Education as Container


As a profession, and as an experience, K-12 education in the U.S. is containerized. There are containers that delineate roles:  administrators, teachers, staff, students, and parents.  And that’s just a start. There are containers that represent experiences:  classrooms, instruction, assessment, curriculum, bell schedule, the school year, and professional development. It’s even possible to represent a […]

Words Matter | Googleable

Human brain and colorful question mark

Googleable. Definition:   being able to find information about something by using the search engine Google. For example, and from the video:  When was Custer’s last stand? That’s a Googleable question.  Questions that are “googleable” can be answered by simply doing a Google search.   Ask a question, the student types it into Google and […]

Words Matter | Design Thinking


If you could identify the single most important factor that is missing in schools, what would it be? For me, it’s an easy call. Imagination. I think schools can be imaginative, and have that capacity in their DNA, but its buried and hidden under the things that schools have to deal with in their current […]

Words Matter | Catalyst


 Catalyst. Something that encourages a reaction to take place.  Catalysts are never consumed by the reaction, they just help it occur. When I taught students biology, catalysts were always an important topic as they are involved in just about everything the human body does.  When students learned about DNA replication, they learned about DNA helicase, DNA […]

Words Matter | Report Card


Written at Educon, January 27, 2013 Report Card. Definition:  An object for communicating performance, typically from school to parent, based on five letters of the alphabet.  Traditionally delivered by mail and then intercepted by crafty and wiley students. For me, the report card joins the rank of those things I consider to be legacy elements […]

Words Matter | Instruction

bored girl small

Instruction. Definition:  The process or act of imparting knowledge (The Free Dictionary).  Typically done by teachers. Does your school focus on instruction?  Does your organization seek to improve instruction? That’s a worthy goal, right?  I think that most would agree that improving instruction is one aspect of school improvement. But, in the end, it might […]

Words Matter | Clarity


 Clarity Definition:  clearness or lucity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity… There are times when you see things cleary, times when the path and course are illuminated with focus and purpose. During these times, seeing with clarity can lead to conviction, and conviction to action. At other times, the ability to […]

Words Matter | Professional Development

e-Learning Concept. Computer Keyboard

Professional Development. An event where teachers gather and learn about some aspect of education. Typically, schools offer professional development days and most have professional development programs.  Some schools even have specialized professional development events like “Technology Tuesdays” and my all-time personal favorite, the “Lunch and Learn.”  Professional development is also referred to as “staff development” […]

Words Matter | iPad

closeup of finger touching screen  on tablet-pc with shallow depth of field

iPad A tablet device from Apple Inc., currently in its second iteration, that runs things called apps (applications).  Wildly successful. Often labeled a “game-changer.” Go to any education event now, and you’ll see them.  In fact, go anywhere.  They’re everywhere. I have one and its nice.  And I’ll even admit they’re pretty cool, slick devices. That’s […]

Words Matter | Boundaries


Boundaries. Boundaries represent limits.  Lines in the sand.  Something not to cross.  And if you do so, you do so at your own peril. Staying within boundaries means coloring within lines.  If I was a kindergarten teacher, I’d give a kid an A+ for completing a coloring with everything outside the lines colored. (FULL DISCLOSURE:  I don’t […]