Notes before my first new teacher workshop in decades

Tomorrow, I will do something I haven’t done for well over 20 years: report to a school’s new teacher workshop as a learner, not someone leading the learning.

(Okay, I’ll do some leading. The position I’m moving into kinda requires it. First and foremost, though, I’ll be the new guy.)

If you’ve done this before, you know what my next few days will be like. I’ll get equipment checked out to me, I’ll do some icebreakers, I’ll be let into my classroom for the first time (I have a couple sections of high-school English), I’ll unload a few crates’ worth of resources into bookcases and filing cabinets, I’ll listen to admin talk about crucial policies and procedures, I’ll look over available materials to start sketching units, all that.

…and damn, I’m excited. I seriously can’t wait to get going at my new place.

Don’t get me wrong: I love doing all the other stuff I’m up to in education, and I fully intend to keep doing it all. Over the past few years, though, which included writing this book, visiting with many former students and colleagues to do so, and learning scads more about our enterprise and myself, I realized some things had to change with my full-time work. If I was really going to be the anti-ed-bullshit guy and more directly contribute to the bottom-up improvement stuff I’m always ranting about, basically, I was going to have to find something more concentrated, continual, and contextually driven.

Such work is hard to come by in education’s current top-down milieu, of course, but I found an opportunity where I can do just that. A young charter school I’ve done some consulting for here in the Twin Cities metro is committing resources toward building some vital ‘pillars’ (e.g., research-guided teacher-development processes, knowledge-rich K-12 curriculum, etc.) internally, and they are bringing me aboard to assist with design and execution (and, as mentioned earlier, some teaching [!]). As I’m all about building practices up from a unifying vision (again, see my new book for a fuller justification), I’m both encouraged by the school’s brave commitment and thrilled to be a part of it all. Watch this space for updates on how it’s all going.

Now, though, I have to get washing clothes and getting ready for tomorrow. I can’t wait to be a new teacher again.


researchED US returns in November! #rEDPhil19

As I mentioned in last week’s post, Ed Cases, I have a lot to catch y’all up on. (Thanks, by the way, for all the nice comms regarding the new book. If you pre-ordered, I sure hope you like it.)

Today, just wanted to update you on that planning for researchED US 2019 is fully underway. We’re very excited for the day that’s coming together (which, by the way, is 16 November in Philadelphia–get there and bring an army!!).

If you visit the event site above, you’ll see a decided tilt toward evidence-supported practices — folks coming to share, in other words, about how and why they’re changing practices in their settings: keynote Sonja Santelises (Baltimore Public Schools) and Jackson-Madison, Tennessee’s Jared Myracle will be talking about district-wide work they’re leading, Emily Hanford will be leading a panel of teachers to share about their classroom practices, the Ed Trust’s Karin Chenoweth will be talking about how exemplary schools and leaders are changing practice toward improved outcomes and climates, etc., etc.

We have several more speakers confirmed (and in-progress), and I’ll be getting those up to the site in the coming weeks. (And trust me: they’re pretty damn exciting.)

In the meantime, consider calling a bunch of teacher friends and coming over to Philly the weekend of 16 November. Ask anyone who’s attended a researchED conference and they’ll tell you, you won’t be quite the same afterward.



‘What the Academy Taught Us’ available for pre-order on Amazon

Hello, Ed Cases!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, sorry about that. Planning to get back to more of it, I promise. Life’s just been very, very busy.

Speaking of which, one of the things I’ve been working on for the past year is close to seeing the light of day: What the Academy Taught Us: Improving schools from the bottom up in a top-down transformation era, is complete, proofed, in press, and available for pre-order at Amazon!

While I know there’s a lot of great ed-related reading coming out in the next few months (from Natalie Wexler, Robert Pondiscio, Michael Zwaagstra, etc.), I’d appreciate it if you gave mine a look. For more info, check out at the sites below, replete with nice blurbs from Mike Petrilli, Daisy Christodoulou, and Ben Riley:

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Canada

I’ll talk a bit more about it (and all kinds of other stuff, including the upcoming researchED US Conference in November — it’s another great one) at this space in the weeks ahead. Send questions if you have them!

Presentation deck from #rEDVan: ‘Like Hip-Waders for the Bullsh-initiatives’ (more later)

Hello, Ed Cases!

I’m finally coming up for air (hence image) and putting something up at this blog. Sorry it’s been a while, but life/work has been taxing of late. The good news is that my next book is finally in its editing stages and I can get back to a little action here at the ol’ blog. (I have lots to say, believe me.)

For now, please accept this presentation deck from my talk at last week’s researchED Vancouver. I had to start my talk 10-15 minutes behind schedule, so I cut off the end bit in person. Please be in touch if you have questions about any of it.

Also: It was a stellar event, and I plan to share more about it soon. Look for a recap post before the weekend’s out (if time allows).


More on #rEDPhil soon. For now, my presentation deck for ‘Finally! Curriculum Gets Its Moment! (…now let’s not blow it.)’

(Photo courtesy of Erika Sanzi, borrowed from a Twitter post. THANKS ERIKA!)

Hello, Ed Cases! Well, researchED Philadelphia (#rEDPhil — see here for related Tweets listed by hashtag) is finally in the books, and I’m thrilled and exhausted. It went quite, quite well in all: I learned a ton and made many new friends, and I think folks joining us for the first time really got a chance to see what gets some of us so excited about it all.  I’ll blog again this week with a short wrap-up.

For now, here is my presentation deck for my talk, ‘Finally! Curriculum Gets Its Moment! (…now let’s not blow it.)’. Take a look if interested, check out the references slide for further study, share with friends, etc., etc. — and of course, be in touch with questions or concerns.


P.S. – Know that to keep the learning going, we at researchED will be harvesting presenters’ materials and making available as folks are willing. ALSO, if you were at the day and would like to blog/tweet about it, we’d sure love to see other folks sharing out to the world about what they saw. Thanks in advance! (Just let me know if you do, I’d love to broadcast it if so.) 

NO TIME TO BLOG…but you really should check out researchED Philly. PASS IT ON.

Hello, Ed Cases. So sorry I haven’t done any posting around here for the past couple months, but just too dang busy with other stuff: work at Search Institute, some consulting with schools on their PD and curriculum, researching/drafting my next book, etc., etc. I hope to get back to a blogging groove in the months ahead, as my queue of post-sketches is near-overflowing.

All that said, another thing I’ve been devoting a lot of time to of late is organizing the next researchED US conference. We’re on for 27 October in Philadelphia, at the beautiful St Joseph’s Preparatory School.

You can see more about the program, buying tickets, etc., HERE. Check back in coming weeks especially, as we’ll be fleshing it out with more content shortly.

If you’re new to researchED and would like to learn more about the concept and conferences, see this interview I did last year with Rick Hess at Ed Week, this blog by Blake Harvard/Effortful Educator, or this summary of the Washington, DC, conference a couple years ago by Twitter’s @polymathish.

Though I could spend a few thousand words telling you about why I’m so excited for it, here are just a few quick points:

…and seriously? That’s just the beginning. I told you up top I was going to hold myself back from going on and on.

Exciting or what?!

Oh, and I’ve actually heard that some nearby districts are actually arranging party buses to take lots of teachers. (Really, I have heard that.) If that’s your thing, make sure to contact me to see what we can do to get discounted blocks of tickets. Really, we want MORE TEACHERS at these things. It’s who they’re for.

Again, check out the site, follow us on Twitter (@researchED_US or me, @erickalenze) for updates, or just be in touch here if you have questions. We’d love to see you there!