3 Keys to Leading Child-Centered Change

It seems like education is being poked and prodded from nearly every direction. Some of these influences may be helpful, but they get lost in the torrent of new initiates, misguided policy, and priorities that emphasize test scores over student learning and creativity. I recently came across a tweet from George Couros (@GCouros) that read, “If you are going to make decisions that have an impact on the classroom, you need to be in classrooms often. Don’t decide from afar.” Judging from the hundreds and hundreds of “likes” and “retweets” the tweet above garnered in the first few hours, countless others agree with George. The truth of the matter is if you want to change something you really sho

Powerful Tools and a Powerful Responsibility

Watch the first phase of a global video project that's connecting kids to complex problem-solving experiences. In the video above, you will see several of our students work through a portion of a Rube Goldberg machine. The video concludes with a marble successfully dropping off a table...and that is where the next classroom will start their collaboration! We believe that with the powerful learning tools we have at our disposal comes a powerful responsibility. Plugging-in a textbook or adding batteries to a worksheet is hardly the goal of 21st-century learning. We believe it's our responsibility to ignite curiosity, creativity, and student learning through innovative thinking. (Sometimes this

Ugly Sweater Lotto

I was recently talking with a teacher about small gift ideas that might be meaningful to our staff. Our conversation drifted back and forth between a holiday ornament and/or something that might be more of a shared experience. I walked back to my office and reflected upon our conversation...and that's when the "Ugly Sweater Lotto" was born. Here's how the lotto will work: Each one of our school's 109 employees will be given a holiday ornament along with the "Ugly Sweater Lotto Ticket" pictured above. The back of each ornament contains a unique lotto number ranging from 1221000 to 1221120. The first four numbers correspond with the date of the actual lottery (12/21), and the last three digits

PD is Sinking…Here Are 3 Ways to Save It

Most educators really don’t care about what we call PD. They care about their students and want practical solutions to the challenges they encounter in their classrooms. They care about relationships and coherent PD that actually makes change manageable (Gustafson, 2016). Renaming PD will not save it from itself. Neither will making surface-level changes to traditional PD practices. We can engage in deeply philosophical debates about what we want to call PD until we’re blue in the face, but that won’t change the fact that PD is sinking. Painful PowerPoints have weighed down PD to the point of no return. Teachers being told what to learn and why it matters should no longer be the predominant

A Story about Risk, Change, and Putting Kids 1st

I know what you're thinking. There are a million books and articles about change, and risk-taking is becoming a buzzword in education. What if what our students needed most was more responsible risk-taking from us? What if they really do need meaningful change? This year one of our teachers implemented a groundbreaking "KinderCoding" program during the school day. Implementing the new learning experience was not easy and she definitely didn't have a roadmap to follow. Thanks to her groundbreaking work, all of our kindergarten students have opportunities to practice coding on a weekly basis. We wanted to put kids in a position to thrive today, and excel tomorrow. (I'll share more specifics ab

Dr. Brad Gustafson is an elementary principal, author, and speaker. He believes schools can be spaces where creativity and innovation thrive, but only when we prioritize relationships and a relevant, connected pedagogy. 


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