Laura K Spencer, Ed.D.

Empathy is Always Worth the Time

There are days when we all probably ask ourselves, “Is anyone actually listening?!?” Then I read tweets from teachers like this, and I realize the ripple effects from a pebble can travel much farther than seen from shore.

A Tweet from Meg Money about using empathy mapping with her students

Meg is one of those teachers I get excited to know and work with because she is willing to reflect on her practices as she continuously looks for connections that make a difference for students. After the above tweet, I asked her to blog this experience for others. Since she doesn’t have her own blog, I am giving her the space here to share. So this is Meg’s story in her own words…

There’s a little saying that goes, “a stitch in time saves nine.”  
Is Empathy Mapping worth the time?
By: Meg Money, Sycamore Ridge 4th Grade teacher

“As teachers, how do you want to invest your time?” Ron Ritchhart, Harvard’s Project Zero, asked a cohort of DMUSD teachers recently. This question has replayed in my mind time after time since.  Last week I was at a crossroads; time or making a difference? You see, our 4th grade class was in the thick of a Design Thinking challenge. All groups were collaborating ferociously and productively…all but one. But hey, it was my fault. I designed that group knowing that it had a 50-50 chance of working. This group of three included  kids who were bright and capable in their own right but different as day and night. Unfortunately I didn’t play my cards right, and now I had a group on my hands that had potential but was so far behind because productivity and collaboration were nonexistent.

Now comes in the saying, “Timing is everything.” Fast forward two weeks to another training led by our very own DMUSD Design Team.  Paula (@CDMDreamers) and Sarah (@SarahZRaskin) led us through a Empathy Mapping exercise, and a light bulb went on. This is what my lagging group lacked… Empathy! However, this would take time; time a group was running out of.

“How should I invest my time?” replayed one more time in my head. Yes, this is exactly what this trio of budding engineers deserved. They deserved to feel safe in a group and showcase their talents. Their assigned grouping shouldn’t be the barrier holding them back.

I wasted no time and asked the group how they were feeling halfway through the research/prototyping phase. As you can imagine, they were frustrated and asked if they could just work alone. It was then I suggested that we come together and build empathy through the mapping exercise.

What happened from there surpassed every expectation I’d anticipated. The kids were open, honest, polite and so insightful. They really didn’t need much prompting; they got it! They created NEED statements that immediately inspired them to hurry back to their learning. I watched in AWE as this group of young scholars immediately started approaching a difficult task with empathy and producing with the maturity of adults. I’m not going to lie, I had tears, goosebumps, and a swollen heart.

So, was this worth the TIME? Oh, you have no idea. Just ask the group members.

“Ms. Money, thank you for taking the time to do the mapping with us,” said one student.

“This was the best day of the year,” another added with a hug.

“Ms. Money, hurry, come see our idea!” shouted one from across the room.

I will forever be reminded of this experience that truly confirmed that helping students find their potential and giving them a chance at success is absolutely worth the time. Empathy Mapping is now the frontrunner of my long list of “Must Explore and Practice” list. It is worth every second of TIME!

Connect with Meg on Twitter at @mmoneydmusd

A colleague asked me for resources on flexible learning spaces. Her goal is for 6th students to use the Design Thinking mindset to redesign their own classroom. Because we know it’s not just about cool chairs and bright walls, it’s important that students and the teacher understand the WHY behind the decisions being made.

Luckily, Twitter hashtag #learningspaces has a treasure trove of resources for teachers looking for a place to start. And attending CUE BOLD in May also provided me with access to amazing presenters and ideas around classroom environment.

So here is the list of resources I curated for the students, in case it helps any of you:

Tips for Designing Amazing Learning Spaces with Dr. Robert Dillon
And here’s a visual for that YouTube video.

Edutopia article showcasing some flexible K-8 classrooms.

Video Series on the book The Space by Dr. Robert Dillon and Rebecca Hare

This tweet may be good to spark a deeper conversation questioning why we need so many desks/chairs/etc in the room.

12 Ways to Upgrade Your Classroom Design takes ideas from The Space and presents them in an easy to read blog post.

Consider adding a Peace Corner to provide quiet spaces for reflection and emotional centering.

Designing Brain Friendly Spaces by Dr. Robert Dillon is a short article with some targeted questions to ask while considering how space is used.

CUE BOLD has made all the presentation slides available for those wanting to learn more. There are quite a few on learning spaces that are worth checking out. Look for Rebecca Hare, Michael Morrison, and Michelle Ho & Danielle Roja for relevant links.

And of course, as you consider all this, please keep in mind that Pinterest is awesome for beautiful wedding decor, scrumptious recipes, and creative Outfits of the Day, but Pinterest-designed classrooms don’t always meet the needs of the learners (and they’re expensive to create!). My original blog post on that topic is still one of my most popular ones.

Please let me know in the comments what else should be added to this list.


And hey, if this post made you smile, or think deeply for a moment, or just scratch your head and go HMM… then share it with a friend. Or two. And subscribe to keep the posts coming!

Death by Syllabus

It’s that time of year … back to school! Teachers are excited to meet students, and students are excited to meet their teachers.

Back to school also means a lot of discussion about how best to establish relationships and culture when students walk in the door. I’ve seen tweets suggesting teachers hold off on “doing school” at first so as to focus on getting to know the students, and establishing the positive culture of the classroom.

Part of “doing school” is, for many teachers, passing out the course syllabus, or class introductory letter. This document, often read and treated like a terms and conditions contract, outlines objectives, grading procedures, behavior and academic expectations, consequences for violating those expectations, and rewards for following them, which is often the grading scale.

It outlines what students will learn, how they should learn it, and in what timeline it is expected to be learned. It requires multiple signatures to signify understanding, and is filed away in case any of the signatory parties disagree with the terms and conditions at a later date.

So yes, I can see why this would be quite a downer on day one for teachers trying to establish a culture of joy, of lifelong learning, and of collaborative discovery with their students.

“Hey students. This year is going to be AWESOME. But first, you all must agree to the terms and conditions… potential side effects include dizziness, heart palpitations, anxiety, and death…” Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 10.16.21

Umm, yea, about that… Total downer!

That makes me wonder… if the syllabus is so disconnected from the culture being established in the classroom, what message does it send to parents who are asked to read and sign it? For many parents, this is the first impression. The first handshake. The first “Nice to meet you.” If it doesn’t represent the culture you want to establish with students, then I have to ask what culture it establishes with the parents who are being handed this paper to sign without any other context.

And what contradictory message does it send to students? “Hey, I know I told you that I value you as an individual and we had all  fun week one getting to know each other, but the reality is, if your work is late, I will dock you a half letter grade. And if you use the bathroom pass three times, you owe me detention.”

If the syllabus doesn’t reflect the culture of your classroom: a culture of thinking, of learning, of student agency, and of growth mindset, then the only place that syllabus should go is in the trash.

If it’s in the trash, how might we develop a new, student-centric syllabus that reflects our values? What questions should it answer? How about these for a start:

  • What does the teacher value about teaching and learning?
    • What does the teacher believe about how students learn?
    • What does the teacher believe about the conditions that need to be in place for students to thrive in a learning environment?
    • What does the teacher believe about the whole child, and his/her role in supporting individual development?
  • What do students value about learning?
    • What conditions do the students in the room right now need to thrive?
    • What passions do the students in the room right now possess?
  • What do parents value about learning?
    • What does it mean for parents to be partners in their child’s education?
    • What do parents need to feel like a valued partner?

In addition, we should consider how language sets a tone. Is it a “we” document or a “me” document? Does the font and spacing encourage reading? Hey, maybe add some graphics and resource links.

By creating a document that exudes relationships, culture, learning, and voice, we are breaking down one of the traditional structures that serves as barriers to our values.

… Have you already transformed your syllabus? Would love to see a copy! Post a link in the comments, or send me a message. Let’s get the word out and encourage a movement!





My Boyfriend Is Smarter Than Me…

I have five degrees. Five! An Associate degree, a Bachelor’s degree with a double major, a Master of Arts degree, a Master of Science degree, and a Doctorate in Education.  I love school.

And yet, even with all those fancy certificates, my boyfriend is smarter than me. He’s a welder. No fancy college degrees. But he can build and create and fix and imagine in ways my brain can’t comprehend.

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 14.40.40

John fabricating seat mounts for our ’68 Jeep I nicknamed Wabi Sabi.

Case in point: We bought a Jeep. A ’68 Jeep that hadn’t been loved in a very long time. It had been parked in a field for 15 years, stripped of its elements and left abandoned to nature. No seats. No pedals. No steering assembly. All wiring stripped and sitting in a pile in the cab. Rusty nuts and bolts that belong somewhere filled a coffee can.

And yet he is rebuilding it. There’s no manual for this. No YouTube video series that connects all the dots. He has to figure it out. He IS figuring it out. Sometimes with parts that are there. Sometimes with new parts he is purchasing. And sometimes with parts he fabs up on his own. Watching him work mesmerizes me. His ability to see in three dimensions, and to understand the interdependency of systems and how they contribute to the overall form and function, is a form of genius I don’t possess.

I share all this with you not just because I am insanely proud of his skills (although I am!), but because I think it’s important to remember that there is not one best way to learn. As much as I love school and books and conversations about school and books, John would shrivel up in that environment.

Our experiences often have a greater impact on us than degrees ever will!
— Jonathan Spike (@Mr_JSpike)


When I started play teaching my dolls and neighborhood friends at age six, I knew everything and dispensed my knowledge to them through worksheets I drew, and books I read, and homework I made them complete (my poor friends!). When I started actual teaching twenty years later, not much had changed. I still made worksheets for my students, and read books with (and to) them, and assigned homework. Over the years, I learned and adapted to a 1:1 environment, and brought in Genius Hour and Project Based Learning. But sadly, and I am not proud to admit this, I controlled much of the learning structure in my room.

But our role as teachers is changing. We need to be cognizant of the needs of our learners. All our learners. Not just the ones that are compliant. Not just the ones that are college bound. Not just the ones that look like and sound like we do.

And part of that change is the realization that the best way to support a learner may simply be to get out of his/her way and let the learning figure itself out, like it does for John.


If you like Jeeps, or just watching things come to life, feel free to follow along via Instagram @wabisabi68jeep as we get this thing desert ready!

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 16.11.30

Subscribe via email or WordPress to get notified about new posts!

“Empathy should be used in every situation.
We should think with empathy throughout life.”
– 6th grade student

Why are there so many design thinking framework graphics? Why do they have different shapes? Different elements? Different flow patterns?

Those were the questions 6th graders asked when we looked at a variety of design thinking framework graphics, ranging from Stanford to IBM to Intuit and the Henry Ford Institute. These students had spent this past year diving into the design thinking process through a variety of experiences ranging from creating a student chair to redesigning the school experience. Because they had spent so much time exploring the process, looking through other frameworks raised an important question:

What does Design Thinking look like in Del Mar Union School District, and how might we develop a Design Thinking visual that represents what Design Thinking means for students and staff?

We realized that we had a unique challenge – unlike corporations or colleges, we have to represent design thinking to five year olds who cannot read all the way up to 6th graders (who think they know everything!). How could we adapt our visual for our customers?

Luckily for me, 6th graders were up to the task. A week later, and they had prototypes to present. And I must admit, WOWZA was the term that kept coming to mind during their presentations. I’m sharing their concepts here, but what you’re missing is the rich dialogue around WHY they made their concepts the way they did.

Some key takeaways from the student dialogues:

“The Design Thinking process adapts to how you’re using it.”

“I thought it was linear at first, but now I know I can move around as I need to.”

“The process restarts again and again, going broad and narrow at the same time.”

“I didn’t understand the value of going back until I did it so many times on this project.”

Beyond the graphic, we also talked about the design thinking process as a holistic entity. This is where the conversation really intrigued me. One student commented that the trouble with using the design thinking process in schools is that the non-linear cyclical process runs counter to traditional teaching and learning. Content standards and state tests require classes to keep moving in a forward momentum, even when the design thinking process would have us circle back around and around again to dig deeper into a complex problem. It can be frustrating having to move beyond an experience when students know there’s still so many layers to unravel. Finding balance, as a teacher, is critical to the learning.

But the students all saw that the value of design thinking went beyond the process itself. Students realized that using design thinking taught them time management and backwards planning. They learned the power of constraints, like deadlines, to push creative thought into action.

Most importantly, students discovered that empathy is the start of it all. It allows people to understand what others are going through. As the students explained, empathy has a use in every situation. If we all would think with empathy throughout our lives, many problems could be averted, or solved, in compassionate ways.

If only we were all as smart as these 6th graders!

So… which model strikes a chord with you? Why? What do you think propelled the students to create that version?


Thanks Mrs. Tanner for letting me spend time with your students! I appreciated how you identified this process as an authentic assessment possibility.

downloadOur district mission statement centers around our calling to  “ignite genius and empower students to advance the world.” That’s a pretty tall order!

Especially when, as Seth Godin explains (“The Long Term” podcast), students typically spend 90-95% of their school day on either doing what they’re told, aka compliance, or finding the right answer, also compliance!

If only 5-10% of the day is open for a student to think bigger thoughts, then how in the world can we ever expect students to find their genius?

Looking for the right answer? It’s easy. You can’t.

If we truly want students to find their genius, then we need to provide the opportunities for them to dig in to complex problems. Complex problems does not mean a calculus problem, or balancing scientific equations. What I’m talking about here are complex LIFE problems. Problems that, quite honestly, don’t have answers. Things like:

  • Overpopulation and resource scarcity (Although, if you watched the last Avengers movie, this problem does have a potential solution… No Spoilers allowed!)
  • Economic development of the global poor
  • Nuclear security

When we allow students time, resources, and freedom to explore complex problems like these, and even more so, when we let them explore the world of no resolutely right answer, we are building their capacity for original thought. We are building their capacity for grit. We are building their capacity for learning from failure.

And in doing so, we are building their capacity to ignite their own genius.




Doing Good Better bookAccording to William Macaskill, it is. That’s the premise behind his book, Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Help Others, Do Work That Matters, and Make Smarter Choices About Giving Back. 

Macaskill and colleagues developed effective altruism, which uses data and some snazzy principles to help people make a huge difference in the world. It’s about asking “How can I make the biggest difference I can?” and then using evidence and reasoning to find the answer. It’s not about more money, or volunteering more hours. It’s more about being impartial in analyzing the options to choose what’s best for the world. (Spoiler alert: many of the options that we choose aren’t the best ones!)

I picked up this book because of Design Thinking. Weird, maybe… but as we ask students to prototype solutions to complex problems, I’ve been grappling with what to do with those solutions. Are they solutions that warrant being pushed into the world? Have similar solutions already been tested? Should we tap into the passion students show towards specific subjects and encourage them to do something to make a difference, or redirect their energy to areas in which it is possible to truly make a difference? And hey, are we even tackling the right problems?

According to Macaskill, it’s not enough to do something. It needs to be the best thing, so that the thing done makes the difference it should make. When it comes to helping others, Macaskill says that “being unreflective often means being ineffective.” He shares multiple examples of programs that sound great on paper, like PlayPumps  and Fair Trade but in actuality do little good for the people they intend to serve. In fact, some programs not only don’t do good, but they can cause harm, like Scared Straight, and boycotting sweat shops (seriously…!)

So what does this have to do with elementary students and design thinking?

If we are going to present students with opportunities to solve complex problems, and build in them a sense of agency that they can make a difference in the world, then isn’t it also our responsibility to make sure that they do good in a way that actually helps others? Shouldn’t we teach them how to identify work that matters? And how to make smart choices about ways to give back?

Although I’m not sure I agree with all of Macaskill’s premises, I do think this is an area which warrants a deeper dive. If we are going to teach advocacy, global citizenship, and cultural intelligence, then it is important that we also provide students with the tools needed to help them make smart decisions, just like we need to do with media literacy and fake news. We need to make sure that critical thinking stays prominent in this work.

We need to ask ourselves if we are doing good, or if we are doing good better.


Countdowns Suck. Yes, I said it.


I wanted to write earlier…I really did. So many blog posts have been ruminating in my brain the past few weeks.

But I’ve had a major life event happen. And I needed time to process. And that meant taking a break from my blog.

So what happened? My oldest daughter, Alexandra, enlisted in the U.S. Navy. In fact, she leaves for basic training in 21 days. 30200 minutes.

I’m so insanely proud of her. Having served in the U.S. Army myself, I know how scary it can be to give control of your life over to the government in the name of freedom. But she did it, and not only did she do it, but she was chosen to participate in the cryptology program, which is the same program in which my dad served during the Vietnam War.

So if I am so proud, why haven’t I blogged? Because I am also scared to death! I vacillate between proud momma and “Oh my gosh… how will I survive eight weeks without talking to her, without seeing her, without knowing she is okay?”

The days are counting down until she leaves… 21 days… 30175 minutes since I started writing this blog post. 21 days until her exciting new life begins and my angst-ridden new life begins.

Makes me wonder how many of our students have similar angst with those “Countdown to Summer Vacation” signs that are found in so many classrooms these days. If a child’s summer is spent traveling to Hawaii, that countdown is amazing. If that summer is spent babysitting younger siblings or wondering if there is enough food for lunch and dinner, those numbers are pretty darn scary.

Sign up to receive an update when I post. Type your email address in the box and click the “Subscribe” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time



Jidoka: Applying the “Human Touch”

When I met my boyfriend, he was driving a 1991 Toyota Corolla. It was quite the jalopy. The upholstery had seen better days. There were dents and rust.  But it ran. It always ran. Not only did my much newer Ford have more service appointments than that Corolla, but the Corolla also got better gas mileage. It was like the Energizer Bunny… it just kept going.

I never appreciated that Corolla. Until today. When I learned about lean manufacturing, Toyota, and the power of Jidoka.

Jidoka (or autonomation) is a Japanese manufacturing term that means applying the “human touch” to immediately address manufacturing problems at the moment they are detected. Employees are empowered to stop production line and solve problems without having to get permission from supervisors. But it’s not just about stopping production and fixing the immediate issue. It’s also about figuring out why the issue came to be in the first place, and working with teammates to prevent it from happening again.

There are four elements to Jidoka:

  1. Detect the abnormality.
  2. Stop.
  3. Fix or correct the immediate condition.
  4. Investigate the root cause and install a countermeasure.

The purpose, therefore, is that it makes possible the rapid or immediate address, identification and correction of mistakes that occur in a process.

Take for example this simple autonomation on the factory floor:

The problem of the containers tipping sideways could be fixed by the employee turning them upright every time, which fixes the immediate issue. But instead, the countermeasure of the rope reduces the odds of that same issue continuing to cause issues down the path. Toyota mastered this approach, and as a result, their cars are some of the most dependable (and lasting!) cars on the road.

Do you see the education analogy?

We can’t depend on formal assessments to detect “abnormalities” in student learning. We also can’t assume a packaged curriculum will address all student needs. Or think a personalized, adaptive computer program will fill in all the deficit areas.

We are the “human touch” students needs. The Jidoka.

When we let the tipped container of knowledge continue down the line, we have failed the child.

We are the ones that need to pull the cord and stop production if a child isn’t learning.

We are the ones who need to find a different method, a different resource, a different context to ensure that student’s needs are met.

We are the ones who need to reflect on our practice to determine why the learning isn’t happening.

And we are the ones who need to provide countermeasures to support each child’s growth.

We are the “human touch” students needs. The Jidoka.

Jidoka Source:
Autonomation on Wikipedia

Sign up to receive an update when I post. Type your email address in the box and click the “Subscribe” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time

Use the [Internal] Force, Luke!

When people feel like they can experience success in a situation, they have more reason to put forth the effort to do so. If they feel like a situation is hopeless, or out of their control, why bother? This is the concept behind Attribution Theory. In other words, if I work hard (internal) at this, will I succeed? Or should I not bother because I know my boss never likes anything I do (external)?

This is why Carol Dweck is so popular in education circles. Dweck states that “individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because they worry less about looking smart and they put more energy into learning.”

Basically, people with a growth mindset use an internal locus of control to explain their successes and failures. Therefore, they are more motivated to put forth the effort needed to learn.

Use the Internal Force, Luke

In my post “I Believe in 28 out of 36 of You” I discussed Bandura and his research which shows how beliefs impact action. And that people with self-efficacy set their sights higher, try harder, persevere longer, and show more resilience in the face of failure. Sounds pretty internal, right? Not much to attribute to external forces there.

So when we talk about students and goals, how we frame the conversation has a profound impact not only on our perceived ability in their success, but also their own perceived ability in their success, which ultimately creates the conditions to internally and externally impact their success.

If we say 28 out of 36 students will pass, we can easily attribute the eight failures to external causes such as poverty or already being academically deficient when they walked in the door. But when our goal is for all students to increase their score by 20 points, external factors don’t carry the same weight. The goal requires an intentional, unrelenting focus on internal causes … on effort and belief and efficacy … for every student to feel and achieve success.

The other day I walked in to the art classroom at one of our elementary schools. Third graders were on a mission.

As artists, how might we use our creative voices to affect change in

  • our school?
  • our community?
  • our world?


To get humans to use less plastic and/or dispose of plastic properly to protect our ocean creatures.

In order to tell the story of plastic’s toxic impact on the ocean, students planned a public art piece depicting the ocean, with the creatures and such made of plastic. It was ambitious, and meaningful. And they needed the help of the art teacher.

When I entered the classroom, it was hard to even find the art teacher. She wasn’t in front teaching the class. She was sitting with a group of students, encouraging them, inspiring them, and helping them turn their vision in to a reality. Other students were spread around the room working with different tools: saws, drills, paints, wire.

I also couldn’t find the classroom teacher! Oh wait…there she is. Not monitoring the room, or sitting in the corner grading papers, but she was making art right there with the students. With her goggles on. As equals.

Each student I talked to knew not only what he or she was creating and how it would tie in to the art piece, but each student also described for me why this art piece was important. I was told about jellyfish dying with plastic wrapped around them and dead fish full of plastic in their stomach. They asked me about my plastic usage, and if I knew how much of what I used would end up floating in the ocean.

They had a reason for their art. A passion for their art. Activists for a cause important to them.

It was truly a moment when I said, “Yes! This is what learning should be like for students every day!”

Bashing into Walls to Change the World

In the book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant writes, “When we become curious about the dissatisfying defaults in our world, we begin to recognize that most of them have social origins: Rules and systems were created by people. And that awareness gives us the courage to contemplate how we can change them.”

He explains that people blame the absence of creativity for the lack of originality in the world. (Be honest: Have you said recently, “Why can’t they come up with a new movie idea instead of just refashioning old ones?” I have…)

Grant surmises that people think society would  be better off if only we could come up with some more novel ideas. “But in reality,” Grant explains, “the biggest barrier to originality is not idea generation—it’s idea selection…It’s widely assumed that there’s a tradeoff between quantity and quality—if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it—but this turns out to be false. In fact, when it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictable path to quality.” And when focusing solely on quality, “many people fail to achieve originality because they generate a few ideas and then obsess about refining them to perfection.”

This reminded me of a Steve Jobs interview in which Jobs stated:


“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

Creativity, originality, change… they all require stepping outside the societal norms and limitations placed on us. They require taking risks; ideating and iterating many, many, many times; and understanding that the capacity for creativity is in all of us, but maybe, just maybe, creativity requires work and a commitment to let all those ideas flow! Lots and lots of them. And of course, bashing into walls and living life outside the neat little world!

So how do we provide the conditions for students to bash into the walls (okay, maybe not literally!)?How do we encourage the mass generation of ideas instead of obsessively refining the few? How do we provoke students to question, or even change, rules and systems?  In other words, how do we bash into the walls of a traditional, high-stakes educational system and empower students to become change agents (like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students are trying to do!)?

Educational systems, structures, and beliefs create enormous pressure on students to “get it right” (as determined by people no smarter than us) the first time. One assessment to measure if you learned the chapter content. One essay to determine if you met the writing standard benchmarks. One grade for each assignment. One SAT exam. Each of these with its own set of rules and systems to prove conformity to societal expectation.

When students go against those rules and systems (again, as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students are), adults get agitated and seek to put them back in their place. And yet, when students become adults and seek out jobs, the workforce bemoans their lack of originality and creative problem solving skills. 

Our role as teachers and administrators should be, then, to bash into the traditional walls to provide students opportunities to:

  • Think and act like a designer
  • Solve real world problems
  • Connect with industry experts to experience the world of work from people living it, and not from a textbook
  • Use play as a way to learn
  • Learn from and with students, and not just teach to them 
  • Experience personalized learning that embraces strengths, passions, and ideas

What walls are you bashing into? How about your students?  I’d love to hear about your classroom or school experiences.

Sign up to receive an update when I post. Type your email address in the box and click the “Subscribe” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.