Why I Let My Students Argue for Their Grades


I sensed the anticipation as soon as I entered the classroom. Groups of students were huddled together flipping through notes and documentation. A few were going back and forth about what they were going to say. As I headed to the whiteboard a hush fell over the room and one student asked, "do we get [...]

We’re All Doing Something…But What are We All Doing Together?

It seems everywhere I turn change is happening in schools. I read articles about technology initiatives, new standards, education reform, no tests, more tests, opt out, opt in, no homework, more homework, longer school days, shorter school days, LMS, MOOCs, blended learning, new apps, Google Apps, big data, social media, PLNs, education conferences (there is [...]

Scratch Your Itch Education


"Scratch Your Itch" Education is my favorite way to describe the inquiry-based learning process. It always starts with an itch, and you never know what is going to happen once you start scratching. I'm writing a book called "Scratch Your Itch" and this post started my journey towards that idea. When I was in high [...]

Stop Teaching Kids to Play the Game of School

School Is Not A Game

Bobby was an 11th grade student in my English class…and he was angry. "I don't understand this project, Mr. J. What are we being graded on and when is it due?" I looked around at the class to see a handful of students just like Bobby. They weren't used to this. In their 11 years [...]

Classroom Designs That Inspire (and how to share your space!)


With a little over 2 weeks to go in the Classroom Cribs Challenge, I'd like to share some of our favorite submissions so far! We’d love to see your classroom featured on ClassroomCribs.com – you can submit your class to the challenge in just a few minutes using this form! Over 3000 educators have signed up to [...]

10 Learning Mantras For the New School Year


Each school year I try to take a new approach and have a renewed focus on my work as an educator. As a teacher this would often be impacted by the type of work we were doing in the classroom. While goals are always important, I believe a class "mantra" is even more important. Mantras [...]

How My Kids Made Me a Better Teacher This Summer by @JustinPMcCollum


When he's not learning from his kids at home, Justin is at school teaching his 3rd grade kids. He writes about overcoming the garbage that gets in the way of loving your job at Conquer the Cruft – Love Teaching. You can follow him on Twitter at  @JustinPMcCollum.   The birth of my second son a [...]

The Classroom Cribs Challenge (why learning spaces matter)


Over 2000 educators have signed up to learn more about classroom design on ClassroomCribs.com, and we are excited to partner with all of you in rethinking and redesigning learning spaces for this new school year. So, you may be asking yourself (as I am) what are some ways I can ensure my classroom and learning [...]

Hey @Disney, Here’s What the Modern Classroom Looks Like


I openly admit that I'm a sucker for Disney movies and shows. There was a weird time as a teenager and college student that I didn't watch much Disney...but now that I'm a parent of three, I'm back in a big way. My daughter first fell in love with Disney through Beauty and the Beast. [...]