Christopher Lehman is an international speaker, education consultant and author/co-author of several popular books: Pathways to the Common Core withLucy Calkins and Mary Ehrenworth; Energize Research Reading and Writing; A Quick Guide to Reviving Disengaged Writers; and Falling In Love With Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts-And Life with Kate Roberts. His articles have appeared in many publications and popular blogs including Voices in the Middle, SmartBrief and EdWeek.
Chris has been a middle-school teacher; a high-school teacher; a literacy coach; and, for seven years, a staff developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. He now works with schools around the world as a consultant and frequent keynote speaker, supporting educators, coaches, and administrators in developing rigorous and passionate literacy instruction across content areas. His unwavering belief that every child can succeed drives his practical, research-driven and engaging work in schools throughout the world.
A graduate of UW-Madison, he went on to receive his M.A. in Teaching at NYU and his Ed.M. in Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Chris' scholarly interests include child and adolescent literacy, school leadership, and the implications of standards and testing on instruction.
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Scott Laidlaw is a math teacher-turned-game designer.
With 14 years of in-classroom teaching experience at the elementary, secondary and university levels, since earning his doctoral degree from the University of Northern Colorado, Scott has focused his research and development on how students learn mathematics through the imagination.
Scott began teaching math at a middle school where fewer than 28% of his students were proficient in math. Inspired by Sky Mall's World's Largest Write-on Map, Scott developed a math game based on the spice trade in the 1600s. Encouraged by his students' popular refrain, "do we get to play the game today?" he developed seven story-based, in-classroom math games with historical fiction themes that became the focal point of his classroom curriculum, and which also led to a remarkable 80% gain in proficiency over four years.
One of the most popular games, Ko, as it was originally called, was written over the summer in an amazing region of the Andes amidst 20,000 feet peaks and played with stone totems on hand-painted deer hides. Five years later in 2010, with students still recalling how they had learned the Cartesian Coordinate system from Luna of the Night Sky, Scott released Ko's Journey to software, winning a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to disseminate nation-wide.
Scott strives to support educators by offering products and professional development that model transformation in the underlying pedagogy of student classrooms including:
- Teaching math in a relevant and meaningful way in which the math makes sense in context
- Using intrinsic motivators rather then extrinsic motivators and rewards
- Focusing on deeper learning instead of memorization and conceptual over functional understanding
- Incorporating the power of narrative and pretend play into math curriculum
- Working directly with Common Core State Standards and redirecting textbook - use as a "resource"
- Applying the Common Core Standards of Mathematical Practices to classroom protocols
- Encouraging teachers to create their own content promoting autonomy, mastery and purpose as professionals
- Constructing math problems that promote student curiosity and thinking without stand and deliver instruction
- Ko's Journey - the first story-based online math game - www.kosjourney.com
- The Biggest Story Problem - the first feature length documentary about the US math crisis Documentary Website
- MidSchoolMath - Santa Fe - the first district curriculum built from within Youtube Video
- MidSchoolMath National Conference - the first conference focused on middle school math - Conference Website
- Empires - the first socially networked pre-algebra game (in development)