© 2017 by Merry Heart Educational Consultants, LLC. 

  • Grey Twitter Icon

March 2, 2018

According to Connie Malamed, “instructional design involves the process of identifying the performance, skills, knowledge, information and attitude gaps of a targeted audience and creating, selecting or suggesting learning experiences that close this gap, based on instructional theory and best practices from the field.” (Malamed, 2010) For those of us who are practitioners of the art of instruction, this is just part of what we do on a daily basis. Until recently, however, I had not given much thought to instructional design. It was enough to plan lessons for next week and hope for the best. Historically, the term “instructional design” has been reserved for eLearning courses and online instruction, but I believe it is time to bring the instructional design framework into our onsite classes.

There is a plethora of research and discussion regarding growth- and fixed-mindsets within education. Every education professional falls on the mindset continuum somewhere, and where we fall determi...

February 2, 2018

Federal legislation is often filled with new terminology that takes years to decipher and fully implement. The ESSA of 2015 is no different. While much remains unchanged from the previous iteration of ESEA, some of the terms leave us scratching our heads wondering what they mean and how to apply them. One such term is “well-rounded education.” I am delighted that we got rid of AYP (annual yearly progress) and some of the more onerous requirements of NCLB, but what exactly does a well-rounded education look like and how do we deliver it? If we are going to be successful in our implementation of this new mandate, we need more understanding of what it entails.

A Little History

The Elementary and Secondary Schools Act of 1965 (ESEA) was the first major federal foray into guiding the national education system. Before that time, individual states enacted laws pertaining to the education of their children with minimal federal oversight or intervention. There was little, if any, collaboration be...

January 6, 2018

“Time!” Talk to any teacher anywhere and ask them what they need more of, and nearly every one of them will say they need more time to accomplish everything they need to do. With such a premium placed on time, it is imperative that we plan well and not waste a moment. It goes without saying that things have changed a lot in our profession over time, but what really needs to change is how we view the time we’ve been allotted.

Recently, during a professional development session I was presenting, I mapped out a typical school day and academic year carefully examining the way we spend our time. While I was preparing for the session I stumbled upon some rather sobering data: the teachers at my school only have 4.25 hours per day for direct instruction! You are probably wondering how can that be true since the average student in America spends 7.5 hours in school each day. You see, that is the tricky part about time; we look at the whole rather than the individual parts. Once you take away lu...

August 29, 2017

                At first glance it may be difficult to see the connection between that student in your class who struggles to master a new math concept and the step stool you use in the kitchen you use to reach the top cabinet shelf. In my mind, the connection couldn’t be any clearer: you both need help to reach something that is currently out of reach. Every one of us struggles along the way, and every one of us must find a way to get past the difficulty. So why the ladder metaphor? Ladders are an everyday tool that folks use without a thought to climb to heights they cannot otherwise reach. Our students need ladders, too – metaphorically speaking.

                As a little boy, I was always fascinated when my dad would drag his ladder out to work on some project like fixing the roof or cutting limbs off trees. I was not allowed to climb the ladder due to safety concerns I am certain, but in my young mind it was because my parents didn’t want me to...

August 5, 2017

            In any given year, teachers generally have about 180 days, which is only 36 weeks or 1,260 hours, to teach the state adopted standards to their students. While the mandates of NCLB and threats of not meeting AYP may be gone from current ESSA legislation, teachers and school administrators continue to face a myriad of pressures to ensure levels of student achievement continue to rise. With such a limited amount of time and high stakes assessments looming, expert teachers must make crucial decisions as they design their instruction. Justifying the use of precious instructional time to play games in class seems untenable. Yet, research shows that using well-planned instructional games can extend learning opportunities, increase student engagement, and improve student achievement. The way I see it these research findings give educators everywhere permission to play.

            “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” This proverb has been around si...

July 31, 2017

        It has been said that a merry heart does good like a medicine, but what is a merry heart? The heart that I am referring to is more than the muscle inside your chest that is pumping blood throughout your body even as you are reading this. While that heart is vital to our physical well-being, it is our other “heart” that affects and impacts the lives of those around us. The heart, in this case, is often defined as the place where a person’s will, emotions, and desires reside. Those are pretty significant parts of who we are, and wouldn’t it be great if it were a happy place?

       I like to describe teaching as a “rewarding struggle” filled with many joys and trials, successes and failures. In my heart, I know that there is no other profession I would rather have. After thirty years in education, I have the joy of being able to reminisce and bring to mind all the students who have found a place in my heart. I can relive the exciting moments of discovery and breakth...

Please reload

Welcome to Merry Heart Consulting!
Never Miss a Post. 
Subscribe Now!

We can deliver new blog posts directly to your inbox! Sign up today!

Last Posts
Please reload

Our Mission

 If you want excellence, you must practice excellence!

We are educators committed to raising the standard of excellence in every classroom for every student. 

Merry Heart Educational Consultants offer an array of services for our customers including onsite professional development, parent meetings, model classroom instruction, and strategic planning. Contact us and let's plan your next event!

Check out these resources!

Fairmont, WV          |          info@merryheartconsulting.com          |          (304) 777-7327