Messy Making in the Makerspace

In October and November during Library, second graders had an opportunity to participate in the Global Read Aloud, an initiative to promote diverse literature and voices to students. This year’s picture books were all by author and illustrator Yuyi Morales. Students learned about the author and analyzed inspirations for her stories and art. One book,Continue reading “Messy Making in the Makerspace”

‘Tis the Season: Embracing the Ebb and Flow of Innovation & Inspiration

Sometimes I just wake up uninspired.  I might not have slept well the night before.  I might have had a weird conversation in which I felt misunderstood, underappreciated.  Often I’m just overwhelmed with a million different things pulling on my minutes and hours, things that even though I know aren’t my priority just have toContinue reading “‘Tis the Season: Embracing the Ebb and Flow of Innovation & Inspiration”

Shhhh…don’t tell teacher! (

As many of you know, I’ve been exploring the idea of “backchannel chat” in my senior English class.  A backchannel is a conversation that happens concurrently with whatever is going on in the class but is not officially part of the lesson – much like passing notes in elementary school.  I’ve implemented it as partContinue reading “Shhhh…don’t tell teacher! (”

30 Things I’m Thankful For

During the month of November, our lower school community is practicing “30 Days of Gratitude”.  This 30 day focus is an intentional way for us to dive deeper into our gratitude practices as we’ve set gratitude as the theme for the complete school year.  A recent email from our wonderful school counselor, Chelsea Freeman, toContinue reading “30 Things I’m Thankful For”

Using YouTube to Strengthen Collaboration with Parents and Student Learning

Let’s face it, the math instruction today is quite different than the way we learned math as kids.  As mathematical instruction shifts, many parents are curious as to how they can help their child at home. Teachers also desire consistent messages for students while they are completing work outside of the classroom. One way IContinue reading “Using YouTube to Strengthen Collaboration with Parents and Student Learning”

SeeSaw: Sharing Learning with Parents in Real Time

This year, teachers in the Early Childhood Center have adopted a new form of documentation of a child’s learning in class. This form of documentation comes through the innovative app called SeeSaw. This app allows teachers to document learning that many times is missed on the youngest learners. Normal documentation is mostly found in theContinue reading “SeeSaw: Sharing Learning with Parents in Real Time”

Homework: Bringing Purpose to the Practice

During last week’s Late Wednesday, faculty at the middle school began a conversation about homework, led by our incredible MS Learning Facilitator, Lynda Morse. (Click here for a link to the slideshow.)  Rather than fixate on the question of quantity (a well-worn topic by all accounts) we began with the notion of quality.  How intentionalContinue reading “Homework: Bringing Purpose to the Practice”

Graphic Design, (Re)Designed: The Case for Community Engagement

When Emmi Sprayberry sits down to plan her classes, she probably does what a lot of us do.  She thinks about her course objectives and maps out a tentative timeline of activities that build toward those objectives.  But for her, that is just the beginning. Her next step involves phone calls, emails, and meetings withContinue reading “Graphic Design, (Re)Designed: The Case for Community Engagement”

Through the lens of a 5th-grade musicologist: Mississippi Delta Blues

At the end of quarter one, the 5th graders wrapped up a thrilling final unit in the performing arts quarter rotation! Using primary sources as the entry point for discovery, students learned about the Mississippi Delta Blues and applied their greater understanding through a culminating jam session.  In small groups, students cycled through centers comprisedContinue reading “Through the lens of a 5th-grade musicologist: Mississippi Delta Blues”

Love & Mandarin: Scripting and Staging for Chinese Valentine’s Day

When sitting in Grace Pei’s Mandarin 5, you better be ready for all-Mandarin, all-the-time. Near the end of my observation of her class, students worked collaboratively on a script (in the target language of course), and I just had to ask to be invited to the big performance of a well-known Chinese Valentine’s Day story.Continue reading “Love & Mandarin: Scripting and Staging for Chinese Valentine’s Day”

Going downtown, where the French gets tough!

For lesson 2 in French 4, the theme is “downtown” and everything we come across. We talk about the different activities that happen, the different places we can come across and we also make comparisons between living in the city and living outside of the city (albeit in the suburbs or in the country). TheContinue reading “Going downtown, where the French gets tough!”

Illustrating Self: Middle Schoolers Finding Identity in Graphic Novels

This year I asked my 7th grade students to read Gene Luen Yang’s wonderful graphic novel American Born Chinese, but I also asked them to finish the unit by writing their own graphic story. I’ve struggled in the past with implementing project-based learning curricula in my classroom, so I was excited to give it anotherContinue reading “Illustrating Self: Middle Schoolers Finding Identity in Graphic Novels”

“Yeah, but when will I actually use this in the real world?”: Making Relevance Visible, One Angle at a Time

If you have taught even a day, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of the the sometimes-sincere, sometimes-snarky question: “When will we actually use this in real life?”  Math teachers probably have heard this more than most, and we are lucky to have faculty in our math department at St. Andrew’s that are readyContinue reading ““Yeah, but when will I actually use this in the real world?”: Making Relevance Visible, One Angle at a Time”

Two Flavors of Flipped: From 5th to 12th Grade

Several weeks ago, I had the honor of visiting our extraordinary lab-stuffed upper school science department, and in the process, I learned a lot, including: rollie pollies prefer rough surfaces; lab report writing takes explicit instruction and precision; and, take heart all of us who were traumatized by labs when we were in school: thereContinue reading “Two Flavors of Flipped: From 5th to 12th Grade”

Transforming My Classroom With Flexible Seating

Many teachers have been using some variation of flexible seating years before it became a trend. As long as I can remember, I have always had students who needed something less traditional than sitting at a desk. Of course, there are students who will always prefer that, and that’s the beauty of flexible seating. It’sContinue reading “Transforming My Classroom With Flexible Seating”

Making Calendar Time Meaningful in Pre-K3

The daily routine of calendar time is something early childhood and elementary teachers are all too familiar with.  The skills students acquire during this time are crucial to their development in math, problem solving, vocabulary, and literacy.  The repetitive routines of calendar time are so beneficial for students, but when implemented each day, these routinesContinue reading “Making Calendar Time Meaningful in Pre-K3”

Podcasts: A New Generation of Listening and Learning

What started as a quest to endure painfully long road trips to North Carolina with children in tow has now become a family passion that has bridged into my classroom. That’s right, podcasts. On a lark I tried a popular family podcast with my students, and they loved it. To focus their listening, I challengedContinue reading “Podcasts: A New Generation of Listening and Learning”

Two Weddings and a French Class

For lesson 1 in French 4, the theme is personal relationships and emotions and being able to describe your ideal roommate, friend and soul mate. At this level of language learning, I believe that more communicative activities is necessary, to show real life application and break on-the-spot translation in order to promote thinking in theContinue reading “Two Weddings and a French Class”

Wall O’ Teacher Awesomeness

So I’m a relative newbie as an employee at St. Andrew’s. And in this new teaching and learning gig, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of popping into an incredible variety of classrooms. I cannot say this with enough emphasis: “OUR FACULTY ARE AMAZING.” Oh hey, that’s you. Anyway, I know the word “awesome” is prettyContinue reading “Wall O’ Teacher Awesomeness”

St. Andrew’s 2019 Faculty Innovation Share Out

Lower School Edition The energy in the south campus auditorium was contagious last Wednesday afternoon as faculty members kicked off the year’s “Work-Late-Wednesdays” with a share out of innovative teaching strategies and school-wide initiatives. The five sessions were led by teachers eager to inspire colleagues and share the ways they are redefining teaching and learningContinue reading “St. Andrew’s 2019 Faculty Innovation Share Out”