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Creating Scaffolded Explanations for Tough Concepts (plus an AI cheat!)

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When teachers aim to make learning more accessible, they often find themselves having to explain ideas and new terms in a way that connects with students. The goal is not to simplify the content but to help students understand complex concepts by gradually moving from everyday language to academic terminology. This thoughtful approach prioritizes depth, over simplicity ensuring that students fully grasp basic concepts before diving into complex topics.   It’s more of an art than a science to transform academic ideas into something concrete and accessible. What does that look like for you? Recently, I was exploring ways to help younger students understand the concept of volume. I’ve completed this task many times over the years and it can sometimes pose a challenge or require extra work. This time, I had the idea of using AI AI to “explain volume in simple words” (or my favorite cheat, ask AI to “ELI5: volume” (Explain it Like I’m 5: volume)). Customized explanations bridge the gap betw

Committing to Change

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Committing to Change   “True professional development begins not with learning, but with a commitment to transform learning into doing.”   Let’s delve into the realm of learning (PL) for educators. I'm fully onboard with shaking things up a bit through what I like to term “Commitment-driven Professional Learning.” You know the outside consultant drill; some experts come in do their thing and leave without any real impact. In this model, I say that outside consultants tend to, “Blow in. Blow off. Blow out.” Not a lot changes. If we're not going to apply what we've learned to make improvements, why spend the time and money? It's essential to reframe PL not as an exercise in learning, but as a system for effecting change. Whether it involves altering perspectives, behaviors or teaching methods the key is to commit to that change. Then see it through. In my professional development (PL) sessions, I champion a three-step cycle for learners: 1) Learn and Experience, 2) Imple