George Lucas Educational Foundation

Laura Thomas

Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal and the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

After 10 years teaching speech, theater, and English in Kansas, Missouri, and Massachusetts, I joined the faculty at Antioch University New England in Keene, New Hampshire. I’ve been the director of the Center for School Renewal (the service wing of the Education Department) ever since, doing school coaching and professional development for schools across the country and supporting a network of colleagues worldwide.

At AUNE, I also coordinate the Critical Skills Program (a K–12 teaching methodology that combines project-based learning, social and emotional learning, and 21st-century skills in meaningful, authentic contexts), as well as our Educational Technology Integrator and Library Media Specialist certificate programs (both of which are rooted in Critical Skills). Finally, I’ve just begun the process of gaining alternative certification as a library media specialist in a small, rural K–6 public school.

I enjoy writing. I blog at The Critical Skills Classroom and have published pieces in Edweek, EdweekTeacher, Kappan, and the Journal of Staff Development. I’m also the author of Facilitating Authentic Learning (Corwin Press, 2012).

I’m pleased to be a community facilitator for Edutopia.

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  • Education Equity

    Identifying and Supporting Students With Dyspraxia

    Dyspraxia affects fine and gross motor development and can make it difficult for kids to learn, but there are ways teachers can help.
  • School Leadership

    5 Tips for Meetings Worth Going To

    Can meetings be inspiring and engaging, a time for solving meaningful problems? Absolutely.
  • Formative Assessment

    7 Smart, Fast Ways to Do Formative Assessment

    Within these methods you’ll find close to 40 tools and tricks for finding out what your students know while they’re still learning.
  • Character Education

    Rejecting the ‘Mean Girl’ Framework

    Ideas for guiding girls toward positive interactions with each other.
  • Classroom Management

    Morning Meetings in Middle and High School

    Can we bring the advantages of an elementary school strategy for building a classroom community to the higher grades?
  • Assessment

    Finding Clarity in Assessment and Grading

    Ensuring that grades are valid and reliable for all students starts with educators examining their assessment and evaluation practices.
  • New Teachers

    The Lessons of the Dandelion

    The ubiquitous yellow bloom—beautiful but very tough—has worthwhile lessons for teachers embarking on their careers.
  • Character Education

    Assuming Positive Intent

    Buck the cultural trend of anger and incivility with a simple checklist that helps reframe your understanding about what other people actually want and need.
  • Mindfulness

    Mindful Facilitation: Don’t Do Something, Just Stand There

    To help students find their own way in PBL, use mindfulness techniques like tuning into your own body, nonjudgmental observation, and embracing the "don't know" mind.
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching

    Why Representation Matters

    Children’s early experiences shape what they imagine to be possible. Here are six strategies for giving them positive, familiar examples of who and what they can be.
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching

    The Big Social Justice Book List Project