Trying Out Mastery Grading

What I Was Thinking Pretty much anyone who has been teaching a long time has figured out that traditional grading systems don’t work. Last spring, during my nineteenth year teaching 7th and 8th grade English, I decided to do something about it. Without getting too deep into my disillusionment with traditional letter grades, I’ll just […]

Top 5 Things I Learned at CSLA 2019

First of all, I learned way more than five things at the 2019 California School Library Association Conference, but I don’t have a ton of time to write, so…five it is. Who does not love a good conference? There’s something about the feeling of collegiality and enthusiasm you get from being around people who are […]

Not Another Poster Project

What I’m Thinking About: Students need to do research. They need a way to report the facts they’ve learned. Posters are a time honored way for students to show what they’ve learned with a little bit of artistic panache. That said, how many poster projects does the typical junior high student complete in a year? […]

4 EASY Digital Tools for Starters and Exit Tickets

When it comes to entry routines—whether we call them starters, bell ringers, or do nows—I have tried every system you can think of. Now that my students have iPads, there are even more options. Over the past year, I’ve experimented quite a bit with different digital tools for formative assessment and engagement.  This blog will […]

#IMMOOC Week 5: Moving Forward #InnovatorsMindset

I just finished watching the YouTube Live session for #IMMOOC Week 5. I was struck by the part of the conversation (around minute 35:00) where Tom Murray talks about the popularity of conference sessions with titles like “50 Apps in 50 Minutes.” Murray notes that the 50 Apps session is “jam packed, down the hallway,” […]

#IMMOOC Week 4 (Part 1): 8 Things to Look for in Today’s Classrooms

This week I reread the beginning of chapter 8 where George Couros writes about what happens to students when they struggle in our schools: The teacher may even recommend and extra math class in leu of electives. What often happens in such situations is that the student does not improve in math but learns to […]