John McCarthy

Educator and life long learner. Exploring the many ways to advocate for student voice in their learning career. Passions: my family, writing, teaching, and gaming. Blog: Blog:

Most commented posts

  1. Rebutting Misconceptions about Differentiated Instruction — 7 comments
  2. Inspiring the Writer in everyone — 7 comments
  3. Learning Preferences Cards — 5 comments
  4. Student Learning Preferences Quick Surveys — 4 comments
  5. Education is like Yoga III: Starting School Right — 3 comments

Author's posts

Formative Assessment Cycle – A necessary good

“Differentiation is making sure that the right students get the right learning tasks at the right time. Once you have a sense of what each student holds as ‘given’ or ‘known’ and what he or she needs in order to learn, differentiation is no longer an option; it is an obvious response.” –Lorna M. Earl[i] …

Continue reading

Constructivist Learning in Common Core/State Standards Environments

This post is a companion to a Presentation (handout)  at MACUL 2014 by @jmccarthyeds. You can find dialog from that session on Twitter at #OPATHS or go to How can we support constructivist learning in Common Core Environments? Last year at Ardis New Tech, they did an event called Innovation Days. It was inspired by the …

Continue reading

Collaboration: Virtual & Instant with Tagboard

During a PLN twitter #satchat[i] session on a Saturday morning, Charity Stephens[ii], a teacher, shared her use of with her students. The students studied grammar—different elements of pronoun usage. When Charity introduced hashtags to support the work, one of her students introduced the idea of Like any excellent teacher, Charity naturally welcomed the …

Continue reading

Links Teachers Use Today pt1

At every workshop I facilitate, I share several resources that support teacher’s supporting student learning. Recently in Nashville, TN, I asked the teachers to share resources that they use in working with students. What follows is the list they generated. What might you add to the list via the comments to impact student learning? …

Continue reading

Writer’s Block Breakthrough

There comes a time after a lesson when the students are directed to write on a topic. An enlightened teacher will give students choices or let the learners choose their own topic. But often times, there are students, sometimes most, who can’t seem to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. The reasons for …

Continue reading

Concept-based Driving Questions

There are coffee tables across the world that–if they could talk–could tell stories about conversations among professionals. One possible scenario are the tables that shared the conversations of such influential thinkers as Lynn Erickson, Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe, and others. Years ago, I met Lynn Erickson who’d just given a talk at the Summer Institute …

Continue reading

Student Voice & Minecraft PBL

Last week during the snow days, or rather the Freeze days of -30+ degree weather, my son spent those two days writing and revising a proposal, sharing its content with his peers, and analyzing work by others for critical logic flaws and idea development. The weekend prior he spent researching several ideas, and then pitched …

Continue reading

Learning Preferences Cards

Students need opportunities to practice Global Competencies like Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Innovation, and Influencing across networks. This is why working in teams gives them the opportunities to practice these skills and to get coaching by the teacher and others. Yet one challenge with teams is the fear that some students will dominate, while others will …

Continue reading

PBL Celebrated @MNPS Dupont-Hadley

  In this week’s ASCD Smart Brief, an article from the Tennessean is given national attention: Dupont-Hadley of Metro Nashville Public Schools was recognized for a project based learning unit where 5th graders studied cancer: “Student’s two-time cancer survival inspires lessons.” The experiences of one student was a catalyst for extensive work by the entire 5th …

Continue reading

Goal Setting

January 1 is nearly here. It’s a time when many fitness club attendance increases. Already, as one of my closest friends has commented, the classes are getting crowded and available exercise machines are harder to find. As annoying as this time is for devotes of fitness, my friend notes that in a month the crowds …

Continue reading