EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

  • Let's Work Together

    I hear two kids working in the blocks center. "This is the wall that protects the house." "And here are cameras to watch for bad guys." "Look at this tall part here." "What if we put this here? It's a door to escape." I read and hear a lot about collaboration connected with education. We should be helping children work together and learn how to function in group situations. Kids should be able to solve problems and work together in projects. I agree that this is a needed skill in our socie ...

    by R Scott Wiley | @sxwiley
    Friday, 29 April 2016
  • c-notes-on-roids-brainhacking-3.png

    Brain Hacking 303: Cornell Notes On Steroids

    If you are an educator, the topic of note taking has come up in your PLN more than once. Perhaps you are encouraged to use a certain method in your school. My school is an AVID school and I taught at other AVID schools, so the Cornell Note-Taking Method is something I've been exposed to a lot, have much experience with, and use with my students. I believe that note-taking, regardless of how the notes are taken: on paper or digitally, is a tool that can allow students to become better, self-suff ...

    by Oskar Cymerman | @focus2achieve
    Thursday, 28 April 2016
  • stencil.twitter post 73

    Organizations Really Can Change

    This June we will be releasing our Project RED III research.  The seventeen Signature Districts were identified as understanding and following a successful path for implementing their 1:1 programs.  They collected 3 years of data across several key factors including student achievement.  We are excited to see the results. Signature Districts These Signature Districts stood out through a competitive process across the country.  They rose to the top in each Key Implementati ...

    by Leslie Wilson
    Thursday, 28 April 2016
  • stencil.twitter post 74

    Comparable Measures

    One of the holy grails of ed reform is comparability. The aim is a score or grade or rating that allows us to say definitively that Hypothetical High School is a better school than Imaginary Academy, that Pat O'Furniture teaching third grade in Iowa is a better teacher that Teachy McTeacherson teaching tenth grade Spanish in Maine. But we're also looking for evaluations that provide useful information, and there's one of the major problems in the evaluation world these days. The more compara ...

    by Peter Greene @palan57
    Thursday, 28 April 2016
  • HaveweDone

    What Have We Done?

    Recently, I had a student ask me for a review pack for our upcoming state test. "I'm not giving review packs this year," I said confidently knowing my time spent gamifying their content would surely payoff.  My ego was quickly put in check by the student's pale and unnerved face.  "Wait. What?! No review packet?! I WON'T PASS THE TEST!" And she meant business. Her world was crumbling around her.  Noticing the panic in her face, I attempted to bring a little levity to the situa ...

    by Gina Taylor @RLTaylor94
    Wednesday, 27 April 2016
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Posted by on in General


They had to leave early, so it was my job to get him up. With the clocks being pushed forward he was having a more difficult time waking up. We all were. But he is only four, so he needs a bit more sleep. I curled up next to him and waited. He has grown so much in the past year, but he is still my little boy.

Watching him gradually wake up is something I'm sure I won't get to do much longer. But I did on this day. And I will as longs as he allows me. After snuggling for about ten minutes I carried him downstairs. By 7am my wife and kids were on their way to school.

I had a meeting after school so I arrived home a little later than usual. As I pulled into the driveway I noticed my son had the door open and he ran out to hug me. Usually my daughter is the first to greet me, but she had her headphones on and must not have heard me pull up.

For the rest of the evening my son clung to me like he hadn't in quite a while. He kept telling me over and over again how much he had missed me. And at first I could not figure out why. But then it hit me. I think it had everything to do with how our day began.

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies


As a high school American History and Government teacher, I take seriously my obligation to refrain from giving any inclination of my party affiliation. More than anything else, I don’t want my views to influence unduly what my students believe, nor do I want any of them to suspect me of grading based on my own political leanings—which I would never do. I couldn’t care less what party my students support, so long as each of them leaves my classroom with a better understanding of why they support it. 

During presidential election seasons, I’m especially careful to avoid sharing my personal views about any candidate. But we have never had a frontrunner like Donald Trump, nor has our political system ever been so polarized. In this uncharted territory, here is how I have managed Trump in my classroom. 

Encourage students to speak out

As part of a unit on government and the media, students explored how to write political opinion pieces. One senior wrote a thoughtful article on The Donald’s flaws, and she shared her story Trump: A True Republican? in The Gator, the school’s online student news site, which I advise. “Even if Trump fails to win the Republican nomination, and even if he fails to win against Clinton or Sanders, the fact that he has made it this far speaks volumes to the current state of American political consciousness,”she writes. This passionate yet rational tone fostered thoughtful debate among not just her classmates, but the whole community. Students did not need me to chime in. 

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Posted by on in What If?


"She just needs to talk more in class."

Those were the words a frustrated mother shared with me during one of my first parent-teacher conferences.  The mother's goal was for her child to speak up more in class.  That was it.  In her mother's opinion, that's all the daughter needed to be more successful in school; she just needed to break out of her shell.  I thought to myself, "Well, that seems easy enough."

Oh, my naivety.

As an inexperienced teacher (and strong extrovert myself), it seemed logical to not question the validity of this parent's request.  At that time, I equated students who actively spoke in class as the bright and engaged learners.  If I'm honest, and if you follow the logic of that belief system, then I probably considered those students who spoke up less in class as less enthusiastic and engaged learners.

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Posted by on in Assessment & Grading


A few weeks ago, a teacher shared with me a question his had given to his students. He asked them,

“If you had the choice for your next grade, would you choose an 88 that you really worked hard for and learned something to earn or 95 where you won’t remember anything after the grade and didn’t learn throughout the process?”

I love the question. Both the question itself and the thoughts I have about the implications of either choice are fascinating to me.

Not surprisingly, many students opted for the 95. They are sophomores in high school, and with a few weeks to go until spring break, I can understand the allure of some free points.

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Posted by on in Blended Learning


Teachers have long used lecture with PowerPoints, Google Slides, and other tools to deliver content. With advances in educational technology, we need to ask some important questions about this practice.

What strategy does not differentiate, is teacher-centered, and requires all students to work at roughly the same pace?


What is the most difficult classroom management challenge?

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