Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why Can't School be More Like Minecraft?

I was reading Dan Willingham's book Why Don't Students Like School the other day when my 6th grade daughter saw the title and said, "I'll tell you why, because it's BORING!!!" That led to a discussion on my daughter's problems with school and a comparison with an activity that she truly enjoys doing anytime anywhere - that's right Minecraft.

In Minecraft my daughter has learned how to gather resources in a sometimes hostile environment so that she can build shelter, create roller coasters, design buildings, etc.  She learns how to do this by failing miserably, then looking for videos from the Minecraft community that explain how to avoid the dreaded nighttime zombie raids.  My daughter is learning tons of skills and strategies for solving problems.  She is learning how to analyze resources for effectiveness by trying out advice from various sources and sticking with those that work.  She is learning to be resilient in times of difficulty.  It broke my heart to see her inconsolable tears one night because she had been killed in one of the Minecraft games.  Clearly her level of engagement was high, and she was determined to find out how to better prepare herself for the next assault.

Minecraft has its pitfalls and is not a panacea by any stretch of the imagination.  However, there are lessons to learn here for schools if want to keep our students' attention and see them invest time, energy, and emotion, we need to consider how we can make the school day a little more like Minecraft.  Here are some things to get started:

Remind students that all learning is like a great story.  There are problems, characters, conflict, solutions, resolution, and an ever changing environment.

Allow students to work together and share what they are learning to the larger community.

Put students in environments where they get immediate feedback on their attempts so that they know right away if they are succeeding ... or not.

Give students the opportunity to create and apply what they are learning in novel situations.
 Minecraft and many other games have our kids riveted to screens for hours on end.  School, on the other hand, has many students bored, disengaged, passive, and near comatose.  For those of us who believe education has tremendous potential to transform individuals and communities, we owe it to our students to apply our best thinking to the design of the school day.  We must do better than what normally passes as school today.  Your kids and my kids deserve better.

What do you think?

Learning Comes in All Sizes

Photo Credit Six El Sid

I was sitting in an IEP meeting this week with our team discussing a young man.  Let's call him James.  James is a 5th grader reading and performing academically at about a 3rd grade level.  He has a pretty positive attitude, but school is definitely a struggle for him all day every day and he's showing signs of frustration and lack of motivation from time to time.  In the course of our meeting, we asked the same question we always ask parents, "So, what is James good at?  What are his strengths?"  Well, it turns out James can fix remote control off-road vehicles.  He asks questions from salesman at the store or uses videos on the Internet to figure out what needs to be done to fix these machines.  Turns out our 3rd grade reader is great with his hands.  What this tells me, is that James can learn!  So, how do we capitalize on this fantastic strength of James?  Here are a few things that we are planning to try with James to transfer this interest and skill into the classroom.

1.  Invite James to bring his car to school and teach his classmates how they work and how he fixes them.
2. Ask James to keep a journal of the modifications that he is making to his cars including explanations of what the problem is, how he found solutions, and what he did to fix the problem.
3. Create a video of his own to upload to YouTube explaining how he fixed problems that he came across.

Shouldn't school support James in this area of high interest and, at the same time, help him see how the world of literacy (digital included) can further help him in all areas of life?  
Shouldn't James be acknowledged and recognized for his skill, determination, and ingenuity? 
Can't we come up with a way to make sure every student is getting support at school to pursue their areas of interest and connecting those interests to literacy development?

I think we should.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Do Schools Simply Sort or do They Transform?

Photo Credit: tarotasic

I was listening to a recent podcast by Russ Roberts at Econtalk in which he postulated that  schools serve  either as sorting institutions or transforming institutions.  That got me thinking about my approach to students, learning, growth, and potential in my school.  So, what are the characteristics of a school that is transforming compared to one that is simply sorts and categorizes?   Here are seven characteristics of a transforming school compared to a sorting school.

  1. Transforming schools have incorporated the growth mindset while sorting schools are living out the fixed mindset.  
  2. Transforming schools welcome all students with open arms while sorting schools look to weed out challenging students through direct or indirect means.
  3. Transforming schools focus on student strengths, aptitudes, and interests while sorting schools focus on students deficiencies, deficits, and failings.
  4. Transforming schools celebrate every student for their growth, special talents, and abilities, while sorting schools celebrate only the to achieving students who meet the highest criteria.
  5. Transforming schools are filled with optimism especially for students who struggle the most, while sorting schools blame and criticize those students without the hope of remedy or improvement.
  6. Transforming schools marshal all resources and attempt every method to assist Not-Yet-Proficient students reach their goals, while sorting schools resign those students to perpetual low achievement.
  7. Transforming schools build relationships with families as co-teachers, while sorting schools ostracize and criticize families that don't live up their expectations.

So, what do you think?

What are other elements of transforming schools compared to sorting schools?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Boy Do We Need Argument

My wife and I recently had the wonderful opportunity of traveling to Europe - without the kids - for an amazing vacation.  Besides, the plethora of historical landmarks and unique cultures we encountered, there was one more discovery we made that was earth shattering.  Watching the BBC in London we came across a story on Palestine that did something rarely - if ever - seen on US television.  It was a story that understood that the issue had two sides!  Imagine that!  The story was told of Palestinian families who have suffered from the actions of Jewish settlers and the Israeli leadership.  However, the show fully acknowledged that these Jewish settlers had a compelling point of view and logic for their own actions.  What was most revelatory about this show was it's clear objectivity and desire to simply understand the various points of view and stories that were represented in this conflict.

One of the elements of Common Core Standards that I heartily embrace is the emphasis on argument, including the ability to marshal evidence in support of a position, and especially the ability to understand counterarguments and address those facts and opinions clearly and explicitly.  Unfortunately, our children have some huge barriers to overcome, namely adults who can't do this AT ALL.  We are a biased and unthinking lot at times, led by talking heads who scream at one another and listen not one iota.  Chris Lehmann underscores one clear example of how we have an aversion to healthy debate and differences of opinion.  So, educators, embrace this opportunity to train a new generation of clear thinkers and reasoned debaters.  The opportunity to improve our community life is right before our eyes if we truly embrace the spirit of argument.  Our students will benefit from learning to carefully consider all sides of an issue and make determination based on the facts and a clear sense of logic and reasoning.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Seeking Bone Marrow Match

One of my friends and colleagues at Salt Creek has a brother who is facing chemotherapy and will need a bone marrow transplant.  If you are in the San Diego Area you can help by joining the Registry on the following date:

Bone Marrow Registry Drive
Hosted by City of Hope at San Diego City College
Drive Location: Gorton Quad, 1313 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101
Drive Date: Oct 18, 2012 / Drive Time: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Why do so many kids hate school?

Dan Willingham has his perspective to this question from the cognitive psychologist point of view.   This guy has a stronger opinion still summed up by, School is Prison.  While reading the excellent biography of Gino Bartali, Road to Valor, I am getting acquainted with this World Champion Cyclist  and World War II hero.  What struck me at the outset of his life was how little an impact school had on him.  He showed no interest in school and even lobbied his parents to let him finish early so he could move on to other pursuits like working at a bike shop and racing competitively. 

This makes me wonder how schools should change to become attractive to children like Gino, who have passionate interests that don't necessary align themselves to our curriculum or structure.  Angela Maiers says we should have passion centered schools and I agree.  To the degree that we connect with the passions of our students, we will also be able to connect them to the amazing world of science and languages and math and history that inform their passions and, I'm confident, we will see an increase in student engagement and learning and maybe even be able to change a trend that is at least as old as Shakespeare (and I'm confident much older).

Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books; But love from love, toward school with heavy looks. 

- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Three Keys to Consultative Leadership

Photo Credit: Nick Stenning

George Washington was an extremely inexperienced leader at the start of the American Revolution, especially when compared to his British counterparts.  This was underscored by some poor decisions at the outset that were costly and foolhardy. As the war progressed he learned to trust his instincts and seek and incorporate the wisdom of his generals.  Immediately after defeating the British in the daring Battle of Trenton, he convened his generals to help determine the next course of action. This war council led to the evasive and offensive action that led to the Battle of Princeton.  Washington learned to inquire from his field leaders and decide on a course of action that was based on this more informed perspective.  Leaders who are wise enough to get multiple perspectives from those who are closest to the action will be leaders who make stronger decisions and build cohesiveness and trust among their leadership team. Here are three principles of consultative leadership that we can glean from His Excellency George Washington

1. Be clear about the type of decision that is made.  General Washington called in his Generals with the express purpose of getting their input for the next course of action in the war.  Although he was going to make the final decision his willingness to ask opinions demonstrated that he valued the Generals.  They understood that Washington needed their perspective, but they also understood that he had the responsibility for making the final declaration on next steps.

2. Listen.  OK, this seems easier than it looks.  When consulting opinions, you will set back the entire process if you simply express your brilliant plan and seek the approval of the team.  You have got to shut up and hear what others are thinking and experiencing.  The only value of a team is if each member actually gets to express their opinion and contribute to the final solution.  You will find that there are ideas and angles that you never have, nor never would have considered if these alternative perspectives were not heard.

3. Be decisive.  After listening, questioning, brainstorming, predicting, and summarizing it's time for the leader to make the decision.  Consultation is not consensus.  In the end, your judgment as a leader has got you to where you are and you need to trust your instinct - along with the wealth of information that has been presented to SELECT the one course that your organization will take.  If Washington can be criticized in the early phases of the war it would be for his indecision.  In fact, in the Battle of Brooklyn, when the Continental Army was routed, he left a decision up to one of his Generals (Nathaniel Greene) despite his instincts telling him to go another way.  The outcome was disastrous and complete.  As the war progressed, he learned to trust his instinct and intuition and led the troops to decisive action and ultimate victory.

What has been your experience with Consultative Leadership?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Writing Inspires

"The pen is mightier than the sword" - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Photo Credit: Joel Montes

Writing inspires. Never was this more true than during the American Revolution. In Ron Chernow's excellent book Washington: A Life, the Continental Army endured several early losses and was on the brink of annihilation. Thomas Payne, of Common Sense fame, came up with a pamphlet called the American Crisis praising this young and inexperienced collection of farmers, carpenters, cobblers, and the like who were taking on the formidable Brirish army. General Washington made sure that these essays were read to all of his troops as they prepared to avoid and outsmart their foe.  Here is the opening line:
These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
No doubt that this emotional boost was one factor in the slowly turning tide that helped this misfit band overcome bleak and dark days at the start of the conflict. This is a great lesson to teach our students and to make sure they write with specific audiences at all times. Just like this young man found when his homage to his cat fell on receptive minds. 

Saturday, September 08, 2012


Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/s_mestdagh/

I've been thinking a lot about challenge lately.  The Common Core Standards place a premium on students struggling with challenging content.  Some of the Common Core Apostles have disparaging things to say about scaffolding and providing background knowledge for close reading of texts because students need to struggle through unfamiliar territory and persevere.

While I agree that struggle and perseverance are important, there is a danger of trying to create struggle and instead creating abject failure, frustration and surrender.  This got me thinking about some things I've said in the past in praise of failure.  You can see those here, here, and here. In reality, failure has its pitfalls.  What would be better than failure would be success - even if that means temporarily lowering standards for Not Yet Proficient  (NYP) students so they can reap the benefits of learning at their instructional level and moving up the food chain to greater successes.

This thought was confirmed when watching a video of Phil Daro of America's Choice one of the architects, of the Common Core math standards.  He stated that the standards in Singapore are not higher than those of the United States.  What is different is that there is a smaller gap between what Singapore students achieve and their standards than we have her in the US.  Therefore, our high standards, in the name of high expectations, are actually leading to lower levels of achievement.

True and lasting learning and growth in our students is best achieved by finding out where our students are currently performing, providing them instruction at that level and pushing just a little forward - indeed challenging them - a challenge that is attainable with sustained effort, practice, and expert support.

Teaching and learning will thrive in a setting where every student is facing "just right" challenges and enjoying the added motivation of meeting those challenges and moving on to the next one with enthusiasm and increased confidence.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Hire for Core Values

I was listening to the Dave Ramsey Entreleadership podcast today as they interviewed Patrick Lencioni about his new book The Advantage. I was intrigued by Lencioni's philosophy that he hires people based on three core values. He hires people who are humble, hungry, and smart. I thought that is a great way to select people by defining just a few core values that are non-negotiable for your team.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Google Forms Take 2

I redid the screencast to see if I could make the video player window a little smaller: Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Google Spreadsheet with Form

Here is a tutorial for creating a survey to capture data on a Google Spreadsheet. This is a great tool for collecting information from a lots of people in one place. Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

What is your favorite iPad app?

What are your favorite iPad apps?

Monday, June 04, 2012

Love Goes to School

Photo Credit: Gisela Giardino
I was recently reading about the work of Dominic Randolph at Riverdale Country School in New York City.  The article focused on their character education program that was developed through conversations with Martin Seligman and Steve Levin of KIPP fame.   These two educators, Randolph and Levin, took the work of Martin Seligman on character virtues and decided to utilize the character traits that Seligman had uncovered in his work Character Strengths and Virtues.  They were further bolstered by the research of Angela Duckworth who found that IQ was not as strong a determiner as Grit in predicting academic achievement.  She came up with a short list for the educators as the focal point of their character development programs. Now, this is what I found curious.

After a few small adjustments (Levin and Randolph opted to drop love in favor of curiosity), they settled on a final list: zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity.

So, my one question is: Why did they drop love? Is that not a powerful character trait? Did they feel it was impossible to teach love at school?  Then I came across a podcast by Andy Stanley with Joel Manby, the author of Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders.  Mr. Manby takes the bold step of declaring that you can move the bottom line and still take care of people in an organization.

This definitely confirms my feelings about teaching and modeling love in schools. What better place to highlight the self sacrificing quality we desire in ourselves and those we (here it comes again) love than in the school setting.  We see many schools announcing the virtues of tolerance and their anti-bullying programs, but I'd like to explore what would happen when love goes to school.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

50 Success Tips minus 47

Photo Credit: PHOTO ♥ BOOTH
Just saw this post on twitter, 50 Success Tips for Principalsand got to thinking.  How do I remember 50 tips about anything?  I mean do I need 50 tips to be a good dad?  How about 50 tips for saving energy.  You're lucky if I remember one thing to do.  Since, I've written before about focus, here's my list of successful tips for principals and I'm going to distill them down  to three.

Here we go.

1.  Have a Positive Attitude - Now, if you went to the 50 tips link above you may have noted that this is also #1 on their list, but I promise I did think of it before these guys.  A Positive Attitude does a world of good.  One of the parents in my son's boy scout troop was reading a book on wilderness survival, and you'll never guess what the most important thing you can do to survive - that's right - Have a Positive Attitude.  A positive attitude has a profound effect on you and everyone you lead.  You will face many challenges in the Principal's seat and you only have control over one thing - your response.  A positive attitude will help you absorb the challenges of the work both small and great and encourage those around to pursue the most positive course for students.

2. Make the People Around you Better - A former Principal I worked with years ago once said, "The job of the Principal is to do nothing".   Now, that is not an incentive for lazy administrators, but an acknowledgment that the people who actually run the schools are the teachers, secretaries, custodians, parents, and students.  The Principal's job is to create the environment where all of these folks can do their job to the best of their ability.  You'll need to get resources in their hands, build collaborative structures so they can work in teams and highlight their accomplishments every step of the way.  It's also good to remember that when you finally leave that school, they will not remember the things you did, but how you made them feel.  Did you make them feel competent, supported, encouraged, challenged?

3.  Be a Student of Learning - Study your school.  Study your curriculum.  Study your teachers, students, and community.  Read research.  Read for pleasure.  Listen to complaints, criticisms, and compliments.   Learn, Learn Learn.  The Principal should be the CLO (Chief Learning Officer) of the school.  Model a willingness to change (isn't that learning?) and constantly look for new insights, ideas, and strategies to make your school better.   Having a vision for your school comes from thinking about what is working and what could be better.  It also involves looking outside your school for inspiration and ideas.  The Principal as a learner is a powerful force for adult and student learning.

The principal job is extremely complex and sophisticated and can hardly be reduced to any list of things you can do.  In fact, I was tempted to put as #3 Never make a list like this!  However, some things are more important than others, and here is a great place to start.  If I can learn something new every day, help one member of my staff get better today, and keep a positive attitude no matter what comes my way, success is sure to follow.  If not, go back to that list of 50 things and try another one of those.   They're actually pretty good.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What Should Kids Read?

Everybody seems to have an opinion on the matter.  First, there was this report by Renaissance Learning (of AR fame), which showed the book levels per the ATOS scale from students who are using AR in grades 1-12.  The report has opinion pieces from several different YA authors like Dan Gutman and Dave Pilkey, one of the authors of the Common Core Standards, as well as a librarian.  Renaissance thought only to give one teacher a voice in the discussion.  Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform,  University of Arkansas added her opinion in the New York Daily News.  Finally, Robert Pondiscio chimed in at the Core Knowledge Blog.  Of course the Common Core Standards have answered the question by telling us that students should be reading a lot more non-fiction, an idea that I think has a lot of merit.  So, what should students be reading?  Where is the proper balance between student choice and teacher choice?

What Does Educational Research Really Tell us?

Photo Credit Nic's Events

Most educators in the past 10 years have confidently followed the lead of Robert Marzano in his famous meta-analysis of What Works in School and attempted to implement some or all of those high impact strategies that his organization has uncovered by looking at hundreds of studies and averaging the effect of each study to determine which strategies have the greatest impact.  Therefore, summarizing and notetaking is considered an effective strategy because the average improvement of performance on the studies under consideration was strong.

I started wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of this approach as I was reading Creating the Opportunity to Learn by A. Wade Boykin and Pedro Noguera.  These authors used a different approach as they recommended promising practices to close the achievement gap.  They often cited research from a singular study (though they also referred to meta-analysis as well).  For example when discussing Teacher Student Relationship Quality (TSQR) they cited a study by Hamre and Pianta where the researchers followed 1900 Kindergarten students through 8th grade.  The relationship between the teacher and student was quantified in Kindergarten and their academic performance and grades were compared every year.

My wondering is what can we learn from these two approaches to research. It seems to me that the individual study gives us some specific lessons, especially if we dig into the manner that those Kindergarten teachers built productive relationships with their students, for example.  Whereas in the meta-analysis we are left with the general idea that students should be taught note taking and summarizing.  While I feel that this is a gain in our understanding, I'm guessing that within those many studies that were used for the meta-analysis there were students who gained, some who stayed the same, and a few who even dropped.  Therefore, we need to know more by looking at some of the individual studies with the biggest gains to determine the specific factors that led to success compared to those who did notetaking and summarizing but saw no student gains.

Either way, educators need be wise consumers of research, looking closely at the claims of researchers and practitioners alike.  We need to be able to judge for ourselves these claims and judge our own work through reflection and objective analysis to determine if what we are doing is working for the students we serve.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Getting Things Rolling

Photo Credit: Kevin Cochran

Michael Fullan likes checklists and another list he has is around a concept he calls Motion Leadership.  It is really about creating a culture where change can flourish.  An effective leader builds the systems, conditions, and processes that will develop sound decision making. He quotes Schwartz and Sharpe in their book Practical Wisdom, "(System Changers) .. have to build institutions with the culture and organization to encourage wisdom in everyday practice.  they have to create communities of practitioners who not only nurture moral skill but help inspire moral will, the commitment to o right by those the practitioners serve."  Fullan gives his checklist to create such a culture:

  1. Relationships First
  2. Beware of Fat Plans (My favorite)
  3. Behaviors before beliefs
  4. Honor the implementation dip
  5. Communication during implementation is paramount
  6. Learn about implementation during implementation
  7. Excitement prior to implementation is fragile
  8. Take risks and learn
  9. It is OK to be assertive
What would be on your checklist for creating cultures that embrace learning and change?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rammorrison/

Michael Fullan's book Change Leader describes his approach to leadership, one he has used successfully in Ontario to lead that city to significant academic gains over the past 9 years.  He prescribes seven key insights leaders should adapt to create the conditions for change to flourish.

  1. The effective change leader actively participates as a learner in helping the organization improve.
  2. The effective change leaders combine resolute moral purpose with impressive empathy.
  3. Realized effectiveness is what motivates people to do more.
  4. Collaborative competition is the yin and yang of successful change.
  5. Change leaders are more confident than the situation warrants but more humble than they look.
  6. Statistics are a wonderful servant and an appalling master.
  7. Simplexity is salvation for an intricate world.
Numbers 1, 2, and 5 deal with the character, demeanor and approach of the leader.  I agree wholeheartedly that an effective leader participates as  a co-learner with the staff (#1), maintains a healthy balance of push and support (#2), and balances confidence with humility (#5).  We would do well to cultivate these three character traits in our work and life every day.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Balancing Talk with Time to Think

Photo Credit

Susan Cain recently published Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking and this has got me thinking about the exalted benefit we have placed on talk in our classrooms.  Indeed we have made it extremely clear - I hope - that students need to be expressing themselves orally in order for them to solidify their acquisition of academic language and content.  However, her challenge is a fair one.  Not having read the book, and only perused her blog and her Ted Talk, I do think it's important to give equal value and opportunity for quiet reflection, and teaching of independent work habits alongside our focus on teaching students how to clarify, challenge, and deepen ideas in a group setting.

Just writing that last line makes me realize how much harder this is to accomplish then it is to teach children to learn and think independently.  In a group setting, you have to learn how to LISTEN and sincerely consider the arguent or point of view of another while comparing that idea to your own.  I mean, really, do you know many adults that do this well?  So, I'm hardly ready to abandon the benefits of Productive Group Work, but I think we need to talk long and hard - oops - I mean first think long and hard about where quiet reflection and independence fits into the learning equation.  Then, we can have that conversation about how this best fits into a learning model.

What jumps out at me from the start is that writing plays such a pivotal role in this process.  As students think about new ideas or connect new ideas to currently held thoughts, they benefit by putting their first thoughts in writing.  This can be followed by sharing that writing with one other person, before embarking on the more complex dynamics of a group discussion or group project.

Smart In Math

Photo Credit

Came across this excellent list on what it takes to be "Smart in Math" at Math Mama Writes.

'Smart in Math' Before students work in groups, it's important to help them understand that we typically have many misconceptions about what it means to be 'smart'. Typically, people think that someone who is 'smart in math' ...
  • answers questions quickly
  • always gets the right answer
  • doesn't have to work at it
But, really, people who are good at math ...
  • are persistent
  • wonder about relationships between numbers, shapes, functions, ...
  • check their answers for reasonableness
  • make connections
  • are willing to try things out, experiment, take risks
  • are resilient
  • want to know why
  • contribute to group intelligence by asking good questions
  • notice and learn from their mistakes
  • try to extend and generalize their results
Students may also need to know how synapses (the connections between neurons that are created each time you learn something new) are strengthened by repeated use. A new connection isn't strong until it's been used:
  • multiple times
  • in multiple ways
  • after a time away
Those first three bullets are not only way off the mark they are detrimental and harmful to the "smart math student". When those students who seem to always get the right answer come up against content that stops them in their tracks, they don't realize how much hard work is needed to keep the engine of their "smartness" running.  Of course, this reminds me of Carol Dweck's work aroud the fixed and growth mindset.  I also appreciate the sense of wonder and discovery that is embedded in the second list.  When I come across the intricacies of math in nature it just boggles my mind - just don't ask me to come up with a proof using all the proper postulates.  That task still gives me nightmares.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


I've had my share of trips to ER with chest pains over the past 5 years.  At this point, I can rattle off the procedures quite easily.

1.  Give brief description of pains and symptoms to intake nurse
2.  Provide medical history and personal information to same.
3.  Get an EKG
4.  Take blood pressure and temperature
5.  Take an aspirin (if I don't already have in system)  If the pains are sever, I get the nitro pill!!!
6.  Give blood and start an IV
7.  Hook up blood pressure band, temperature and heart monitor for monitoring
8.  Connect to oxygen
9.  Get a chest X-ray10.  Await a visit from the Dr. who will read all the data, ask some more questions and decide next steps.

Clearly this protocol has been developed by years of working with patients who have chest pains.  Every medical office is relying on the shared wisdom of countless medical professionals who have gone before them.  These are carefully designed steps that provide all the information possible to  make an informed decision on care for each patient.  I'm really grateful for the expertise that has been gained over the years, which gives me confidence that I will receive the exact care that I need to get better.

So, do we have the same rigorous protocols for students who come to us with academic deficiencies?

What do we do with a child who can't sound out words?
How about a child who can read aloud but not comprehend?
What do we do if a child doesn't understand place value or negative numbers?

If we haven't thought through all the data that we need to collect and the best questions to ask such students, we are leaving it up to individual teacher knowledge and experience and shortchanging those students who would benefit from the best thinking of all.

So, let's be sure to share what we know about such best practices to provide every child with a level of care that is of the highest quality.