By Scott Sterling Reflection should be a regular component of a teacher’s practice, but some times of the year seem to be tailor-made for reflective study. One of those times is at the beginning of the calendar year, which may signal the midpoint of the school year or the start
School Superintendent Julia Espe likes to refer to a quotation from Israeli teacher Haim Ginott: “Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” For the past several years, Espe has been endeavoring to ensure that whatever “falls” on the students in her Princeton, Minnesota school district
By Scott Sterling Our students are stressed out. The causes are many (too many activities, too much pressure, not enough down time, etc.), but they have very little ability throughout the day to just “be”, to clear their minds and focus their attention inward rather than outward. The practice of
By Scott Sterling This is the second in a series about noticing when students aren’t engaged with a lesson and what to do about it. Each installment of the series corresponds to a grade level. This week: middle school. Middle school has a reputation as the toughest level to teach.
By Scott Sterling We’ve been talking a lot about students developing hypotheses and how that can add rigor to your classroom activities. Mostly, these lessons have resembled the scientific process, even if they could be converted to use in the other subject areas. Investigative tasks are a bit different. They
By Scott Sterling Providing students autonomy in learning tasks is a key component of rigor. Tasks are simply less rigorous when students receive more guidance and less productive struggle. There are many ways to generate that autonomy, but key among them is providing tasks in which students have to choose
By Scott Sterling As we are all familiar by now, one of rigor’s most important components is autonomy for students. Part of working autonomously is the opportunity for students to reflect on what’s working, what’s not, and where they go from here. This level of metacognition rarely comes as an
By Scott Sterling Most teachers choose to use their in-class time to deliver new content. The thinking is that students will naturally struggle, productively or otherwise, when they encounter the unknown. When that struggle occurs, the teacher wants to be there. In correlation, homework is reserved for practice. But isn’t
By Scott Sterling If you’re in the field of mindset management, business has been very good. To recap, the current thinking in education is that people, in general, have one of two mindsets. In a “fixed mindset,” you believe people are born with certain attributes and they will never change.