About Michael Chellman

Michael is an award-winning teacher at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland. He has 30 years of experience with both middle and high school students. He founded ClassWise in 1996.
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Michael has written 116 articles so far, you can find them below.

4 Grading Practices to Avoid

by Thomas R. Guskey, from Educational Leadership, Vol. 69:3 1. Avoid Using Grades to Differentiate Students This is one of our oldest traditions in grading. It comes from the belief that grades should differentiate students on the basis of demonstrated talent. Students who show superior talent receive high grades; those who display lesser talent receive lower […]
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How to Be Creative

by Jonah Lehrer, from The Wall Street Journal, 3/12/12 Creativity can seem like magic. We look at people like Steve Jobs and Bob Dylan, and we conclude that they must possess supernatural powers denied to mere mortals like us, gifts that allow them to imagine what has never existed before. They’re “creative types.” We’re not. But […]
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Homework: An Unnecessary Evil?

by Alfie Kohn, from The Washington Post, 11/26/12 Let’s start by reviewing what we know from earlier investigations…. At the high school level, the research supporting homework hasn’t been particularly persuasive. There does seem to be a correlation between homework and standardized test scores, but a) it isn’t strong, meaning that homework doesn’t explain much of […]
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JK Rowling: The Benefits of Failure

from Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Address (Harvard Magazine) What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure…. At your age, in spite of a distinct lack of motivation at university, where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories and far too little time at lectures, I had […]
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The Boys at the Back

by Christina Hoff Sommers; from The New York Times, 2/2/13 Boys score as well or better than girls on most standardized tests, yet they are far less likely to get good grades, take advanced classes, or attend college. Why? A study in the Journal of Human Resources gives an important answer. Teachers of classes as early […]
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Why Tech Gimmicks Are Poor Teaching Tools

by Paul Barnwell; from Education Week I remember feeling like a rebellious trailblazer when I first asked my 8th grade students to take out their cell phones for a class activity [using Poll Everywhere, a Web texting service]. I was the cool teacher, seeing beyond anachronistic cell phone bans and bringing 21st-century learning into the […]
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Study Techniques: What Works, What Doesn’t [Part 3 of 3]

by John Dunlosky, Katherine Rawson, Elizabeth Marsh, Mitchell Nathan, & Daniel Willingham;  from Scientific American Mind, Sept/Oct 2013 [Michael’s Note: In the concluding segment of this landmark study, here are five techniques that proved inefficient, ineffective, or beneficial only for certain types of learning and for short periods of retention. Interestingly, two of the five are the […]
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Study Techniques: What Works, What Doesn’t [Part 2 of 3]

by John Dunlosky, Katherine Rawson, Elizabeth Marsh, Mitchell Nathan, & Daniel Willingham;  from Scientific American Mind, Sept/Oct 2013 [Michael’s Note: In Part One, two study methods were declared clear winners: 1. Self-testing, and 2. Distributed practice. Now, here are three techniques that can be effective but have not been evaluated sufficiently in real-world educational situations to […]
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Oral Expression: Grade It

by Kyle Redford; from Education Week The other day, my daughter complained that her 89.5 average in history class left her short of an A for the grading period. When I probed further, I discovered that her teacher does not assign a grade for oral contributions in class. Intelligent observations, connections, ideas, or questions in history […]
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Study Techniques: What Works, What Doesn’t [Part 1 of 3]

by John Dunlosky, Katherine Rawson, Elizabeth Marsh, Mitchell Nathan, & Daniel Willingham;  from Scientific American Mind, Sept/Oct 2013 Part 1: What Works Best Introduction Teachers today are not being told which learning techniques are supported by experimental evidence, and students are not being taught how to use the ones that work well. One potential reason […]
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