What Happens When Teachers Take Creative Risks?

I sit at the Starbucks, staring at the blinking cursor daring me to write another line. Fears swirl through my brain. What if this doesn’t work? Will people hate it? What if I write the entire first draft and it simply isn’t any good? I stumble forward with a sentence, then another sentence until I […]

What can food trucks teach us about project-based learning?

When we think of innovative companies, it’s easy to imagine an open-air tech startup with ping pong tables and free drinks and huge windows and chairs so modern you’re not sure how you’re supposed to sit in them or look at them. Sometimes I look at those spaces and think, “Man, I wish schools were more […]

7 Ways to Inspire Divergent Thinking in the Classroom

The world is unpredictable. The corporate ladder is now a maze, which means our students will need to think divergently. In this article, we explore how to integrate divergent thinking into our everyday classroom practices. Listen to the Podcast If you enjoy this blog but you’d like to listen to it on the go, just […]

Seven Ways to Boost Collaboration in P.B.L.

Over the last month, we have been taking a deep dive into project-based learning. One of the most frequent questions I hear about PBL is “how do we get all of the members to participate in group projects?” Both elementary and secondary education teachers ask this question. Teachers in private and public schools share this […]

Students Need to Solve Real Problems

In the 1980s, somebody decided that haircuts were way too messy. So, they combined a hair trimmer with a vacuum cleaner and we ended up with the Flowbee. I remember begging my parents for a Flowbee and they said “no,” because they thought I would use it on the dog. And they were right. But […]

How Does Assessment Work in a P.B.L. Unit?

Assessment is everywhere. Visit a basketball court or a skate park or a rock climbing gym and you might just miss something happening all around. Assessment. The same is true of that group of kids huddled around their devices building a shared world in Minecraft or maneuvering around a kitchen experimenting with a new recipe […]

Using a Wonder Week to Spark Student Inquiry

My friend George Couros once said, “If students leave school less curious than when they have started, we have failed them.” I tend to agree. I’ve never heard of a cosmologist who says, “I’m done with the universe. No more questions here.” I’ve also never seen an engineer who says, “I’m an expert now. I […]

How Do You Teach to the Standards When Doing Project-Based Learning?

It’s easy to remember the highlight reels of the project-based approach I used when I taught eighth grade. I think about the moment we finished our second mural and my students were so excited they started spontaneously cheering or the moment students asked thoughtful questions to our guests during the immigration documentary or the way […]

What the Netherlands Taught Me About Design Thinking

Last week, I stepped off the train and walked into the bustling streets of Eindhoven. I had never been to the Netherlands, much less Europe, so I became the obnoxious American taking quick snapshots, attempting to soak up the feel of the city. My first thought was, “Man, every dude here is 6 foot 4 […]

10 Things That Happen When Students Engage in Project-Based Learning

We often hear about the need for students to learn how to program in order to be ready for STEM fields and the Information Economy. It’s what we’ve been hearing for over a decade. However, there’s a fascinating piece from the Washington Post that explores how the so-called “soft-skills” might be even more vital than […]