Justen's Story.


I graduated from the university of New Hampshire in 2005, with a degree in English Teaching. I spent my subsequent years thoroughly enjoying World of Warcraft, where I squandered three years of my early to mid 20’s. I moved to California out of boredom where I applied to be a substitute teacher. I met my wife there and eventually we … Read More

Learning how to crack the code on Algebra


In 8th grade, I was enrolled in Algebra 1 at Coronado Middle School in Kansas City, KS without progressing through the standard channels. The adverse experience of working under the tutelage of a horrible teacher, yet, working with my mother on math problems until 3:00 am, extracted a level of resilience that had never surfaced prior to that school year. … Read More

Art, designs and friendship!!!


I used to draw really interesting designs around words, like really amazing paintings! This was about 20 years ago in high school and middle school. Recently, in the last four years, I began drawing again. In the same fashion!!! In the same way! I had many art shows using these designs. All my friends love my designs for about 20 … Read More

My New School


The most recent and perhaps most powerful learning community experience has to be the movement to my new school. Change is always hard but who should know that better than a teacher of 18 years. I was starting all over again. My new school was a totally new experience with new staff and students. I have never worked in a … Read More

The Learning Revolution, Circa 2012


Six years ago, a funny Englishman gave a stirring speech about how schools were stifling the creativity of their students. Today, Sir Ken Robinson is a worldwide celebrity, and his TED talk has been seen by as many as 100 million people. How did that happen, exactly? And what is the state of the learning revolution Robinson urged us to … Read More

The Power of Outrospection

Organizational Change

Did you get the memo? Apparently, introspection is out, and outrospection is in. Actually, as philosopher Roman Krznaric explains in this cool new RSA Animate video, what’s really in is empathy, and what’s really required is a systemic effort to drive social change by stepping outside ourselves. See for yourself — and see what you think.

Best Questions


Just because. Ask them, answer them, share them. If you have a favorite, tweet it along with the hashtag #bestquestions. If you have one that isn’t here, add it. And if you want to see what happened when a whole community asked these questions of themselves and each other — and then co-created a public portrait series, check out Who … Read More

The New Ninth Ward


If you’re one of the folks that stopped watching Treme after its first season (“Too boring! Too slow!”), or if you just never bothered to check it out, you might want to check back in. Now in its third season, Treme is proving itself adept at mirroring what creator David Simon’s more celebrated predecessor, The Wire, did better than any … Read More

How to Balance the Art & Science of Teaching

Learning, Teacher Quality

Recently, I gave a TED talk outlining why I think we’re in the midst of the most exciting and difficult time to be a teacher in American history. These sorts of talks are always imperfect (and timed) efforts to inject new ideas into the stratosphere, but I received lots of nice comments and feedback, including some observations that only a … Read More

Mr. Halvorson


My most powerful personal experience in a learning community did not take place inside of classroom walls. In fact, I was in bed, missing my sixth-grade Christmas party due to the dreaded chicken pox. What timing! I had been looking forward to the event for weeks. Everyone was bringing in treats, and our teacher had a number of games and … Read More