10 Remote Learning Practices to Avoid – Education Article

Educators, schools, and districts have earnestly rolled out remote learning plans to support students and fill in gaps as a result of extended closures.  We have seen fantastic progress in a short amount of time as teachers, with little to no training in this area, have valiantly risen to the occasion. Are the plans perfect? Not by any stretch, but that is because they don’t have to be. As I have been working with schools and districts to help get their…

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8 Non-Digital Remote Learning Ideas – Education Article

A Principal’s Reflections: 8 Non-Digital Remote Learning Ideas 8 Non-Digital Remote Learning Ideas Before our eyes, we are watching districts and schools valiantly roll out remote learning plans to support all students during extended closures. Equally as important have been the many innovative ways to make food available to our most disadvantaged children.  I cannot commend their efforts enough.  Throughout this ordeal, we must be patient, understanding, and flexible as teachers and administrators, with little to no training in this…

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Voices from the Field: Best Practices – Education Article

By: Erin Gohl and Kristen Thorson Schools are the foundation of our society. Our collective success depends on their success. They are responsible for building an educated and skilled workforce, ensuring an engaged citizenry, and developing critical thinkers who will solve unknown future global challenges. Community leaders and politicians are constantly trying to figure out the components that will make schools successful. All too often, these conversations, debates, and reform movements ignore the perspectives of the educators who are doing…

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Strategies to Ensure Classroom, Professional, and Virtual Learning Success – Education Article

A Principal’s Reflections: Choice Boards 101: Strategies to Ensure Classroom, Professional, and Virtual Learning Success Choice Boards 101: Strategies to Ensure Classroom, Professional, and Virtual Learning Success As of late, I have been working with quite a few districts on personalization through a variety of blended learning strategies.  My experience in this area began over three years ago, thanks to having the opportunity to coach teachers and administrators at Wells Elementary School. As we are now in our third year…

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A Principal’s Reflections: Bookend Pedagogy – Education Article

A Principal’s Reflections: Bookend Pedagogy Bookend Pedagogy As I work with more and more schools in a coaching role, I am beginning to see specific trends emerge. Now, before I go any further, it goes without saying that I see fantastic examples of sound pedagogical practice and innovative strategies that are leading to improved learning outcomes.  However, my role, as the schools I partner with and I see it, isn’t to just spit out platitudes and tell them what they…

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Moving at the Speed of Creativity – Education Article

Last Thursday was the last day of our second trimester at school, and therefore the end of my second opportunity in 2019-20 to teach Digital and Media Literacy to 5th and 6th Graders. As classroom teachers, one of the things we quickly learn is how different the dynamics of separate classes can be based on the composition of students, their personalities, and the ways in which students interact and sometimes “play off of” each other. In this post, I’d like…

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A Principal’s Reflections: Knowing Where We Are Paves the Way for Change: The Impact of Coaching – Education Article

A Principal’s Reflections: Knowing Where We Are Paves the Way for Change: The Impact of Coaching Knowing Where We Are Paves the Way for Change: The Impact of Coaching I often tell audiences during keynotes and workshops that my role isn’t to tell anyone what to do, but instead to get educators to think critically about what they do. It would be foolish of any speaker or presenter to do so, considering that we don’t really know the people who…

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What is Constructivism and How Does it Fit Your Class? – Education Article

Constructivism is a student-centered philosophy that emphasizes hands-on learning and active participation in lessons. Constructivists believe that learning is an active process so the most effective way to learn is through discovery. With hands-on activities, learners actively create their own subjective representation of objective reality. Because new information is blended into prior knowledge, the result is – of course – subjective, heavily dependent upon the personal lens of each learner. That, in turn, is dependent upon their society, culture, past…

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The Why, How, and What – Education Article

A Principal’s Reflections: Personalized Learning: The Why, How, and What Personalized Learning: The Why, How, and What Education is at a crossroads. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is chugging ahead with the 5th on the horizon. New technologies have radically changed the world that all of us live and work in across the globe. In many cases, this has been a good thing, but not always. The fact of the matter is that change isn’t coming; it is banging on the…

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Mitigating #EdTech Issues in the Classroom – Education Article

A Principal’s Reflections: Mitigating #EdTech Issues in the Classroom Mitigating #EdTech Issues in the Classroom With all the promise that educational technology holds, several pitfalls are always on the minds of educators. The top two issues that commonly come up in my talks with educators are the technology (Internet, hardware, devices, apps) not working or off-task behavior on the part of students.  While there are some serious challenges that can derail any lesson, there are some strategic ways to mitigate…

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Pedagogy at the Heart of Professional Learning – Education Article

A Principal’s Reflections: Model What You Preach: Pedagogy at the Heart of Professional Learning Model What You Preach: Pedagogy at the Heart of Professional Learning When I began speaking ten years ago, almost all of my keynotes and presentations consisted of me just speaking at the audience. I was still a high school principal and not a trained speaker and presenter. Thus, I basically just shared what my teachers and students were doing at New Milford High School (NJ) and…

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How to Improve Checks for Understanding – Education Article

A great deal of time is spent developing and providing feedback on lessons with the goal being student learning. Regardless of the terminology that is used, virtually every plan follows a format to help achieve this outcome. As I have discussed previously, the anticipatory set at the beginning and closure at the end are critical strategies that can assist any teacher or administrator in determining the efficacy of a lesson. More importantly, both serve the needs of learners in terms…

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A Principal’s Reflections: Don’t Forget Closure – Education Article

A Principal’s Reflections: Don’t Forget Closure Don’t Forget Closure There are many pedagogical techniques that run the gambit when it comes to instruction and learning. In a previous post, I discussed the importance of opening lessons with a bang, using an anticipatory set. Whether you call it a set, hook, or bell ringer is not the issue. What is, though, is the value the strategy has as part of a comprehensive lesson. Here’s why: The anticipatory set is used to…

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Six Problems with a Growth Mindset in Education – Education Article

  Sometimes the truth is not enough.   Especially if you misunderstand its meaning.   That seems to be the main problem with a growth mindset.   It’s one of the trendiest concepts in education today, and – though it’s based on an authentic insight into how kids learn – it’s been shackled and monetized into an excuse to support a sterile status quo.   The basic idea goes like this: academic ability isn’t something students have or do not…

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Flexible Spaces Need to Lead to Flexible Learning – Education Article

A Principal’s Reflections: Flexible Spaces Need to Lead to Flexible Learning Flexible Spaces Need to Lead to Flexible Learning Do you remember the classrooms that you learned in as a child?  I sure do and not for many positive reasons. Each room was a carbon copy of one another, where you would have as many uncomfortable desks lined up in cute little neat rows.  The exception was science classrooms flush with lab tables. However, there still was the issue of…

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Opening Lessons With a Bang – Education Article

It seems like ages ago that I was taking courses to become a teacher at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. My professors were huge proponents of the Instructional Theory into Practice (ITIP) model developed by Madeline Hunter. Thus, once I had a classroom of my own, I implemented what I was taught to create effective lessons. Virtually all of the facets of the ITIP model still have value today, although by no means do all seven steps have to be…

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