Cage Busting the UDL Way!

This week I attended and presented at the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching (ECET2) conference in Snowbird, Utah. In addition to collaborating with 350 of the country’s top educators, I had the pleasure to attend a session lead by the brilliant and provocative Rick Hess and rock star teacher, Maddie Fennell. Their session, “Cage Busting Teacher,” urged us to take action. How do we do that? We solve problems in education. As they were speaking, I couldn’t help but see the connection to Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Improvements in education happen when educators eliminate barriers that prevent

Why We Teach

I have taught for the past twelve years. During that time, there were only a handful of students I felt like I did not reach. One, in particular, drove me up the wall. This student – I will call him X – sat like a lump for 180 days in my 7th grade English class no matter how hard I tried. I universally designed lessons, I met with him at lunch to try to build a relationship, I provided scaffolds, deadline extensions, and exemplars. Sometimes, I even stood on my desk and tap-danced (hey, you do what you can!). X

Teacher Core Revolution

Last month, I spent two days at the National Teacher Voice Convening in Washington DC. I still feel a buzz of excitement. Every time I have an opportunity to meet with educators from across the country, I am more and more convinced that American education is remarkable. And now that the Common Core connects all teachers, our collective brilliance, creativity, and student empowerment will only amplify. I attended the conference to present an innovative project – The Teacher Core Revolution, which will use the power of teacher voice to help garner nationwide parental support of the Core in a series

Want Meaningful PD? Get Teachers Involved

Recently, I attended the National Teacher Voice Convening in DC, and while I was there, I realized how great my own district’s PD model is. Why? Because it’s run by teachers and it’s totally aligned to the UDL philosophy (for more info on the UDL Guidelines, click here). I would love for this model to catch on nationwide, so if it sounds good to you, please share! Our model was the brainchild of Dr. Kristan Rodriguez, Chelmsford Public Schools assistant superintendent, and her PD committee. It goes like this: At the end of each school year, an electronic survey is

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

Dear teachers, administrators, and friends of the teaching profession,   If I read one more article about the mediocrity of the teaching profession, I may internally combust. I don’t know why teacher bashing has become a hobby and an accepted norm, but it has. If we aren’t holding expectations high enough, we’re contributing to the achievement gap. When we adopt the Common Core, we hold standards too high. Let’s face it, we’re being attacked from all angles, and it’s time to fight back. Amplifying our voices is the only way to save our profession.   America needs to hear from