EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

  • You Get What You Expect

    You get what you expect in this world. That is a mantra that I live by, both with raising my children and overseeing students in my school. Having high expectations is paramount to student achievement, good behavior, teacher professionalism, and parent engagement. When I was the principal of a rural high school high in the mountains of Colorado I took a radical measure based upon my high expectations for all students. I raised the eligibility policy standards to proclaim that students could n ...

    by Cathy Beck @cathypetreebeck
    Tuesday, 26 July 2016
  • people woman coffee meeting

    Summer Strategies for Teaching Success

    Once the school year starts, there's hardly a moment to breathe. The pace of school life, particularly at the early-childhood and elementary levels, is marked by significant time-on-task with large numbers of children and tremendous responsibility for coaching, leading, and responding to students', families', and system-wide needs, expectations, questions, and requirements. Summer gives you the time to strategize for the year ahead, and as you strategize, it's good to think about the new and ...

    by Maureen Devlin @lookforsun
    Tuesday, 26 July 2016
  • teens and tech

    Technology Use in Teenagers and Children Shaping New Health Problems

    The innovative age of technology continues to inspire youth, both teenagers and children. This technology, however, may be causing serious health problems across young generations as well. And teenagers are embracing technology more than any other age demographic. According to statistics portal Statista, smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 24 spend over 90 hours per month on apps. Some would even argue technology has become an addiction among teenagers and children. It may even ...

    by Hilary Smith
    Tuesday, 26 July 2016
  • the leader wallpaper 6fbc9

    Book Review: Blending Leadership

    Recently, I was able to get my hands on a copy of Blending Leadership: Six Simple Beliefs for Leading Online and Off by Stephen Valentine (@sjvalentine) and Reshan Richards (@reshanrichards), illustrated by Brad Ovenell-Carter (@Braddo). First, to save you the suspense, these six beliefs (which encompass the majority of the book) proclaim that blended leaders: Engage with thought leaders and engage as thought leaders Design spaces and care for spaces Reject insularity and embrace sharing ...

    by Ross Cooper | @RossCoops31
    Tuesday, 26 July 2016
  • 15 Ways to Describe a Four-Year-Old

    After spending this past weekend with a delightful gaggle of four-year-olds, and given the fact that I have not been in the classroom teaching that age for quite a few years now, I was reminded what a great age it is. They’ve passed the terrible two’s and the challenging three’s, with the ever-present push for independence and frequent episodes of “FTN” (failure to negotiate). Four-year-olds are beginning to understand other people’s points of view, have more language to express themselves wit ...

    by Debra Pierce | easycda
    Tuesday, 26 July 2016
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Posted by on in Leadership

coaching personal

As I continue to share with others about my leadership philosophy and passion, I build on my focus in "Coaching Up Leaders".  I have given numerous presentations on this topic based on my experiences and learning over the years.  I've found that, regardless of the position you hold and vocation you are in, you always have the potential to coach others.



One effective strategy in my coaching model is: Coaching In.  Of the four strategies I talk about, this one gets the most interest and questions.  The art of Coaching In is for a leader to help another person to self reflect in order to arrive at his/her own understanding, idea, answer, or solution through questioning techniques.

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Posted by on in General


“What I hear, I forget; What I see, I remember; What I do, I understand.”  - Attributed to Confucius

I’ve seen this quote displayed prominently in classrooms, used in books, mentioned in videos, and repeated by educators at professional development meetings. What is it supposed to convey anyway? Was the ancient thinker’s intention to express that seeing is a better way of absorbing freshly received information, and that doing something with it is even more powerful when it comes to internalizing it? Whatever the intended meaning, I believe that all of these, and other, ways of learning are important. Moreover, educational research suggests that we learn best in a multitude of ways, rather than by any one dominant means; and that different subjects lend themselves to different methods of delivery for maximized learning effectiveness, regardless of how pupils taking the subject prefer to learn.

Life is multimodal and so is learning. No single learning modality can be used effectively on a consistent basis. The ever-popular learning styles inventories and assessments are continually being used in the K-12 and higher education communities, even as they are repeatedly being proven inaccurate. The idea that each person has a preferred learning modality is not supported by evidence and is poorly correlated with achievement.

So why does this myth persist in the educational circles?

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Posted by on in General


My daughter and I took a "Photo Walk" today. With camera and iPhone in hand we did our best to capture the world around us. Sometimes I see more when I am moving. Sometimes I see more when I am not. We were successful in capturing many of Nature's majestic beauties. From butterflies to flowers to palm trees to the occasional lizard.

But one scene in particular grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go. The thing is, I had walked past it many times before this day. And while it was always worthy of a glance, it had never gotten me to stop and stare as it did on this particular day.

I sat down beside it to get just the right shot. My daughter was forced to wait. Contrary to what the photo depicts, she survived.

The photo of the chess board above was what stopped me in my tracks. It wasn't the size of the pieces that caught my attention. I had seen large boards before. It was the color of the pieces that provoked me (I am aware that they are almost always black and white. But this was different).

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Tagged in: listening Race stories
Posted by on in Education Leadership

leadership 153250 1280 1

Finding the inspiration for leadership can found in the most random of places. Of course, there are many classic books and reputable experts available for resources on leadership. School Administrators have access to an infinite volume of books helping us to sharpen our leadership craft. I have read and studied many of them. There are many books which have traversed this marrow of leaders struggling to inspire a team or organization to change. I have read many of these books to find that answer to securing a joyful buy-in from the members of an organization. Many of these books provide solid insight and steps to framing change. None has provided that all-inconclusive magic answer in my very humble opinion.

Sometimes I hit a leadership malaise and I yearn to find inspiration for being a better leader within the random places. Who would think that an album celebrating its 50th Anniversary would serve as a catalyst for courageous action as a leader? 

When I first heard “Pet Sounds" by The Beach Boys, I was expecting my life to change. It did not. There was much hype surrounding this album back in 1990 when it was first released on Compact Disc. Paul McCartney had stated that this album moved him to tears and served as a direct inspiration for The Beatles to create their magnum opus, “Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band.” I was captivated by the fact that an album by The Beach Boys could move The Beatles. Surf Music serves as the baptism for a bar band from Liverpool? I was ready to step into that world.

I knew the hits off the "Pet Sounds" album: “Caroline, No,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Sloop John B” and “God Only Knows.” All of those songs had resonated with me in some way. Hearing the album upon first listen I was expecting similar musical baptism as I had with something like “Sgt. Pepper.” It took a few years for that album to marinade within my soul for me to finally understand and appreciate it.

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Posted by on in General


When I started as a brand new teacher in the Chicago Public Schools some 13 years ago I came across a poster on the wall of the attendance office, that explained the “Grade x 10” formula for assigning homework. So, a first grader should have 10 minutes of homework each night (1st grade x 10), while a high school senior ought to spend 120 minutes on his studies every evening following the same formula.

But why do teachers give homework? They believe it can help students be more successful as it allows them to practice what was learned and to remember what was taught. In addition, homework is somewhat of a holy grail in teaching. Teacher preparatory programs push it, textbooks are designed for it, and it is a deep-rooted tradition that allegedly promotes student learning outside of the school walls.

Kids ought to have homework, right?


There is a growing body of research challenging the effectiveness of homework. Alfie Kohn, the author of the 2006 book, Homework Myth, concludes that there is no evidence that homework benefits young children and questions the advantages it brings to older students. Kohn also points out that a 2011 study “fails to find any meaningful benefit even when the study is set up to give homework every benefit of the doubt.” In The Case Against Homework, Bennett and Kalish (2006) explain the negative effects the homework overload has on children’s achievement and development. And there is a plethora of other academic studies that have comparable findings.

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