Ben Johnson

Blog Posts

Tags Student Engagement
April 9, 2014

Back in December, on the long drive from Texas to Utah, I had some time to reflect on many things. I considered the reasons why we look forward to the holidays. They are full of celebration, we find out what's going on in the lives of relatives and friends, and we simply enjoy the time together...

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Tags New-Teacher Support
March 19, 2014

After a hard day of teaching, I often plop down on my desk chair at home and gaze up at a framed drawing hanging on the wall above my desk that a dear friend of mine gave me. It is a detailed depiction of a pair of wood ducks serenely floating on a calm pond. One of the ducks is male that has...

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Tags Student Engagement
March 17, 2014

Like magic, the fish turn into birds and then back into fish. M.C. Escher's tessellations have a way of grabbing your attention and forcing your mind to make sense of the impossible figures on the paper. The Merriam dictionary describes tessellations as, "a covering of an infinite geometric...

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Tags Education Trends
March 14, 2014

I was reading the book The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley and couldn't help wondering what our schools would be like today if we were forced to teach without the technology (including copy machines). She describes three school settings in South Korea, Finland and Poland as...

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Tags Student Engagement
February 26, 2014

Have I let "instructional weeds" infest my classroom?

I went out into my backyard today and was astounded about its condition. The hibernating Bermuda grass was yellow-brown as it should have been, but salt-and-peppered throughout the yard were bright green dandelions with the "I dare...

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Tags Student Engagement
January 23, 2014

Eighty percent of what we do as learning engineers is ask questions. Because this is such a big part of what we do to inspire learning, we should do it really well! I began thinking about the research I have done that says that we have a long way to go before we can say that we ask questions...

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Tags Student Engagement
January 3, 2014

A while ago I witnessed students taking computer-based classes passing their tests with ease until I figured out what they were doing. They had two screens open -- one was the computer-based course and the other screen was Google, Wikipedia, or Ask Jeeves. When they ran across a question they...

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Tags Student Engagement
December 23, 2013

The more I think about how we have been looking at education, I think we have it all wrong. Up until now, all of our emphasis has been on creating great teachers when we should have been emphasizing creating great students.

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Tags Assessment
November 19, 2013

When Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe wrote Read More.

Tags Student Engagement
November 11, 2013

I tried every trick in the book: framing the lesson, detailed instructions, hands-on learning, proximity, hand signals, rewards, punishment, and ultimatums -- all to no avail. My middle school Spanish students continued to want to chat, throw paper airplanes, get out of their seats, and...

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