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Mindsets for Modern Learning

William  Tolley

February 13, 2016

Semester Without Grades: An Early Report from the Field

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This past August I seized the opportunity be an early adopter (read: guinea pig) by requesting that my principal let me pilot a transitional gradeless classroom (our goal is to be a fully standards-based high school within 3-5 years). Six months later, I am emerging from the initial messiness of the process (that stage of cleaning your room when you’ve got your junk in piles all over the place, and can now start folding and filling drawers) so I thought I might share a few reflections in the moment.

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William  Tolley

July 13, 2015

Grace and American Education: An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

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It’s time for you, Mr. President, to remind Americans of the paramount significance of education; how schools concretely—and sublimely—affect our lives, the health of the nation and the greater good of a broader world. As your actions over the past month have shown, sometimes a leader needs to intervene, ignore the point/counterpoint analysis and inspire the efforts of opposing sides toward broader approaches and bolder solutions.

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William  Tolley

June 29, 2015

Summer Cleaning: Eliminating Bad Habits One at a Time

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Due to the frenzy and fragmentation of the school day and year—after an appropriate, gentle and well-earned transition—summer is the best time to sweep the shed, clear the cobwebs and put your tools in order ahead of the imminent next semester. Here’s a simple—but thorough—step-by-step process for making it happen. 

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William  Tolley

March 1, 2015

Mature Measures

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Of course we want a profession populated by qualified candidates, but scholastic aptitude is only one minor characteristic possessed by the educators who will transform the field. We need to be serious and design a system that does more than count our teachers before they hatch.

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William  Tolley

November 16, 2014

Walking Together: Veterans Day Reflections

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It has taken 25 years for me to learn, see and understand the lessons that being a veteran has to offer the teacher...I believe any soldier, when you ask him to think about it, will say that—among the weapons, tactics and parachute training—the key lessons learned stemmed not from the weapons, tactics and parachute training, but from learning how to trust and learn from others.

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William  Tolley

July 14, 2014

NEH Seminars: The Thinking Teacher's Solution to Summer

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Starting in May each year, our Twitter and Facebook feeds, email inboxes and professional journal subscriptions fill up with the annual, “How to recharge your career over summer!!” posts and articles. Sadly, in the current climate, these well-intentioned guides tend to ask the impossible of teachers by cajoling us to simultaneously, “Read, rest, improve practice, socialize with adults, research your craft and rejuvenate!!” Right. It’s a summer, not a sabbatical.

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