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Reactive vs. Proactive: Lessons I’ve Learned From The Armchair

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Blog, Featured, Matchbook Learning | 2 comments

Reactive vs. Proactive: Lessons I’ve Learned From The Armchair

Reactive: Done in response to a problem or situation: reacting to problems when they occur instead of doing something to prevent them.   School administrators are not expected to predict the future, but they are expected to be prepared for it. Without discernment and a game plan ready to go at all times, a principal leaves herself vulnerable to making hasty, and therefore uninformed, decisions. These “snap” solutions are rarely recorded and are even less likely to be communicated to staff and necessary stakeholders, thus eroding the...

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When It All Falls Down

Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

When It All Falls Down

As a child, I was taught to recite that age-old nursery rhyme, “London Bridge is Falling Down.” Of course, when you’re young, you never really take the time to ask why London Bridge is falling—nor do you realize that the rhyme really makes no sense. And as you get older, you may still find yourself asking why London Bridge fell down. Could it have been a fire? Natural disaster? Or could it have been as simple as a lack of support?   As educators, we are the bridges for our students when it comes to learning complex concepts,...

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Growth vs. Mastery

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in Blog, Education Innovation Fellowship, Featured | 3 comments

Growth vs. Mastery

My blended learning pilot this summer was designed to fill learning gaps for incoming 9th grade students—specifically, I wanted to increase their English Language Arts (ELA) grades, improve their performance on standardized tests, and increase their overall engagement.  30% of my school’s 9th graders failed the course last school year with a grade of D or lower. My school administration also wanted the pilot to include a component for character education, since many of our 9th grade students had trouble last year transitioning to high...

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Teacher Leadership: Leading Without Leaving

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Blog, Education Innovation Fellowship, Featured | 3 comments

Teacher Leadership: Leading Without Leaving

The word “teacherpreneurs” makes me want to throw up.  It reminds me of a celebrity mash-up, like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie become “Brangelina.” YUCK! The education world has mashed-up “teacher” and “entrepreneur” to become this strange lovechild.  While I believe the phrase itself is a miss match of words, I think the concept is genius.   I first encountered the word on my Twitter feed this past March.  Unfortunately, I did not attend this year’s SXSWedu conference in Austin, but in conversations on social media,...

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Beyond Bubble-In: A Case for Blended Learning in the PARCC Classroom

Posted by on Oct 6, 2014 in Blog, Education Innovation Fellowship, Featured | 0 comments

Beyond Bubble-In:  A Case for Blended Learning in the PARCC Classroom

“For each question, fill in only the circle that goes with the answer you choose. Fill in the circle completely and make your mark heavy and dark …”   Teachers, do these words sound familiar to you? If you’re anything like me, just hearing them makes you feel a certain something in the pit of your stomach.   You may be relieved that the days of teaching kids to “bubble-in” are behind (most of) us. But for the upcoming PARCC assessments, you will need to teach students how to: type quickly for long periods – and not on...

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Finding the Right Fit

Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Blog, Education Innovation Fellowship, Featured | 0 comments

Finding the Right Fit

My journey into personalized learning was fraught with frustrations, disappointments, and pivots. I began the school year with a class of 18 brilliant fifth grade learners, 12 of them with individualized education plans (IEP’s). What I learned immediately was that the more traditional method of whole-group instruction wasn’t the most beneficial. Although there were some benefits to teaching all students at the same time, I found that this particular teaching practice did not account for the variance of our learners. A student in fifth...

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One, PAWS UP! Two, HOME KEYS! Three, BEGIN!

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Blog, Education Innovation Fellowship, Featured | 0 comments

One, PAWS UP! Two, HOME KEYS! Three, BEGIN!

The third graders in my classroom begin to type their short stories with a flurry. Eyes scan their compositions for the next word and small pinky fingers stretch to reach the Q’s and P’s.   Periodically, a hand shoots up, “How do you make a question mark?”   “Mr. Strader, can you just type mine for me?”   Eventually, fingers cemented on the Home Keys begin to slide and eyes begin to wander. Some students take a 10-second finger stretching break before dutifully returning to work, while others begin to peruse the...

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Returning to Base Camp: The Next Steps in Personalized Learning

Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in Blog, Education Innovation Fellowship, Featured | 1 comment

Returning to Base Camp: The Next Steps in Personalized Learning

“What to ourselves in passion we propose The passion ending, doth the purpose lose” Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2   In 1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the peak of Everest. They were the first to successfully climb the mountain and return. Almost 30 years earlier, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine perished near the top of that same peak, and controversy still swirls about if they reached the summit. It doesn’t really matter whether they did; climbing a mountain is all about making it back home.   As a teacher,...

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