What does Real Professional Development Look Like During a Pandemic?

Teaching in the last year has been like riding out a hurricane in a treehouse. As seasoned educators, we tried to come prepared. We knew our student’s emotional needs would be our top priority, we strived to make school feel “normal”, but from the beginning, it was clear that the 2020 - 2021 year would... Continue Reading →

Design Thinking in Humanities

The 8th grade students are tasked with creating an American History museum that will cover the 1800 - 1945. The idea is overwhelming at first. Full student autonomy, research, engagement, scaffolding, the initial project outline is missing the HOW. Students are used to being told how to work, what to design and when to design... Continue Reading →

Scaffolding an Agile Learning Experience

150 years of content in five weeks? Yeah, no problem. The students were in charge.  In a lightning speed brainstorm with the founder of L-EAF, Jeff Burstein, the way unit planning was typically done flipped on its side.  Instead of spending weeks meticulously planning every movement and learning path in the classroom I developed one... Continue Reading →

Bringing Agility into the Classroom with L-EAF.org

In January I was plugging along. My students were using EduScrum quite seamlessly. Our Constitution unit had just launched and I was staring straight towards the bright light at the end of the year.  Everything was flowing. I had reduced friction in my teaching. All of my students were interactive and collaborating. Everything was good. ... Continue Reading →

Assessments in Distance Learning

Sitting in a meeting about authenticating assessment, my mind wanders to the overall state of education.  Here we are almost 1 year into a pandemic. Our systems have been thrown against a wall and decimated.  Pivoting in a weekend our normal flow of life came to a dead stop. Everything started spinning and it isn’t... Continue Reading →

Gamify the Constitution

With a rush of excitement, a push towards action and an explosion of intellectual growth the Analyzing Revolutions unit is over. The students have completely blown past expectations in the products they have made, the discussion they have led and the skills they have acquired. The last minute push exhausted all of us, but luckily... Continue Reading →

Student Voice Drives Curriculum

Reading the U.S. Constitution is not a priority of my 8th grade students. At this point in the year their genuine interest has built about the Constitution, but the actual want to read a document written in 1787 is not on this "Must Do" list. This year we have the extra challenge of students transitioning... Continue Reading →

Boston Massacre Trial

SET THE STAGE One of the major skills I teach is argumentative writing. One would think that taking naturally argumentative pre-teens and harnessing that energy with be easy, unfortunately it is not. Students that can argue over grades, the pros and cons of wearing leggings at school and which football team will reach the Super... Continue Reading →

Analyzing Revolutions

The new unit on revolutions is content heavy. We are exploring the American road to revolution and the Revolutionary War. In the past students have created timelines that are a reference that will be used in the next unit when learning the U.S. Constitution. This year changed the project to involve a larger world view. ... Continue Reading →

Reflection and Rebuilding

Flying high off the success of our last project,  8th grade U.S. Government students are excited to start their new adventure.  They have been working with the same groups for the entire quarter and are ready to move forward with a dynamic new group. They enjoyed self-selecting their groups based on diverse qualities and skills... Continue Reading →

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