How do you ditch “safe teaching” when prepping for THE test?

In a recent blog post, I suggested that what we consider “safe teaching” might be risky teaching after all. In this post, I talked about how all the traditional, overused teaching techniques — lectures, worksheets, etc. — are easy for students to ignore. And when they’re ignoring instruction, there might as well be no instruction […]

You are in the miracle business — the best business to be in

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The system is getting in the way. Sir Ken Robinson has counseled education leaders all over the world. He’s seen what works and what doesn’t. And there’s a lot we can do in the United States — and in other countries — to improve. Take standardization and competition. We’re mass-producing lessons and units for the […]

Safe teaching is risky teaching

We teachers can be pretty risk averse. We don't like to take chances. But by trying to be safe, often we're engaging in risky teaching. (Public domain image via Pixabay.com)

I remember lots of important moments from my time in all levels of school. Many of them are my times with friends, conversations at the lunch table, sports competitions, etc. I remember some lessons from the classroom. The most vivid ones are projects I did with others or collaborative activities: I remember getting worksheet packets (blech!) […]

Customized email newsletters for every kid with Google Forms

Make solid connections with families by creating custom email newsletters for every student. It's easy with Google Docs, Sheets and Forms. (Public domain image via Pixabay.com)

Classroom newsletters are kind of hit and miss. If you’re sending photocopies of them home in students’ backpacks, I’ll bet your success rate is less than 50 percent. (And that’s being generous.) There’s a big reason I believe that these newsletters — which could be great parent/teacher communication tools — fall on deaf ears (or […]

12 ways to really make Genius Hour work in your class

Genius Hour empowers students to do something meaningful with their passions. Here are 12 ideas you can use in the classroom from an expert in innovation. (Public domain image via Unsplash)

Lots of schools and classrooms are making innovation a priority and changing how day-to-day school is done. Don Wettrick’s students take it to a whole new level. Don teaches “Innovation Class,” where students take on a project that connects with their passions. In this class, his students have created apps, designed new products and created […]

10 strategies for lightning-quick feedback students can REALLY use

Students crave feedback, but it has to be timely to matter. Here are some strategies for feedback students will WANT to read. (Wikimedia / Carla OLPC Wiki / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Using homework assignments to give feedback is pokey. Inefficient. Slow. Think about the length of the feedback loop for traditional homework assignments: Teacher assigns homework to students. Students take it home (maybe) and work on it (maybe). Students turn it in the next day. Teacher grades and provides comments that night (if not completely swamped […]

10 add-ons to Google Classroom you MUST try

Google Classroom's basic features are powerful. Take it to the next level with some add-ons created just for teachers and students.

The basic functions of Google Drive and Google Classroom are only the starting point for the innovative and creative uses one can use in the classroom. Alice Keeler, my co-author in our upcoming book Ditch That Homework, proves that again and again. Alice is one of the only people I know personally who codes for […]