Room to Discover Blog

Stories and strategies for creative, collaborative, and conceptual classrooms. Subscribe to receive new posts each week via e-mail.

Standards Based Grading brings standardized testing to the your daily classroom experience

Standards-Based Grading: The Perfect Solution to an Imaginary Problem

If you’ve been to an education conference recently, you’ve heard about standards-based grading.  It’s easy to see why many schools are looking for alternatives to traditional grades. “Standards-Based Grading.” The very name conveys authority, importance, and fairness. After all, who would choose a system called substandard grading? Or opinion-based grading?  Before I’d ever heard of

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Viral math meme shows the limitations of PEMDAS as the language of math
Math Education

How Social Media Proved That Math is a Language

Recently, a viral math meme established, once and for all, that math is a language. And a nuanced once, at that.  Where it started is anyone’s guess. But soon, people around the world were debating the solution to to 8 ÷ 2 (2 +2). Some say it simplifies to 16. Others insist it’s 1.  Both

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Teacher reclaiming class time and exercising classroom management by using a stopwatch technique
Teaching Strategies

Reclaim Class Time with the Stopwatch Strategy

One of my favorite schools lives in an old stone building in the heart of Brooklyn. Even on my first visit, I could feel the warmth in the hallways. I could also see that it was a very lively place. Some might even call it rowdy. And as much as the teachers cared for their

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Fostering student connection by knocking on doors and connecting with the community
Teaching Strategies

Fostering Student Connection, One Doorbell at a Time

This month’s Educator Spotlight Shines on David Franklin: a teacher, school leader, and education consultant. David talked with us about turning around a struggling San Jose school through community engagement and student connection.  About ten years ago, I took over as principal of a middle school in San Jose. It was in a low-income neighborhood.

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Students frustrated by word problems
Inquiry-based Learning

How to Help Students Who Struggle with Word Problems

“They know the math. They’re just can’t do the word problems. It’s their reading comprehension.” Ms. Hartwell was explaining why her students had struggled on the state tests. She knew her students, and had done ample assessment. She was sure their difficulties were a literacy issue. “I don’t understand why they make the reading so

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Classroom Management Through Classroom Culture
Teaching Strategies

Are You Managing Behavior or Building Classroom Culture?

When starting a new year, it’s important to make the right first impression. Many teachers approach classroom management by making sure students know “who’s in charge.” Others focus on building classroom culture, with a student-centered, relationship-first approach. But which is best for our students? And do we have to choose just one? There is, of

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Student Centered Learning Pandora's Box
Personalized Learning

Is Student-Centered Learning Like Opening Pandora’s Box?

Traditionalists argue that a dynamic lecture keeps students “focused.” The underlying paradigm is that student energy is like the force of a rushing river – without a forceful teacher, the dam will break and students will go wild. Student-centered learning requires us to engage and harness student curiosity.

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