Teaching So Kids Actually Learn: My First Attempt At Project Based Learning

Think back to your clearest memories of elementary school or middle school. What do you remember? I know what I remember… my fifth grade oceanography project lead by Mr. Soderberg, teacher-extraordinaire. In teams of four, our group of fifth grade scientists were tasked with the challenge of saving the ocean floor. The project went something…

Dialogue

I feel, sometimes, that people who care deeply about education often talk past each other instead of engaging with each other at a deeper level to work through disagreements in order to build solutions. It’s like there are two opposing sides just shouting at each other from across an imaginary line drawn in the sand…

Setting Up for Successful Collaboration

So I was reading this Harvard Business Review blog post on the Six Common Misperceptions About Teamwork and this immediately popped out to me: The hands-on activities of group leaders do make a difference. But the most powerful thing a leader can do to foster effective collaboration is to create conditions that help members competently…

My Unit Planning Progress: The Beginning

I will be planning my next two units (measurement and biology) on Google Docs so that I can collaborate with other educators and so I can easily see my revision history. I think it’ll be a very informative look into the planning process, as well as a way for me to go back and reflect…

How Do I Teach Evolution, Respectfully and Uncompromisingly?

I’m planning my unit on biology right now and I’m going to unabashedly teach evolution. The unit sequence begins with the essential questions of “What gives rise to the great diversity of life on this planet?” and “Where do humans come from?”* I will then ask my students to make predictions about what evidence would…

The Evidence For/Against Evolution

This post is meant as a forum for debate for those who would like to explain the evidence for evolution or argue against it. Please keep comments respectful. As moderator, I reserve the right to refuse to post any comments that are insulting, rude, or otherwise inappropriate.

How Do I Give Authentic Assessments? The Lab Practicum

I’m planning to have a lab practicum in which my students have to work in teams of three or four to figure out the composition of three mystery liquids (water, salt water, and rubbing alcohol). The content goals of this practicum is for my students to apply their understanding of boiling points (that boiling point…

Keeping Track of Your Finances: The Easy Way

SHORT STORY | The answer to all your finance tracking woes is¬†Xpenser.com. Go there, now. LONG STORY |¬†One of the issues as a new teacher, I find, is dealt with completely outside of the classroom, and that’s finances. I’m just not used to keeping track of where I spend my money or documenting anything throughout…

Changing School Governance

Charter schools have largely been a niche operation, serving few students relative to the number of students served by traditional public school systems. Successful charter schools have also generally been seen as a specific intervention, a model for another, single, excellent school. However, the conversation has shifted in recent years to charter schools as structural…