Teachers need autonomy. They need space to use their expertise to make lessons that are appropriate for their specific students each academic year. But a district also needs a systematic guaranteed and viable curriculum; we cannot simply leave it up to luck whether a some students get quality learning experiences and others do not. The… Read More »How Districts Can Balance Consistency with Teacher Autonomy in Curriculum: The Cookbook Method
by Kate Wolfe Maxlow You’ve bought the most current and groundbreaking technology for your schools. You’ve done the training session for all your teachers. And yet, how often have you seen any of the following? When the Digital Revolution started, educational leaders rightly proclaimed that it had the power to make learning accessible for all… Read More »Why the Digital Revolution Hasn’t Revolutionized Education…And Four Things We Can Do About It
by Kate Wolfe Maxlow You walk into a training session or a classroom and the first slides come up looking like this: …and the presenter starts to read aloud every. Single. Bullet. Inwardly, everyone in the audience groans and inwardly dies a little, knowing that they’re never going to get this hour of their lives back.… Read More »Wide Awake Presentations: 3 Better Ways to Share Information Than Reading Your Slides
So you found your dream education job. Excellent! The first step, then, is to get yourself in the door to an interview. When dozens of applicants apply for a position, it can be hard to determine who to interview…and we do have to leave some people out of interviews because there are only so many… Read More »Steps to Stand Out: Tips for Snagging an PreK-12 Job Interview
by Kate Wolfe Maxlow I read a lot of job applications from teachers, and here’s the thing: most teachers have very similar job duties and abilities. This means that if you want your application (for a teaching, admin, or any other position in education) to stand out, you need to take some important steps. In addition to… Read More »Getting an Interview: What to Do (and Not to Do) in Your Cover Letter for K-12 Education
by Kate Wolfe Maxlow So you’ve finished your coursework, gotten your endorsement, and are now hoping to get an educational leadership position in the PreK-12 world (I say that because there are very different standards when applying for a job in higher education where they love long CVs). A strong resume is going to be… Read More »7 Crucial Steps to Writing a Resume for a PreK-12 Education Leadership Job
by Kate Wolfe Maxlow So, you’ve read the article on the AbCD (Absorb & Connect/Do) Learning Cycle, and you want to get started. But how, you’re wondering, can you incorporate this into your classroom without taking a ton of extra time? We’ve got you covered. Below are several easy ideas to get students Connecting information to… Read More »Quick and Easy Connect/Do Activities for All!
By Kate Wolfe Maxlow With the winter holidays right around the corner, it’s a great time to unwrap one of the best gifts you can give your direct reports: your occasional, purposeful absence. I learned this lesson the hard way the first time I had direct reports. As a new leader, I thought it was… Read More »Leadership Matters: Good Leaders Know When to Work…and When to Not
by Kate Wolfe Maxlow In this age of screens and 30-second clips, it’s vital that educators keep abreast of the current research on student attention spans and how we leverage our instructional activities so that they’re developmentally appropriate. There’s both an art and science to stretching students’ attention spans successfully. Enter then: the AbCD Learning… Read More »Engaging Classrooms: Rethinking Instructional Time in Education (AbCD Learning Cycle)
Engaging Classrooms: Are Students Engaged…or Just Compliant? Here’s how to tell and what to do about it.
by Kate Wolfe Maxlow Picture it: you’re teaching your heart out with your carefully crafted slideshow. MacKenzie, as usual, sits in the front of the room, nodding along eagerly. As you make another brilliant point, you see her furrow her brow thoughtfully and write it down. William, meanwhile, sits in the back row, digging through… Read More »Engaging Classrooms: Are Students Engaged…or Just Compliant? Here’s how to tell and what to do about it.
By Kate Wolfe Maxlow I can still sing the entire jingle from a Milky Way commercial that played non-stop on TV when I was five. I remember all of King Henry VIII’s wives from a coloring page activity I did when I was eight. I can name all of the states in alphabetical order because… Read More »Engaging Classrooms: Why We Need More Arts in Every Classroom, Every Day
by Kate Wolfe Maxlow The term “growth mindset” is a well-worn phrase in education. Yet, sometimes we see schools where the staff talks a good talk about growth mindset, but certain actions or beliefs undercut the philosophy. It turns out, this can actually negatively impact the growth mindset of students. Why does this happen? Let’s… Read More »Leadership Matters: Growth Mindsets…Do Our Actions Match our Words?
Your brain is made up of tons of tiny neurons. None of these neurons have conscious thought, yet all together, they result in the works of Shakespeare, the compositions of Mozart, and the creation of the internet. How? This is the concept of emergence: when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts… Read More »Is Your Whole School Greater than the Sum of Its Parts?
In our last two parts, we looked at how basics of research and experimental design can impact the strength of a study’s results—and how much we can trust results when determining which programs and strategies to implement in our schools. Nothing might be trendier today than programs and strategies that profess to be “brain-based.” Seems… Read More »What Every School Leader Needs to Know about Educational Research – Part 3
How many times have you sat through a professional development that promises to be the panacea to all of education’s woes, only for it to be tossed aside a couple of years later when it can’t deliver on its promises? Meanwhile, the frustration at the waste of our time, effort, and money leads to a… Read More »What Every School Leader Needs to Know about Educational Research – Part 2
So, your colleagues in the next school district over are raving about this great new program they have for helping “catch up” struggling students. They say that you should really look into it for your school district. The catch? It’s pretty expensive. But never fear, they say–it’s research-based. There’s no doubt that the number of… Read More »What Every School Leader Needs to Know about Educational Research – Part 1
So far in this years, we’ve seen the very real problems that new teachers face—but we’ve also seen that there’s a lot that effective school leaders can do to off-set those problems. Let’s recap so far: previously, we’ve explored Difficult Work Assignments, Unclear Expectations, Inadequate Resources, and Isolation. We’ve seen that the assignment of strong… Read More »6 Reasons New Teachers Leave the Profession—And What Leaders Can Do About It – Part 3
Remember your first day of teaching—waiting outside your classroom door, pencils freshly sharpened, bulletin board freshly stapled with inspiring slogans and posters? Remember being full of expectation (and maybe some anxiousness), ready to fill the minds of young people with the love of learning? And then the students enter your classroom…and you realize that none… Read More »6 Reasons New Teachers Leave the Profession—And What Leaders Can Do About It – Part 2
Are you ready for a shocking statistic? Fifty percent of new teachers leave the profession in the first five years. Then again, maybe you don’t find it so shocking. You’ve probably actually witnessed this trend in your very own school or district, leaving us with the question: what can we do to stop it? Quality… Read More »6 Reasons New Teachers Leave the Profession—And What Leaders Can Do About It – Part 1
In the previous three parts of this blog, we have looked at the effect of collective efficacy on student achievement, influences upon collective efficacy and supports needed to foster collective efficacy. This final installment discusses a model for professional development for school leaders that enables them to foster a culture of efficacy in their building.… Read More »The Impact of Collective Efficacy on Student Achievement (Part 4)