Harkness Circle Completed

Spider Web Discussions as a Formative Assessment

Several years ago, I began implementing more classroom opportunities for my students to practice their verbal communication skills. Having access to unlimited technology had allowed me to support their online and written communication skills, but I still saw a lack of both oral and listening skills on the part of my juniors and seniors. There […]

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Let’s Move Past the Era of Worksheets!

I recently cleaned out my 5th grade daughter’s backpack to find a plethora of crumpled up worksheets. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I was shocked. In fact, earlier in the week, I reviewed my first grade daughter’s gifted homework that consisted of a packet of worksheets related to a fifth grade level book she is […]

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The Top Ten Ways to Fake an Authentic Classroom

The word authenticity is used frequently in today’s 21st century eduspeak with self-proclaimed gurus, ninjas, and experts. Thus, we must be careful as to whose advice we follow. Since I wrote a book on authentic learning experiences, I would certainly consider myself as an authenticity expert. However, for years, I wrongly thought I provided my […]

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Is Your Project Just a Research Paper in Disguise?

In keeping with the theme from my last post on the 30 second PSA as a final product, I thought I would tackle another subset of PBL products: the faux creation. When I coach teachers who are designing their first authentic PBL experiences, I tell them to ask the question, “Is my required product simply […]

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Why a Public Service Announcement May Not Be the Best PBL Product

Often, when I work with teachers, I find them resorting to requiring a Public Service Announcement as a final product for the project. Immediately, a red flag goes up on my radar. While a PSA may be one of several final products, only requiring a PSA leaves a lot of open holes when it comes […]

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Authentic Learning: A Response to Comments and Winners Announced!

Thank you to those of you who entered the book giveaway. Barbara and Mike can expect their copies to arrive soon. For those of you that didn’t win or didn’t enter this time, stay tuned for another giveaway in the future or check out the book on Amazon! There were some fabulous comments relating to […]

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Celebrating My New Blog: A Book Giveaway!

I’ve blogged over the years for a variety of organizations and colleagues. However, I’ve never committed to a full-time blog of my own. Lately, I’ve found myself tweeting an assortment of one liners that I’ve thought I should turn into full length blog posts. So, I decided to take the plunge! I’ve officially become a […]

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Let’s Shift The Conversation Away From Failure

There has been a lot of talk in the education world about allowing students to fail. I’ve seen quotes about “failing forward” and “fail stands for first attempt in learning.” While, I am certain that those that espouse failure are doing so in order to teach students to not give up, I would like to […]

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Sharing Stories: Authentic Learning Experiences

Originally Published by MiddleWeb in Oct. 2013 (Modifications from the original have been made in this updated version) I frequently ask my fourth-grade daughter: “What did you learn in school today?” In response I often hear, “I don’t know” or “nothing much.” Disappointed, I long for the day when she tells me a spontaneous story […]