About April Luehmann

Preparing to be Agents of Change!

Where we learn

You’re in 8thgrade and you walk into math class. As you sit down, the teacher is handing back graded tests. You’re pretty confident that you did well. When the teacher hands back your test though, you’re shocked to see that you have red marks all over the short answer questions that read “Write answer, but you didn’t do it the right way”. In your head you think, “What is the right way and why does it matter? I figured it out my own way, AND I got the right answer!”


Daily Mail

Authentic learning

Elizabeth brought up a story just like this […]

GRS Team – New Year, New Goals – Let’s Share Our Voice

Hi GRS Colleagues –

For many reasons, this new year calls us to have a more pronounced and intentional voice in our professional community and community at large.

I am hoping this blog will be the home for many thought-provoking and action-driving posts, a strong resource for all those who are working to make science education meaningful, accessible, equitable, effective and fun – for ALL learners!!

30 days of Blogging – Let’s make having and sharing our voice our routine – our new habit!!

And, while we are talking, check out this awesome collection of resources related to science education and the NGSS.  What an […]

Rural Schools: Realizing and Reflecting on Resources

Last Monday my cohort and I had the pleasure of visiting a local K-12 school in a rural NY town. During our daylong visit, we met with administrators, school teachers and students and soon learned of the school’s lack of funds. Despite being financially strained, we observed effective uses of the school’s resources, both the indoor and outdoor ones. For the indoor resources, those that reside within the classroom, we watched how two science educators implemented the resource of technology to enhance student learning. The sixth grade teacher shared how technology supported students’ innovative experiments. In their sustainable trout […]

Blogging to Get Real!

“Get Real!”

What do we mean when we use that phrase?  Say what you really mean?  Focus on things that really matter? Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk?  Blogging offers us a practice, community and format for doing just that as reform-minded science teachers committed to social justice.  Blogging is a space that invites us to connect our personal, more everyday sides of us with our more professional selves.  Blogging connects us to communities that aren’t limited by time or geography.  The audience of blogging holds us accountable to be careful, trustworthy and responsible with what we say.

Participating in the […]

“Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) – What will the new rules be?

Last December, Congress passed Every Student Succeeds Act, a law intended to replace the destructive NCLB with respect to accountability practices for K-12 schools.  This law changes the rules of the game we will need to follow.  Check out this article just posted on the Washington Post that explores how the rules might change with respect to:

 Students with severe disabilities
Testing throughout the year (imagine better assessments like portfolios!!!) instead of one big one at the end
Use of National assessments like ACT and SAT to replace (and thereby) reduce the amount of testing
Testing in languages other than English spoken […]

The World We Want to Live In

GRS 2016-17 will be such an important year in GRS and Science STARS – together we will explore issues related to the cross-cutting theme of Energy.  In addition to being a scientifically powerful concept that cuts across the disciplines, considering issues related to climate change and adaptations with the lens of energy is an issue of national importance – even urgency.  How might our inquiry storylines around energy connect our disciplinary passions and that of our youth in ways that we come back together to consider “The World We Want to Live In” (theme inspired, borrowed from the White House call for student […]

The story we choose to tell

Every day, a million times a day, we have the opportunity to construct stories of the events of our day… starring the characters of those we live life side by side. We get to decide if we cast them as heroes or villains. We get to decide if we celebrate or judge them. We get to frame – and therefore impact – their real, life reality.

When asked without much time to consider, this is the story Mike Calzi decided to construct:


  And that positive story about our students at East is what people who read yesterday’s Democrat & Chronicle […]

By |November 17th, 2015|Events|0 Comments

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We started our class at 5:30 pm in a room of East High School first time. It was a good experience.

We all were a bit tired after the stars expo at east high but we started our class with fresh minds and participated well. We all were actually happy of having a great and successful stars expo. In starting of the class April asked us to write about Pluses and Arrows for the stars. Everyone shared the ideas that they learned and the experiences in stars expo.

After that April showed us the agenda of class.

Then I started my circle. […]

Scholars – Let’s brainstorm possible foci for research & practice briefs

Hey Scholars –

Fo your second project, you will be choosing an aspect of practice to think deeply about, research, find related resources and advocate for thoughtful implementation  – especially with respect to the way these considerations relate to social justice.

Let’s use the comments on this blog post to brainstorm possibilities – Here is one option to kick start the conversation:

Room Arrangement – what does it communicate and foster with respect to a learning community? Who has access to the materials and when?  Here are two valuable resources to inspire deeper thinking about the matter:



Another incredibly valuable resource is Jo Ann Morreale, […]

By |September 6th, 2015|Scholars|2 Comments

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People first and foremost

EDU434 class1 – Getting started

Blogging our weekly class blog involves some scribing (documenting what happened) and some interpretation (as author of the blog post, sharing my own interpretations and takes) as well as some teaching, questioning and resource sharing to support the community in our collective work.

Okay… here goes (note: I’m going to author the post before creating a title, so my title can represent a core idea that I write about)

The goals of the course include:

Developing a deep theoretical understanding of how people learn science in order to….
Unpack what it means to teach students science in effective, student-centered […]

Recognition work


We are all becoming… every day.  Becoming a science education professor.  Becoming a reform-minded science teacher committed to social justice.  Becoming a grounded person who loves life and can take things in stride.

This becoming happens as we do stuff – like all the stuff you all did for camp.  Jumping up and down and losing your voice (even when you were exhausted), preparing written spaces for student authoring, talking one-on-one with a camper, conspiring with each other to pull off a surprise, taking risks, organizing materials, explaining pH…  You did SO much this week!!! This month!!

And first, I want […]

Please pardon the interruption…

When you run a STARS lab group this fall, you and they will have your own personal investigative focus…  I just came across one possibility for you to consider for your lab group.

This was posted on NSTA’s website: Bright Schools Competition – a study of light and sleep. Projects due by Jan 29 (nice timing for us.)

The Bright Schools Competition is a contest designed to help educate middle school students on the connections between light and sleep and how they affect student health and performance. Students will be asked to explore the correlation between light and sleep using scientific inquiry or […]