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Navigating Turbulence

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Higher-Powered Learning Navigating Turbulence

Turbulence is a fairly common occurrence on plane rides. Although you get the occasional smooth ride, most flights involve at least a few jumps and shakes. I consider these rough patches to be an unavoidable part of almost every one of my travel experiences, and I think this can be a metaphor for many areas of life.

4 Keys to Giving Great Feedback

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 by Francesca Varga

4 Keys for Great Feedback

Frequent, specific feedback is shown to be one of the most powerful ways to improve teacher instructional practice and, ultimately, student growth. But what does helpful, growth-promoting feedback look like? The best feedback conferences are framed as comfortable, open conversations. This shouldn’t come as a surprise: when you are confiding in a friend or someone you are comfortable with, you allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to advice. According to Bracken and Rose's 2005 book, When Does 360-Degree Feedback Create Behavior Change? And How Would We Know It When It Does?, great feedback should have the following characteristics:

Higher-Powered Feedback

Monday, January 14, 2019 by Francesca Varga

Higher-Powered Feedback

Most teachers know the critical importance of feedback in the classroom. Regular feedback delivered in dialogue with students has been shown to be one of the most powerful ways to improve student learning (and we’ve written about how blended learning enables students to receive more frequent feedback here). In the Higher-Powered Learning Program, the teachers are our students, and we apply many of the same principles of student learning to these teachers’ professional development.

FTK

Monday, December 10, 2018

Higher-Powered Learning For the Kids

One of the ACE Teaching Fellows’ favorite sayings is “FTK,” which stands for “for the kids.” Everything we do, we do on behalf of the students we serve. So how is the Higher-Powered Learning Program impacting students?

Leader Feature: Bridget Kramer

Monday, November 26, 2018

Higher-Powered Learning Program Bridget Kramer

In the few short months we have known Bridget Kramer, we have seen her take full ownership as she leads a new initiative while remaining steadfast in her commitment to all of her other responsibilities as the leader of a beautiful school. Learn more about the key steps Bridget has taken to advance the Higher-Powered Learning Program and cultivate a positive school community for teachers, parents, and students in today’s post.

3 Ways Your Small-Group Instruction May Be Failing

Monday, November 12, 2018

3 Ways Your Small-Group Instruction May Be Failing - Higher-Powered Learning

In recent years, small-group instruction has become one of the hottest topics of education. Because blended learning enables small-group instruction, it is extremely important to us. Many people assume that a lower student-to-teacher ratio automatically leads to higher quality instruction, which leads to more effectively meeting students’ needs. But is that really the case?

Teacher Feature: Rachael Hillman

Monday, October 29, 2018

Rachael Hillman Higher-Powered Learning

We are thrilled to feature for the very first time a classroom from one of the Higher-Powered Learning Program schools in Minnesota! Read on to learn more about one of the most innovative classrooms in the program and what Rachael Hillman has learned in her first few months of blended learning.

Celebrate Good Times....with Data!

Thursday, October 11, 2018 by By: Francesca Varga

One critical piece of a successful blended learning program is the teacher’s use of student data. No matter how detailed data reports may be, they are useless without a teacher analyzing and acting upon them. We have seen creative, fun ways that teachers are implementing data tracking and celebrations in their classroom and wanted to share four of our absolute favorites with you. Need data celebration inspiration? Read on!

Five for Five

Monday, October 01, 2018 by Francesca Varga

Higher-Powered Learning Five for Five

When we initially visited and selected schools for the first cohort of the Higher-Powered Learning Program, our three-year, blended-learning implementation program, we were shocked by the differences among schools. The largest schools have nearly 400 students each, while the smallest has just over 100. A few of the schools have more contemporary architecture with clean, white walls and big windows; others have the look of a classic Catholic school, with rock-solid walls and exposed brick (maybe they’re just being trendy?).

STAR Goals: The Importance of Personalized Student Goals

Monday, September 17, 2018 by Francesca Varga

Rocket Fuel - Higher-Powered Learning

As we mentioned in this post, one of the most powerful ways our teachers increase student engagement and learning is to help students set individual goals for their learning. Of course, setting goals for student learning is not something that only happens in blended classrooms, but we have found that it is especially crucial to the success of blended classrooms because learning is so much more individualized. Therefore, we generated four of our own criteria for successful student learning goals, and we want to share those with you today.

"Ohana" Means Family

Tuesday, September 04, 2018 by Francesca Varga

Ohana Means Family Higher-Powered Learning Blended Learning

The Higher-Powered Learning team is growing, and we are excited to introduce you to our newest member, Francesca Varga! Francesca was a teacher and instructional leader for nine years before joining us at ACE this summer. She has extensive experience with blended and personalized learning at the middle and high school levels. Below is Francesca’s first contribution to our blog–but certainly not her last!


We often preface the concept of blended learning by citing the need to fill students’ learning gaps through data-informed instruction. However, in my nine years of teaching, I have found that culture and building community and strong relationships with students is essential to the success of blended learning, and of learning more broadly. Here is a quick glimpse into my inspiration for implementing blended learning in my classroom and the students who made it possible...

UDL & Blended Learning: The WHY of Learning

Monday, August 20, 2018

UDL & Blended Learning: the WHY of Learning

Many proponents of blended learning lament standardized, one-size-fits-all approaches to education, and with good reason. But you don’t have to be a blended-learning fangirl like me to believe that classrooms should be flexible and adapted to meet the individual needs of each student. Customizing assessments, teaching methods, and materials to match students’ learning preferences, prerequisite skills, goals, and more are not strategies specific to blended learning – it is simply good teaching.

Should Data Really Drive Your Instruction?

Monday, August 06, 2018

Should Data Really Drive Your Instruction?

I’d like to start this post with a direct quote from a teacher at a professional development session I led recently: “Elizabeth LOVES data.” To be honest, she’s not wrong! I’ve written before about the importance of data in blended-learning classrooms and how data from adaptive software programs can enable teachers to deliver targeted instruction when and where students need it most. It’s safe to say that I am a HUGE fan of student performance data, but I also recognize its shortcomings.

Lift Off in the Twin Cities!

Monday, July 09, 2018

Higher Powered Learning Program Take Off

June 18 marked a momentous occasion for our team – the official launch of the Higher-Powered Learning Program (HPLP) in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis! After months of anticipation and careful preparation, our cohort of 30 leaders and teacher-leaders from five schools joined forces to begin our three-year journey together.

The "Why" Behind Your Blended-Learning Program

Monday, June 25, 2018

Higher-Powered Learning - The Why

Do you remember the post we wrote about protecting purpose in the blended classroom? We explained that one of the most common mistakes teachers make in blended classrooms is planning activities without having a learning goal in mind for them. Teachers should resist the urge to plan activities simply so that they can increase the number of “stations” or “centers” in their classroom and focus instead on planning activities that will help students reach the learning goal for that lesson.

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