- Allison Zmuda & Melissa McQuarrie, site founders
Ideas & Innovators
- Allison Zmuda & Melissa McQuarrie, site founders
Back in the early 90’s, my grandmother taught me how to bake biscotti in a traditional way. She was a baker by trade and taught me about the precision of measuring ingredients to get a perfect dough consistency, how to lay out the initial loaf, cut on the diagonal and re-bake until the cookies reached their optimum crunch. Over the years, I’ve experimented with the basic recipe, adding additional ingredients, replacing others, trying different thicknesses of the cookie, dipping the cookies in chocolate, etc. My ultimate goal is to get to the cookie, even though my path to get there changes every year.
Around this time of year, I start thinking about the biscotti (and Grandma!), and what I will modify, replace, upgrade, or delete for this year’s batch...Read More
By Allison Zmuda
Here are three simple teachings that I continue to learn and relearn as part of my yoga practice. They are as inspiring in the yoga studio as they are in the classroom.
1. If you stay present in this moment, everything is simple. When we worry about what’s to come or get stuck in past thoughts, it clouds our attention and focus on the task at hand.
2. Continue to check in to see if you are moving mechanically (on auto pilot) or mindfully through your routines. Regurgitation of past performance or past thinking doesn’t open you up for new ideas or deeper capacity. It also has an effect on the people around you that look to you for collaboration and inspiration.
3. Strive for a balance between effort and ease...Read More
Netflix, the multi-billion dollar company, created a unique talent management philosophy grounded in performance, freedom, and responsibility. Here are some of the key values and skills managers at Netflix use when evaluating performance of their staff that have real promise for growing talent in our schools. I would advocate that these values and skills are as important to grow in our students as they are in our staff (with a little bit of tweaking based on context). What I appreciate about this set is the straightforward, simple, and inspired language. I also admire the balance between individual and working with others in pursuit of excellence.
1. Judgment. You make wise decisions despite ambiguity. You identify root causes, and get beyond treating symptoms...Read More
Thanks to Will Richardson @willrich for sharing this great video. This is part of a larger organization called DIY, a place to connect with other kids that have similiar interests, tackle new challenges, and earn badges.
Click here to see the other 102 badges, look at the challenges, and start creating!
This is the type of community that gives me that the power of collaboration will usher in an evolution of what inspired learning looks like. My 9 year old and 12 year old will start this weekend!Read More
As I was doing my daily troll this morning to search for old and new ideas worth sharing, I came across this post from Stanley Litow, IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and former Deputy Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools:Skilled for Life?: The Training Americans Need to Succeed
He advocates for three goals that will have significant implications on school structures, policies, and curricular design.
- It’s time to revamp career and technical education by embedding workplace skills training for 21st century jobs directly into challenging academic curricula, and tracking progress against high standards.
- It’s time to align high school and post-secondary coursework directly with one another so students can progress seamlessly along t...
By Allison Zmuda
The creative process starts with the courageous question, “How do I do this?” and moves through the stages of creativity which include:
In this 9 minute overview, the video shares what creativity is, how collaboration can amplify ideas, and how sparks of insight are grounded in prior knowledge and experience.
What creative acts are you doing both inside and outside of school? What do you think is required to make your ideas come alive? Your teachers and parents want to know so that they can support your endeavors.
I struck up a conversation with the cabbie to pass the time to LaGuardia airport. The frustration with the traffic faded away as I became fascinated by his story. He started his career as an actor, taught elementary school, and now he is a full-time poet / cab driver.
“Being a poet doesn’t pay the bills,” Davidson said. “But I see the whole world behind my plexi-glass window.”
When an idea comes to him in his cab, he quickly jots it down on a scrap piece of paper. Once Davidson is no longer behind the wheel, the collections of phrases and notes inspire the draft of a poem. He prints it out and uses the downtime in the cab to rework the language and imagery. Here is one of Davidson’s poems from his first collection, “King Lear of the Taxi.”
by Davidson Garret...
Imagine your ideal learning space — place that inspires you to focus, to problem solve, to create, to reflect. What would it look like? This question wandered through my mind last week and I started to play with the idea. I imagined a multi-purpose space designed for both solitude and conversation, collection and analysis, technology-rich and technology-free, struggle and relaxation.
This exercise prompted me to reexamine the spaces where I currently create and wonder how form and function impacts daily learning. As an adult, I have a significant amount of control over the organization of my space, but I was oblivious to how I was using the space to promote my own learning...Read More
The teachers I know are always talking about kids in informal ways. They do it at the copy machine, at home, at social gatherings—anywhere they relax enough to answer the question “How’s it going?” And, like anyone whose vocation is to work with other people, their talk is full of stories. They tell of frustrating moments and of triumphant ones, of hilarious moments and heartbreaking ones. Listening, it’s so clear how much most teachers care what happens to their students, both inside and outside of the classroom.
But very few teachers have the time structured into their workday to turn that “kid talk” into a collaborative and productive professional discourse, which advances not only the teacher’s understanding but also that of students.
Kids’ stories...Read More
This film introduces the thinking behind connected learning, which builds on the basics to make learning more relevant. It connects learning to people’s interests, to real life, real work, real communities, and to the demands and opportunities of the digital age.
After watching the video, these are the questions that continue to dance around my head…
How are you building learning environments that “delight learners at all ages?”
“What’s the experience we want our kids to have?”
“How do you create a need to know in a kid?”
Share your ideas, stories and comments.