Tag: learning

Across the globe schools are closing due to Covid-19 and the learning is being moved online. I recently shared in my Daily-Ink post, ‘Novel ideas can spread from a novel virus‘: Discussion about the possibility of remote learning invites questions about blended learning where some of the work, both asynchronous and synchronous, is done remotely. […]

Read More Just shifting online or shifting the learning?

Throughout the world, schools are managing the challenges of school closures in response to news of the spreading corona virus or COVID-19. As a school leader, you are expected to manage difficulties, but sometimes you are managing in uncharted territo…

Read More PMP186: Reboot for Principals with Jen Schwanke

Years ago I was doing a presentation to high school educators and things didn’t go as planned: I started my presentation and within 30 seconds the power went out. I picked up my laptop and said to the 100+ audience members, “Ok, everybody gather around here.” ? I started a conversation about ‘What tech tool […]

Read More Adopting tools in a transformative rather than additive way

The focus of traditional education has mostly been on knowledge. The focus has been on learning more information. But now we have more information available to us than ever before. And the amount of information out there is growing exponentially…

Read More Knowing vs. Understanding vs. Applying

I love the energy and intention of the word relentless. There is power in that word. It indicates persistence, perseverance, commitment, and fortitude. The word is strong and mighty.

When we talk about educators being relentless, that’s often a …

Read More Relentless About the Right Things

Which students are doing the creative work in your school? Who has the most opportunities to work on projects, solve problems, collaborate with classmates, develop ideas, design products, and publish for authentic audiences? If your school is like mo…

Read More All Kids Deserve Opportunities for Creative Work

Did you learn things in your first year of teaching you knew you needed to do differently? Of course you did.

If you could do year one over again, do you think you could learn even more from it? Are there things you could do differently, more ef…

Read More Evidence You Have Unlimited Potential

I love the metaphor of ‘Teacher as compass’; helping students navigate their own learning journey. Last night I read this tweet from Will Richardson: Kids don’t need to be taught how to learn. (No one does.) Our job in schools is to create conditions where they can practice what they already know. To trust their […]

Read More Teacher as compass

In this instant everything world we live in, it seems like life is moving faster than ever. It’s a text, tweet, Tic-Tok world for our kids and the idea of staying with anything for very long seems very old school. And that’s a common concern I hear from teachers. It’s extremely difficult to have a successful learning environment without learners who can persist in learning.



Perseverance matters for learning and life, and educators must be intentional about helping students develop this trait. But how can we do that most effectively?



This past summer I was blessed to be part of Education Write Now Volume III, a collaborative writing project for educators sponsored by Routledge publishing. The team gathered in Boston for this effort and produced the book in just over 48 hours!



This year’s volume, set to be released in December, will feature solutions to common challenges in your classroom or school. Each chapter will address a different challenge.



While the book promises to be a great resource for overcoming education challenges, the proceeds for the book also support a great cause seeking to overcome one of the most pressing challenges imaginable, teen suicide. The Will to Live Foundation supports teen mental health projects and is doing great work in that area.






For my chapter, I shared some thoughts on developing perseverance in students. How can we respond when students show apathy? What are strategies for nurturing grit and growth mindset? How can we ask better questions to encourage honest reflection and self-awareness in students? Those are a few questions I tried to explore.



One thing is for certain, our students are not going to reach their potential or make the most of academic opportunities unless they have an orientation toward working hard and persevering when faced with difficulties. There is great power in perseverance.



Here’s an excerpt from my chapter:




As educators, we must plan for teaching students about perseverance just like we would plan for teaching subject matter content. Developing perseverance in students is just as important as learning any academic content and will support the learning of academic content. I believe the investment in educating kids about productive failure will result in increased learning across the board. As a building leader, I also want to support this work and take every opportunity to recognize and celebrate perseverance in our school.




We can all probably agree that perseverance is important and that it’s valuable for kids to develop these skills, but we have to be intentional about creating the structures and systems that support the development of perseverance. We can think it’s important, but what are doing to act like it’s important? Intentions without actions aren’t going to result in any progress.



As you’re planning for your classroom or school environment, are you being intentional about character and leadership development? Are you teaching students how to persevere? 



When we see students struggling with an essential life skill, one that’s keeping them from academic success, I believe we should be just as intentional about teaching these skills as we are about teaching academic standards. It was an honor for me to share several specific strategies that might prove helpful in #EdWriteNow Vol. III.



So what’s it like to write a book in 48 hours? Exhausting? Yes! Exhilarating? Yes! But when you’ve got a great team to help you through…it’s an amazing experience. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.




What are some of your thoughts on teaching skills like perseverance? Do you feel this is a significant challenge in your classroom? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More The Power of Perseverance

In July, I decided to (re)start my daily blog, coined Daily-Ink. At the time of my original attempt, I was a regular reader of Stephen Downes OLDaily, and a fan of one of my student’s blog name Wandering Ink. Thus ‘Daily-Ink’ seemed a good name. So what prompted the rebirth of my daily blog? I […]

Read More Rebirth of my daily blog

I have no idea where I am going with this post, but I wanted to work through these ideas through writing. Bear with me. Here is a question that popped into my head recently; Would our students and communities see school (K-12) as valuable and as an essential endeavor if there was no diploma offered? … [Read more…]

Read More Beyond a Diploma

I have no idea where I am going with this post, but I wanted to work through these ideas through writing. Bear with me. Here is a question that popped into my head recently; Would our students and communities see school (K-12) as valuable and as an essential endeavor if there was no diploma offered? … [Read more…]

Read More Beyond a Diploma

I saw this picture on Imgur awhile ago, and I have it saved in my favorite images. This is a good reminder for us as individuals and as schools. For individuals, focusing on goals is essential, but the process and the journey are important and where you are now will only happen once.  You might … [Read more…]

Read More Where You Are Right Now

As a child, I did not read much. I definitely did not read for pleasure, but I read because I had to. Part of the reason I didn’t enjoy reading was that I was continuously asked to read books in which I was not interested in the classroom setting. Now that I think about it, … [Read more…]

Read More The Gifts of Each and Every Child



“How did you become a Chicago Cubs fan?”



I asked the question to a Cubs fan I was visiting with recently. And I wasn’t being sarcastic, since I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, and that would be on point for fan behavior between the two teams.



No, I was just curious because he wasn’t from a part of the country that isn’t typically considered Cubs fan territory. He explained that some members of his family were Cubs fans but what really hooked him on the Cubs was when he attended a game at Wrigley Field (Chicago) as a young boy.



That experience, he said, was something he never forgot and resulted in his lifelong love of the Cubs. It was as simple as that.



Experiences are powerful. They can change our entire perspective for good or bad. In this case, a positive experience resulted in a deep attachment to a baseball team.



I’m wondering about how students experience school. Are we creating experiences that result in a lifelong attachment to learning? Are we creating powerful learning experiences that develop curiosity and cultivate interests?



While much of my own school experience was somewhat routine and mostly forgettable, there were some amazing experiences that really led me to want to learn more.



Most of those memorable experiences were projects or trips to visit interesting places. I remember visiting a cave, a Civil War battlefield, and even a museum with a real mummy, all part of opportunities through school.



I also remember creating a news broadcast and interviewing people from our community, as part of a project for class. I also remember competing in a stock market game, and I remember performing a classroom play.



I don’t remember a single lecture from school. I take that back. I remember one very gifted social studies teacher who could tell stories from the Civil War that were so interesting I wanted to learn more on my own. He had us on the edge of our seats.



I don’t remember any worksheet tasks standing out. I don’t remember any tests in particular. 



Here’s the thing. I’m not saying tests, or assignments, or routine work are all bad in school. I’m not saying they don’t have value. But if we want our students to be inspired learners, we better look for ways to connect learning to positive emotions. We better give students experiences that really capture their attention in ways that go far beyond the routine.



In a time where standards mastery seems to be at the top of all priorities, I wonder what types of experiences kids are having? 



What type of experience are they having when remediation has been routine for them year after year in school?



What type of experience are they having when they don’t have the opportunity to pursue things they’re interested in?



What type of experience are they having when they don’t get to learn outside the classroom by taking field trips?



A couple of high school principals were discussing how they are making sure any field trips in their school tie directly to meeting standards. I guess that’s one way to look at it.



But for me, I want our students to have as many opportunities as possible to learn and interact with interesting people and places away from our school campus. I especially want that for our under-resourced students who might not ever have those opportunities otherwise.



There is a time for rolling up our sleeves and doing the routine work of learning and life. But if we’re not also creating peak moments along the way, we are missing the joy in the journey. 



And we’re probably missing out on potential passions, and maybe even missing out on developing a passion for learning.



The routine work should flow from a deep sense of purpose. We need to know our why. That’s where lasting learning is nurtured.



As I wrote in my book, Future Driven,

Don’t just create lessons for your students. Create experiences. Students will forget a lesson, but an experience will have lasting value. We want to do more than cover content. We want to inspire learning.

Is your school making time for powerful learning experiences? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.





Read More Don’t Just Plan Lessons, Create Experiences

In the post, “The Most Surprising Thing that Came from NOT Achieving My Dreams” via Marc and Angel, they share this idea of an “Unbucket List.” I had never heard of that until now, and it was an interesting exercise focused not on the future, but appreciating the past. The author shares the following: As … [Read more…]

Read More The “Un-Bucket List”



The answer to the question seems obvious, don’t you think? Of course, educators should be lifelong learners. 



But I recently heard an education leader give a presentation where he made a claim that expecting educators to be lifelong learners, at least in the sense of attending PD or reading on their own time, was unrealistic. 



Basically, he suggested that nobody has time for that. There are too many demands on teachers as it is. I found it interesting that in spite of his claim, he also shared he is currently writing a book for educators.



He suggested the best way for professional educators to learn was through experience and by reflecting on experience with others. And I agree, that is one way to learn.



He added that when he interviewed for open positions and candidates shared about being lifelong learners, that he didn’t believe it for a minute. The universities are simply coaching their pre-service teachers on keywords they need to use in interviews.



My thinking is quite different on this issue. A big problem I see in schools is that too few are making time for their own professional reading and growth. Most people become satisfied with a certain level of effectiveness in their life, work, relationships, etc. and then hit cruise control. They don’t continue to push the limits of their own possibilities.



But that’s not the way strive for your potential, and it’s not the way to become the most effective, fulfilled educator you can be.



So here are some of my thoughts about continuous learning for educators…



1. The quickest way to improve a school is for the people inside the school to work on improving themselves. When you individually learn more as an educator, your students win, and your whole school wins too. You make your school stronger by your growth.



2. People who don’t make time for reading and growing will never break through their current capacity. They may get a little better, but they won’t experience new levels of capacity. They won’t have breakthroughs



Why? Because they are limited to their own perspective. As John Maxwell said, “Some of my best thinking is done by others.” I learn so much from what some of the leading thinkers are writing and sharing.



3. I suggest the 5-hour-rule as a great way to learn and grow. Spend at least 5 hours per week reading to build your capacity. Many of the world’s busiest and most successful people are consistent readers. 



4. The most common excuse for not reading is not having enough time. But we make time for what’s important. We all have the same number of hours in the day. And I’m wondering if most of the same people complaining about not having enough time are finding plenty of time for Netflix, YouTube, and Facebook?



5. Seth Godin suggests the more professional your field, the more important it is to stay current. If we seek to raise the standing of education as a top profession, we need to strive to learn like other top professions.



6. You wouldn’t want a surgeon operating on you who hasn’t read the latest journals about the procedures he’s performing. You want the best techniques. And your students deserve the best techniques too.



7. One of the best ways to carve our time for reading is to make it part of your morning routine. When you start the day focused on your own growth, you’ll be better able to help your students with their growth.



Are you making time for your reading and growth? How do you find the time? Do you believe educators should be lifelong learners? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Should All Educators Be Lifelong Learners?

Yesterday was Pink Shirt Day. The initiative started in 2007 in Nova Scotia when, “David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied [for wearing a pink shirt]…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the […]

Read More 4 Thoughts about Pink Shirt Day