Teaching Learning Leading K-12
Episode 75: Teaching Thinking at a Deeper Level

Episode 75: Teaching Thinking at a Deeper Level

October 26, 2015


One of our challenges is to get the kids to think deeper. One way of doing this is to create an activity that encourages the kids to take evidence, find additional evidence, analyze it, and then use it to try to persuade listeners that their point of view is the best interpretation of the data. You could use this activity to get the kids to make a stand using contextual information. Wow! This could lead to some serious thinking! 

I can smell those brain cells burning right now.


Since it is almost Halloween, I thought that the example I would share today would involve two scary stories that are centered on humans creating and manipulating life. The two stories are Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. 


But the activity wouldn’t be complete without introducing information from a real genetic engineering article; hence I have included a very recent story from Scientific American about gene editing and avoiding biosafety rules and laws. Hmmm, seems to fit nicely with the two books. All it needs is some serious weather with lightning and deranged laughter.

So here it goes...the kids can team up or not team up, they are required to read from each of the books to find evidence of a point of view. Ultimately, they are to share this with the class and the teacher in a presentation that is designed to persuade the class that their point of view is accurate and the best interpretation of the contextual evidence. The kids should have to share a number of references from each novel and scholarly article. There are many possibilities for this but let's say that one side of the argument is that humans should not be allowed to pursue DNA experimentation whereas, the other side is yes most definitely humans should pursue this science. What do you think? Without inserting your thoughts, could you challenge them to think at a deeper level to make a persuasive argument?

I challenge you to push kids to see connections; I assure you they will not let you down. They may even want to know more about the science behind the novels and the magazine article. 

Try it! 


What stories might you choose?

Have fun!


CRISPR Could Help Gene-Edited Crops Bypass Biosafety Regulation


Jurassic Park


Episode 74: Teaching Tip-Thinking Beyond the Written Words

Episode 74: Teaching Tip-Thinking Beyond the Written Words

October 18, 2015


One of the tasks we have as teachers is to get the kids to think at a higher level. You know what I mean don’t you? We want the kids to be able to analyze, synthesize and evaluate. We want them to see beyond just the written words. We want them to be able to make judgments about what they have read. We want them to understand that there is symbolism, bias, and many times a point to the author’s words. 


One of my favorite stories, especially for this time of the year, is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. The story has been around for a long time and typically, what is remembered are the parts dealing with the headless horseman and the teacher, Ichabod. 


Thanks to many modern treatments of the story, the aspect of the story that centers on jealousy, worry, and competition is almost completely lost.

So tell me, do you have some ways that you could use this story to help you help the kids to see beyond the written words? Today, I talk about one such way. 


After listening, I hope that you will think about using a classic story like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to help your kids to start or continue to develop their skills at analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing.  

Take a chance at using stories to help your kids become more adept at showing and justifying their thoughts about the hidden meanings or the real stories secreted within the written words.

Oh yeah, and just in case you happen to be traveling through the Hollow late at night make sure that you get across the bridge before the horseman claims your head. Just in case, there might be more to the story than we know.

More information about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow-

Length: 11:25
Episode 73: Team Building Tip-Hiring the Right People

Episode 73: Team Building Tip-Hiring the Right People

October 11, 2015


Ask yourself these questions as you are building your team:

Who gets to be on this team?

Who are they as leaders?

Do any of them fix my weaknesses or have I only hired clones of me?

Have I found a catalyst?


Today, I look at John Maxwell’s thoughts about team building from page 77 of The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork.


John says, “A team needs a catalyst…winning teams have players who make things happen.” He also notes, “…there are three kinds of people who are on a team when the game is on the line…”


I hope that as you reflect on the words today that you will take a close look at your team or the one that you are building. Look closely at John’s comments and evaluate your choices. Use a magnifying glass and ask yourself if I have hired people who get things done or am I floundering with people who don’t want the ball when “the game is on the line.” 


I have found John’s words to be more than inspiring, but hauntingly true.


I hope that you will take them to heart in building your team. After all, a team is put together generally to accomplish some task not to sit back and wish something would get done or that somebody else would do it.


Thanks for listening!




Length: 7:46

Episode 72: Teaching Tip#1-Classroom Management- Do you have too much stuff?

Episode 72: Teaching Tip#1-Classroom Management- Do you have too much stuff?

October 4, 2015


This is the first in a series of Teaching Tips. Today's is focused on Classroom Management, more precisely, the arrangement of the classroom. Overall, I really want you to ask yourself, "Do I really need all of that stuff in my classroom?"

In working with teachers who need assistance, I have discovered that sometimes what is happening or at least causing more issues is the stuff in the classroom.

Too many people and too much stuff can create angst and frustration.
Everyone is on top of each other.
To help you address the behaviors in the classroom you should take these three aspects of the physical environment into consideration:
1. Do you have too much stuff?
2. Look at the arrangement of the furniture.
3. Where is the focus of the room?

If you spend time addressing these three aspects of the classroom, you will help yourself eliminate potential issues caused by your stuff. 

Here are some links to some other resources on this topic:

Length: 22:00

Play this podcast on Podbean App