High School = Negative Emotions

“Overall,” said co-author Marc Brackett, “students see school as a place where they experience negative emotions.”

Ask a high school student how he or she typically feels at school, and the answer you’ll likely hear is “tired,” closely followed by “stressed” and “bored.”

In a nationwide survey of 21,678 U.S. high school students, researchers from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Yale Child Study Center found that nearly 75% of the students’ self-reported feelings related to school were negative.

The study, which appeared in the January edition of the Journal of Learning and Instruction, also involved a second, “experience sampling” study in which 472 high school students in Connecticut reported their feelings at distinct moments throughout the school day. These momentary assessments told the same story: High school students reported negative feelings 60% of the time.

It was higher than we expected,” said co-author and research scientist Zorana Ivcevic.  “We know from talking to students that they are feeling tired, stressed, and bored, but were surprised by how overwhelming it was.”





About Grading from TeenVogue



In one study, Butler looked at the effects of three types of feedback — comments only, comments and scores, and scores only — on student improvement, according to the book Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan William. Her results indicated that the students who received comments on their work performed 30% better in a subsequent lesson. Those who received either scores or a combination of scores and comments showed comparably little improvement.



Learning Forward Kansas


Why PBL?

All this talk about Project-based Learning (PBL) got us thinking . . . Why pursue inquiry-based instruction if students might learn less content than when taught in a conventional way?

We contend that any content that students address is readily available with any internet search engine. Any and all content can be “Googled”, thus, it may not have the same urgency of mastery as the element of inquiry-based instruction that teaches the most relevant processing skills for the deep understanding needed for complex problem solving. While the content is often the focus of inspiration, igniting student motivation, and, as stated earlier, an explicit focus on the process skills of inquiry learning must also take center stage, because this model puts the responsibility for learning squarely on students’ shoulders. They must know how to generate, organize, analyze, infer, and draw conclusions well, if they are to become experts in the problem-based learning curriculum of 21st century learning and living.

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The book Everyday Problem-based learning: Quick Projects to Build Problem Solving Fluency focuses on the everyday classroom application of inquiry-based learning and it provides a pathway for teachers to incorporate the essential elements of inquiry-based learning within the parameters of a single class period or an individual lesson.

First, a question for the reader: What is inquiry-based instruction? The term is used throughout the book to refer to any instruction that has the following elements: an essential or a driving question, open-ended solutions, and learning challenges that students encounter as they try to solve complex problems.

Traditional models of instruction assume that students must master content before applying what they’ve learned to solve a problem. Problem- based learning (PBL) reverses that order and assumes that students will master content while solving a meaningful problem. The problem to be solved should be engaging, and at the same time, it should address the curricular issues required by the curriculum.

The problem provides the purpose for learning the content, and the content becomes the vehicle that carries valued life skills. Both content and process are on equal ground as students learn such rigorous skills as thinking, organizing, collaborating, and communicating across various disciplinary areas.

Interested in learning more about Everyday Problem-based learning: Quick Projects to Build Problem Solving Fluency? Give it a go!

Raise Math Scores with Math Fact Fluency

  BlueStreak Math for Fact Fluency

 What You See is What You Get!

BlueStreak Math reigns supreme across the math fact fluency applications. Period. Addition. Subtraction.Multiplication. Division. Equations. English/Spanish. Individual/Multi-player -Competitive/Collaborative Facts/ Games. Administrator/Teacher/Parent/Student Disaggravated Data Records/ Reports.Licensing /All Gr 3-9/ Selected Population/ After School /Middle/Summer/Renewals. Constant and Continual Innovations to BlueStreak Math App part of its DNA. Presentation/ Demonstration/ On line. Tutorial/Training,Help Line.

BLUESTREAK MATH: Transforming digital games of ENTERTAINMENT to digital games of EDUTAINMENT: BlueStreak Math Fact Fluency: See It!  Hear It! Say It! Type It! Solve It! is personalized and adaptive math fact lessons for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, (and equations) using deliberate practice rounds balanced by recovery game rounds.

Deliberate Practice-Extrapolated from Unlocking Student Talent: The New Science of Developing Expertise Practice offers an unusual commentary that actually, and gently, contradicts much of what we know about, motivation, practice and coaching. Practice, as we know it has morphed into a highly engineered skill, not that similar to the skill and drill we have learned and practiced and dreaded over the years. In this emerging picture, practice has specifically described protocols.

BLUESTREAK MATH……Epitomizes the Elements of  Deliberate Practice ProtocolsEricsson and Pool in Peak, 2016.

REPS:Deliberate practice reps are engineered with multiple iterations, finely honed adjustments to produce continued, well-designed and highly personalized progressions.

BLUESTREAK MATHProgrammed with Adaptive Progressions for Math Facts Fluency

RESISTANCE:Resistance and results refer to working at the edge of one’s ability and skill level. It’s about practicing what one does not do well, with extreme concentration and guidance with accurate and actionable feedback.

BLUESTREAK MATH...Ability to Regulate Level / Speed of Facts Practic/Game Round

RESULTS: are necessary and eagerly sought because of the intensity of this kind of deliberate, highly monitored practice, often performed in slow-motion, with attention on the form and the function to detect whether or not the intended results are evidenced.

BLUESTREAK MATH...Immediate Results with Scoring Facts & Games with Digital Records

RECOVERYRecovery, instead of “more is better,” is the protocol in deliberate practice. The intensity that accompanies carefully engineered iterations must be followed with a recovery period. While the practices are deliberately brief, the recovery benefits are needed.

BLUESTREAK MATH...Intense, Personalized Fact Practice , then, Recovery with Adaptive Digital Games

RESIDUAL:Residuals are the mental models that develop in the brain as the myelin continually wraps around the axon of the neurons, creating a “superhighway” of strength and speed for automaticity. That’s how the learner continues to find the “math fact” in the blink of an eye.

BLUESTREAK MATHMyelin Neurological Development with Use, adaptive Iterations, Strengthened with Time

REACH & REPEAT:  The practice of “deliberate practice”, personally programed and constantly monitored, embraces this effective routine called “reach and repeat”. The stretching, reaching, and effort is to surpass the previous record, determined to “create a personal best” attitude with each attempt.

BLUESTREAK MATHReach & Repeat for next level, compelling in digital gaming format.

BlueStreak Math: Math Fact Fluency (Its all about digital practice with deliberate practice protocols.

 RFA PD Personalized Learning: Voice, Choice Challenge  800.213.9246  Brian 312.203.5919 cell
Book: Unlocking Student Talent: The New Science of Developing Expertise- (It’s All about Deliberate Practice Protocols)-    Fogarty, Kerns, Pete. 2018


Preparing Students for the Test of Life B Pete and R Fogarty


PBL-Problem-Based Learning is more than just projects. PBL experiences are standards-based, with rigorous thinking skills, and rich literacy skills threaded through the models allowing student learning to reaches far beyond the classroom experience and into real world applications.

Grounded in the work of David Perkins at Harvard’s Project Zero, the concepts of Making Learning Whole(Perkin’s, 2014), each PBL experience presents a complete PBL cycle, just as problem solving in life runs the course from questioning, analyzing, synthesizing, generating alternatives and selecting the best option. In addition, true PBL work involves that good ole, highly touted, trait called American ingenuity. At the same time, PBL life lessons tap into that very nature of the enterprising entrepreneur, again often attributed, rightly or wrongly to Americans.

The centerpiece of inquiry learning includes a mosaic of adventures: exploration, investigation, experimentation, and evidence-based learning. Yet, when coupled with talent, ignited by motivation, skillful with deliberate practices and guided with master coaching, the process (Colye, 2009) lays the groundwork for building necessary expertise as self-initiating, self-directed and self-assessing young leaders. In brief, PBL naturally, manifests itself in authentic, real world learnings that serve our youngsters well as they prepare, not just for “the” test, but rather for a far richer set of outcomes. Students grappling with genuine PBL inquiries are, in essence, preparing for the test of life.

Google Hires

According to Google Hires, (Friedman, 2014), there is an evolving set of intangibles that are rising in the profiles of “most desired employees”. And these are the very same values that drive student learning in PBL classrooms. Included in this listing, are skills that resemble the former skills of authentic leadership, peer collaboration, productive problem-solving and sound decision-making, yet the tone and tenor of these “Google Hire” skills take on a subtle, but substantive collage of behavioral capabilities.

Along with enormous office spaces, often in renovated industrial spaces, seldom separated by high or low dividers, featuring ping pong tables, pool tables, kitchen facilities and wrap around couches, the emergent 21stCentury work space is not the only dramatic changes on the scene. The qualities of top candidates have been remodeled too. Among the attributes that stand out are five behaviors that seem to define the kind of young people selected for the team.

 To best describe these five desired dispositions, character traits or habits of mind, the concepts of spontaneouslystepping up,or stepping in, stepping in the middle of, or stepping asideor even, stepping it upare subsets of desired behaviors evidenced as the new qualifiers for the top candidates for the millennial workplaces today.

Step Up to the Plate (Emergent Leadership)

Rather than simply seeking the perennial class President, the emergent leader, the surprising rising star, that top firms are noticing, are the kids in PBL scenarios, who step upto the plate when there is an obvious need for someone to take charge. They intuitively know when a leader is needed to keep things moving along. They may be the ones who get the necessary supplies, or ask permission for the group to move locations beyond the eyes and ears of the authority figure, as they proceed with their plan. They are risk-takers, problem-solvers and congenial human beings who have that knack or charisma to push the envelope and take the lead.

Step In and Do What Needs to Be Done  (General Cognitive Ability)

It’s no longer the brightest student or highest achiever coveted for the top jobs, but rather the pragmatic peer who can synthesize disparate bits of information and make perfect sense of it in the heat of the action. These individuals spontaneously step inwhen they have a sense of the solution or the key to puzzling circumstances. They are in it, lock, stock and barrel and will go to great ends to make things happen in order to reach that end goal. These are the “doers” who take full and responsibility of the situation and the team can be sure that the one that magnanimously steps in, will not stop until it is done. These team members are selfless and really have the greater good of the group in mind.

Step Into the Middle as an Early Adapter (Sense of Ownership)

Conventional wisdom honors the ones who take full ownership of the problem at hand. In fact, this is one of the traits teachers often look for as students take on more and more responsibility in the PBL classroom inquiries. This is the person who is an early adaptor, jumps in full on from the beginning, and owns the problem. This person exhibits this personal investment and a sense of obligation to see the thing through to fruition. This kind of commitment can be learned. In fact this is a monumental skill developed with ongoing PBL scenarios. Students genuinely adopt the viewpoint of their stakeholder role, and there is no end to the effort, ingenuity and creative problem solving they will do to represent that particular point of view. Owning the problem is how students wrap themselves in true responsibility and do whatever it takes to make things happen in the most beneficial ways possible from their accepted perspective.

Step Aside and Honor the Talents of Others (Intellectual Humility)

The one who can step aside, who has the intellectual humility to realize he does not have all or the only answer to a problem, is a rare breed. Even the kids in the early grades have total tunnel vision when they contribute a word to the Word Wall. They want to see THEIR word and they don’t especially care about anyone else’s word. Yet, in PBL situations, the ability to honor others’ opinions and ideas, to see that each member as a valued, contributing member. These members understand that the mix of talents and abilities serve the means to an end. Projects often will exceed all expectations for creative innovation-fluency, flexibility, elaboration and uniqueness as each member of the team contributes her talents to that final effort.

Step It Up with a Natural Curiosity to want to Know (Innately Curious)

Curiosity is the natural born gift of our youngest members of society. They wonder why, ask about how, think about when and what and where. Their questions are endless, and deep, with complexity inherent in the real and full answer. But that is not what they need at that point in time. Yet, if we must somehow learn to foster, to cultivate to tend to the curious notions that pepper the day, if we are to instill that curiosity as a positive and desired trait to develop and grow. Those who possess no curiosity or have somehow learned to bury it deep inside their quest for good grades and compliance, are missing the “oomph” that generates ingenious enterprises from these original thinkers; these “screenage” developers of the latest and greatest apps; the inventors, writers, comedians and technicians with their constant flow of surprises that cause chaos and comedic moments, as well as groundbreaking applications that change our world daily. Curiosity is not the bother we sometimes relegate it as, but definitely, a highly desired trait. We must find ways to appreciate, coach and foster that trait; keep it well, alive and thriving. It’s our future and PBL plays a huge role in preserving this wonderful element of the intellect.

Stepping into the future requires these remarkable young minds, that standout not for their ability to conform and comply, but for their abilities to stand out and be different; to know they have something worthwhile to offer in a world of unknown challenges.



Byant, A. (June 19, 2013) Corner Office: Laszlo Bock In Head-Hunting, Big Data May Not Be Such a Big Deal. New York Times

Coyle, D. (2009).The Talent Code: Greatness is Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. New York: Bantom Dell: A Division of Books Random House

Friedman, T. (February. 22, 2014). How to Get a Job at Google Hint: Getting hired is not about your G.P.A. It’s about what you can do and what you know.

Perkins, D. (2009) Teaching for Wholeness

The Gift of Metacognition

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In Press-Released in June 2018 robinfogarty.com


We have a gift for your teachers that has value

far beyond the session with us. It is the gift that

keeps on giving; that prepares students for the test of life.

There is no gift as precious as the gift of metacognition.

Test of Life PD Description

Teaching kids…to think about their think, to learn about

their learning,  and learn how to understand how they

can solve their own problems.


In short, give teachers the greatest gift of all;

the gift of knowing what to do, when they don’t know what to do.

At RFAteachPD, we are experts on the thinking-side of schooling,

not so much on the right answer-side of getting by.


Invite us to spend professional learning time with your teachers, and

the tone, tenor and temperament of classroom instruction will take

a turn. Students become engaged and empowered bout their own learning,

through the reflective thinking.


Metacognition is beyond the cognitive. It allows students to step back

and think about what they are going, how it’s going and what to do next.

Yes, this day of classroom reflections with your teachers…taps into

the neglected skill of reflection, mindfulness for student success.


Thinking about thinking is the magic of the message we share,

along with the strategies that ring true as students develop a sense of

self agency…as they learn how to manage their learning and start using the

quick-win strategies to rigorously think through their own challenges.


About the book: Metacognition: The Neglected Skill Set for Empowering Students

How do we prepare youngsters for the test of life? We teach them how to learn when they are not being taught. In other words, we give them the gift of self-reflection, self-awareness, self-initiative, self-direction, self-assessment and self-regulation . . . as well as the gift of knowing when they know and when they don’t know.

Teachers Love the 30 Ready-to-use Strategies

Written with the teachers in mind. It is by far, more practical than theoretical, but most definitely grounded in research findings and connected to emergent data. With the 30 ready-to-use strategies in this book, teachers are introduced to or reminded of,  the metacognitive strategies that deepen learning through explicit reflection for student planning, monitoring and evaluating their work.

Students Love the Magic of Metacognition

At the same time, as students learn how to “think about their own thinking,” they become more aware and thus, better able to make the needed adjustments on their own. They gain a sense of ownership and teachers get the results they count on through student empowerment. Metacognition is like magic for 21st Century classrooms. It changes student behaviors before your eyes and enhances their journey for success.

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