach them how to do it?

Here are six additional points about kindness she wanted us to take away:

  • Kindness is within our power
  • Kindness honors personality and honors connection
  • Kindness builds trusts
  • Kindness is fierce
  • Kindness is intentional, it is a way of responding rather than reacting
  • Kindness is selfish, it changes us first

And finally, 3 questions for us to bring back to our schools. She began with these questions to help us focus on her presentation and make meaning of it. If you are with me still, consider answering one or more of these questions with a comment below.

  1. Is my school a kind place for all?
  2. What steps can I take for my students to be kind?
  3. What can I do to restore hope?

Who we are and what we do best

Our small group was eager to work together. From the start it was noticeable how enthusiastic the participants were to be learning from each other. A simple activity like going around the circle introducing ourselves led to praise being tossed around our table like a beach ball at an Angels’ baseball game. The affirmation continued as we moved into a norming process, discussed CFG work and protocols and prepared to have our first structured conversation- a tuning of adult work for a school leader preparing to lead her school community in a revision of the school mission statement.

The old mission statement had been created 10 years ago as the school was created. It was successful and useful for shaping and guiding the board, faculty and students who were building a community. And now that the school was ten years old its leader believed that it was time to reevaluate if the mission was still saying the right thing. Our group used a process of examining the mission statement, asking clarifying questions, comparing the mission statement to six goals and values for the school community and providing warm and cool feedback. Finally we were able to hear from the school leader and what next steps she was considering.

One of the outstanding phrases that arose from this discussion was that she wanted a mission statement that could show the community “who we are and what we do best.” Another participant in the group later used the idea of a mission statement being a gate to the community. These two ideas clicked in my mind as I thought of my classroom communities and my broader school community. My aspiration from this discussion was to try to come up with a way to succinctly summarize what takes place in my classroom. I feel like my classrooms have been lacking clarity around what the purpose for our learning is. I have a long list of performance outcomes, AP objectives and the goal that I “want students to be prepared when you take these classes in college.” But how much more powerful and useful would it be if we could have a single statement that we can point to each day that reminds us that I should take pride in the tasks I ask my students to complete and students should take pride that they are not just getting new facts in their head but are changing themselves into better mathematicians, better scientists and better citizens. This point was significantly emphasized in our closing keynote and I hope to articulate more about it.

To close this section, I love the ideas behind the school’s mission and I’d like to leave the complete statement and the goals/values here as well:

We strive to be a community of learners in which all members use their minds well and care about one another. We engage with challenging academics and the unique resources of our city and region in order to become active citizens and responsible stewards of our work.

School Goals/Values (I’ll use the school’s headings, and then give a brief statement in my own words of what it represents.)

  1. Personalization– every individual on our community matters and we will all treat each other accordingly.
  2. Challenging academic curriculum– Students will engage in meaningful tasks to learn important content
  3. Community connections– students will understand the community around them and engage in it responsibly
  4. Student leadership– students will take responsibility and show initiative to improve the school and community
  5. Diversity– we will honor the multiple perspectives that our diverse population brings and our curriculum will reflect our cultural diversity
  6. Institutional advancement– our school will use resources responsibly in a manner that supports growth and innovation.

The Issaquah

Following a brief break after our discussion using the Tuning protocol we next decided to look at school leader’s dilemma using the Issaquah protocol. I love this protocol because of a wonderful CFG leader I met in Boston last year who loved this protocol and sold me on it. Now, anytime this protocol comes up in CFG work I remember how much I enjoyed my small group in Boston 2014. So naturally when our small group facilitator asked for a volunteer to facilitate the Issaquah I volunteered.

In essence the dilemma we discussed was this. How do you give support to those educators who need it, but are already stretched to their limits and beyond in terms of time and workload? Two wonderful things happened during our discussion. First, I made a mistake in the protocol. Others in the group would probably just say that I made a choice in facilitating to depart from the protocol as written, but it wasn’t intentional and I regretted making that departure. This was wonderful for multiple reasons. I’ve learned something from this mistake. I’ve talked about it, reflected upon it and I will be more careful in reading protocols so that if I depart from how it’s written it will be a deliberate choice. Additionally, this mistake gave us a chance to talk as a group about facilitating and mistakes and to hopefully support others as they take risks in facilitating discussion.

My second wonderful thing from the discussion was the group’s kindness as I received praise from others in the group. I wasn’t sure if I would share publicly that it made me feel good for others to tell me they thought I was an excellent facilitator. It seems a little bit vain and it’s not really a surprising insight to say that telling people they did something well makes them happy. But I think there’s further implications that make me want to include it in this too-long reflection. The kind words of my group are what are giving me the courage to make my thoughts public. I want to sustain a conversation about transformational learning communities fiercely committed to educational equity and excellence and spread the value of CFG to those who may have never heard of it. It is because of the support of those I worked with this week that I believe that I can use Complementarity to do this.

As for the dilemma we discussed, I am taking two thoughts on this back to San Antonio. The first is that even if someone is out of time, it’s worth it to force the time to be carved out if the conversation and support is authentic, collaborative, and transformational. The other thought is that as an instructional leader I need to be more sensitive to the needs of the teachers around me. Perhaps they aren’t knocking on my office door asking for help, but if I can be a greater presence in their classrooms and have a better understanding of their strengths and weakness then I can offer the right kind of support for them.

Our first day of work together ended after we discussed this dilemma, and though I’d love to share the learning that took place as a cohort of us from San Antonio ate, walked, and talked together, I’ll save it for a second reflection on the other day and half of Winter Meeting.

An Opportunity

I spent the weekend at a meeting of educators from around the country in Tucson, Arizona. The meeting was organized by the School Reform Initiative, a national organization that “creates transformational learning communities fiercely committed to educational equity and excellence.” It is hard to explain to people who are used to conferences and workshops how the experience of educators at Winter Meeting is essentially different from those types of professional development. The essential structure of our two and a half days together is a group of 10 to 12 professionals who represent a diverse range of age, experience, ethnicity and roles in our education system. I happened to be in a group of 11 with educators from Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, New York, and Massachusetts.

In addition to the time spent in this group, I heard from two keynote speakers at the open and close of the meeting and spent Friday morning visiting City High School and learning about how they use Community Day to connect students to the city around them and encourage students to collaborate across grade levels outside of the usual classroom structure. What’s further remarkable about the Winter Meeting is that the scheduled time to meet is not nearly enough to contain the questions and conversation that my colleagues and I wanted to have. An apparently innocuous question to someone I’ve just met like, “how did you become a teacher?” lead to a pretty significant conversation about school culture and expectations for our students.

As our small group finished our last session together we each took turns sharing how our weekend has affected or changed us. My response:

I used to think that because I worked with fantastic colleagues who shared my vision of serving students through empathy, innovation, and collaboration I did not needed a wider network of support during the year. Now I think that connecting with individuals from other parts of the country has the potential to push my thinking in a way that will make me a more effective classroom teacher and instructional leader. I think there is an opportunity to use technology and social media to make this much more likely.

So my first action based off this closing thought is to write about my learning and my commitment to share it. My second action is to invite more people to visit this site and continue the conversation. My hope is that as I try to regularly highlight the questions and answers that my job raises for me there will be a positive ripple that moves out from me, to the students and teachers at my school, to educators around the country who can be renewed and excited by conversations about equity and excellence in education.

Websites about teaching and learning that are good and powerful have the following traits I aspire for Complementarity to develop. They give an honest description of what happens in the school or classroom and the emotions that those events evoke, and yet, do not violate anyone’s right to privacy. All of the writing is infused with a sense of joy about being paid to spend time with students and learning new things about the world together. Finally there is a space for a community to have conversations and for people to give and receive critical feedback. Feel free to share my writing and leave comments in any way that furthers the conversation about teaching and learning. I hope that this site can become a useful addition to the many conversations taking place online.

Can the model for great classrooms can be found in pre-k and kinder?

The 2013-2014 school year has been underway for about 3 weeks now.  I have been teaching a class of 21 eleventh and twelfth grade students, my daughter has started 4th grade and my son has been in preschool after being taken care of at home for the last two years.  My mother made a career in early child development, coordinating child care services for an urban county in the San Francisco Bay Area and teaching college courses part time.  I mention this because I was raised learning about the importance of pre-k and kinder education and how it fits in to the work done in elementary, middle, and high schools.

So before I write more about elementary and secondary classrooms, I thought I’d start with a few things worth sharing about the education of three, four, and five year-olds.  Sir Ken Robinson shared in one of his recent TED talks that tests for creativity given to five year olds produce higher scores than the tests given to 10 year olds.  In essence he argues that formal schooling reduces the ability of kids to ask questions, be creative, and learn for themselves.  This got me thinking that if inquiry, creativity, and self-directed learning are things I value in secondary students, then perhaps some reflection of what these traits look like in pre-kinder classes could help me articulate to the teachers I work with what traits we want to see in their classroom.

So in what ways are pre-k students creative?  The first thing that comes to mind is what I hear and see when kids have time to play by themselves.  Sticks can turn into swords, blocks can turn into houses, and kids can turn into talking ponies (my family has been on a My Little Pony kick for a while now).  Kids are not limited by what they have to play with, and will simply imagine that whatever they need is what they have.  There are no constraints on their creativity until an adult tells them that the time has come to stop playing.

Is there an “educational value” to this kind of creativity?  Certainly there is for pre-k and kinder students.  If they are trying to engage in this sort of play with others, then they learn important social skills as well as develop the language capabilities to communicate effectively.  If a student is engaged in creative play by themselves, then I believe that children are learning an important lesson about independence, and that the act of imagining and creating is intrinsically rewarding.

Is there a way to allow elementary, middle, and high school students to engage in this kind of creativity in their education?  A school can help support student creativity by ensuring that there is adequate time for recess, art, and music.  Clubs and organizations will often allow creative students to have an outlet for their passions.  However, I would like to see the goal of creativity embraced as an essential part of the core curriculum.  The Common Core won’t do this, and it’s not likely to be a part of any college readiness initiative like AP and IB programs.  Instead, we need the individual classroom teachers to understand what it means for a scientist to be creative or a mathematician to be creative or a social scientist to be creative or a reader and writer to be creative.  Once the classroom teacher understands creativity, then they can build it into their program.  I’ll close this section by saying this, most math and science teachers cry a little inside (sometimes very deep inside) when they hear a student say that they don’t like math or science because they are a “creative person” as though the two were mutually exclusive.

A Brief Post About Types of Teaching and Kinds of Teachers

I got a recap from a friend of some of what Dr. Schmoker presented this week and the recap included phrases like “he’s for traditional learning” and “he thinks constructivist learning is misguided.”  Through future posts I’ll be sharing my own vision for effective classrooms and schools and I’d like to think that this vision defies description by any shortcut labels (otherwise, why spend time blogging about it when I could just write on my About Page that I  believe in constructivist learning).  Furthermore, as I consider excellent lesson ideas and classroom philosophy, I’ll be referring to many of these styles of teaching.  So for the sake of my own clarity, here are some terms I may use regarding classrooms and what they mean to me:

Traditional classroom, traditional methods, traditional teaching

All of these terms mean to me that the teacher knows something that the students need.  The job of the teacher is transfer this information to the students, give them an opportunity to practice it (hopefully working higher and higher up Bloom’s Taxonomy), and assign grades based on how much they learned and how quickly they learned it and to what extent they can transfer their learning to new and creative situations.  This does not exclude the possibility that teachers are flipping classrooms, using rich technological methods for student to practice and demonstrate understanding, or using a variety of strategies to make learning engaging for students.

In my opinion this approach emphasizes learning content at the expense of creativity, inquiry, and self-directed learning.  Which if you are suburban school or a school serving mostly high income families with highly motivated students then this approach will likely lead to students who thrive.  And if you feel your job is to fill your students with facts so they stand out on AP tests, and can succeed in rigorous college courses, then chances are these methods will work well for you.  However, I believe that the disturbing drop out rate in urban high schools will never fully be fixed until urban middle school teachers let go of these methods.

Differentiated instruction (mostly a synthesis of what I’ve taken from the books by Carol Ann Tomlinson)

Students come into a unit of instruction with different levels of readiness, different interest in learning and using the content, and different ways that are most effectie for them to learn and demonstrate learning.  A classroom that effectively uses differentiated instruction is frequently assessing these three things about students and then differentiating either the content that students are developing in their work, or the process through which students learn, or the products that students create to demonstrate their understanding.  Differentiation and traditional teaching are not exclusive of each other.  It is reasonable and likely in today’s classrooms that a teacher can believe that they hold the content that students must learn, and that different students will acquire this knowledge through different content, process, or products based on their readiness, interest, and learning style.

Inquiry Learning/Constructivist learning

The key difference between what I’m labeling as inquiry learning and what I’m labeling as traditional learning is that in inquiry learning the subject matter content that students are working with is less important than the deeper understandings behind the content and the methods used to explore those deeper understandings.

For example, if I’m teaching an algebra class as an inquiry/constructivist teacher, then I would approach the content “students can solve systems of linear equations using a variety of methods” differently than a traditional classroom teacher would.  This classroom would focus much more on what it means to find a solution.  There would not be any example or problem given in class that did not have an authentic context around it and students would start by being given a guess and check strategy from the teacher.   From there students would work through examples of increasing complexity, finding shortcuts to guess and check methods, keeping track of solutions that seem to work, and situations where a strategy is no longer effective.  Then, students and teachers would work together to communicate the working strategies as a set of rules.  There may not be time to construct the methods of graphing, substitution, and elimination through inquiry and collaborative problem solving, so maybe students can’t use the elimination technique as well as students in the traditional classroom.  However, math class is suddenly about a lot more than learning techniques for solving equations.  It’s about exploring why equations are used in the first place and how to effectively understand and communicate mathematical processes.

Project Based Learning/Problem Based Learning (PBL)

The technical distinction between these two terms aren’t too important to me, and I believe mostly based on the titles of books that help teachers effectively use these methods.  PBL classrooms or PBL units are designed to ensure that the instruction and assessment of students involves students working on creating a project or solving a problem and then presenting their solution to an outside audience.  In order to create a high quality product, students are required to explore the necessary content.    If modeled and explained poorly, project based learning is easy for traditional teachers to dismiss, but if implemented faithfully the best aspects of traditional learning, inquiry learning, and differentiated instruction are naturally included.

Standards Based Assessment/Standards Based Grading/Mastery Grading

I wrote above that a traditional classroom assigns grades based on the amount of the required content learned, and the time in which it was learned.  Standards Based Grading (SBG) is based on the idea that grades should be solely based on how much of what a student needs to learn, the student learned.  So students are given a list at the beginning of grading period of what objectives they are supposed to demonstrate mastery of.  The teacher teaches the objectives and when a student is able to demonstrate mastery (or when the teacher recognizes a need to assess), they complete an assessment task assigned by the teacher.  Students who aren’t successful on a given task can get more instruction and then try again.  Participation in class activities, and completion of homework do not contribute to the “grade” a student earns (although a teacher should be giving significant formative feedback about the quality of student work) but rather steps that are required to be completed before a student can attempt an assessment.

I believe I first learned about SBG from Rick Wormeli and his book Fair Isn’t Always Equal about effective assessment in a differentiated classroom.  I further refined my understanding of SBG from Dan Meyer who fully explained his methods in his blogs.  I’m proud that two colleagues of mine are converting to SBG this school year, and I’m a little ashamed that in my own AP Stats class, I decided not use SBG because I didn’t feel comfortable changing the grading policies that I felt were effective for this class in previous years.  Essentially, I may have allowed what I felt was good enough in my classroom to prevent me from a change that may have made my classroom great.

Wrapping up

Every year I have been teaching, I can generally point to a significant change in my practice that led to an improvement in student learning in my class.  The biggest philosophical question that drives me to consider a change in my practice is:

Are students using the time in my classroom well?

Because of this question, I’ve sought out lessons that increase the rigor of my class. I’ve sought to ensure that in every class every student has a chance to read, write, and talk about what they are thinking and learning.  I’ve paid attention to what kinds of activities engage students and increase intrinsic motivation for learning math and science.  And I’ve paid attention to the classroom culture and establishing norms that allow everyone (including me) to do his or her best work.  In my vision for a well run classroom, the needs of the teacher, student, and content will require changes in how instruction takes place and a teacher should feel like they have the licence and ability to shift instructional strategies based on their professional judgement.  This is what I consider the Art and Science of Teaching, and I hope this blog can facilitate a conversation among professionals about how they serve their students well.

Your comments are always welcome