Recent Blog Posts


You'll find practical classroom strategies and tips from real educators, as well as lesson ideas, personal stories, and innovative approaches to improving your teaching practice. If you have any thoughts or comments about these blogs, please don't hesitate to let us know.

Jim MoultonNovember 20, 2008

This is the second part of a two-part blog entry. Read part one.

I guess I should not have been surprised by the rigid structure in Chinese schools when I visited the country. After all, I was in a nation that is one of the most capable at taking someone else's idea and efficiently reproducing it. To do that, each individual has to be willing to do what he or she is told to do and not worry too much about self-direction. To put it simply, the Chinese are, as a nation, very well schooled in doing what they are asked. This fact, and the resulting ability to make things to order efficiently and in great quantities, has led to China's current economic boom. The country makes so much of the stuff we buy.

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Jim MoultonNovember 18, 2008

I recently returned from a week in Beijing, where the Beijing Institute of Education was my host. I was there to do workshops around project learning, to visit Chinese schools, and to speak with Chinese educators, parents, and students. My collaborator in organizing this trip, and my translator through much of it, was Ren Wei, a professional facilitator and a new friend of mine who lives in Beijing. Project learning is our connecting point. Ren Wei translated the Buck Institute for Education's Project Based Learning Handbook into Chinese.

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Suzie BossNovember 13, 2008

Dan Meyer knows that textbook-driven teaching hasn't served his students well. That's why they wind up taking remedial algebra with him in ninth grade. "They either need more time on content, or they've really been burned by traditional math instruction," says the teacher from San Lorenzo Valley High School, near Santa Cruz, California.

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Elena AguilarNovember 11, 2008

The first thing I heard as I walked into school on this miraculous morning after Barack Obama's landslide victory was a group of African American parents talking about the results. One father said, "They didn't want to give us 40 acres and a mule, so we took fifty states and the White House."

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Elena AguilarNovember 6, 2008

This is the sixth part of a six-part entry. Start with the introduction.

Get help before you start and while you are trying to do the Four-Piece Plan to Peace. Don't wait to ask for help until after you've torn your hair out and started looking for jobs in coffee shops.

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Elena AguilarNovember 4, 2008

This is the fifth part of a six-part entry. Start with the introduction.

When I refer to targeting students, I don't mean that I target them literally, of course, but you can fantasize about whatever you want. I do. Others have.

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Elena AguilarOctober 30, 2008

This is the fourth part of a six-part entry. Start with the introduction.

If your reward system is strong, clear, and active, you won't have to put quite as much time and energy into your consequence system.

A consequence system has two critical parts: Students need to know the consequences, and they need to see you enforce them.

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Elena AguilarOctober 28, 2008

This is the third part of a six-part entry. Start with the introduction.

How do you appreciate individuals, or table groups, or the whole class when students do what you ask them to do?

You've heard this before, and it really works: You can't praise or reward kids enough. Do it until you are oozing honey. It works.

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Elena AguilarOctober 23, 2008

This is the second part of a six-part entry. Start with the introduction.

"They come into my room shouting, wandering around, and talking to one another. During class, they put on makeup, text message one another, and talk over me. And they jump up to sharpen pencils when I'm in the middle of teaching."

Is this a familiar scenario?

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Elena AguilarOctober 21, 2008

"I feel like I'm playing Whac-A-Mole every day," said the beginning teacher as she wiped the sweat from her brow.

I nodded and had flashbacks of my own first months teaching middle school. The class is settled, focused, and calm for two seconds, and then pop! On the other side of the room, a kid shouts, throws, reaches, jumps, and I dart over to "smash" him down. And then pop! I'm dashing to a distant corner, and smash, and pop! Pop! POP!

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