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Ignite Your Students’ Curiosity and Enthusiasm for Learning: What the Research Says Works

Thursday, September 14, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Happy teacher and students

Presented by Bryan Goodwin, President and CEO, McREL International; and Jay Meadows, CEO, Exemplars
Moderated by Brendan Scribner, Director of Implementation and Success, Exemplars

Sponsored by Exemplars

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Humans are born to be curious, explore their environments, ask questions, investigate mysteries, and solve problems. So, why are so many students presenting as disengaged and reluctant learners? Research has begun to provide educators with tangible shifts that can be made in our classrooms to ignite students’ curiosity and enthusiasm for learning as well as improve learning outcomes.

Bryan Goodwin, CEO of McREL, and Jay Meadows, CEO of Exemplars, unpack some of this research and explore how educators can inspire curiosity and engagement in our classrooms. Goodwin also dives into his latest book, The New Classroom Instruction that Works, the sequel to the incredibly popular Classroom Instruction that Works.

These lifelong educators investigate ways to:

  • Spark student curiosity (with mystery, incongruities, puzzles, and controversy)
  • Give students a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) for their learning
  • Ask questions that get students to think about and make meaning in their learning (instead of just recalling their learning)
  • Engage students in writing to learn (processing what they’ve learned through cognitive writing)
  • Engage students in structured problem solving (connecting learning to the real world)

This recorded edWebinar is of interest to K-12 teachers and school and district leaders.

Bryan Goodwin

About the Presenters

Bryan Goodwin is President and CEO of McREL International, an education nonprofit that delivers in-depth professional learning and school improvement services to help educators worldwide apply the science of teaching, learning and leading to lift all learners. He has written many books that translate research into practice for educators, including The New Classroom Instruction that Works: The Best Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (ASCD, 2022), Building a Curious School: Restore the Joy that Brought You to School (Corwin, 2020), Learning that Sticks: A Brain-Based Model for K—12 Instructional Design and Delivery (ASCD, 2020); The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day (ASCD, 2013), and Simply Better: Doing What Matters Most to Change the Odds for Student Success (ASCD, 2011). He also writes a regular research column for ASCD’s monthly Educational Leadership magazine.

Jay Meadows

Jay Meadows serves as Exemplars’ Chief Executive Officer. He is a former middle school math and science teacher and has been working in education for almost three decades. Jay holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Vermont and a master’s in mathematical pedagogy from Southern New Hampshire University.

Jay is also one of Exemplars’ primary performance task writers and professional development consultants for the middle level. Leading sessions throughout the United States, Jay works with teachers to integrate performance tasks and research-based best practices into their curricula. Through Exemplars, Jay dreams of teaching a generation of students to become powerful problem solvers.

Prior to his time in the classroom, Jay coordinated educational exchange programs for delegations from the former Soviet Union through the U.S. State Department and is a former Peace Corps Volunteer.

Brendan Scribner

About the Moderator

Brendan Scribner, Director of Implementation and Success for Exemplars, began his career in education as a middle school math teacher in Vermont in 1998, before spending the last 20 years as a fourth-grade classroom teacher in Hanover, New Hampshire. He earned his master’s in the science of teaching mathematics from the Vermont Math Initiative. As a passionate classroom educator, he strives to be a mathematical identity builder with a keen focus on learning experiences that cultivate wonder and joy and reveal the beauty of mathematics for all. Brendan supports educators at Exemplars, with a strong commitment to building contextually relevant problem solving into established curricula. An area of particular importance in his work is the power of productive discourse and how “talk moves” within a classroom. When he is not immersed in his work as an educator, he enjoys family time, cycling, hiking, skiing, leisure travel, and crafting unique wood products.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Inspire Learning & Engagement community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


Exemplars provides performance tasks, rubrics, and student anchor papers for schools and districts in Math, Science, and Writing. Our performance material engages students and promotes reasoning, communication, and higher-order thinking. Performance tasks are classroom-tested and may be used for assessment, instruction, and professional development. Exemplars’ supplemental resources are research-based and designed to meet state, national, and Common Core standards.

McREL InternationalMcREL is a nonprofit organization that helps school systems around the world address root causes of challenges with research-based resources, professional learning services, and co-created solutions that lead to better learning outcomes for all students.

Use rich math tasks to foster engagement, collaboration, and problem solving
The New CITW! 14 Proven strategies for better student learning


Thursday, September 14, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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