Using Your Past Experiences & the Future to Shape Your Present…

Does This Sound Familiar? Did this happen to you to?

Using your past experiences & the future to shape your present…

We have all had learning experiences in the past that have shaped us as people and caused us to act as we do in the present. We can reflect on specific persons we want to emulate or situations we want to repeat. Then of course there are those that we do not wish to imitate and try to avoid. In deciding what to do, we can try not only to look at the past but also the future. Like when creating a lesson, we can apply backwards design to determine our behavior by thinking of what we want to accomplish and how Continue reading

Everyone, Stop & Look!



“A 7th grade student came in as I was putting stamps on a letter.
He asked what I was doing & ‘what were the stickers for?’
He honestly had no idea what the purpose of stamps were or how the whole mail process worked?!
ie… stamps are like money, they prove that you pay, takes $ to cover costs of personnel/trucks, etc..
Another self-reminder to always ask questions, determine prior knowledge & don’t presume anything…
not even what you assume to be basic/everyday knowledge…”

FREE Youtube Videos on the Top 100 Most Frequently Misspelled Words!

Here it is! :-)

Above is a link to one of the FREE videos I created to help teachers & students! So far I have 10 posted w/ the next 20 to be uploaded SOON!! Show them thru-0ut the year to help improve student spelling! You can go to to get the FREE PowerPoint on all 5 Spelling Strategy Types! You can make your own spelling cards for your class OR purchase a copy of the Innovative Spelling Teacher & Student Notebook. It is only $4.75 & the funds will go towards maintaining this site & creating more materials/videos!   If interested see book description below.                                                                                                                                      Thx a MILLION!

Innovative Spelling Practice Exercises!!! The book is HERE!! It has practice cards, exercises & pre/post tests for ALL 20 videos!!!! Great resource! Ck it out at

Innovative Spelling Teacher & Student Notebook!


This book WITH its corresponding MINI-LESSONS ON YOUTUBE, brings the FREE Innovative Spelling PowerPoint to life & puts the power of learning in your students’ hands!!!

Innovative Spelling is a technique which helps teachers and students for whom the traditional materials/spelling practice does not work. Continue reading

An Interview with Dr. David Sousa- Author of the Innovative Series “How the Brain Learns”

 When I spoke with Dr. Sousa last year, I wanted to spotlight two questions. 1-What was the impetus for writing his series on the brain which has thus far led to some 25 books on brain based learning. 2- Where he was focusing his aim towards in the near future.

Our conversation began by discussing staff development overall. He stressed that “it is important to have a common educational language and culture if you plan to make any real change in a school, district or other institution. Real change that impacts students doesn’t come from ‘pick and choose’ staff development programs.” I couldn’t agree more. Dr.Sousa went on to explain that when he worked for school districts, he centered his approach to staff development in this manner.

In 1985 he began to learn about brain science. He developed a strong interest in exploring this understanding and applying it to teaching. Much of teaching research at that time was driven by behavioral science. As the brain is where thinking and learning take place, he felt that in order to have more effective student learning, teachers needed to also understand the brain and how it works. This connection between brain research and teaching excited him. “I sought out like minds and formed a group with a mission to make teachers aware of this, its use and impact. And have been doing it ever since.”

The book that started it all, How the Brain Learns: A Classroom Teacher’s Guide, was first published in 1995 and he has written a study stream of ‘The Brain’ books since.

I asked Dr. Sousa what he was up to next. He said that for the last 6 years he has said he was going to retire but still hadn’t made the leap. However he admitted that he has “been slowing down and doing less travelling.” He doesn’t lead at as many district level workshops but is still often on the road presenting at larger venues.

Dr.Sousa also shared with me that he has been working steadily on his latest passion, emphasizing the importance and pushing for the reestablishment of the arts in school. He explained that with the push in classrooms across America to increase science, technology, engineering and math (S.T.E.M.), as a result, “the arts are being kicked out.” He went on to explain that arts and sciences “are both divergent thinking-not one answer rules.” They all require higher level thought and complement each other. Therefore he has been pushing to get the arts back into the equation, moving from the idea of S.T.E.M. to S.T.E.A.M – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.

At the time of my interview, his latest book From STEM to STEAM: Using Brain-Compatible Strategies to Integrate the Arts by David A. Sousa and Thomas J. Pilecki(Mar 5, 2013) was in manuscript form and soon to be published. Now you can find it and his other books on Amazon or the SAGE Publishing website.


cropped foto of carol ann tomlinson Also check out the interview with Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson!

Click the link to read all about it!!!

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Please Give To the ‘Love Of Learning Library’ in Honor of Liz Warner- Fellow ELL Educator


Dear Friends, Fellow Teachers and Family,

Few of us are faced with learning that a terminal disease will soon take our life.
When you are faced with a reality such as this, as I have, it changes your
priorities in life. All of a sudden, what used to be important no longer exists
and new things become important.

I am a fortunate woman. The support my friends and family have given me over the
past few months has been unbelievable. I have felt your love every single day.

My work with the Honors Academy of Literature is one important priority for me. I
have spent my adult life supporting teachers and students and I would really
love for that support to continue. In order for this to happen, I am donating
the first $25,000 to get the school library started.

You can help me continue to support this brand new public charter school. In lieu
of flowers or gifts, you can help me build the library for our school. Please,
instead of sending a bouquet of flowers, send a donation or buy a copy of your
favorite book for our library.  I am excited that I can help leave a legacy of learning for students.

Liz Warner, MA