ed news and trends

classroom makerspaces

Makerspace is a rapidly growing trend in schools across the country, but to be honest, I’ve never implemented one myself, and I can’t quite picture the logistics of orchestrating a Makerspace. How do kids know what to do? How can you find out what they’re learning? How do you make time for that with all the […]



I’ve spent the last 4 days at ISTE surrounded by 21,000 incredibly passionate educators. I’ve learned more about makerspaces, genius hour, flipped learning, STEM, STEAM, BYOD, PLCs, project-based learning, game-based learning, differentiated learning, personalized learning, and approximately 4,752 different apps and web tools to make it all possible. And when I reflect back on big […]



Understanding by Design (UbD) is a powerful but potentially daunting approach to planning curriculum. I’ve invited Jennifer Martinez, of everything just so, to share how she went from dreading UbD to allowing it to transform teaching and learning in her classroom. Jennifer, who’s from Columbus, Ohio, taught for nine years and spent a year writing curriculum for the NEA Master […]


This is as close as it gets to a miracle solution for students' behavior problems, it's completely free, and it only takes 2 minutes a day.

I thought it would be fun to check the blog analytics today and find out which articles you all liked the best this year. Most of them were written in 2014, although there are a couple of older posts which lots of teachers are still checking out. Here they are in countdown form, from 10-1: For […]

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#ISTE2014 Atlanta

I’ve always thought the term “re-entry” to our regular lives after an ISTE conference was a bit dramatic, but it really does feel that way this year. 16,000 educators in one building is…intense. Now that I’m back from Atlanta and scrolling through my notes, I’m going to try to condense everything down to 10 main take-aways. These are not necessarily the most […]


John Lodle picture

Remember the Follett Challenge I featured here back in January? John Lodle is chair of the English department at the winning school, Belleville West High School in Illinois, where he has taught for the past 20 years. In today’s post, he’s kindly taken time to share the initiative that earned them the grand prize. The faculty at Belleville worked together […]


highly decorated classrooms study

You’ve probably read some version of the study that went absolutely viral on social media: Heavily Decorated Classrooms Disrupt Attention and Learning In Young Children. But have you seen the classroom used for the study? The bottom image shows the researchers’ idea of “highly decorated,” which looks like a pretty typical elementary classroom to me. The picture […]


The Busy Educator Newsletter

Teachers are busy, and the “connected educators” who read education blogs and network with other teachers via social media might find it tough to get all those great ideas out to colleagues who aren’t online. These two free newsletters are a quick and easy way to share best practices in education: just check them out yourself, and […]


What percentage of your time is spent convincing people to give up something they value (like time, energy, attention, or money) in exchange for something you offer? This was the question posed by Daniel Pink, the first keynote speaker at this year’s ASCD conference in Los Angeles. He shared a study where 7,000 Americans participated, and […]


real teachers, real tips on classroom management

If you’ve ever considered having students bring their own devices (BYOD) to class, you’ve probably worried…won’t the kids text all day long? How do I keep them from taking inappropriate photos or posting on Facebook while I’m teaching? Aren’t students’ phones a huge distraction? Here to help is Kristy from the 2 Peas and a Dog […]


ISTE San Antonio 2013

I’m home and getting settled back in after the biggest ed tech conference of the year: ISTE, which was held this year in San Antonio, Texas, and attracted over 20,000 participants. I’ve already shared my notes on the inspiring ideas shared in the first Ignite session at ISTE and my summary from a session on integrating […]


standardized testing

So last month I ranted a little bit about product placement on the new standardized tests in New York (as in, the brand names of cartoons and sneakers and soda being embedded in reading passages.)  Now that “testing season” is officially over in most schools, I’m really eager to hear from more educators who have […]


Four years ago, I had an experience where I believed that there were advertisements on my students’ standardized tests. (Please, read that story. It’s one of my favorites.) That nightmare actually came true this week. Yes, my friends. The new standardized tests in New York feature plugs for commercial products. Supposedly, none of the companies paid […]


These are my final hours here in Chicago for the 2013 ASCD annual conference. All kinds of posts have been swirling around in my head for days, and I feel like things are just now settling down to the point where I can begin to process everything I’ve learned and experienced. The generosity of ASCD […]


The success of public schooling in Finland has been a huge topic of discussion in the education community over the past year. I’ve read a few good articles about it, including Why Are Finland’s Schools So Successful?, and was impressed with what I learned. So when the image to the left started circulating on social media, […]


That’s according to the 29th annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, an always fascinating analysis of teacher and principal perceptions of their work. The fact that teachers are increasingly less satisfied with their jobs is probably not surprising to you, but MetLife found that teachers’ satisfaction levels have dropped 23% since 2008, and that, to […]


Quick aside: A big thanks to everyone who has emailed, messaged on Facebook, etc. to ask how we’re doing after Superstorm Sandy. We really appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Our part of Brooklyn is just fine: our biggest problem is that we still don’t have subway service and the gas shortages are serious, so it’s tough […]


Is it time to let go of the traditional way we think about managing our classrooms?

In the last few years, there’s been a growing amount of push back in the fringes of the educational community against the term “classroom management.”  In fact, some of the edubloggers that I most admire and respect have more or less dropped the term from their vocabulary, and their viewpoint is increasingly spreading into mainstream […]


lots of free printables for anti-bullying lessons

Today’s guest post is by Matthew Plummer in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month. Matthew is the Product Manager for Aspen, Follett Software Company’s student information system. Based in Hingham, Mass., Plummer joined the company in 2010 after a 20-year career teaching mathematics in Hanover Public Schools. He holds a Masters of Art degree in […]


Flipped classroom Q&A

The edublogosphere has spent the last two years weighing the pros and cons of the flipped classroom model, and the number of conversations is only growing. The initial buzz centered mostly around Khan Academy and was overwhelmingly positive; the idea of having kids view the teacher’s instruction at home and use class time for practice […]