The Sweet Spot

Money buys freedom. A collective nod rises and falls across the room as Kristi Mraz talks to a group of teachers about the harsh reality we live in, not just as educators, but as human beings. She says the word money and my mind conjures images of the resource room back at school: Stacked floor to…

UnStructured Schools

All year long we’ve been dipping our toes in the Relay pond, the UnCommon Schools waters, the “Get Better Faster” pool.  And all year long, I’ve avoided wading too deep.  Something just hasn’t felt right.  Something has felt – if I am to be entirely honest – toxic about the uber-structured current that threatened to…

Space for Success

“Miss Allen! Miss Allen!!! Miss Allen!!!!!!!” A chorus of second-graders follows their teacher as she moves about the room.   “They just won’t stop saying my name!” she told me as we began our coaching cycle back in February.  As we laughed about this moment today, I asked her how she would punctuate the cacophony…

Play Personality

Understanding child development is serious business, but teaching isn’t; teaching is about ensuring a joyful, challenging journey for each child.  How can we do that if we do not remain joyful and challenged ourselves? So which play personality are you? From Stuart Brown’s work, Kristi Mraz and Christine Hertz, the authors of Kids 1st from Day…

Lead Learner

I was already doing fifteen over the speed limit this morning when I looked up in my rear view mirror and saw the black Nissan with the symbol of its maker catching the light of the morning sun, as if it had recently been washed, or at least shined since the last drop of cloud-fall. …