EdTechTeam YouTube LIVE Webinar

Have a watch of one of the webinars I’ve done with EdTechTeam in their Youtube LIVE series.  These are engaging sessions where the audience gets full access to the authors, ask them questions to support their reading and we all have fun doing it the entire time!



This is one of my all-time favourites – a modern take on an age-old experiment titled the Standford marshmallow experiment, a series of studies on delayed gratification in the 1960s and 70s led by researched Walter Mischel.  The gist of the study is that children were offered a single yummy reward (marshmallow) immediately or two if they waited for a prolonged period (approximately 15 minutes).  The majority of the kiddos were able to delay gratification and double their treat.  Those that delayed gratification utilized some pretty creative processes to help them avoid caving in – have a watch and you’ll see!

But the interesting stuff surfaced in follow-up studies and what was discovered in the two groups several years later.  Those that delayed gratification in the experiment were found to have better life outcomes, be more competent in school and score higher on the SATs.

Wait a second though.  Focus on just one thing here.  Students who were able to delay gratification at a young age were more competent in school.

So what are we doing with our youngest learners to help them self-regulate and own and control their feelings, emotions and urges?

Hm.  Good question.

Make your Monday meaningful y’all.


TVO’s The Agenda

The highlight of my 2017 has been a special opportunity to speak on TVO’s The Agenda, the popular current events show that “delves deep inside contemporary social, political, cultural and economic issues affecting Canadians through experts and newsmakers debating and analyzing the topics.”

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The session was an inspiration.  I love speaking to why I’ve adopted an inquiry approach in my practice, my philosophy on learning, and experiences with the many amazing students I’ve work with.

It was a thrill to meet the staff and crew who makes this show the powerful and compelling broadcast that it is.


Take the time to watch the episode for yourself and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Going Out To Come Back In

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Photo taken by yours truly in the lovely city of Chicago.  #inspired

The more I travel the world and visit schools to support their adoption of inquiry, the more I realize one thing: as educators we are all grappling with the same questions.

Moving away from a standards focused learning model, over prescribed learning outcomes, content-centric curricula, and structures that strip learners of their voice, choice, creativity and agency, the challenges facing each and every school and teacher are powerfully the same.

Our goals is clear: to prepare the students of today for the problems of tomorrow given our world is rapidly changing and innovations and technologies are constantly enhancing how we communicate, collaborate and create.

Ok, I said clear, not easy.

But what I’ve come to realize is that we are all genuinely working towards this means, in each of our positions, schools, cities and countries.  From Chicago to Singapore.  From NYC to Iceland.  From Vancouver to Sydney.  Each and every teacher I meet shares this common lens.

And this is a beautifully powerful thing.  We have the ability to collectively lean on one another, learn from each other, and help better meet the needs of our students together.

So I challenge you to broaden your learning network.  Go beyond your classroom, your school, and even your district.  Create and nurture a PLN that inspires and informs.  Go out in order to come back in with a greater understanding, expertise and appreciation for your craft.  Your students will thank you.

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Shout out to Jen and Brian Cauthers for inspiring this post! Find them on twitter at @cauthersj and @mahopacskiteam respectively.

Guest Post by Theresa Ducassoux

Check out how Theresa weaves inquiry and her reading of Dive into Inquiry into the arts with this guest post!

“Is there a place for inquiry in the arts? If you ask arts teachers if there is a place for inquiry in their classroom, most would say yes. But I think if you asked them to describe inquiry in their classrooms, many would have a hard time doing it. I was one of those teachers! But I’m excited to say, in this coming school year it WILL have a place.

I have struggled for a while, wondering if the current, “tried and true,” model of teaching instrumental music is still the best way. The teacher stands in front of the room, tells the students how to play the music, and the students play accordingly. When mistakes arise, the teacher tells the students how to correct it. Teachers learn to correct mistakes, students learn to follow directions. Sound familiar? But is this really the best way? Why are the teachers making all of the musical decisions? When do the students get to utilize their own creativity? What about critical analysis and reflection? The students should be able to actively participate in the entire process. In music, this is relevant in both solo (individual) and ensemble (group) situations. In an ensemble, students will initially need guidance in how to work together effectively, for example, to blend and balance their playing, but over time can’t the students make some of these decisions?

Trevor Mackenzie has a great graphic in his book, Dive into Inquiry, describing the various types of student inquiry. This is what needs to happen in our arts classrooms too. We all start in the pool together, with the teacher directing the students. Gradually the focus shifts, the teacher exits the pool, and students begin making their own choices. Isn’t this what we want for our students? To make their own decisions? To BE musical and BE artistic?

“Gradually begin to flip control of learning in the room from the teacher to the learner.” ~Trevor Mackenzie

Where does inquiry fit in?

What I’m suggesting is that we continue teaching the skills and techniques necessary for success, but leave room for inquiry too. Leave space for students to follow their own passions, explore their own interests, and answer their own questions. In my classroom next school year there will be a lot of changes. Some will work, some will fail, and I can’t wait! The students will be following a personalized learning path. The key skills for the year will be mapped out but students will be encouraged to find their own way to demonstrate mastery. Yes, we will still work together on music for various performances, so students have the opportunity to showcase their personal mastery of their instrument and the opportunity to blend in an ensemble, but aside from that students will have a choice in what music to learn and how to learn it. They will be given a voice and a choice.

I’m also excited to later in the year delve into the world of Project Based Learning (PBL). Students will need to find a way to use their music to answer the driving question, “How can you have a positive impact on your community using your skills as a musician?” They will be able to choose an audience that is important to them, select what music to play, prepare that music, and carry out the project. For young students, this fits somewhere between Controlled Inquiry and Guided Inquiry, since I will be there to assist in the process. For older students, this question could easily be modified for a Free Inquiry project – though I wouldn’t recommend jumping right to it! This project is a double-win in the world of inquiry; not only are students encouraged to design their own project, but it is truly an authentic audience. Rushton Hurley said it best, “If students are sharing their work with the world, they want it to be good. If they’re just sharing it with you, they want it good enough.”

So this is it. My statement to the world that this upcoming school year will be different. There will be a place for inquiry. There will be a place for student voice and choice. And there will be great music.”

Additional Resources:
Dive Into Inquiry, by Trevor Mackenzie
Project Based Learning, Buck Institute for Education
Rushton Hurley, Next Vista for Learning


Shout out to my guy Drew Dudley.  I love how he sheds light on the unknown impact we have on others to change their mood, their day, and potentially, their lives.  Recently I challenged my learners to go out and share a lollipop moment with someone that has had an impact on them.  I challenged them to share the importance of thanks, gratitude, kindness and positivity.  These have been some of the most powerful learning objectives I’ve set out for my students and now I challenge you to do the same.

Have a watch.

Make your Monday meaningful y’all.


Each and every semester I show my girl Rita Pierson weave her narrative about what are students need.  Her words help shape the culture of the room and the break down the limits to our imaginations.  When students know they have a you as their champion, they’ll have the courage and tenacity to dream big dreams and make these dreams their reality.

Make your Monday meaningful y’all.