May Video Playlist: 5 to Inspire


This month’s playlist is dedicated to our teachers, coaches and administrators who desperately need a lift. You know: something, anything that reminds you of how incredible our profession is and pushes you to return to school tomorrow and run it. So I present to you five clips that should inspire you.

adapted-peFitness for All: Adapted PE @ Solorio

Solorio physical education teacher Matt Erlenbaugh shares this incredible program where juniors and seniors lead students with severe and profound disabilities through adapted activities in physical education.

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Join the Theme Team: Making DBQ Work in Middle School

lucassmithFor me, DBQ has been the best way for me to blend my reading and writing instruction.  In the past, I was never really very good with my writing instruction, but after learning and using DBQ I felt like the students began writing about what they read in a very natural way.  It made the “instruction” part of the lessons very easy and seamless and my students didn’t even realize they were in “writing class.”  In fact, having a separate reading/writing class disappeared all together and it became a fully integrated “Literacy” class.

I appreciate the structure of DBQ: short texts that speak to a larger essential question which are followed by comprehension questions that connect the texts to that essential question. When I couple this structure with Think-Write-Pair-Share, the writing component felt so organic for them and their ability to express their “academic thoughts” became simple.

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Product Updates! Messaging and Tch Recorder


I wanted to share two big TchAUSL product updates:


It’s not real-time messaging like G-Chat but the lag time between send and receive is really short. You’ll notice the new toolbar at the top of the site and you’ll see My Messages near the center.


To send a message, tap on My Messages then New Message. A viewer will pop up on the lower right corner of your browser. Enter the name of the TchAUSL member in the “To” box, type your message and click Send.

A red dot will appear next to My Messages to notify you of new messages and by default you will receive an email when new messages are posted for you. You can turn off that email notification (which isn’t a bad idea) in your account settings here and all the way at the bottom.

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Tch of the Week: CAHS Art Teacher Brian Mead

photo 1 (2)School buildings can be hectic and Chicago Academy High School is no exception. When I am seeking a tranquil place, I head to Brian Mead’s art classroom and all the chaos fades away. Student centered creative work is taking place, and the atmosphere makes you want to sit down and find your inner Michelangelo.  

Brian Mead is only in his second year as CAHS’s art instructor, but his impact on his students and the school makes it seem like he has been here so much longer.

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Talking the Talk: Tips for Engaging Your Students in Scientific Discourse


The Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) provide us with a clear picture of what inquiry instruction should look like in the science classroom:

  1. Asking Questions (Science) and Defining Problems (Engineering)
  2. Developing and Using Models
  3. Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  4. Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  5. Using Mathematical and Computational Thinking
  6. Constructing Explanations (Science) and Designing Solutions (Engineering)
  7. Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  8. Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

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Numeracy Blog: Asking Effective Questions


With the school year winding down and the first year of full CCSS implementation under our belts – now is the perfect time to push your instructional practice, take a step or two outside of your comfort zone, and really dive DEEP into the shifts required of the CCSS/M.  Use these next few months to, as Allen Iverson famously ranted, PRACTICE a few new instructional techniques.  You can then reflect and refine your craft and hit the ground running next year!

One of those techniques – ASKING EFFECTIVE QUESTIONS – is the purpose of this post. The goal in effective questioning is to help students identify THEIR thinking about the problem, not to lead them to the answer.

You can find the tips shared below and more great information including the actual questions to ask in THIS ARTICLE.

8 Tips for Asking Effective Questions

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Video Playlist: Deeper Learning with Projects

In one high school project, students designed and built solar collectors.

Did professional learning make your list?

You know, that list of everything that you plan to do next week when you don’t have to get up early and commute or stay late and grade papers. I hope it did, but I get it if it didn’t.

Either way, this week we aim to make it easy for you to push your practice with our newest playlist focused on Teaching Channel’s amazing Deeper Learning video series and project-based learning or PBL.

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Video Playlist: Reviewing 5 Essential Strategies

As a mentor and later a mentor resident coach, I often saw my residents and (yes) my mentors forget the basics of management and instruction as the school year progressed. Burnout has a lot to do with this lapse and since we are so close to a well-deserved break, I am betting that many of these essential strategies have slipped your mind and your practice.

Let’s get your classroom and your mojo back by taking a little time to review…



It’s never too late to reteach and reinforce 100%. This short clip shows a simple structure for giving your students directions by delivering them from one consistent spot in your classroom.

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