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Chad Ostrowski | @chadostrowski

Chad Ostrowski | @chadostrowski

After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree In Biology, Chad Ostrowski or “Mr. O” as his students fondly call him, set his sights on education. He was chosen as one of only 50 individuals in the state of Ohio to be granted the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship through the Ohio STEM Learning Network.  Through this fellowship he received his Master’s in Science Education and gained intensive training and expertise in STEM education, Problem Based Learning, Inquiry based instruction as well as other cutting edge educational research and modern pedagogical theory.


 


 


 


Ostrowski has since presented research at the NSTA National Conference on Problem Based Learning in the Gifted Classroom and Continues to develop and research modern innovative educational practices. Chad has been teaching  Middle School Science in a high needs urban district for 4 years. In that short time, due to his dedication to teaching, innovative teaching methods and educational leadership he has been named Science Department Chair within his building, Building Leadership Team member and District Co-chair of Middle School Science Curriculum.


 


 


 


It is through these foundations that he has created and developed  the The Grid Method - Mastery Learning System in order to synthesize his knowledge of best practices in education into a system that allows ALL of his students to meet and exceed  their potential.


 


 


 


Chad has now left the classroom to shre his innovative practices, techniques and strategies with educators all over the country. He does this through speaking at conferences, providng teacher development and workshops, as well as producing blogs, and videos.

Posted by on in General

I know it's hard...

Being a teacher is probably one of the most demanding jobs that exists in terms of the commitment, passion, and dedication that it requires. In some jobs, you put your time in, go home and relax, and forget about the challenges of the day, that customer that complained, that client who was unhappy, or possibly that project you're working on in the office.

Teaching is different. As a teacher, you invest so much in your students emotionally, financially, and professionally, that its hard to let go just because a bell rings at the end of the day. Whether its a student who told you about their troubled home life, didn't grasp a concept, or got embarrassedin front of their friends...those moments stick with you.

There is absolutely NOTHING that is going to change this aspect of our job. If you aren't invested in your students, you're probably doing it wrong.

However, if you are constantly focused on your job as an educator it can start to wear on you. It can even start to negatively impact your personal life, your relationships, and yes...as weird as it sounds...your performance as a teacher. Being too consumed by your job can actually hurt your ability to perform that job to the best of your ability.

If this sounds like you, don't worry! There are some things you can control to make it easier on yourself. Many teachers I talk with are always worried about planning, grading, that meeting they have the next day, or that observation they have coming up (which by the way you shouldn't stress out about...seriously)

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Posted by on in Classroom Management

Most of us have seen or experienced the traditional archaic model of education where a lesson is taught, notes are taken, quizzes or worksheets are handed out and grades are given. While this model works for some students, there are many students that completely shut down in this process. This process of judgement and single chances creates an immense amount of FEAR in students.

We have all had the difficult student that responds: "I'm not doing this!", as you hand out an activity. This response is not bred out of defiance, but rather out of fear. Fear that they wont be able to perform the task, can't read at the appropriate level, or simply a fear of failure.  These fears drive a lot of management issues that occur in classrooms. If students can't access content, they "fight back" due to the fear of failure. Some students have failed so many times that the fear is perpetual and constant throughout the school day.

This needs to change.  Assessments and assignments need to transform from end games to learning opportunities. Students need to see the work that they do as progressive to their learning not terminal and definitive judgments on their abilities and intelligence. The culture of constant judgement (grades) and finite decisions based on performance defines an environment that produces fear. In any environment where fear is prominent, other negative emotional and social responses will arise.

In my classroom I created a system to remove the fear from learning. Here are a few things that have worked for me: 

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Posted by on in Teaching with Rigor

escape hatch

A common theme I get asked about during my workshops is student motivation, or student effort.

No matter what management techniques or systems you have in your classroom to maintain behavior, instilling a culture of working hard, or "grit" as some like to call it, is probably one of the most difficult things you can accomplish as a teacher.

A huge problem with traditional teacher-lead instruction is that the cycle of learning is "closed". You instruct, assess, grade, and move on. Students who don't want to do the work, simply don't try, turn in half empty papers, or don't study and fail. In the student's mind, it is easier to fail than to work hard for a short time and succeed (especially if they are used to this cycle and failing within it.)

By just stamping a grade on my students' papers, I was providing them with what I call an "Escape Hatch". For some students, it becomes normal to simply fail and "escape" hard work, so that is what they were inevitably doing in my classroom.

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Posted by on in Assessment

A

What are we grading for?

During teacher development I provide, grading is one of the topics most commonly brought up. We as teachers have an obsession (and rightly so) with how any activity, instructional method or new tactic fits into that little book (or software) where we calculate student grades.

If you think about it, grades mean so much to teachers because, a lot of times its what we are being graded on. I've never heard a parent thank a teacher for assessing a student as earning an "F" in their class. I have, however, heard a lot praise for teachers who have high numbers of passing students.

So what's in a grade?

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