Posted in Resources


Are you wondering what the heck all this innovation is about? Check out a few of these excellent resources below. As usual, leave me a comment about what you are learning! I’d love to chat with you!

Schools, businesses, churches… we all need to innovate!

  1. Why are Finland’s Schools so Successful? Had enough of standardized testing? Move to Finland!
  2. Four Ted talks to Help You Innovate Your Instruction: Four excellent Ted Talk on Innovation.
  3. Creating Innovators: Why America’s Education System is Obsolete: This is a must read! Why we must not teach the way we were taught.
  4. Innovation in Education: There is something for everybody here! I love this resource because this combo article/video gives actual examples of innovation.
Posted in Current Posts

Gritty Kids

What makes an excellent student?

A thought provoking question that requires a little thought. When I was in grade school, I thought I knew the DNA of an excellent student.

  1. They always finished their work before EVERYONE.
  2. They were fast.
  3. They got straight A’s. Always.
  4. Everything was easy for them.
  5. They NEVER made mistakes.
  6. They effortlessly completed science projects by themselves.

I saw these excellent super-students and I knew I wasn’t one of them. I slogged through my assignments, often the last one done. I wasn’t fast. I never ever received straight A’s. Work wasn’t easy for me—it required editing, rewriting and reflection. Repeat. Sigh.

Then I hit high school, which gave way to college and I witnessed a few of the super students crash and burn. What happened? All the promise. All the potential. Gone.

What were they missing? Some needed piece of knowledge or revolutionary learning method? Nope.

Struggle. Grit. Perseverance. Failure.

They never learned to struggle through hardship to find the elusive answer, hovering just beyond their fingertips. They never had to persevere through writers block or brain cramps. Most importantly, they never learned how to fail and how to get back up after failing and how to grit it out until they finally make it to the finish line worn ragged tired proud.

What makes an excellent student?

Worried parents often ask.

My child struggles. My son has to work hard. My daughter asks so many questions.

Good. They will make it. They are learning what it takes to thrive in real life. So stop trying to make it easy for them. Teach them everyone doesn’t get a trophy. Quit going before your child solving every problem and protecting them from the hardship and struggle that will only serve to make them stronger. Quit using the four-letter “f” word—FAIR. Life is not fair, so teach your kids get up, get going and struggle on.

I’d rather my students be gritty than super smart.

What do you think? What makes an excellent student? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to chat with you!

By Mary Kane

all right reserved. copyright 2017.

Posted in Current Posts

Shhh! Don’t Tell! Inquiry-Based Learning

Step One:

Ok. Open your envelopes, sort your numbers and discover how the numbers relate to each other, I said to the 5th grade class. The envelopes contained slips of paper printed with two base numbers and their factors. The base numbers are underlined and each set is in a unique font. I was using inquiry-based learning method with my class.

“Inquirybased learning (also enquirybased learning in British English) starts by posing questions, problems or scenarios—rather than simply presenting established facts or portraying a smooth path to knowledge. The process is often assisted by a facilitator.” Wikipedia

Continue reading “Shhh! Don’t Tell! Inquiry-Based Learning”

Posted in Current Posts

21st Century Classroom

Seventeen years ago, we were preparing to enter the 21st century.

If you’re over 40 you probably remember stockpiling canned goods, bottled water and beef jerky, waiting  for the giant cyber crash, while hiding in your basement (something to do with 100101010 binary computer code stuff I think). It never happened. Continue reading “21st Century Classroom”

Posted in Current Posts

Are You CRA-CRA?

So I’m on day three of being sick and I’ve had tons of time to resear—I mean rest on the couch. While I’ve been resting, I’ve watched video three of Number Sense.  In video 3, Christina Tondevold is teaching about CRA method of presenting information.


Concrete: hands-on manipulatives to represent a number concept or situation such as three red discs and four green discs to make seven discs.

Representational: a drawing or a model made by the child of a number concept or situation such as students draw three red balloons and four blue balloons to make seven balloons.

Abstract: symbols only such as 3 + 4 = 7

So what’s so CRA-CRA about this concept? We’ve been doing this for years, right? The CRA-CRA part is: we need to do these three concepts all at once, all together. Continue reading “Are You CRA-CRA?”

Posted in Current Posts

10 Frames and Rekenreks!

This old teacher loves to learn new tricks!

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I was talking to a colleague. What else do teachers do on a day-off from school but call each other and talk about school? We were discussing a groundbreaking math webinar on numeracy concepts  to which we both had  just listened.

Between the two of us we have over 45 years of teaching experience. We know all there is to know about teaching math, right?  Wrong!

So what keeps us new? What keeps us fresh? The drive to learn and know and learn some more. Watch on Sunday and we’re trying it on Monday! That’s what I’m talking about. Fearless. In your face kind of teaching.That’s where Christiana comes in.

I don’t know how I discovered Christina Tondevold,

but I am sure it was a God thing. She is going to leave her mark  on this present educational era. Every teacher, administrator, parent, grandparent, teacher’s aid etc. needs to watch Christina’s video series on number sense.

Please click on the link below and view session 1,

4 Early Numeracy Concepts. You just may figure our why, at age 47, you’re still counting on your fingers ; ) ! Me too.

Click on the live blue link below to access the video (the pic is just a screen shot). Don’t forget to leave me comment in the reply section below. I know you will have a lot to say when video is finished!

Video 1: 4 Early Numeracy Conceptsscreenshot-2017-01-16-16-11-23

Thanks for checking in today! Go order your Rekenreks!

By Mary Kay Kane

All rights reserved. copyright 2017

Posted in Resources

The Cult of Pedagogy

Ignore the name.

This website is one of my favs for current educational best practices. Jennifer covers everything from reading strategies, 21st century methods,  back to school activities, to latest trends in education. She will challenge you and open your eyes to what’s tried and true and new and good.

Here’s  the link to Jennifer’s amazing website:

The Cult of Pedagogy

Let me get you started with a Youtube vid on one of my favorite practices: Inductive Learning.

As always, I’d love to chat with you, so leave me a message down in the reply section!

By Mary Kay Kane