A Culture of Innovation

Getting Started and Finishing Creative Work – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

I used to think all I needed to create something that mattered was passion and I was wrong. It turns out passion/interest might start the engine and get the creative process moving, but the purpose is what takes it all the way to the destination (and beyond). Without Purpose the Process Will Stop I learned this the hard way when I started to write my first (would be) book. It was going to be titled, “The Quantified Teacher”. I…

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5 Ways to Reflect (and Learn) Like a Zombie – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

If you are going through a deep period of reflection at the end of the school year (or even a short period) and are thinking about how to get recharged, I urge you to start living like a zombie. Just hear me out for a minute…(and let’s have some fun with this post). As a big Walking Dead fan, I’ve learned a few things from watching those zombies every week. And I’ve come to respect their ability to succeed…

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What I Wish For Every Kid – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Be more chef. It is a mantra I’ve adopted and taken to heart these past few months as my brother lay in a hospital, seemingly impacting the world more from that bed, then many of could do with bodies that were not full of tumors and cancer. My brother was a chef in every sense of the word. He took the circumstances that life gave him and turned them into something wonderful and new and beautiful. When my brother…

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Creating an Environment Where Innovative Teaching and Learning Flourish – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Last winter, as we were digging out of the twenty inches of snow, my kids were sledding in the backyard and hiding out in their igloo. My 6-yr old son had another snow day passion, filling up a plastic cup with snow to the brim and walking around calling it his “snow cone. I know what some of you are thinking: Don’t let your kid eat snow! Yes, it is a bit excessive, but scientists say it’s not really…

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The Real Reason It’s So Difficult to Start Project-Based Learning – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

My colleague and I looked at each other on Tuesday of this week. She had a look in her eyes of pure exhaustion. I could sense a call for help, but I think we were both too tired to send out an SOS. I let out a deep sigh and said, “Man, is it June yet!” The past two weeks had been a whirlwind of non-stop problem finding and problem-solving. It was good work, but tiring work. As a Director…

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What Project-Based Learning Looks Like In An Elementary Classroom – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

To be honest, I was lost. Elementary teaching was something so new to me when I took a job as a Technology Staff Developer. I taught middle school. I taught high school. I’d written curriculum for those levels, and connected with many educators who teach at those levels, learning so much along the way. As a K-5 Instructional Coach, my eyes were open wide the first time I stepped into a 1st Grade Classroom. The teacher was actually teaching the kids…

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How To Turn Any Unit into A Project-Based Learning Experience – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

I was worried the first time I tried a project-based learning unit with my students. As a young teacher, I had prided myself on running a challenging class and had focused much of my attention on getting my students prepared for what we were both going to be assessed on: the test. I was not doing test prep. I didn’t believe that giving students sample test questions would make them do any better on our state standardized scores (and still…

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The Struggle to Do Work That Matters Is Real (And Worth It) – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

In 1915 Albert Einstein sent a letter to his son, Albert. Einstein was living with his second wife and had not seen either of his two sons for quite some time. It was in 1915 that Einstein had finalized his theory of general relativity, and this letter to his son hints at that monumental achievement. However, what strikes me about this letter (which I first saw in Farnam Street) is Einstein’s thoughts on learning that he shares with his 11-year-old son.…

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Four Questions to Maximize Engagement – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

When I heard the news that Phil Schlechty had passed away it was sudden and I felt sadness. I’ve never met Phil but I’ve been deeply impacted by his work throughout the years. You see it’s one of the things I’m learning about education and writing in this whole connected place: We get to know people through their work, we get to know people through their passions, and we get to know people who we actually don’t know face-to-face. Schlechty’s…

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Creating Authentic Partnerships for Your School (One Email At A Time) – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Let me try to paint this picture. We were sitting in our school conference room on a Skype call with a Norwegian company, First Scandinavian, who creates and runs Newton Rooms around the world. Across the table from our High School Principal and Student Design Lab teacher were two leading research scientists from The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education. In the middle of the conference room table sat a PCR Machine (which if you asked me what this…

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How to Use Learning Goals to Pick the Right Technology Tools – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Three different schools, in three different states, in a matter of two weeks. I got the same question. “How can I use Flipgrid in my class?” “Have you tried this with Flipgrid?” “Oooh, this would be perfect with Flipgrid!” It seems that Flipgrid has teachers and school leaders around the country (and world) excited to use its product for learning purposes. But, last summer I was bombarded with the same questions about Formative and Google Classroom. Before that, it…

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How To Do Project-Based Learning That Connects to Standards and Curriculum – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

There is a scene in the film, “Most Likely to Succeed”, that struck me to the core. You see, for years I wanted to be the challenging teacher. I wanted to be the one where students came into my class and left knowing and understanding much more than in any other subject. I made their tests and quizzes extremely challenging, making sure they’d have to study in order to even come close to a B or an A. And for…

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Teaching Our Kids About The Necessary Work To Have An Opinion – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything thatI don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.”— Charlie Munger It was early on in my teaching career when it hit me: My students believed any opinion on our current text was a good opinion. They would offer up their own “thoughts”, “beliefs”, “feelings” and opinions on the short-story, and believed (wholeheartedly) that any reader response was a correct reader response. At first, I didn’t want to say…

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Why Mental Models Are So Important – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

You may have heard this story: A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on…

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A Practical Approach – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

In the 1930’s there was a young boy who had become addicted to and obsessed with eating sugar. His mother decided to get help and took the long and hot journey with her son walking many miles and hours under the scorching sun.  She finally reached Gandhi and asked him to tell her son to stop eating sugar, it wasn’t good for his health. Gandhi replied, “I cannot tell him that. But you may bring him back in a few weeks and then I…

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Focusing On What Is Going To Stay The Same in Education – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

One of my favorite writers (and thinkers) in the world, Shane Parrish, recently wrote a post titled, “What’s Staying the Same?”. In this post, he flips the questions we all are normally asking (what is going to change?) into one that has relevance for all aspects of life, but especially for education: I want to know the future. So do you. However, our desire to know the future leads us to seek answers to unanswerable questions. The question, “What’s…

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