Category Archives: assessment

10 Principles of Change I’ve Learned

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As I worked with and learned from leaders across  20 countries, over 40 years,  I learned 10 key factors that lead  sustainable change. Guided by these key principles, I engage  two-footed questions, facilitate mind-guided mutual mentoring, and track change in  brain based assessment skill charts, to help develop specific skill… Read more »

Open Letter to Stomp Out Teacher Evaluations and Step Up Learning!

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To Leaders of Education Initiatives in my state of New York, Imagine teacher or student teacher evaluations as mental growth guides! Visualize all faculty and students supported and prospered by the rest of us. At this point,  you’ll likely step up to toss out many standard or state-mandated observations. Why… Read more »

Student Ready Test Prep Tools for Entire Year

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Just bundled a complete set of test-prep resources. One year’s supply of student read-to roll and no prep tasks, keys, posters and practice texts. Happy study – with better grades for all upper grade students! Brain based test prep materials available at my TpT site YOUR TURN! Join our Brain… Read more »

Wasting time studying for tests?

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Students often complain that passive note-taking is both boring and a waste of time?  Have you heard it? Whenever I offer motivational materials to support their study sessions though, I notice students tend to get far finer results for their efforts and talents. They do better in quizzes, tests and… Read more »

Curiosity, Calm or Test Anxiety?

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Spring sends a refreshing new lilt into some students’ steps. Daylight stretches into late evening, outdoor events replace closed-in classes, and young friendships tend to blossom into new life for many students. Have you seen it? Why then, does winter’s melt into spring shoot text anxiety to cripple many other… Read more »

Student-Led Celebration of Innovation – Final Exam Alternative!

Celebration is to my learning circles – what thinking is to brains! And it’s student-led. Imagine your students raving about their final exam – because it magically transformed itself into a celebration! I’m talking about a Brain Based Celebration of Innovation. Imagine the anxiety of final exams converted into exhilarating… Read more »

Your Brain on Tests! Anxiety or …?

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Do you or your students fear tests? Does anxiety over getting it “right” tend to trump the sheer joy of learning? Play, create and learn in ways that ease test anxiety. Watch games replace stress with test skills you can use beyond any class. Brain based cultures test without anxiety… Read more »

#18 of 25 Writer Brain Boosters

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18. Rate Through Encouragement  Boost a peer’s writing talents by encouragement. Support builds writing capabilities through raised serotonin . Avoid punishing mistakes through negativity that sends  stress hormones –or cortisol – that kill growth  possibilities. Pre-empt all feedback with appreciation.  The brain fuels creativity with  serotonin –increased by appreciation. What… Read more »

Making Change Easy

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Change often feels anything but easy …

Ever ask with that popular poster, How can you fly with eagles when you work with a bunch of turkeys?

It feels as if your brain is hard-wired more for chipping away at endless daily routines that tank your talents. You suit up to lead lofty adventures, yet too often ruts keep you pecking away like turkeys, day after day. Do you ever wonder why you slide back so easily into doing the same boring things that spin your wheels but go nowhere? It may seem reasonable once or twice. But over and over again?

Some people blame their supervisors, others say lack of funds keeps them down in the dust.

Are you aware though, that blame robs creative oomph, drowns change and leaves you stuck in ruts? Fault finding blocks focus from seeing those game-changing horizons that complainers only crave.

It doesn’t have to be that way, and your success often depends on how you handle detractors. When Gordon, a British Columbia School Superintendent, tried to involve parents in the daily interactions of his large district, several secondary school faculty threatened to quit.

Cynicism trumped his changes at every step …

Protesters insisted that when outsiders (namely parents) try to control their classrooms, they can no longer teach effectively and test scores suffer. Critics countered even small suggestions to include parents, with anxious retorts that parents know nothing about secondary school content, yet act as if they’re in charge.

For months Gordon tried to win over detractors, while a vocal few spread cynicism across schools averting any progress toward collaboration. Nothing worked and gloom spread across change suggestions like the aftermath of nuclear fallout spreads across a once-vibrant village.

Allies opened spigots of hope …

Then Gordon called a meeting with four highly-respected teachers.

After a few hours of brainstorming they’d integrated four disciplines under one umbrella topic – LIGHT. Each of the four classes met learning standards and yet lessons also included student-led topics that teens enjoy.

Enthusiasm carried that first meeting into shared pizza and late night noodling ….