Heather Wolpert-Gawron


Pannello blog

The Invisible Strategies of Teaching: #whatpeopledontsee

By on November 23, 2015

hen you walk onto a middle school campus and even into the rooms themselves, it can look like chaos. After all, middle schoolers are wired to be active and wired to be loud. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t learning

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Who Was I In Middle School? A Reflection + Free Downloadable

By on November 10, 2015

t times, seeing the diversity in my own students, I’ve wondered who I was when I was in middle school and what really drove my tween’s brain.  So I created a Tip 10 list of memories to help me reflect

Pannello blog

Boy Talk at Recess: Pokemon, Light Sabers, and Things That Go Boom!

By on October 11, 2015

y most recent post for The Huffington Post just went live.  It chronicles my embarrassment when my 9-year-old son chose his classroom’s parent-led art session to voice his recent interest in bloody talk.  It also chronicles my son’s frustration at

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DIY Project Based Learning for ELA and History

By on August 16, 2015

’m excited to announce that my new book, DIY Project Based Learning for ELA and History has arrived and is now available for purchase. The point of the book was to break down the process of PBL into day-by-day chunks


How to Host a Twitter Chat with your School Community

By on August 9, 2015

very year schools sit and brainstorm ways to communicate and engage its families. How will we reach out to parents? How will we gather information about their needs or give them a little insight in what we do as educators? A

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Lessons Students Can Learn From Mick Fanning vs. The Great White Shark

By on July 27, 2015

hat’s with shark videos? First it was the uniqueness of Left Shark in the Katy Perry halftime show. From him we learned to dance to your own groove, even in front of millions of people And now we have the

Courtesy of Marvel Studios and IMDB

Using Ant-Man In The Classroom

By on July 24, 2015

just watched Ant-Man with my 9 year-old, and we both walked away with a cinematic smile on our faces. For him, it was a movie of laughs and of just the right level of suspense. It didn’t have the darkness


The Full Interview with Dr. Spiros Michalakis

By on October 30, 2014

s part of my recent superhero PBL unit, I brought in Dr. Spiros Michalakis to talk to my students about research for their science-fiction based narratives.  Spiros is a Quantum Physicist who consulted on the new Marvel movie, Ant-man.  Sure,


Visual of my Edutopia post: “The Power of I Don’t Know”

By on October 29, 2014

recently wrote an post for Edutopia called “The Power of I Don’t Know.”  It focuses on our need as teachers to release being the information authority in the room and instead to hand over the reins to the students themselves. 

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Training Judges for a Speech Tournament: A Reflection on How Students (Even Adults) Learn

By on October 26, 2014

e just finished hosting our first quarter speech tournament on Friday night.  Our league, to our knowledge, is one of the largest middle school leagues in the country, and the coaches meet frequently to ensure that our tournaments run as


What is the Purpose of School?: Understanding Purpose Helps with Student Motivation (updated)

By on August 11, 2014

start my school year with a little blog post about what students think school is all about.  It begins a year-long conversation about purpose that I then refer to throughout the school year.  “What is the purpose of the digital


Organizing Google Drive For Your New School Year

By on July 25, 2014

I have drunk the Google Drive Kool-Aid.  I used it daily last year, and I am now a convert.  However, as a result of my recent condition that I’m calling Googlenthusiasm, my inbox and Drive are now ready for a


Having Any Nightmares About the Start of School Yet?

By on July 22, 2014

I posted the following on Facebook earlier today and got such a fun response, I just had to put it out there in a bigger way:   Had my first start-of-year-stress-dream last night. My collaborative tables had been replaced with


So You Think You Can Dance + Math = STEAM

By on June 9, 2014

I just wanted to share a quick classroom resource today that I stumbled on in my TiVO feed. I admit it, I’m a So You Think You Can Dance geek.  It’s always been a great show in terms of modeling

Cant becomes can. Motivation concept

Do You Remember the Moment When You First Learned “Grit?”

By on April 6, 2014

OK, so here’s my confession: I’m not so sure that grit can be taught.  I know, however, from experience, that it can be learned.   So I think it’s time we all had a frank conversation about the role of school

brain workout

Can you trick a student into thinking critically? Or is it just a trick?

By on March 18, 2014

So my students are currently taking a publisher’s online pilot test.  We are doing it for three reasons: 1. This gives the students practice for the SBAC online test.  The format of these practice tests is meant to mimic that

Big ‘Ol List of CUE Resources

Big ‘Ol List of CUE Resources

By on March 16, 2014

Hey all!  For those who saw me present at CUE in Palm Springs, here is the list of many of the resources I mentioned in my presentation, “From Pencils to Paperless: Developing a Blended Environment for Teens.”  You may have


Speech and Debate Secret Sauce: Building Community in Any Classroom

By on March 10, 2014

As I’ve recently written, I am the coach of a very successful and very large middle school speech & debate team.  It’s a huge job to coach all of these kids, but it’s amazingly rewarding.  It’s rewarding to know that

screaming kid

Let’s Talk About Speech, Baby: Speech & Debate and the Common Core

By on February 2, 2014

Besides being a Language Arts teacher, I am also a Speech and Debate coach.  I haven’t written about it too much, not for any reason other than I spend a lot of time geeking out over curriculum design in teaching


What do Jeff Wilhelm and Ashton Kutcher Have in Common? : Teaching for Character

By on December 23, 2013

Earlier this December, I attended the UCI Writing Project annual conference.  Every year, this conference douses a teacher in strategies to teach writing and literacy, and every year I come away with valuable methods and implementation goals.  This year, the