Teamwork

Stories

My skill started when I first got my Playstation 3 for Christmas two years ago and I played by myself until I played against Travis Hill and got admitted in the 7o6 Playstation Network clan. Although he beat me thirty to twenty-one, he still thought that I was good enough to join. I didn’t always play with Travis on Playstation, … Read More

It had already been a long school year and it wasn't half over.

Stories

It had already been a long school year and it wasn’t half over. I was vice president of my daughter’s elementary school PTA and our school community was in its second year of a new principal. The start of the previous school year, we’d not only welcomed a new principal, but also a new assistant principal, new teachers, new students, … Read More

"John, you are in charge. What do we do now?"

Stories

I was 19 and in an instructor training course for Colorado Outward Bound. We had backpacked in to Snowmass Lake, and then, after crossing a steep snowfield (late June) climbed up over beautiful wildflower covered slopes into a high col in the ridge between Snowmass and the next cirque to the north under Capitol Peak. Just as we came into … Read More

Creating the DLC

Stories

Constructing a narrative about my own learning story has stimulated reflections on my experiences as a teacher for almost fifty years in a variety of contexts and through all sorts of trends and movements. Out of those fifty years, one decade-length experience I now see as pivotal in the development of how I approach schooling. The lessons I learned ranged … Read More

When did I fall in love with learning?

Stories

When did I fall in love with learning? Or, maybe, why was it that I never fell out of love with learning? For me, my most powerful learning experiences have always included people I admired, conversations that mattered, engaging writing, eye-opening films, and most importantly opportunities to put my learning into action. As a high school student, I had two … Read More

The Power of the Press

Stories

The press badges on two junior high reporters caught the president’s eye at the steps of Air Force One. “Oh, I see you’re starting early,” Richard Nixon told the students as he stepped forward to shake their hands. The two student reporters, wearing the same press credentials as the half dozen professional reporters also at the aircraft, were the only … Read More

A church basement on the South Side of Chicago

Stories

I grew up going to my mother’s afterschool tutoring program in a church basement on the South Side of Chicago. It is the best learning community I’ve ever been a part of and the best learning experience I’ve ever had. That is high praise because I have been lucky enough to attend extraordinary schools and to have great professional development … Read More

What Trust Can Do

Stories

I am an educational consultant and writer, and the most powerful learning experiences I have are when the folks I am consulting with/learning with have chosen to be part of the group, agree on the nature of the problem, and there is a high degree of trust among group members. I’m working now in a troubled middle school that won’t … Read More

William Owings' Learning Story

Stories

The year was 1988 and I was a new high school principal in Franklin County, Virginia. The school had problems – a high drop out rate, low percentage of students going on to higher education, and parent and student apathy to name a few. We did a good job of working with the academically talented students, but not all students. … Read More

Steven Zemelman's Learning Story

Stories

For the past year and a half, I’ve been working with a small group of schools in Chicago that are improving kids’ learning through instructional leadership teams. These are teams of teachers in schools that work democratically and systematically to help teachers throughout the school adopt a powerful practice, such as classroom writers workshop. What I love about this is … Read More