What is Learning?

"So, how do you know that a child is learning?" This was recently asked of me at a parent coffee I held. This question emerged as I was discussing the progress monitoring that this school had instituted in their reading program. I was explaining as to how I view the yearly achievement testing as one piece in a student's educational portfolio. A way...
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Smooth Start

A few weeks ago, after moving my youngest son to his room at college, I was driving to visit my oldest son. With some quiet time in the car I started reflecting on how the school year has started at my client schools. This led me to the whole idea of smooth starts to school. What does that mean, to have a smooth start? Does it mean there are few sc...
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Let Them Read

What follows in this post is my personal beliefs about reading. I have done some research about what encourages reading and whether certain reading programs are effective catlaysts of students reading. But primarily my thoughts on reading come from my observations and interactions with students and my own children over the last two decades. What I ...
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Year End Reflections

  This post is not so much about suggesting or telling about an educational approach. Rather this is about my wanting to remember to include reflection more into my coaching and teaching. As we careen towards the end of the school year, so many activities seem to pop up that I often don't take the time for reflection. I have written about perc...
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Hatching Chicks

  Two of the schools that EdTech EASE works with include hatching chicks as part of their elementary science curriculum. This made me curious as to why this process was included in their curriculums. For both schools, this is part of a larger science curriculum. As part of their science curriculum, the first and second graders in these schools...
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Learning Spaces

Learning should not be regulated to just the classroom. I am not the only one who feels this way, just check Instagram and Facebook posts.Learning spills out into the hallways and beyond in many schools. In the schools I visit, I often observe that the hallways, multipurpose room, and even the kitchen are often transformed into learning spaces. Usi...
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Science Fair in a Digital World?

During the last few weeks I have been an observer in the process of a school science fair. When I first heard about this endeavor, I started thinking about, is there a place in this digital world for an old school science fair? Let's start with what I observed of this process. Students did preliminary research regarding their science concept, follo...
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Academically or Developmentally Ready?

Had a conversation with a parent last week. She was telling me how she and her husband had just watched Apollo 13 with their 5th grade daughter over the weekend. After reassuring their daughter that the astronauts were going to be fine, they all got really engrossed with the film. The 5th grader asked some great questions that they stopped the movi...
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How to improve...Practice!

Want to get better at something? Then practice it! Been feeling a bit frustrated that some educators and parents seem to think that students will improve in reading just because we are assessing their reading skills. No. Some think that students will improve their individual reading skills because they are reading short passages in an anthology onc...
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Loving Legos Again

So let's be honest, I have always loved Legos! When I say that I am loving Legos again, it is because I have started writing some new Lego Challenges for the schools that I am working with. I am also curating some fun new ones from Pinterest. I will share some of my new ones when I finish creating this batch. No sense in not sharing and using socia...
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What is your Objective?

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Several years ago, I was conferencing with a teacher. She said that she did not have enough time to do all the activities she had for her unit. In fact she had a wonderful new activity she wanted to add to to the unit plan. I stopped her and asked, "What is your Objective?" She then told me what the objective was for that unit and I asked if all th...
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Intentional Add-On

Intentional Add-On
  I have been working on a workshop presentation, Digital Citizenship, How Am I Supposed To Teach This? As I work through the segment as to why you should teach Digital Citizenship, I have found myself saying that teaching Digital Citizenship should not be done as add-on lessons but rather integrated into the curriculum. In fact it should and ...
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Celebrate the Good

The world seems so much smaller these days because of social media and the ability to contact people anytime anywhere. But walking in schools, I still get the feeling sometimes that classrooms are each in their own silo. Reaching out within a school does not often seem to happen as much as reaching out on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe it is because we...
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Percolating Time

So, when I decided to write a blog, I envisioned myself sitting down at my kitchen table and spending an hour here, an afternoon there, writing. Well, I was wrong. Well mostly wrong. Often I start a blog that way. Maybe a paragraph or just a sentence. But I have learned from writing letters to parents or articles for school newsletters, that I need...
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This week is July 4th week. Freedom is the idea running around in mind this week. What is freedom? So I posted the following on Twitter:  Here are some of the answers: FREEDOM to write what you think. FREEDOM to fail and try, try again. FREEDOM to disagree. FREEDOM to be more similar than different. FREEDOM to be what you are. FREEDOM to carve...
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Let the Creativity Flow

These days as a consultant, my students are the teachers and administrators in my client schools. So when I have the opportunity to meet with students and model some of the ideas that I am discussing with the faculty, I jump at the chance. This occurred recently on a consultation in North Carolina. I was demonstrating the ease of use of a fun littl...
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  As schools are ending or have ended, that brings graduations and moving up ceremonies. With this in mind, I am sharing a modified version of the 5th grade graduation talk I gave last year. I am a country music person. Several months ago I was walking, listening to my walking playlist and the song Voices by Chris Young came on.Now normally he...
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Happy Endings?

  Over Mother's Day weekend, I went to see Avengers -Infinity War. For many Mother's Days, my family takes me to see the new superhero movie. I like superhero movies, to the joy of my three sons. So even though my youngest son was home from college and had seen the movie, and my older two were not home, I asked my husband to take me. As we lef...
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Other Teachers’ Classroom

  The fascination of walking into another teacher's classroom. We have all felt it. The "Ooh, did not think to set up my bookshelves like that." Or the "That works well for a learning center." Now, I am not talking about Pinterest classroom jealousy, rather the ideas that pop up when you enter another teacher's room and wonder if yours could w...
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Accountability - What does it mean to be accountable?

Accountability. A word that is thrown around schools, discussed with parents, and expected of students. But what is it? The New Oxford American Dictionary on my computer defines accountability as: the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility. So when we say students need to be accountable, we are saying we want students to be responsi...
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