Any questions??

If we want our kids to become “lifelong learners,” one of the most important skills we can teach them is how to ask questions. Once you leave your formal education, the world isn’t going to spoon feed you information anymore. You actually have to find your own answers, whether it’s “Where is the bathroom?” or…

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Success Academy: Under pressure

It’s too easy to be shocked by the New York Times’ video clip of a Success Academy teacher tearing up a first-grader’s math paper and publicly chastising her, which is making the rounds on social media. Who would think it is OK to humiliate a first-grader? Who would support a school culture where, as one…

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How to destroy motivation

Some days I just get tired of collecting everything. Every handout, every practice problem, every reflection, every quick quiz. I know students benefit from practice, but the paperwork volume is enough to give me a migraine. Like most teachers I know, I wish my students would sometimes — just sometimes — do work for the…

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The goal: Get students to love the work

In 20+ years of teaching, I’ve never heard one student say they deeply enjoyed the time they spent studying for or taking a multiple-choice test — or that they were really engaged by reading the textbook. Working on a meaningful creative project, however, triggers something different. “It sounds cliché, but ‘time flies when you’re having…

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Beware the power of incentives

If you had to choose between (1) teaching two weeks of difficult AP course content or (2) prepping your students for a broader but less rigorous state test in your subject, which would you choose? Before you decide: Your pay is tied to student performance on the state test, but not the AP test. One…

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