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Book Review: “Who Moved My Standards”

Meghan Keates | Greater New York

What’s more memorable than a great story? I can still remember being read to as a child – entranced by the illustrations and entertaining plot. I’d sit quietly and listen, eagerly anticipating every flip of a page until I reached the very end. Perhaps this memory is why I couldn’t put down Michael Toth’s latest book, Who Moved My Standards?

The book takes a playful approach, delivering valuable insight into professional development practices for teachers through the lens of a fable. This growth is incredibly valuable for educators that are faced with rigorous new standards in schools for the modern classroom.

Toth begins by painting the story of young squirrels and blue jays faced with a major obstacle: they must learn to fly to a faraway nut tree. It’s a task that has never been successfully accomplished before, and the flight instructors don’t feel equipped to teach their students.

Sound familiar?

After a series of trials and errors, the teachers finally learn that the only way to help their students is to provide them with the tools they need to complete the task themselves.

While short, the book is both powerful and empowering for those who may be hesitant to embrace or discouraged by new state standards. I’m certain that your confidence will be restored by the time you reach the last page.


New world, new standards 

Whether we like it or not, the world is changing, and it’s critical that teachers properly prepare their students. Employers are looking for leaders, creative thinkers, dynamic workers, and problem solvers. Educators all have the same end goal: to help their students. New standards are not to make your life difficult (although they may challenge you…), they’re to properly prepare students so one day their lives are easier.

Hold students accountable 

I especially liked how Michael Toth discusses the concept of holding students accountable for their own learning. Don’t just put your students in groups; teach them how to work as a team. Allow your students to lead conversations in the classroom. Let them help one another if questions arise. You’d be surprised how your class will transform.

It’s okay to ask for help 

One of the many things I appreciate about Toth’s book is the SOAR Rubric. He not only provides teachers with an entertaining story but also includes a rubric, so they’re not tackling rigorous new standards alone. Consider it to be your new pocket guide!

There is a middle ground 

In Who Moved My Standards? Toth explains the difference between an old economy classroom and a new economy classroom. But for some, the transition may be tough. There is a middle ground to ease the transition into a new economy classroom; Toth calls it “Student-Centered Learning.” Teachers can use this stepping stone to gradually give responsibility to their students.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Try, try again.

This post includes mentions of a partner of MindRocket Media Group the parent company of edCircuit


To purchase Who Moved My Standards? Visit Learning Sciences International

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