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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 | 0 comments

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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Praise is the Key to Unlocking Motivation

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in Blog, Education Innovation Fellowship, Featured | 0 comments

Praise is the Key to Unlocking Motivation

What’s your motivation? What moves you to be the absolute best you that you can be? Who’s your cheerleader? Who makes you feel like you can go to the moon, kiss the stars and come back ready for another supernatural adventure?  In my classroom, with my students, I am that person. I am the motivator, the cheerleader and the nurturer. I love what my role as a teacher has morphed into. As an educator, I believe we should plant seeds of greatness in our students. In addition to teaching academic lessons, I work very hard to instill value into...

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Rookie Mistakes: Five Lessons about Blended Learning I learned the hard way

Posted by on Sep 16, 2014 in Blog, Education Innovation Fellowship, Featured | 0 comments

Rookie Mistakes: Five Lessons about Blended Learning I learned the hard way

These are the voyages of a 5th grade Latin class and their teacher who decided to implement a blended learning model – station-rotation style – during the final month of the 2013-2014 school year.   1. Password Control (or lack thereof) This was the single most confounding aspect of my pilot. I was using three different websites that had been gradually introduced to students earlier in the year.   Rookie Status: I let students choose their usernames and passwords to create their own accounts. In addition, the site we were using...

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Walking the Walk: Professional Development Personalized

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Blog, Featured, USC Hybrid High | 3 comments

Walking the Walk: Professional Development Personalized

As the leader of various instructional and non-instructional teams for the past eight years, I thought I had things figured out when it came to onboarding PD. People generally had a good time getting to know one another, my PD laid the foundation for healthy, high-functioning teams, and we saw strong results at the end of each year. I was also conscious to ensure that my PD modeled strong instructional practices, doing my best to complete the traditional lesson cycle for each topic and modeling what I expected from teachers.   Although we...

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Education Innovation Fellowship: Effective Practices Gleaned From Summer Pilot Projects

Posted by on Aug 5, 2014 in Blog, Education Innovation Fellowship, Featured | 0 comments

Education Innovation Fellowship: Effective Practices Gleaned From Summer Pilot Projects

  July Program Day   “The people that aren’t here for summer school are really missing out,” Cindy, a spunky seventh grader tells me. “I’ve learned so much more this summer because I get one-on-one time with Mr. Johnson, and get to work at my own pace. School wasn’t like that before.”   When was the last time you heard a student boast this much about summer school?   Joshua Johnson is one of the 20 CityBridge Education Innovation Fellows, all PreK-12 public and public charter school educators in Washington,...

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How to Cultivate Blended Learning Leaders and Grow a Better Pipeline

Posted by on Jul 14, 2014 in Blog, Featured, KIPP Chicago | 1 comment

How to Cultivate Blended Learning Leaders and Grow a Better Pipeline

As more schools look to implement blended learning, positions like “Blended Learning Manager” and “Personalized Learning Director” have popped up in larger numbers on jobs boards. I just wrapped up my first year in such a role as the Director of Technology for KIPP Chicago Schools. As I reflect on this year, there are a few key skills that schools should look for in their candidates and/or be prepared to develop. In addition, a better pipeline needs to be created to sustain the growing demand.   Let’s start with the...

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