Friday, December 27, 2013

More Homework Meme

My blog has been neglected.  My job has shifted into curriculum creation which has afforded me the opportunity to write a TON.  I have authored curriculum for kindergarten through 8th grade in both science and social studies.

Luckily I keep track every day of the work I do and record it here:

Thanks to my good friend, colleague, mentor, guide and general inspirer of all things awesome Josh Stumpenhorst.  He inspired me to write this post and I thank him for getting me back to my blog!

Here's his post calling me out:

For starters, here are 11 random facts about me many people may not know.

  1. I'm scared of heights, closed in spaces, and being underwater.  Yes I'm a BIG scaredy-cat but I'm overcoming my fears every day.  I owe that mostly to my amazing wife who constantly pushes me to overcome my fears.
  2. While in high school I thought it was a good idea to have a mullet.  It was not a good idea.
  3. I'm against stinky cheeses.
  4. I'm the one in charge of cooking and doing the laundry in our house.  On top of that I fold my t-shirts using a folding board I was given from when I worked at The Gap.
  5. As a baby/toddler I was entered into a beauty pageant, and won.
  6. My mom LOVED halloween.  She made the best costumes of any kid I knew.  She made this Voltron costume.  Pretty awesome!
  7. I'm a "Friends" nut.  I've seen every episode and can quote almost every line.  I also own the "Friends: Scene it" game, no one will play with me.
  8. My favorite color is blue.
  9. When I was in High School I worked at Pizza Hut and was a "Production Leader." Fancy!
  10. I am committed to having fun, no matter the age.  I do understand this comes with a trade off of not always being taken seriously.  I accept those consequences.
     11. My dad and I once got into a fight about grades.  He said I wasn't applying myself. I disagreed.          I ended up running away only to return because I was cold.  I'm such a wuss.

Here are Josh's questions for me:

1.     What was your favorite children’s book as a child or favorite to read as a parent?
A. As a parent I have not had much of an opportunity to read to my daughter (she's only a couple months).  When I was younger I loved this book about cars and trucks (seen here with my dad purchasing the same one for our daughter.

2.     If you had won that insane lottery jackpot, what is the first thing you would buy?
A. Google Glasses.  They are ridiculous but I think they're so cool.  I'm sure I'd also get a GoPro Camera and a new house.

3.     Can you touch your tongue to your nose?
A. No, but I can touch my nose and tongue simultaneously.  Does that count?

4.     If I were to meet you up at a bar, what drink would I buy for you?
A. Scotch on the rocks....

5.     When was the last time you laughed so hard it hurt, and what was it that made that happen?
A.  Between my wife and I this happens often.  Most of the time for no apparent reason.  Also any time we are with good friends of ours that live in Chicago.  We always end up laughing until our cheeks hurt.

6.     What is that one movie that shows up on TV that even though you have seen it a hundred times you still leave it on and watch?
A. Pretty Woman.  It's so emasculating to admit that.

7.     If you could sit down and interview one person, living or dead, who would it be?
A. Martin Luther King Jr.  How cool would that be?

8.     Paper or plastic?
A. Neither, reusable bags.  That way we can ring the bell at Trader Joe's.

9.     What is something you have always wanted to do but continue to procrastinate and make excuses as to why you have not done it yet?
A. Skydive.  See the random facts number 1 listed above.

10. Have you been able to unlock the code and figure out what a fox says?
A. I'm sure it has something to do with the "one thing."

11. If you could pack it all up today and move, where would you land?
A. That's tough.  I love vacations in paradise, on a beach with a cold beverage, but I couldn't imagine living there.  Spain was amazing, Madrid was beautiful, but if you live there does it all become noise?  I'm happy where I am, I say I'd stay right here. Lame but true.

Here are 11 bloggers I want to answer this next:

  1. Justin Tarte
  2. Robert Dillon
  3. Steven Weber
  4. Kyle Pace
  5. Rebecca Morrison
  6. Greg Lawrence
  7. John Simpson
  8. Josh Mika
  9. Tim Brown
  10. Krissy Venosdale
  11. Dan Pink

Here are 11 questions for them to answer:

  1. Does the toilet paper go over the top or under the bottom?  NOTE: there is only one right answer for this.
  2. If you were a superhero, which one would you be?
  3. What was your favorite project when you were in school?
  4. Which color Starburst/Skittle/Jelly Belly is your favorite?
  5. What quote inspires you every day?
  6. What's your favorite sandwich, ever?
  7. What is the most played song on your iPod?
  8. What's your favorite sound?
  9. If you could invite anyone over for dinner, living or dead, who would sit at your table?
  10. What celebrity do you often get mistaken for?
  11. What is the best gift you've ever given/received?

Here’s how it works:

  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers.
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

DRAFT Next Generation Science Standards

Post also hosted on my Daily work blog:

Below are the DRAFT units, proficiency scales, essential learning goals for K-5 Elementary Science based on the Next Generation Science Standards.

These will be updated throughout the summer to prepare and improve them for implementation.

DESE's reaction to the NGSS:

Find out more about the NGSS here:

As of today we have no timeline for implementation however these are ready and will continue to be improved as we determine what the timeline may be as dictated by state adoption of the NGSS as the next Grade Level Expectations.


1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

Monday, March 25, 2013

Embracing Failure

Failure is tough.  Failure is humbling, humiliating and makes you feel inferior in every possible way.

Heck, I even wrote a post after many, many fails on my part. Blog Post Here.

At a recent event I learned about the "Failure Bow" seen here:

Instead of cringing, sulking, hiding make the choice to put your hands up!  

Welcome the humility and celebrate the transparency in the willingness to celebrate.  That transparency of recognizing your not perfect, you're human, gives you space.  That space may be the little thing called happiness.  This happiness can move from that space of failure to transform it into an opportunity to move you and other forward.

See more about the failure bow from Michael Smith in his TEDx talk below:

Hope you bow!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Questions inspired from Steve Jobs

I just recently finished the Steve Jobs autobiography.  The book was amazing and fun and irreverent, much like I'm sure Steve Jobs was.  There were many take aways and highlights that influenced my thinking about leadership and education.  It also inspired more questions than answers.

I'm going to use this post to pull out those highlights, connect them to education, and offer up questions to ponder, reflect on and give you space to determine if you value these same ideals.

"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." - Apple commercial 1997

  • How can we "think differently" about our education system?
  • How can we think diferently about (insert idea: RTI, student discipline, teaching, instruction, testing etc.)

Moore's law, founded in 1965, states that technology will exponentially grow in capacity but cost will steadily decline.

  • With technology more than proving Moore's law, how is education reacting or capitalizing on the capacity?
  • Are we charging too much for what we are getting?
  • When will we reach capacity for technology?

Steve Jobs hated school: "I knew school was at fault for trying to make me memorize stupid stuff rather than stimulate me."

  • How has school changed since Job's was a student?
  • Are we still asking the brightest students to memorize stuff?
  • When will "standards" seek to focus on processing skills vs content knowledge?

"If it hadn't been for the blue boxes, there wouldn't be an Apple."

  • Where, in school, do we let kids tinker and play?
  • Where, in school, do we inspire new ideas from students?
  • Where, in school, do students get to take charge of their own learning?
"I learned the truth of the Zen saying that if you are willing to travel around the world to meet a teacher, one will appear next door."
  • Can we learn from this that readiness for learning is crucial?
  • What if students drove the learning?  Student interest will bring the curriculum to them when they are ready.
  • When we are hung, we eat.  Not vice-versa.  How does this relate to teaching and learning?

"The sixties produced an anarchic-mind that is great for imagining a world not yet in existence."
  • When will our educators of today live through their "sixties"?
  • Will our undergraduate programs that are creating the next generation of teachers create this same environment?
Woz started a computer club who's theme was 'Give help to others.'
  • This was the ethos of hackers and open source, what in education are you allowing to be open source?
  • How are you contributing from the open source environment?
  • How are student contributing?
Apple Marketing Philosophy:  Empathy, Focus, and Impute
  • Are we empathetic in what we do?
  • Do students have a "voice" in our classroom?
  • Are we responsive to student needs?
  • Are we surrounded by standards and goals, can we live without some of them?
  • Does our facility, our classroom, our environment influence behavior and aspirations?

"You did the impossible, because you didn't realize it was impossible."
  • How often do we say "Well, that's too difficult for a _____ grader?"
  • Do we give kids the ability to dream?  Can we give kids the space to create their own "possible?"
"By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things."
  • Are our expectations of students, colleagues and supervisors too low?
"Mac retreat highlights: Don't compromise, The journey is the reward, people don't know what they want until we've shown them."
  • How often do we settle for good enough?
  • Why do we focus on grades and outcomes when we could be celebrating the process and the learning?
  • When we share new and exciting experiences with students, when we can bring in or take students to meet passionate and successful adults we can open up doors to possibilities.  Are you?
"In the first 30 years of your life, you make habits.  For the last 30 years your habits make you."
  • What habits are we teaching our students?
  • Are we teaching students habits that will make them successful later in life?
  • What are the most important habits?
Jobs said: "Your thoughts construct patterns like scaffolding in your mind.  You are really etching chemical patterns.  In most cases, people get stuck in those patterns, just like grooves in a record, and they never get out of them."

  • What grooves are you in?
  • How are our students "stuck"?
  • How do our habits shape our thinking?

What prepared him for the great success Jobs would have in Act III was not his ouster from his Act I at Apple but his brilliant failures in Act II.
  • When can we allow students to fail, while with us, so they don't fail away from us?
  • When can we give students and colleagues the opportunities to try something new and take risks while support is still there to help?
  • How can we be Act II so student's post secondary career is their Act III?

Alice: Through the Looking Glass, "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

  • When do we let kids dream?
  • Do we inspire dreaming?  Or punish it?
  • Do we ask kids to strive for their dreams or reach for what is right in front of them (the what's possible)?

Jobs: "I think you still have to think differently to buy and Apple computer.  The people who buy them do think different.  They are the creative spirits in this world, and they're out to change the world.  WE make tools for those kinds of people."

  • What kind of students does our school produce?
  • What kind of students do we want to produce?
  • Are we creating the right environment and hiring the right people to help us achieve that goal?
Job learned that "a properly run company could spawn innovation far more than any single creative individual. 'I discovered that the best innovation is sometimes the way you organize a company'"
  • Is your building or district arranged for innovation?
  • Most schools I see are set up to handle stimulus, not many are set up to create stimulus.
  • How would you change the way your building or district is organized to be forward inspiring instead of reacting?
Apple uses "Deep collaboration" or "concurrent engineering."  Jobs realized 'A' people want to work with 'A' people.  

  • Does our hiring process reflect our values?
  • Do we have 'A' players?  How can we pair them with other 'A' players?
Once a year Jobs took his most valuable employees on a retreat, which he called the "Top 100."
  • How do you recognize the outliers in your organization?
  • How do we get the top students/teachers/administrators together?
  • Does your district collaborate with other districts to bring together the best to inspire new ideas and next practices?
Jobs on presenting: "if you need slides, it shows you don't know what you're talking about."
  • enough said...

  • How have you utilized technology to improve your organization or classroom?
  • Can you see past your current reality to the next innovation?
In order to institutionalize the lessons Jobs was learning, Jobs started an in-house center called Apple University.
  • How do we share the lessons we learn?
  • How do we create learning opportunities for every person?
  • Do we have a culture of learning and sharing at our institution?
  • How are kids sharing what they are learning?

When our tools don't work, we tend to blame ourselves, for being too stupid, or not reading the manual or having too-fat fingers...when our tools are broken, we feel broken.
  • How are we ensuring students and staff experiences are quality and don't allow for people to feel broken?
  • Have we thought through possible scenarios that happen in our day to ensure we are providing experiences for people that empower them instead on marginalize them?
In the closed versus opened, integrated vs fragmented
  • Why do we continue to purchase resources and textbooks we often go with the lowest bidder.  If we really want a seamless environment, we should create or curate the resources ourselves.
  • Isn't our school date fragmented and closed, isn't that the worst possible scenario?
"We're doing the best we can, we're learning as fast as we can-but we thought this rule makes sense."
  • When do we apologize?
  • How do we apologize?
  • When do we take on our policies and practices to ensure we're learning and they are growing?
  • Do we have a procedure to call our rules into question?  Does that involve students and our community?
The whole world is the same now.
  • The kid in Turkey has access to the same tools as the kids in Canada, has your classroom changed?
  • When kids are allowed access to devices, they learn what they are interested in and what is available to them. SOLE project

"Teachers should be treated as professionals, he said, not as industrial assembly-line workers.  Principals should be able to hire and fire them based on how good they were.  Schools should be staying open until 6PM and be in session eleven months of the year.  It was absurd, he added, that American classrooms were still based on a teacher standing at a board and using textbooks.  All books, learning materials and assessments should be digital and interactive, tailored to each student and providing feedback in real time."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Using Learning Goals to Transform Learning

This is a post from my work blog:

Our district is working on Learning Goals as an emphasis from K-12.  We are using The Art and Science of Teaching as our model.

These learning goals are constructed from our Missouri Grade Level Expectations.

So this process of developing learning goals for classrooms brings about amazing opportunities for demonstrating great work by educators.

Below is a third grade class.  The teacher developed a proficiency scale for this learning goal:

Students will be able to compare how where you live affects how you live.

4 - Student accurately describes how Environment/Climate affect (all three) clothing/food/housing
3 - Student accurately describes how Environment/Climate affect (two) clothing/food/housing
2 - Student accurately describes how Environment/Climate affect (one) clothing/food/housing
1 - Student accurately describes how Environment/Climate 

After our conversation we proposed a student formative assessment opportunity.  

We created a graphic:

We added it to our proficiency scale.  Then we posted that scale in the room.  When proposing the learning goal as a question.

Based on this student performance was drastically improved.

Below are examples of student work:

This student was developing in their knowledge.  Before, this student wouldn't have been able to answer anything in a written format.  In this case the teacher decided to allow the student to simply tell her what they know about the topic, she wrote down the information.

In this scenario below the student needed differentiation strategies to allow them to communicate what they knew without being held back from a diagnosis of difficulty with written expression.  The teacher provided the scaffolding of the boxes and numbers to provide the student with the opportunity to demonstrate what they knew.  The addition of the boxes allowed the student the necessary tools to be successful and met the grade level expectation.

This student didn't need any scaffolding, also didn't need to write a ton and demonstrated and understanding of the content.

After this assessment the student below demonstrated partial mastery and needed either more time or more scaffolding to be successful.  Conversations with this student are ongoing.

And of course no set of examples would be complete without an exemplar.  This student has never written this much but having the rubric available gave the student the inspiration to write a ton.  This is truly amazing for a 3rd grader!

After looking over this student work we had a conversation around these following questions:

  1. What do we notice about the student work that supports our proficiency scale?
  2. What do we notice about student work that was an unintended consequence of the proficiency scale?
  3. What worked on our scale?
  4. What didn't work from our scale?
  5. Do we see a true depth of knowledge increase as we move up our scale?  Does the increasing depth of knowledge increase student engagement?
  6. Is the "4" of labeling all three really stretching to a transfer level?  If not, is the a question or experience that we could add to reach the transfer level of understanding?

Since then many more proficiency scales have been completed, here is one more example.  You tell us, does it answer our questions above?  

I'm excited to see where this goes next!!!  Way to go Betsy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Importance of Blogging

There is NOTHING more important that blogging.  Do you agree with that?  

I'm not sure where I stand but I remember the day April 15th 2009, when I started this blog.  

This blog hasn't been a place of regard on the internet, it hasn't changed education as a system.  You know what it has done?  It has given me a voice, given me a place to document my thoughts, cool tools and ideas.  

What do leaders like Seth Godin and Tom Peters think about blogging, well:

Rob Berger's work from "The Ethics of Excellence" challenges us to find authentic audiences for our students' work.

So, why not Blog?

When I went to look up the common core standards for writing, here's what I found from 5th grade:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.2a Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.2b Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.2c Link ideas within and across categories of information using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., in contrastespecially).
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.2d Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.2e Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3a Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3b Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, description, and pacing, to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3c Use a variety of transitional words, phrases, and clauses to manage the sequence of events.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3d Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3e Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

How can this all NOT be accomplished through blogging?  PLUS we get a chance to allow family and friends to subscribe, comment, and all the while teaching digital literacy.  Hard to not pass it up.

Recently I listened to Michael Hyatt's podcast on "the resistance."  It's that urge we all feel when we are going to try something new.  The fear we have that creates all the doubt to try something new.  He states that the first phase to overcoming that fear is to: Just Start.

After all, What's more REAL WORLD, than the actual REAL WORLD!  

So, Start blogging today! More importantly, let your students blog.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fun, Meaningful Project: Wiring Project

Students get excited every year for the wiring project.  They know it's coming, they know it's awesome.

Once the project gets started every kids immediately is engaged, there's no way around it.  There are too many ways to personalize this project, too much student choice to not let the be successful   The project is nothing short of a BLAST.

Kids come back year after year and say "This is the hardest thing I've ever done, and I'l never forget it."

The key to making this project a success each year is scaffolding and setting kids up for success.  Every year I reflect with students and add a new piece to make the project better.  Here's the project from finish to start....

Finished Products:

To get to the final project students were given three phases with due dates to keep them on track.  Each phase had a card to go with it.  The cards were green (planning), yellow (caution/work phase), red (finishing phase).  The cards looked like this Planning phase card below:

I recently added the ability for kids to integrate some technology.  Students (11 year olds) have been working on using Google Sketchup to make 3D models of their projects:

Student samples:


Student had a working circuit and attached it to their shoebox.  Since this was difficult for some students I created image laden directions should they need it:

They learned about circuits and how to hook up circuits 
(Classroom content and grade level expectations outlined by the state)  

Here's the video they used that I made when I flipped the classroom:

Before wiring they needed to design their space using the project packet:

Wiring Project Packet:

And it all started with teaching them how to splice wires: 

Why was this engaging?

Students were given the freedom of choice.  They could choose a room in a house, a store in a mall, a part of a car, a part of a plane, a resort, anything.  I didn't care.  They could choose to use technology, the could go old school.  They moved at their own pace, designed to their criteria, I sat aside and helped and guided them to success.

How was it graded?

Scoring guides were made by the class.  I only graded based on their knowledge and expertise with our content (series and parallel circuits) not their ability to wire.  Outside of that the students made their scoring guides.  Here's an example they made:

Moral of the story:

Use your content to design engaging projects and solve real world problems through student choice.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Reimagining "School" for all learners

I'm reading about a new way to think about "school", here are some of my takeaways: 

Key question:
If we don't "Teach" it to the students how will they know they learned it?  And how will we know?

  • Any change, such as this brings "excitement and momentum, mixed with discomfort and disequilibrium."
  • Moving away from classrooms that function in isolation, and toward collective intentionality and a team committed to thinking and learning collaboratively within a shared framework.
What does it mean to developing intentionality:
  • Type, condition and placement of furniture
  • Values, roles, organization of materials
  • Use of wall space
  • Way aesthetics invite learning
  • Ways we can share ownership
All furniture is evaluated based on condition, purpose and placement

Materials were questioned as to age and condition.  Looked at for potential for formal instruction and open-ended learning.

Careful selection of materials and placement of furniture supported creation of spaces within the classroom for:
  • Publishing areas with writing utensils, book making supplies
  • construction areas with block, moldings, ramps, pulleys, etc
  • mini-ateliers with wire, clay, paint, sewing
  • dramatic play areas full of costumes

Teachers and students work together to develop environments responding to interests, desires, expectations and possibilities.

Entryways to spaces are purposeful and reflect the students and teachers in the room.

Replacing of pre-made items with student generated materials.

Physical shifts are easy, conversations must be had to transition spaces from teacher-centered to child-centered, teaching to learning, every choice reflecting our values and our identity.

Shifts in time must also reflect these values:
  • Minimize large group lessons and replace them with small group, collaborative and individual work.
  • Differentiate for children
  • Create time and space to analyze the BIG questions
  • Balance formal instruction with inquiry
  • Reinforce collaboration
  • Develop strategies to encourage on-going projects
  • Analyze standards in borader more informed ways
  • Nurture interests and intrinsic motivation toward relevant meaningful work
Professional development must reflect these values.

Change is not always pervasive or linear.  Each teacher has the right to have space and encouragement to construct their own shift.

HOW we learn far outweighs WHAT we learn.

What we learn has to stretch far beyond memorization and google-able results.

A space where our learning Includes:
  • Critical thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Research
  • Innovation

As children seek to answer their questions their autonomy, ownership, collaboration, and engagement increases.  Excitement momentum and accomplishment also grows.

Inquiry and projects are not separate from rigor or releveance but interwoven.

Challenge:  making this learning visible and making the process transparent

Does this sound amazing!?  

Exactly where I would want to work and what I want for every one of my students.  I think I work EXTREMELY HARD to make this space real for my students.  I teach middle school.  Did I mention that all the above descriptors were for a pre-school.  That makes it even more amazing.

Our school is investigating what is called the Reggio Emilia model for primary school students.  With all the latests and greatest research surrounding our earliest learners we are investigating what works best. (more research here:

This investigation got me to thinking about the personalization we give every student in their learning.  Why can this model not only make for a great preschool, but for a great ANY school.

Here's an interview from a school right here in St. Louis: Maplewood

Background info:

Here's what we're reading: Article

Here's where we are going to visit:

What if a High School modeled itself after this model?  What about a corporation?

Modern companies are working hard to make DESIGN be an essential part of the learning and collaboration of 21st century workplace.

Design with Intent:

Influence behavior through design:

Office Designs:

Collaborative Work spaces:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Never Work Harder Than Your Students: Chapter 4

We are reading the book: Never Work Harder Than Your Students with our 2nd and 3rd year teachers as they come into our district.  Here are some of my main takeaways from the chapter:

  • Supporting students means thinking differently about misconceptions during your lesson planning.

  • Develop interventions before students fail
  • What if we provided the net below the tightrope instead of being right when they fall?

What if we prevented failure instead of predicted it?

  • Proactive support is merely matching your teaching style to students' learning styles
  • We all have the belief that ALL of our students can achieve given the right conditions.


Specifying what students MUST know - what they already know = What we need to teach

Intervention Plan:

  1. Plan in place before a student fails.  The plan is communicated to students, parents, and posted.
  2. Plan has a red flag mechanism, something that sets the ball in motion.
  3. Plan has steps that are immediate results of the red flag.  IF_______ THEN _______
  4. Plan has roles and responsibilities for both the teacher and the student.

I'm Confused....

  • Take steps to clear up confusion before it begins
  • We know which problems they are going to get wrong, but we let them anyway.
  • When students are confused it may not be for reasons we think. Listen first.
  • When you run into trouble have:
    1. A range of explanatory options for students
    2. A thorough understanding of your content

ASIDE: Discovered in the chapter:

Demystify The Process!

  • We tell students to study but don't teach them how to study.
  • Make the process as explicit as possible
  • Clearly explain the purpose of each assignment or activity, if you can't maybe you shouldn't be doing it!
  • Provide all the necessary steps in written directions
  • It's not "DUMBING IT DOWN" it's ensuring success.
  • It's unrealistic to think students can act like experts as soon as they are introduced to new material.

Remove Supports SLOWLY!

  • Tell students it's a support and that you will remove it when they are ready
  • Don't change the learning task, change the supports to get students there.
  • Don't change the task, change students' role in relationship to the task.


  1. Identify what support is intended to do, so you know when to remove it
  2. Look for ways to ween students off of the support
  3. Allow room for struggle

Interventions are for BOTH sides of the triangle:

  • Often we use programs like Response To Intervention for students struggling to meet the expectation.
  • We miss the opportunity to intervene with students who already "get" our material.
  • Both groups, high and low, need support and interventions to ensure success.