Classroom eye candy – does it really help with learning?

A few weeks ago, my class made a large wave machine out of jelly babies and skewers as a provocation of a unit of inquiry into energy. We did some maths figuring out how many skewers and jelly babies we would need and how much they cost. We made the Jellybaby machine. One of the kids... Continue Reading →


Viral handshakes and icebergs

  The iceberg is a useful metaphor to explore complexity. I often use it with my students as a way to help them develop a more nuanced understanding of a difficult concept. For instance, spelling and handwriting are at the tip of a writing iceberg. Surface writing errors are easy for adults and children to... Continue Reading →

What is your new year question? #oneword2017

Over the last few years, I've committed myself to the same resolution when the calendar changes to January 1. I will go to bed before 11.This is a simple goal and has a noticeable impact on my well-being. Yet here I am mid-January wide awake and typing away on the computer at 11.30 pm. Holidays lull every... Continue Reading →

The language of inquiry

We're taking time to read a poem. There's some difficult language. "I see 'faux pas,' I am curious what it means.." muses one boy. Several classmates immediately pipe up. "It's French.." "Pas means not, so it's not something..." "I wonder, what is 'faux'?" In the background I ponder the first student's use of language. He... Continue Reading →

What does your blog really say about learning?

I need to blog. After spending nearly 18 months forcing myself to update daily, I haven't posted in 5 months. Like Royan, I don't quite feel right when I'm not blogging yet I also struggle with putting my thoughts out there for others to read. I could blame being busy with teaching, masters study, lack... Continue Reading →

Using visible thinking to inform reporting

Phew. Another round of reports over and done with. One of the easiest parts of the reports to write this session was our unit of inquiry. In the past I'd be pouring over rubrics, student work and tearing my brain for memories of classroom conversations. This year I used the data the children had gathered... Continue Reading →

At a conference

Because at this time of year doing a conference workshop seemed like a good idea at the time...

What makes the end of the year so challenging?

Every year I think to myself, I'm not going to get caught feeling tired and stressed at the end of the year. I start reports early, finish off assessment as quickly as possible. Yet somehow still feel myself running on empty with just over three weeks to go. Then I figured it out. No matter... Continue Reading →

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