Essential to students' success in school and at work is their ability to think critically, ask questions, and seek solutions. Practicing higher order thinking skills like problem solving, application, synthesis, and evaluation is vital to students' intellectual growth.

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Let's start collaborating! I mean it. Let's put our collective brilliance together and develop outstanding curriculum. My good friend and colleague Jose Lucero and I have discussed the idea of forming a National Professional Learning Team (NPLT) for the past few years. It is an idea that we are both passionate about.

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I think we can all agree that students struggle to take useful notes. If we are honest, we probably struggled as kids, too. The greatest challenge for students is knowing what is important and how to make meaning from a text. Students who I have interviewed about note taking tend to have the same comment: "There are so many words on the page.

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One of my favorite word play activities is called Flip Boards. Students apply their knowledge of new vocabulary to answer questions about the words. Students enjoy this activity because it is interactive and allows them to experience new words in a non-threatening way. We play! We sometimes laugh. At the end of the activity, students have a better understanding of their vocabulary words.

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The warmth underneath my collar started to increase.  I could feel the heat rising like lifting the hood on an overworked idle car.  If there were a mirror in front of me, all I would have seen is a gush of red overtaking  my face.

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