A Feather in Our Cap

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 1.17.29 PMI just got a call from the Small Business Consulting Program at Columbia Business School. They have accepted our application for Total Learning Digital, to create a 3 year plan for growth! I’m so excited because we are not business women, but need to be responsible about growing the business. Why? Because it’s what’s right for kids. Allison and I will keep you posted on what we learn!

H.R. 3983

US Representative Jim Himes introduced H.R. 3983 in the House of Representatives on February 3, 2014. This bill would “establish a competitive grant program assisting the development of innovative early learning curricula for low income children.” Total Learning is cited as a model successful program, and the components of Bridgeport’s Total Learning Initiative are outlined within the bill. Click on the link below to read the bill.

We salute Congressman Himes for his insight and courage in putting this bill forth, and encourage our colleagues to support this bill. Write to your Congressional representative and ask her or him to support H.R. 3983. If they have already signed on, thank them!!! It has the potential to serve many, many teachers and children across the United States!

The Total Learning Act, H. R. 3983


I’m working on the lesson prep for Visual Lesson 1 all about line; so I’m thinking about lines and their literal and figurative relationship to us and to learning. There are the obvious ideas that come to mind: straight, curved, zig-zag, scalloped, thick, thin, long, short, horizontal, diagonal, vertical, dotted, dashed, pointed, doodle lines, outline, . Then there are metaphoric lines: fine line, blurred lines, between the line, line of defense, phone line, pick-up line, waiting on line, reciting the lines, clothes line, palm lines, whose line is it anyway?

These two quotes caught my eye and imagination:
“Nature creates curved lines while humans create straight lines.”
― Hideki Yukawa
“The best listeners listen between the lines.”
― Nina Malkin, Swoon

Line is an underlying concept in my every day actions and thought: hem line, persuasive line, curriculum development links and connections, phone line (Skype line), relationships, fiscal and time lines, doodling lines, imaginative connections.

Attached is an article on doodling – interesting!

Using Sketchbooks to Doodle during Class

How do you use line in your instruction? In literacy, in math, in science, in music, in art, in movement and dance, in sports, in aligning your curriculum and assessment, in your relationships with others, in engaging ways to get your students from one place to another?

Just thinkin’ . . .

thinking about line - what can line represent?
. . .what can line represent?  How can I use line in my teaching?   What journey can I take using line? 


Teacher Sharing

Rebecca (Becky Ventura), Dearborn music educator, is notoriously kind, smart and generous. So it’s not surprising that she would share her Total Learning Digital experiences with her colleagues. Becky did a workshop in late January for the staff, and here she is in action! Her workshop notes are attached. Perhaps Becky will inspire you to think about sharing your experiences with Total Learning with others in your school, social networks, or professional organizations.

Total Learning for the Music Classroom

Becky Ventura shares Total Learning activities at a workshop in Dearborn, MI.

Becky Ventura shares Total Learning activities at a workshop in Dearborn, MI.


Total Learning with CLASS!

We used to be SO frustrated that Total Learning’s success was measured only by test scores. Then our evaluators found CLASS: the Classroom Assessment Scoring System. CLASS provides evidence-based characteristics of effective teacher-student interactions and classroom structures. These interactions and structures lead to excellent instruction, and, yes, student achievement.
Since our evaluators are using the CLASS observation, it seems only fair to share the components of this tool with you.

Attached are a few items to review, and then let’s discuss them.  Schedule a videochat if you’d like!

  • The butterfly image is an overview of the correlation.
  • Below the butterfly is a link to an article:  CLASS-Total Learning Narrative that describes the correlation between the two.
  • Finally there are three charts, each with the descriptors for one CLASS domain. As you read through the INDICATORS, think, “What would someone see, hear and feel in my classroom?” As you read through the BEHAVIORAL MARKERS, find one or more that you’d like more information about.

Notice that these documents are confidential – just for us right now. If we like them, we’ll ask for permission to share them more widely.

CLASS-Total Learning Correlation


CLASS I - Emotional Support CLASS II - Classroom OrganizationCLASS III - Instructional Support