Happy 2016!

As the new year begins, one thing has become clear to me: 2016 will be a great year in education!

I'll tell you what I see:

  • A middle-school science teacher who challenged his students to become the scientists of the future. Using all kinds of devices in the classroom‚Äîcomputers, tablets, and cell phones‚Äîthe students researched science careers and the type of education and degree they need to become the scientist of their dreams. When I came back a little later during the class period, the students had selected a university and built the budget needed to get the necessary education. I know I met many future geneticists and geologists that day!
  • A third-grade teacher in a dual language classroom near the United States and Mexico border seamlessly taught her class in both English and Spanish. The students were reading a book about Toys and How They Work. Using some simple machines, the students drew plans to build their toy of the future. I can hardly wait to play with their new inventions!
  • A fifth-grade teacher completely changed how she taught math in her classroom from traditional lecture and worksheets to an interactive Guided Math classroom. She can't believe how much more engaged she is in teaching and her students are in learning.

These are just a tiny sampling of the countless amazing things I see in classroom visits around the country and the world. Everywhere I go I see incredible teachers who are daily making a difference in the lives of their students. I am awed and impressed by the creative, dynamic, and purposeful lessons and activities I see teachers using everywhere. I have no doubt that these teachers—teachers like you—are making the new year one of creativity and innovation for our students! As we all look ahead at the new year, it is the perfect time to reflect on the successes of the past and plan for the successes of the future. I, like many of you, start the year with resolutions. And while I make many of the traditional ones—be healthier, eat less sugar, worry less—this year I am adding the following, and I invite you to do the same:

  • Be engaged in every moment and love what I do.
  • Make a difference in someone's life.
  • Remember all the great things I do.
  • Be happy!

I wish you the best new year and am more excited than ever to hear about the successes in your classroom!