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Category: Teaching, Learning and Assessments

It Takes a Teacher: The Power of Storytelling

It Takes a Teacher: The Power of Storytelling

Growing up, teaching was a path I thought I might take after high school. At the same time, I also contemplated many others: optometrist, physician assistant, and even pharmaceutical sales. This all changed my junior year of high school. I came to the realization that I wanted to be a teacher. It is the journey I not only wanted but needed to take in life. I was always a very good student- extremely driven and determined. I was an athlete as well….

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Helping Our Students Find Their Tennis Ball

Helping Our Students Find Their Tennis Ball

I recently read an interview with Drew Houston, the CEO of Dropbox: “Figure Out the Things You Don’t Know.” During the interview, Houston shares the cheat sheet he would give his 22-year-old self.  It contained 3 three things, one of which was a tennis ball.  To Houston, the tennis ball represents your passion. “The most successful people and successful entrepreneurs I know are all obsessed with solving a problem that really matters to them. I use the tennis ball for that idea…

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The Scouting Report: Blog Reflections & Student Feedback

The Scouting Report: Blog Reflections & Student Feedback

Enter most workout gyms, and you will see mirrors encasing the room. Upon initial evaluation, you may think they only serve vanity purposes, but mirrors also allow gym-goers to evaluate their form, make adjustments and improve their technique. If you lift and work out with the wrong posture, it defeats the purpose of your exercise and the time you invest in it. Game tapes for sports teams promote the same evaluative opportunities. As a former basketball player, my game significantly improved  when we were able to…

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Why Are You Keeping This Curiosity Door Locked?

Why Are You Keeping This Curiosity Door Locked?

I am not one to binge watch a TV show, but Stranger Things, Netflix’s newest original series, hooked me right in. Think Goonies meets Twilight Zone meets a John Hughes movie. I was also happy to see the positive influence of a teacher highlighted in the show. Recently in pop culture,  teachers are not often portrayed as role models much less passionate about their work ( Vice Principals, Bad Teacher, Teachers) so it was a pleasant change of pace. In one of…

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Don’t Let YOUR Comfort Level Hold Your Students Back

Don’t Let YOUR Comfort Level Hold Your Students Back

This week Instagram released their version of a “story” to their users. A concept made popular by Snapchat. There have been many articles discussing the differences between the two apps. Some of them commending Instagram on its simplicity and ease of use. There was a specific comment in an article  that prompted me to write this post. It stated that Snapchat’s problem  is that it’s always been confusing and opaque to use. Adults frequently complain they have no idea how to…

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Extraordinarily Efficient or Challengingly Innovative

Extraordinarily Efficient or Challengingly Innovative

I recently toured the Science Behind Pixar exhibit. There you can see Pixar’s design thinking process on full display. Walking around each part of the exhibit, I realized the teamwork and thoughtful planning that went behind each frame, each hair, and each movement of a character. My curiosity behind their process and vision was certainly peaked, so as soon as I returned home I started researching. One specific article really stood out to me, “Staying One Step ahead at Pixar.” I believe many points made…

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Part 2: Feedback Focused Tips and Tools

Part 2: Feedback Focused Tips and Tools

In part 1, I focused on the connection between feedback and student relationships. This quote from the late Pat Summit is not only timely, but also accurately summarizes my thoughts. I believe technology can transform our feedback. When used effectively it can help us shift the process from a one way, red inked statement to a reflective and empowering conversation loop. When students hand in their final paper, it tends to be the end of the conversation. We return their work with our comments scattered throughout, and…

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Part 1- Laying the Ground Work: Feedback Focused

Part 1- Laying the Ground Work: Feedback Focused

One of my AAU basketball coaches would always say “When I stop pushing and being tough on you, that is when you have to worry.” At that time, I didn’t fully grasp what he meant by it. Reflecting on it now as a teacher and coach, I am able to appreciate his words. He was letting us  know that he challenged us because he cared and saw our potential. He was giving us the feedback and criticism necessary to take us to the next…

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Steal for Your Students: #StealEdu and Idea Bandits

Steal for Your Students: #StealEdu and Idea Bandits

Never steal, but if you must steal, steal an amazing lesson for your students! Yesterday, while browsing Twitter, I saw that Alice Keeler started using #StealEdu. It was her call to teachers to share their work which would then be used and passed along to even more connected educators. It reminds me of a recent poster created by Sean Junkins advising teachers to be “Idea Bandits”. It is a very simple concept that can make a huge impact. We have a vast…

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Don’t Just Wish. Do! : The Importance of Goal Setting

Don’t Just Wish. Do! : The Importance of Goal Setting

I strive to always have a positive outlook professionally and personally. I know energy is contagious and a negative attitude does nothing to solve problems (only enhances them.) At the same time, my positive energy also does nothing to solve problems or carry out my goals. It is a start if I am not just using my positivity to fantasize about my goals. “In fact, science tells us that fantasizing may undermine a goal because the positive fantasy tricks your mind…

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