Ben Johnson

Blog Posts

Tags Administrators
October 28, 2013

Being back in the classroom has given me a refreshed perspective. Below, I would like to share with administrators some helpful observations and suggestions that may improve your relationship with the teachers you serve.

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Tags Student Engagement
September 25, 2013

Squirrels. That is what they remind me of. We were all that age once and we were all just like squirrels! Have you ever watched a squirrel? Zoom, freeze for two seconds, flick tail, and repeat. The trick for being a successful middle school teacher is holding their attention for more than...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
September 16, 2013

Today is the anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain. This happened in 1810 when Father Hidalgo rang his church bell and called his little town to action with the "grito" Viva Mexico! The resulting war for an independent free Mexico lasted for 10 years but in many respects it is still...

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Tags Technology Integration
August 22, 2013

In every classroom we have students that are as different as condors are to capybaras. A soaring condor's capacity has little to compare with the skill set of the water-loving capybara. Understanding their differences is the first step, but even if we create individual education plans that...

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Tags Technology Integration
August 1, 2013

"Put your wands away!" Professor Umbridge from the Harry Potter stories would tell the students at the beginning of each class. After a few classes when Professor Umbridge would make the announcement, "Put your wands away," the students did not have to do anything because they never even...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
July 23, 2013

In teachers' lounges nationwide, parents are a favorite topic of complaint: Now I know why Bertha behaves as she does -- the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! or, If parents would do their jobs and raise their children right, then I wouldn't have any trouble getting students to...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
July 3, 2013

With the speed of change reaching a frenetic pace, the idea of schools preparing students for the future is becoming more and more of a challenge. I was fortunate to attend a P-20 Summit (preschool to doctorate -- I had to ask what it meant, too). Hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio...

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Tags Student Engagement
June 28, 2013

In a conversation on LinkedIn, one person asked, "What are the characteristics of an effective teacher?" I read quite a few excellent remarks that describe what such a teacher does to be effective. I couldn't help thinking about some of...

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Tags Student Engagement
June 17, 2013

Student debate has the capacity to both deeply engage the students in relevant learning, and to encourage students to be deep thinkers. Debate is more than simply arguing. It has structure and rules that are designed to keep both sides calm.

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Tags Student Engagement
May 20, 2013

A backwoodsman went to a home improvement store and purchased a chainsaw to replace an old, worn-out saw. After a month, the backwoodsman returned the saw to the store, complaining, "It doesn't work worth a darn! I could hardly cut half the wood I normally do." The salesman, looking at the...

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