I Was Just Like Neville Longbottom When I Was a Kid

When I was in the 7th grade, I this pair of shorts that were, well, embarrassing. They were way too short. They were pleated. They were plaid. They were everything you were not supposed to wear if you didn’t want to get beat up. But I wore them anyway because my grandma had made them for […]

Who Are the Hagrids in Your Building? How Are You Helping Them?

At first glance, it would seem that Hagrid has all the makings of a great teacher. He is willing to take creative risks. He has a deep and passionate knowledge of his content area. And most importantly, he cares about his students. But unfortunately, content knowledge and compassion aren’t enough to guarantee success. There’s a […]

How Favoritism Completely Derailed a Brilliant Teacher (Professor Slughorn)

Guest post by Trevor Muir This is the second in the Seven Best Teachers at Hogwarts series. The potions professor who had a secret society made up of his favorite students. Where Voldem— Tom Riddle learned about Horcruxes, and Harry had to steal brain juice from. Ol’ professor Slughorn was not the best teacher, but […]

Would you let your kids attend Hogwarts?

Warning: this post may contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the books, go do that now and then come back to this post later.  Let’s just put it out there. Hogwarts is probably a terrible place to send your kids. It’s dangerous, and I’m not just talking about the basilisks, trolls, and dementers. It’s also […]

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In an Age of Artificial Intelligence, Philosophy Is More Vital Than Ever

This is the fourth blog post on a series about the future of learning.  Imagine you are building a self-driving car. Chances are you’ll look for a team of engineers who can figure out how to make each part work fluidly in an interconnected manner. You’d look for software engineers and mechanical engineers and experts in […]

Five Types of Creative Teachers

I often hear people describe a certain type of teacher as being “so creative.” That teacher developing lessons from scratch is “so creative.” Or that teacher who turned a boring spelling activity into a vocabulary karaoke game is “so creative.” Or that teacher with the thematic classroom bulletin boards is “so creative.” Sometimes, this term […]

That’s Not Why We Make Things

Maker spaces, design thinking, and project-based learning have somehow become trendy lately. While I find it exciting that certain things that were once considered obsolete or even vintage are now being revived, I can’t help but cringe at the defense for why we need makers. I hear phrases like, “We need to raise up the […]

Should We Focus on the Process or the Product?

Often the destiny drives the journey. When I first dove into project-based learning, I remember saying, “It’s not about the product. It’s about the process.” I wanted students to love the journey and appreciate every part of it. I wanted to see what skills they developed as a result. I wanted students to make sense […]

Why I Do the Same Student Projects Over Again

I once gave the advice to new teachers that they should rip apart their lesson plans at the end of the year. I said something to the extent of “If you’re doing the same unit in two years that you were doing this year, you are making yourself irrelevant.” It was an arrogant, bold claim […]