JIVE LIVE in the Classroom!


Total engagement, inclusion, and focus of each class is the Teacher’s dream realized. Creating moments where classroom materials marry with imaginations to transport us to new understandings can be rare or regular; much depends on the learning environment and collaboration of the team. USE HIGH LEVEL PERFORMANCE ABILITY TO ENGAGE STUDENTS.



Traditional teaching methods could look a lot like the scenario above; teacher-centered, other staff supporting from the background, students listening passively. Modern teaching methods, we’re told,  differ greatly. They are more student-centered, individualized, self-paced, and teachers coach or support along side the students. But many ask, “What does that look like?”


Student-centered and individualized learning looks just like the picture above as well! Or parts of it does, the lesson, the progress towards understanding is similar; it does look similar to classrooms we are familiar with much of the time. One difference is the ordering, the timing, the implementation, and assessments of student learning could look and feel quite different. Students in the picture above are hearing a story, experiencing a conflict they are going to try to resolve, right before they engage in a hands-on project to test their knowledge and reasoning ability. A student centered classrooms has all the same learning goals as a traditional one, but we will more frequently ask students to do most of the work independently, once the framework and the exercise is explained. What is “added value” in modern environments is hands-on and digital components, teamwork, innovation, expressions of students (possible changing the direction of the lesson slightly!), and scientific inquiries into real inquiries the class will see along the way, question,and then engage in direct discovery about. Teaching with inquiry-based themes, hands-on projects, and teamwork on progress towards requisite products of the course, do require some restructuring of an educator’s ideas about learning components in the lesson and prioritizing of delivery of each part. On teachers part, it may require a robust effort to be more adaptable to change, and more adept at stepping out of the way of student dynamics when projects go in new or unexpected directions.


Teacher’s new goals in the educational environment include;

  • guiding students into the realms of a subject or problem,
  • show them a question or theme to be explored during the learning experience,
  • responding with feedback at appropriate places,
  • without doing too much to assist the learner.   

Teachers also have to analysis, collect formative data, and plan for the learning needs trajectory of each student that can allow an for in-depth measurement of their skills, progress, and aptitudes. Some teacher’s assessments of students will need to be done in traditional ways through tests, and some of it will perhaps be digitally achieve portfolio materials, including student owned social media content that shows student expertise and mastery of a subject- not only to the administrators of a course or school, but potentially to employers or collaborators in the field and global economy. School has taken on whole new dimensions with large-scale internet availability to research, open resources to learn from, and private educational opportunities abounding. Competition from student attention and focus is much greater in today’s world.

Schools who remain competitive and deliver competent educational credentials must quick advance into the digital age of learning. Materials and courses should be UDL accessible and understandable to a large range of learning abilities, also available to the mobile or in-person student body, with easily understandable and transferable credits.


The STEAM Learning Curve

Why interactive and hands-on experience beat classroom academics alone…..


When Kids are invited to participate with learning ideas life-long learning grows. Encourage your kids to learn STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) skills by taking them out of the classroom and into the natural wilds and wonders of the museum!

Parents and educators often ask STEM teachers what they can do to stimulate students’ interest and exploration in the Science, Engineering, and Technology fields which appear to be the skills jobs of the future will most need. I tell them the most important feature of a passion to study science is personal unanswered questions, or insights into the way the world works. These questions spark a person’s “need to know” into a passion which transcends normal inquiries and may carry the person to extend and deepen their study in several ways. One way that helps students develop and internalize open-ended questions and follow through with study in a scientific, measureable, and observable way is a first-hand experience with an environment or concept. The “ahh-ha” moment might happen in many different ways, including during a field trip or vacation that includes highly educational and interactive venues! The next opportunity to travel with young people, or when taking a day off work consider an educational venue! Have fun while promoting and modeling your interest in STEAM subjects.


Visit the Exploritorium an interactive exhibit featuring the intersection of Science, Art, and human perception.


Experience first-hand science and football intersecting in the San Francisco 49ers Museum STEM in Football challenge.


In Los Angeles don’t miss the STEM coding and programming introduction to computer animation techniques at the California Science Center.

Now through April 16, 2017 take a look inside the film making industry and the math and engineering behind entertainment.


While near Long Beach Harbor visit the incredible exhibits of natural science exploration at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach. The Aquarium designs specific UDL tours for students with disabilities. While on the bay at Long Beach go on a whale watch (in the winter), and visit the historic RMS Queen Mary ship tours for developing STEAM exhibits.


Traveling further up the California coast, where we visit viewing areas of geology, marine biology, and wildlife habit along the way, is a wonderful resource for understanding the uses of and our relationship to the oceans, at Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you can interactive with educational exhibit in person or remotely! This invites involving students to experience hands-on science in all new and virtual ways, experiencing both in person and on mobile devices.

If you find yourself further north in Portland, Oregon take time to visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Where you can take an interactive tour of science and engineering concepts that play a role in our technology-based culture. Plus you can visit a Planetarium and learn about the exploration of space.


Zen and the Art of the Classroom Teacher

WattsFamily 19
1942 Young people who would become my ancestors and first teachers. Note the big smiles before have children and careers!

The first teachers are our parents. We are all “home schooled” by accident and on purpose; learning to observe and adapt to visual, auditory, tactile, emotional, physical, and kinesthetic lessons that shape our lives and characters. “Nature or nurture?” is the question that cannot be fully answered, only balanced against the fires of experiences that shape each of us. Elements of perseverence and compassion, personal opinions and choices continually shaping our development and swaying the directions of our paths into life.  Like a tree branch or root system, we are always growing, extending, seeking, recoiling, and readjusting the path.

Our teachers throughout life make remarkable Impacts onto our lives and the future of ourselves, our children, our whole world. Our teachers shape and groom the face of society, culture, and the future by the words they utter, the things they do, and don’t do while we are with them.

The blog posts that follow are the reflections and lessons of a life well lived for over 5 decades, and of the wisdoms gained by teaching for over 3 decades. The teaching praxis reflected on follows the concepts of a common-core enriched, project-based, art and music infused, hands-on, autonomous learning style with students inside and outside of public schools, home schools, charter schools, and innovative start-up schools from 1981 to the present. Starting out as a reluctant school teacher, pursuing the life of an artist, non-profit leader, energy conservation guru, teaching-artist, science teacher, math tutor, sculptor, weaver, writer, researcher and parent has rounded my view point of what learning means.

The blog will pursue the theme “What it Means to be a Great Teacher,” and more importantly why. Teaching is not a career pathway for the “faint of heart.” Indeed, teaching requires deep insight into your own personal struggle to find meaningful work, and education. Teaching means growing a thick skin in order to endure both an unappreciative student body and family brand. Teaching means countless little losses of face, and a few giant leaps of faith. Teaching means investing in a future you may never witness. Teaching implies you always smile, you never give up, and as Loren Green taught us in a Bonanza TV show in 1951;

I don’t have anything against education, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of your thinking.

Remember to visit my site www.enablethem.com!