A Culture of Innovation

What IKEA and the Education System Have in Common – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Ahh, IKEA. If you are anything like me, you probably have a love/hate relationship with IKEA. I love walking through their store, putting our kids in childcare, and seeing all the possibilities (and cheap prices) of their furniture. Even though their carts turn like they have a mind of their own, I still keep coming back and back again with my wife to get things for our house (and especially for our four kids’ rooms). Last week we headed…

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The Three-Step System For Getting Students to Do the Talking – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

I remember the first time I heard the phrase “student-centered classroom” and I almost chuckled. I had always believed my classroom was about the students, they were the reason we taught and my focus was always on their learning. This new terminology sounded like another buzzword and I didn’t pay much attention to the presentation until I heard this: Whoever is doing the talking is doing the majority of the learning. In your classroom what is the ratio of…

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What Project-Based Learning Looks Like In An Elementary Classroom – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

To be honest, I was lost. Elementary teaching was something so new to me when I took a job as a Technology Staff Developer. I taught middle school. I taught high school. I’d written curriculum for those levels, and connected with many educators who teach at those levels, learning so much along the way. As a K-5 Instructional Coach, my eyes were open wide the first time I stepped into a 1st Grade Classroom. The teacher was actually teaching the kids…

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Is It the End of Math Homework? – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Note: This is the third post in a series focused on practical ways to do PBL in every subject and grade level. Read the first and second here. It was towards the end of the third marking period a few years ago when my Math teachers in our middle school came up to me. “AJ, I think we’ve got a problem, hoping you can help.” “Sure”, I said, “What’s going on?” “Well, it’s kind of weird. Almost all of…

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The Real Reason It’s So Difficult to Start Project-Based Learning – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

My colleague and I looked at each other on Tuesday of this week. She had a look in her eyes of pure exhaustion. I could sense a call for help, but I think we were both too tired to send out an SOS. I let out a deep sigh and said, “Man, is it June yet!” The past two weeks had been a whirlwind of non-stop problem finding and problem-solving. It was good work, but tiring work. As a Director…

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Yes, Project-Based Learning Gets Kids Ready for the Test (and so much more) – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

I was worried the first time I tried a project-based learning unit with my students. As a young teacher, I had prided myself on running a challenging class and had focused much of my attention on getting my students prepared for what we were both going to be assessed on: the test. I was not doing test prep. I didn’t believe that giving students sample test questions would make them do any better on our state standardized scores (and still…

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Can We Make Lesson Plans More Than Just Compliance Plans? – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Coming into student teaching I was really confident about my lesson planning abilities. I was a bit worried about classroom management, designing assessments, and handling the demands of a first-year teacher…but lesson plans? Ha. I aced every single one of them during college. That was the easy part. We were teaching Frankenstein when I finally got a chance to craft my very own lesson to teach. My supervising teacher was great, and I learned so much from him watching him…

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Real Ways WE Can Help Inspire a Generation of Innovators – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

It seems after all this research I’ve done on the current state of education and all the reading I’ve done on the future of learning, that one piece of information keeps coming back to get me again and again. It’s basically screaming at me when I look at past innovations, past movements and reforms, and current changes in education. My opinion on the future of education (and learning) doesn’t matter. Does that seem harsh? Give me a minute to explain.…

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When Teachers Take a Break, We All Win – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

My good friend (and co-author) John Spencer, shared this on Twitter a few days ago: Teaching is an exhausting gig. It’s okay to take a break in the summer. Read a book. Watch movies. Go hiking. Swim. Binge watch Stranger Things. Kick the soccer ball around with your daughter. You’ve poured your heart and soul into this gig. You shouldn’t feel guilty for resting. Image Created by John Spencer at SpencerIdeas.org I’ve seen a lot of talk online and…

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Creating an Environment Where Innovative Teaching and Learning Flourish – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Last winter, as we were digging out of the twenty inches of snow, my kids were sledding in the backyard and hiding out in their igloo. My 6-yr old son had another snow day passion, filling up a plastic cup with snow to the brim and walking around calling it his “snow cone. I know what some of you are thinking: Don’t let your kid eat snow! Yes, it is a bit excessive, but scientists say it’s not really…

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How to Run A Teacher Innovation Pitch At Your School – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

I want to tell you a story. During the mid 19th century the city of Chicago was in crisis. The elevation of the growing metropolis was not much higher than the shorelines of Lake Michigan. There was no natural drainage in the city and culminated in six straight years of epidemics that lead to the cholera outbreak in 1854 (that killed six percent of the city’s population). Chicago was in crisis, and in 1856 came up with a plan…

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What I Wish For Every Kid – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

Be more chef. It is a mantra I’ve adopted and taken to heart these past few months as my brother lay in a hospital, seemingly impacting the world more from that bed, then many of could do with bodies that were not full of tumors and cancer. My brother was a chef in every sense of the word. He took the circumstances that life gave him and turned them into something wonderful and new and beautiful. When my brother…

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Focusing On What Is Going To Stay The Same in Education – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

One of my favorite writers (and thinkers) in the world, Shane Parrish, recently wrote a post titled, “What’s Staying the Same?”. In this post, he flips the questions we all are normally asking (what is going to change?) into one that has relevance for all aspects of life, but especially for education: I want to know the future. So do you. However, our desire to know the future leads us to seek answers to unanswerable questions. The question, “What’s…

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My 2018 Failing Report – A.J. JULIANI – Education Article

When my students were doing the 20% Project (Genius Hour) in my class we had an “Epic Fail Board” (inspired by a number of people) where they would pin up some their biggest fails and epic risks. The 20% project required each student to challenge themselves. They were learning and creating with a purpose, often with lofty expectations and goals, and failing came at every step. In the first month of the project, I could sense hesitation from many…

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