Mar 31

The Future of Personalized Learning is Now

By:Jean Fleming

goodgrade“Call it personalized, differentiated or customized—teachers have long dreamed of an education system that lets them deliver the exact instruction a child needs at the exact right time to foster optimal learning and growth. It’s this drive that makes teaching as much a calling as a career.

And the dream really is tantalizingly close, thanks to an approaching tipping point that’s bringing together curriculum, instruction, and assessment—the three legs of the education stool—with technology and teachers. It’s happening now in classrooms around the country.

Getting Smart and the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) recently released a report profiling 14 schools across the country breaking through the traditional model of teaching and learning by providing personalized learning experiences that are proven to enhance student learning. The schools profiled are experiencing success in part by setting high expectations for college readiness and tailoring instruction to each student’s individual needs and measuring growth through the use of the Measures of Academic Progress Assessment, or MAP test.” To read further please click here:

Mar 31

Enhancing Learning Through Differentiated Technology

By: Julie Stern

differentiated-instruction-2“Each day, teachers face the task of helping students stay engaged, show growth, and master the curriculum. How can they do this? Should they open the textbook and start teaching on page one? Should they use ongoing formative assessments to determine the individual needs of the student, also called differentiated instruction (DI)? According to research presented at the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement in January 2011 (PDF, 168KB), “No other factor contributed to the change in student’s achievement further than the intervention of DI.”

What DI Is and Isn’t

Many teachers feel overwhelmed if you mention the words “differentiated instruction.” In fact, I was one of those teachers. However, I have since learned that DI is not:



Mar 31

How I Use Seesaw To Create A Learning Journal in My Classroom

By Kelli Ohms

leaves“Being a functional life skills teacher, my class is not set up like a typical classroom. Students do a lot of individual and small group work. All students spend time on academic subjects like basic reading skills, money skills, and social skills. We also spend time on life skills activities. We’ll take trips out into the community to work on life skills needed in the community, and each Friday we cook a full course meal for lunch to work on cooking a variety of foods and following directions.

We started using Seesaw last November as a way to document and share the work my students were doing in the community and record evidence of the key academic skills they’re working towards. Due to the nature of my class, students pick and choose most of the items they post in their Seesaw journals, with some additional items which they are told to add.

At first, my biggest challenge was teaching my students to add items independently, but now they enjoy adding new items to their journals, and even request to post unprompted! I also give students option to “write about it” or “talk about it” so there is commentary from the student along with the photo or video. They pick based on what they’re most comfortable with doing, and I allow that because it is their journal.” To read further please click here:

Mar 31

8 Creative Ways to Get Reluctant Readers to Read

By: Dustin Le

african american“According to a study led by Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center, about 23% of 1005 participants (randomly called via landline and cell phone) had not read a book in the past year, including ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks. With the massive influx of information that students receive on a daily basis thanks to the Internet, it is not a surprising statistic. Not surprising, but quite alarming.

The Benefits of Reading

Reading is known to have some obvious benefits, such as improving vocabulary and of course increasing the breadth of knowledge that one has. But recent studies have shown some other less known benefits of reading.

Reading improves your ability to step into another person’s shoes.

While it has been known that reading can put you figuratively in a character’s shoes, recent brain scans using MRI technology have shown that reading a book can “transport you into the body of the protagonist.” This ability to empathize with another person’s experiences is a powerful and important tool that students will use throughout their lives, whether in the professional setting or in their personal lives.” To read further please click here:

Mar 30

Growth Mindset Activities for Students

By: Steve Mouldley

mindmaps“There has been a lot of talk about Growth Mindset around the education scene in New Zealand over the past few weeks. Stemmed by the visit of Carol Dweck for a series of conferences in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. This can obviously apply to both staff and students in schools, and some people have been asking how to introduce Growth Mindset to their students.

Here are a couple of activities that I have done with my Learning Hub during Term 1 on Growth Mindset:


Hub Growth Mindset Introduction Session

  1. Take the Quiz at this link:
  2. Summarise in 4 bullet points what the results said about your mindset” To read further please click here:
Mar 30

New commission on primary assessment

By:Hannah Richardson

homework“A teacher-led commission is being set up to help primary schools in England find new ways of assessing their pupils’ progress.The previous system of levels, where pupils’ progress was assessed against standards set by the national curriculum, has been scrapped.Ministers argued this system was too “vague” and “misleading”.National tests for seven- and 11-year-olds based on the new national curriculum are also being drawn up.The Commission on Assessment Without Levels will be led by former head teacher of the London Oratory School John McIntosh, who was also a member of the government’s advisory committee on its review of the national curriculum.Up until September 2014, schools used the national-curriculum levels to assess the progress of their pupils.
Accurate picture
For example, pupils were expected to reach at least Level 2 by the end of Year 2 – when they had completed Key Stage 1 or infant school.There were also three sub-levels within each level, designed to inform teachers how close children were to reaching the level.But some say these confused parents, and the levels have not been updated for the new national curriculum.”To read further please click here:

Mar 30

The idea you can put a number against a child’s ability is flawed and dangerous

By: Holly Welham

assessment“For the past 14 years Alison Peacock has run an unconventional school. Grades are not the focus; children aren’t told attainment levels and the information is only disclosed if parents ask.

As head of the Wroxham school in Hertfordshire, Peacock is the perfect addition to a new commission set up by school reform minister, Nick Gibbs, to explore new ways for primary schools to monitor pupil progress after levels were scrapped.

Peacock sees the demise of levels as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change how children are assessed nationally. But instead of simply replacing the old structure with a new one, she’d like to focus on enabling children to learn in a meaningful way so that assessment becomes “a tool for improvement rather than judgment”.At the end of the year in Wroxham, students write their own report, detailing their successes and challenges. The teacher then has a conversation with them to extend this further. Those in year 5 and 6 also give a presentation on their work from the year, which parents attend. The child is at the centre of a discussion on how they can be helped to progress.”

Mar 29

The Changing Role Of The Teacher In Personalized Learning Environments

By: Amy Moynihan

teacherrs“Today’s students are studying and learning differently – a change confirmed by the widespread adoption of digital studying. Our recent study found that 81% of college students use mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets) to study, the second most popular device category behind laptops and up 40 percent in usage since 2013.

Further, research validates the use of mobile technology in education. In fact, our same study found that 77% of college students feel the use of adaptive technology helped them improve their grades. As education technology proliferates, research supports the notion that overall student achievement will improve as students gain the ability to learn at their own pace with a variety of teaching styles and formats available to them.

Our research on college students presents many technology implications for districts as they prepare students to succeed in their collegiate careers – where technology is confirmed to play an integral role. As the growth of mobile technology in studying is anticipated to continue, schools, districts, and institutions need to strategize how to adapt their infrastructure, while teachers will want to consider ways to incorporate mobile learning into their curriculum.”To read further please click here:


Mar 29

The Question Matrix by @TeacherToolkit

This is a blog about questioning students in lessons.

questionsA couple of years ago, I first blogged about Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce! If you are not familiar with this superb questioning strategy, then I would strongly recommend that you download my resource here for your classroom. Then read the supporting blog to explain the resource in fuller detail. I take my Pose Pause Pounce Bounce inspiration from a CPD event led by HMI inspector Pam Fearnley who, after 7 years of searching, finally crossed paths once again at the ASCL conference last week.

In my adaptation of PPPB, I added my own twist to teacher-questioning, by introducing the characters from Winnie The Pooh. This was taken from two great books written by Benjamin Hoff; The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet. Books I once read for pleasure at university. The books take an Eastern belief system of Taoism for Westerners.” To read further please click here:

Mar 29

3 Ways Parents Can Spot Student-Centered Learning

By:  Carri Schneider

studentts“Recently I had the opportunity to learn alongside my seven-year old daughter, as we used the occasion of yet another snowed-in February day to scratch the itch of one of her many curiosities. Driven partly by me and largely by a friend at school, she’s been talking a lot lately about computers and how they work so we sat down together to try the Hour of Code. It was fun for the two of us to share a learning experience that we were both coming to completely new.

So many of our experiences alongside our children often involve us teaching them things that we ourselves have already experienced or mastered. It didn’t take long, however, before I realized the greatest lessons for me in that hour wouldn’t be about coding. What I gained that snowy afternoon was a set of new insights into how my daughter learns, what motivates her, what frustrates her and how my interactions either supported or discouraged her learning. I was floored by how much she was able to learn in just one hour–the same hour that could’ve instead been spent watching half a movie or playing another spirited round of tag with her sister through the house.” To read further please click here:

Mar 29

How To Set Up The Simplest Email Based eLearning Program

By: Kumar Venkatesiah

emails5 Tips To Set Up An Email Based eLearning Program

If you do not have too many resources at your disposal, email offers one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to impart your elearning programs. In this article, we will take you through some simple processes that can help you achieve your elearning objectives over email.

  1. Designing lessons for eLearning.
    Depending on the complexity and volume of the lessons you need to cover, you may design the course either as an email message or as an attachment. Simple lessons that are in the narrative mode may be sent over as email messages. However, for more in-depth lessons, it is a good idea to draft every chapter as separate PDF documents and attach them over emails.”

To read further please click here:

Mar 28

12 Ways to Avoid Student Humiliation

By: Dr. Richard Curwin

balloonsHumiliation Is Never OKMy opinion about any form of humiliating students is obvious from the title of the book I co-authored in 2008: Discipline With Dignity.

Last month, however, I was guilty of humiliating a student seriously enough for her to later tell me that it had been the worst moment of her college life. After the shock of hearing her story, I realized that, although I had tried to do her a favor, the way I did it was definitely hurtful. I have relived that moment almost as much as Pete Carroll probably revisited his Super Bowl failure. Did I give my student a metaphorical haircut? This incident, now resolved with a positive outcome, was especially painful for me because I start all my classes by saying, “This is not my class, it’s yours,” and “I hope to be a role model for you when you become teachers.” These two stories — humiliating haircuts and my personal incident — are full of cautions. When is it OK to humiliate students? Never.

Many of us can recall a situation when we were humiliated by a teacher. If you close your eyes and recall it, it still has the power to make you cringe. And also for many of us, if we never resolved our feelings with those teachers, we still haven’t forgiven them.” To read further please click here:

Mar 28

Office 365 for cloud based learning; Remove classroom walls with Skype

By: Andrew Robertson

skype“One of the many continued personal development courses we offer for teachers through our Microsoft Educator Network is Teaching with Technology. On our SlideShare account you can find a number of tutorials designed to help those taking the Teaching with Technology course, but really they’ll come in handy to anyone looking to improve their use of technology in an educational setting.Over the next few weeks we’re going to share these tutorials via this blog, two at a time. Many people will be familiar with topics and areas that others aren’t, so instead of reproducing each tutorial in its entirety, we’ll simply include a short synopsis and what you can expert to learn from them, as well as a link to the original SlideShare.

The first two Teaching with Technology tutorials we’re going to look at deal with the use of Office 365, and how Skype can aid in educational collaboration across the world:” To read further please click here:

Mar 28

5 Excellent Web Tools for Teachers


techoo“There are hundreds highly efficient online tools that can make the learning process more fun and efficient at the same time, help teachers establish authoritative yet friendly relationships with both students and their parents and, in general, keep abreast of all the new education possibilities.But such an abundance of possibilities inevitably leads to the crisis of choice: which are the best? What to prefer? We will try to give you some suggestions.


TutorsClass is an easy-to-use yet highly efficient and professional solution for distance learning; most authoritative sources agree that it is one of the most popular tools of this kind. It allows you to set up a virtual classroom where you can meet with your students at predetermined periods of time and give lessons that will be just like the usual ones – except that both you and your students will be able to attend them from home. The very same system allows you to receive secure payments from students via PayPal.” To read further please click here:

Mar 26

5 Ways to Make Kids Hate Your Class

By: Cheryl Mizerny

teacher arguing“We’ve all read the rhetoric from self-styled school reformers perpetuating the myth of schools full of bad teachers. This has not been my experience. Most teachers I know are consummate professionals constantly striving to improve their practice.

Nevertheless, there are some ways that even the most talented teachers can undermine their own effectiveness. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to slip into these bad habits that make kids hate coming into your class. The best defense is a good offense, so it pays to be mindful of these ineffective teaching behaviors and avoid them when you can.

1. Kids hate it when you over-control them

Because teachers are the dominant force in sole charge of a classroom of children, it is easy to become controlling. Furthermore, when so much else in our day feels out of control, we tend to clamp down on the things we can manage. However, leading with a heavy hand causes resentment among students because they feel helpless.

If you want to make sure kids dread your class:

  • deny them access to the restroom or a drink of water
  • keep them after class causing them to be tardy for the next one
  • get into power struggles with them in front of their peers
  • yell at or punish the entire class when not all of them were causing a problem

To read further please click here:

Mar 26

Powerful Classroom Lessons: It All Begins With the Hook

By: Bob Lenz

hook“How do you introduce new projects to your students? What is your hook? Great project-based learning begins with an engaging launch that grabs students’ interest and pulls them in. Every project needs a hook.

In this excerpt from our new book, Transforming Schools Using Project-Based Learning, Performance Assessment, and Common Core Standards, we describe how my co-author Justin Wells introduces the Campaign Ad Project at an Envision high school:

All the eleventh and twelfth graders at the school are packed into the largest available classroom. It’s one of the first days of the first semester, and the room crackles with the natural teenage energy that comes with the beginning of the school year. Students are catching up, giving hugs, jockeying for seats with friends. But there is also the energy of anticipation, both excited and anxious, which serves as a kind of hush on the buzz, much like the excited but restrained chatter that fills an auditorium before a big show.

Having been at the school for two or three years, the students know that this is an important event. In fact, for them it is difficult to imagine what their lives will be like for the next few months, until this meeting occurs. So there is inherent interest in what is about to take place.” To read further please click here:

Mar 26

Using Scratch Jr. as a stepping stone for coding

By: Mrs Wideen

scratch junior“As my students and I continue on our journey exploring coding in our classroom I wanted to find an app that would help my students build a foundation on how to code in a simple and creative way.   I took a look at several apps and chose the Scratch Jr. App for several reasons:

  1. It is free.
  2. The app is a content creation app where students are able to create and express themselves, try new things, take risks and experiment.
  3. Students that cannot read, can still use this app successfully.
  4. There are some fabulous resources for teachers.
When I first opened the app, I wasn’t really sure what to do, there are many buttons and options.  I wanted to let my students “tinker” with it but I also wanted it to be purposeful and not too frustrating.  I went to the Scratch Jr. website and clicked on the activities tab.  It brought me to an introductory video that I shared with my students and 9 different activity cards that could be printed out or shown on a screen in your classroom ranging in difficulty.” To read further please click here:
Mar 26

3 Simple Ways to Differentiate Instruction in Any Class

By: A.J.Juliani

differentiated“Are you like me, and still a bit confused with differentiation’s place in the classroom? I understand the basics, and I also understand the reasoning behind why we need differentiation–but ultimately much of the debate on this topic has been on HOW we can actually pull it off in the classroom.

We recently ran an in service on “differentiation” in my district. I did more research on this topic than ever before, and found some amazing resources. I also finished writing my recent book on “choice in the classroom” which goes into detail on the topic and connects to differentiation in many ways. But this post is about action (not necessarily research). I’ll give you three simple ways to differentiate in your classroom, and they can be applied to any grade level or subject area.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.” To read further please click here:

Mar 25

15 Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators

teacher5“Engaging, multimedia-rich digital stories can capture the attention of students and increase their interest in exploring new ideas.

Combining storytelling with powerful digital creates a truly authentic learning experience that helps students develop a wide range of intellectual skills.” To read further please click here:

Mar 25

Teach Programming Logic Through Gameplay with the Lightbot App

By:Lisa Blessington

codingg“Lightbot is an addictively fun puzzle game that is the perfect platform for introducing programming concepts to your students. Using sequential commands, students create simple programs to direct their Lightbot (Girlbot or Boybot) through a 3-dimensional grid on their mission to ‘light up’ the world of tiles. With no explicit coding required and a fun and tactile interface, Lightbot is an excellent starting point to get your class on the path to programming.” To read further please click here:

Mar 25

Everything you never knew about using Google in the classroom

By:Stephen Noonoo

google classroom“Did you know you can see all your copy/paste history in Chrome in a click? Bookmark all your browser tabs at once? Create choose your own adventures in Google Slides?

More than half a dozen Google Certified Teachers recently descended on Palm Springs to share their favorite tips, tricks, add-ons, and extensions during a packed session at the Annual CUE 2015 conference. Each presenter shared a micro-presentation honing in on their top ways for teachers and students to make the most out of the Google ecosystem.” To read further please click here:

Mar 24

Life After the Hour of Code

By: Mary Beth Hertz

coding3“Now that the excitement of the Hour of Code has passed, and you still vividly remember your students’ eyes light up while completing their coding challenges, you may be wondering how to keep that excitement going in your classroom. The only thing is, you don’t teach computer science — and you have no idea how to teach coding.

The great news is, that’s fine!

Whether you are an English teacher, a history teacher, a math teacher, an art teacher, or any other subject area specialist, your students can still incorporate coding into what they are learning. If you’re a math teacher, coding is a natural fit — math skills are essential to programming. You can check out the lessons at Code by Math to see how your students can apply what they are learning in class to a coding challenge. You can even have them go to Khan Academy’s Computer Programming courses. No doubt they are already visiting the site for help with their math homework or as classwork.” To read further please click here:

Mar 24

Create an Audio Slideshow With Annotations in YouTube

By: Richard Byrne

youtubeclipse“YouTube is loaded with tools and settings that teachers and students often overlook. The YouTube audio slideshow tool is one of those overlooked tools built into YouTube. I often demonstrate it in my workshops on video creation. In the video embedded below I provide a demonstration of how to use YouTube’s audio slideshow creation tool.” To read further please click here:

Mar 24

Blended Study: 10 Ways to Use Tech While You Learn

By: Saga Briggs

core-competencies“We hear a lot about blended learning from an instructor’s perspective, but what about from a student’s perspective? In what ways can students use technology to support learning inside and outside their course sessions?

Traditionally, studying involves a lot of passive reviewing. Reviewing texts, reviewing notes, reviewing lecture slides. But cognitive psychology tells us this isn’t the most effective way to retain information. The most effective learning is interactive, multi-modal, and based on science–in other words, qualities that technology can bring to the table. There are countless resources available for those interested in so-called “blended study,” and you don’t need to look far to see their growing potential and widespread use.

Take Course Hero, for example, a company that pairs technology with established study techniques to enhance learning. It supplies students with digital flashcards alongside a program called Optimal Learn, an online productivity tracker that helps you focus and stick to a study schedule.

Instead of just reviewing, you can use Course Hero to quiz yourself too, which researchers have proven to be a highly effective study method. Course Hero’s “flashcards quizzes” are online mini-tests that allow you to periodically assess your knowledge and provide a realistic sense of your retention level.” To read further please click here:


Mar 23

7 Ways To Find Global Connections For Your Class

By: Pedro Aparicio

VIDEO IN CLASS“The best way to find connect with another class is take the risk and try it out. Many educators are interested in the idea of connecting their classes to other classes or individuals that could have a positive influence on their students. They just aren’t sure where to find people to connect with.Thanks to the web and to the emerging technologies we can get connected in various ways. Here you have seven options:

1. Your social media accounts. Chances are you probably use some form of social media: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin,  Pinterest, Instagram or Google Plus. That might be enough to find someone to help connect your class. Ask your friends and followers to share it with their network, making that reach exponentially greater.
2. #MysterySkype. Mystery Skype is a great first step to connecting to other classes around the country or the world. Two classes meet via video chat online to guess where in the world each other is geographically. If you use Twitter, #MysterySkype is a common hashtag that educators use to find Skype partners. Tweet what you’re looking for and add that hashtag OR scan the hashtag on Twitter for other teachers’ requests.” To read further please click here:
Mar 23

Math Lesson Plans for Preschoolers

kindyg“You can make math interesting and meaningful for children with fun materials, games and activities. Math for preschoolers goes beyond counting. Other math concepts include patterns, sorting and sets, number recognition, shapes, comparisons, measurements, time, money, addition and subtraction.

Throughout the day children use these concepts and learn math in ways that are natural for them. Simply playing with blocks introduces them to shapes. When they remind you that the big hand is on the 12 and therefore it is time for lunch; they are telling time. Most of what preschoolers learn about math does not come from dittos and worksheets. It comes from activities.” To read further please click here:

Mar 23

How To Rid Your Classroom Of Student Interruptions

By:Michael Linsin

apicture“So you’ve got this great lesson.You’re excited, worked up, really feeling it. Everything is groovy, near perfect. You’re telling this cool story and your students are rapt—leaning forward, eyeballs glued to your every move.It’s a special moment. And so much fun. This is why you teach.But before your story can reach its climax, just as you’re revving up the crescendo, a student barks out, “Hey, I saw a movie like that once!”

Wamp wamp waaa . . .

Ah yes, interruptions are a momentum killer of the highest order. And although you’ll grit your teeth through your frustration, gather yourself, and soldier on like a pro, it’s just not the same.The moment is lost forever.” To read further please click here:

Mar 23

Mathspace: Step-by-Step Math Handwriting for iPad


mathspace“Students can now show every line of their math work on iPad and other tablets, writing all their steps by hand on screen. Mathspace digitizes each handwritten line and grades it automatically, giving students immediate, formative feedback at every step of the way – like having a teacher at their side. This is a huge step forward from multiple choice or single-input response math questions that most students and teachers are used to seeing on digital platforms.” To read further please click here:

Mar 22

Finland to scrap subject teaching

By:Donald Clark

teachers welcoming“Although I have serious doubts about putting Finland on a pedestal, and have argued that it is finished as a role model in education, and that many myths abound on teachers, class sizes and selection, they have embraced something really radical. They may plan to scrap subject teaching nationwide.

So what are the Finns up to?

In a truly national programme, the Finns plan to ‘teach by topic’, not subject. Have no doubts about the massive shift this entails. It is a reformation in education that takes on the subject priests in favour of more contextualized and relevant learning.

What lies behind the reform is a view of education that fouses on the learner as an autonomous agent in the real world, when they leave school. It is a bold response to the needs of Finnish society in terms of relevance, not just in the workplace but in life. “We therefore have to make the changes in education that are necessary for industry and modern society” says Pasi Silander. The world has changed, he claims, but schools have barely changed at all. It also gets educational systm out of the trap of having old, irrelevant subjects, like Latin, hanging around for no other reason than the fact that it’s deeply embedded. As a strategy it has a lot in its favour.” To read further please click here:

Mar 22

From sceptic to convert using iPads in my classroom

By:  Daniel Edwards“In my school I am in the privileged position of being able to lead curriculum change. Over the past four years I have been at the forefront of designing and implementing an integrated approach to learning with an emphasis on developing the skills of curiosity, collaboration, critical thinking, reflectiveness and creativity. At around the same time we also made the decision to embed IT in the curriculum rather than teach it as a standalone subject. This had the effect of forcing me to find ways to incorporate meaningful digital activities within the different subjects I taught. Although I experienced some success with this, the breakthrough didn’t really happen until the school purchased a class set of iPads, 3 years ago, and I began to experiment with different apps.

At first, I have to admit I was not the greatest fan of the iPad. Aside from its obvious advantages, like the battery life and the time gained from not having to get the class to ‘log on’, it seemed like an expensive gimmick. However, after experimenting with iMovie, I began to see some of its potential and I was hooked. I soon found that many of the content-free apps, such as iMovie, Keynote and PuppetPals provided me with a medium through which I could teach in an inspiring and innovative way.” To read further please click here: