A Starbucks inspired clasroom

In a delightful article Kayla Delzer writes about re-designing the classroom.

"...at my local Starbucks and, looking around, I realized that everyone seemed to be happy, engaged in their work, and relaxed. Some people chose the traditional chairs and tables while I opted for a big, comfy chair with my MacBook on my lap. The quiet music, perfect lighting, and overall aesthetics of the coffee shop were favorable for a variety of learners. And if I wanted to switch up my seat during my stay, I was free to do just that. That's when I decided that our classroom in 2015-2016 was going to look radically different than anything I'd ever done before..."

"To see that some classrooms look the same now as they did 70 years ago is shameful. The students we share our classrooms with don't know life without constant connectivity, wi-fi, and a global audience. Outside the windows of our classroom is a dynamic, fast-paced, and ever-changing world full of choices. How can we expect our students to solve problems and make choices independently if we constantly solve their problems and make their choices for them? Our classroom environments should be conducive to open collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking..." 

For more click on the link below:


Leadership and the Neuroscience of Motivation

Judith E. Glaser's June 21st, 2016 blog in the Huffington Post  on the neurochemistry of motivation is worth a read:

"Once a person has been triggered by fear - let’s say from an angry boss, a yelling, or merely a passive-aggressive or blaming boss who is embarrassing that person in front of colleagues - a cascade of neurochemicals starts in the lower brain - and literally spews out into the rest of the brain - like someone was spray painting their brain! This cortisol bath sends messages to the other parts of the brain - there are actually 5 brains working in concert - and tells them to move into hyper-gear to protect the person from harm....Inspired leaders would be further inspired if they understand the neurochemistry of motivation - how praise and support can unlock the neurochemical patterns that also cascade chemistry throughout the brain. This powerful and almost drug-like dopamine state that comes with appropriate, honest and well-deserved (sincere) praise will set into place a pattern of intrinsic motivation that will open up new pathways for the employee to access new skills and talents..."

Read more here:


Teachers' affects that lead to emotionally healthy classrooms

Teachers are most often evaluated and prepared in measurable and quantifiable skills despite the fact that teachers' dispositions are a vital component of effective teaching. Rick Wormeli's article in the ASCD lists 7 habits of highly affective teachers. Note the emphasis on affective teachers and not effective teachers. Wormeli makes the case that positive affects in a teacher are important for any classroom to be emotionally healthy. In his article he lists 8 habits (adding one bonus habit to his list of seven):

Find joy in others' success

Cultivate perspective and reframe

Ditch the easy caricature

Explore the ethics of teaching

Embrace humility

Value intellect

Maintain passion and playfulness


Emotionally Healthy Kids, October 2015, 73 (2), pp. 10-15

The full article can be found at the link below:


Commenting on teaching practices in the NY Times

Recently, a video of a first grade Math teacher in a NYC charter school went viral because of the way the teacher responded to a student's work. I was invited by the NY Times as one of eight scholars in the field of early education and child development to comment on the appropriateness of the teacher's response. Read more at the following link:


Learning in the early years - providing a social compass

Right from when they are born, babies begin to observe the expressions and behaviors around them and start to match their neural maps to these observations. As early childhood educators have consistently maintained, much of what young children learn in school or at home is from watching the adults in their lives. So we need to constantly ask ourselves this question - are we modeling for our children the behaviors we do want them to practice? Are we their "social compass"?

Read the following article by Susan Pinker for more on this: