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Ideally, a school can work together on strong and structured units of inquiry-based learning so that all learners in the community become familiar with a common language. Frame those first units of study around central, unGoogleable questions. Use provocations to spark rich and engaging entry points to new areas of interest and study, and allow space for students to pursue side paths and related questions along the way.
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When first introduced to inquiry-based learning, educators often have questions around assessment. For example, he no longer puts any numbers or letter-grades on formative assessments — he only offers feedback. He also makes sure that students are invested in the assessment process through the co-creation of criteria, the inclusion of student voice, and by making sure that assessment occurs in the classroom, by and with students — instead of something done to them.
Assessment done properly infuses course content instead of taking the shape of something slapped on to the end of a unit of a study. He immediately noticed the empowerment and sense of agency that the conferences gave students. For a change, many of his students actually wanted their parents to read their report cards because they had a direct hand in crafting those comments. Even more importantly, the process broke many students out of a fixed mindset regarding what past report cards and the education system had told them they were and were not capable of as learners.
Sadly, Trevor says, professional development is often not designed by teachers, and as a result, there can be a disconnect between philosophy and practice. Beyond inquiry, something else that is setting Trevor on fire in education today is the conversation around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Educators who greatly impress Trevor in this space include Gary Gray Jr. If we want our students to truly understand themselves as learners, people, and human beings, we owe it to them to help them understand the biases, narratives, and historical forces that shape our understanding of ourselves.
Sean Bean heartache: World on Fire star's admission about grandad 'He was never the same'
As much joy as he derives from working with learners in his classroom, Trevor is also passionate about teaching teachers and working with other educators around the world. Balancing the two consituencies well and being fully present in every context requires intentionality and mindfulness. Trevor is an avid cyclist, and on many mornings he is up early and out of the house on his bike before school. He also enjoys a good community of fellow cyclists in his area that he enjoys biking and racing with.
Cycling gets him going, fires him up, and keeps him healthy so that he can serve others well. With small children at home and students at school, the early morning is simply the best block of time in the day to be productive and undistracted. The Merrills are an amazing elementary teaching couple who take creativity to a whole new level in their practice.
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Make sure to give them a follow! Microsoft recently acquired this legendary platform and made its features absolutely free for educators, increasing equity and access for all learners in the process. Make sure to connect with Flipgrid on Twitter FlipGrid. Gary is an important voice in the conversation on equity and he keeps things real on his channel. We sign off on this terrific conversation, and Trevor gives us the best ways to connect with him online. See below for details!
He is a speaker, innovator, and game designer with passions for blended learning, design thinking, and gamification. Andrew experienced some adversity as recently as last year, when he finally worked up the courage to speak at a national education conference. He was absolutely delighted when his proposal was accepted, but that joy was quickly followed by disappointment when he learned that he would be docked pay for the missed day of school.
Eventually, after encouragement and support from family and friends, he decided to sacrifice the income in order to attend the conference and speak. The experience was absolutely worth it , igniting his passions further and connecting him with other inspiring voices in education. Greg Arevalo has generously served his community for decades, and he is well-known and loved by many as a result.
Greg never pushed the path of education on his sons, but he quietly sold the profession by the joy that was so evident in his work and the growth he consistently witnessed in his learners. A few months ago, Andrew participated in a pitch event at the University of San Diego thanks to a connection with Lisa Dawley , Executive Director of the Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education and someone Andrew calls an amazing soul.
Andrew was pitching a model for personalized professional development in front of a Shark Tank-style panel of judges, and he followed acts like Sir Ken Robinsons and Dave Burgess. The purpose of the gathering, held recently in New York City, was to support important conversations around some of the most pervasive problems and challenges that we face in education today. Andrew left the event completely invigorated and inspired by the expertise and vision shared by the other attendees.
What he thought was a loss became a huge win. Lately, his fourth graders have been developing future job titles and descriptions, university courses that will support these future jobs, buildings that will house and facilitate these future courses, and city infrastructures that could support the university campus with the sustainable development goals in mind. One of the aspects that Andrew would like to strengthen in his professional practice is the reflective process. Andrew loves playing mobile games like Clash Royale, partly because they disconnect him and help him relax.
Over on Twitter , Andrew says you are simply missing out on life if you are not following AnnKozma For his edtech tool pick , Andrew is pointing out the Oculus Quest , an industry-leading VR set that is changing our understanding of what is possible in education. This book by Hena Khan unpacks identity, belonging, and purpose in clever and kid-friendly ways — a great addition to your classroom library.
Another education podcast that Andrew is digging is OnEducation , hosted by Mike Washburn and Glen Irvin — two educators who are passionate about changing the game and giving air time to real conversations in the education space. Follow the podcast on Twitter OnEducationPod. For his YouTube channel recommendation, Andrew shouts out someone who he just happened to connect with at a coffee shop earlier this year. Follow her on Twitter Ukuleleplazi. The last great content that Andrew watched on Netflix was The Game Changers , a documentary about vegans who have transformed their mindsets and their bodies to achieve seemingly impossible feats.
As a former vegan himself, Andrew found their message interesting and inspiring. We sign off on this fun conversation, and Andrew gives us the best ways to follow him and connect online.
Tiffany recalls a time early in her career when she was teaching middle school in North Carolina. She and her husband were broke, Tiffany was pregnant, and the couple was short on options. After moving back to Ohio, Tiffany found a long-term substitute position that showed good potential to convert into a permanent position. She was teaching an enrichment class for students designated as gifted, and she introduced her learners to a unit on brain science, psychology, and mental health.
Unfortunately, some of the parents of these students were skeptical and suspicious of her motives and complained — loudly — to administration.
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People seek connection today, and Tiffany has found that parents really appreciate who you are and what you are trying to achieve with their children when they can actually see and hear you. Tiffany describes the new Teach Better book from the Teach Better Team as part memoir, part inspiration, and part practical teaching strategies that educators can put into place immediately. The book includes a series of interwoven stories from four authors that detail their struggles, challenges, and victories in the classroom, accompanied by the realizations that they took away from those experiences.
Tiffany is also passionate about chapters titled Expect Better and Complain Better, and she articulates how these mindset shifts can change the culture of buildings and make incredible impact in the growth and learning of students. Each week features a different guest moderator, and topics include everything under the sun of education. Like the Teach Better book, MasteryChat is about incremental growth and improvement in educators, and Tiffany values the rich diversity of views and experiences that over participants regularly bring to the conversation.
This chat is not an echo chamber, she says — it includes robust discussion, occasional debate, and constructive pushback. Questions seek to go beyond buzzwords and cliches to actually stretch the thinking of educators and spark learning. Education is so exciting today because things have changed so much and continue to change so quickly.
The opportunities for global connection , collaboration, and learning are greater than most educators have fully realized. Rather than be overwhelmed or intimidated by the pace of change, Tiffany says we should regard these movements of change as the fire that pushes us forward. Tiffany speaks highly of the way that her school tackles professional goal-setting for its teaching staff each year. Her training and experience comes from the middle school levels, where team approaches to planning and instruction are often emphasized.
When we make ourselves vulnerable, genuine, and available to support others, we build the social connections that translate into significant professional and instructional gains for learners.
Educators neglect their personal passions and interests all too often, says Tiffany, and it comes at the expense of our learners.