Tag Archives: Lisa Birno

Lisa Birno: Reflecting On The First Heinemann Fellowship

Last month we announced the incoming class of Heinemann Fellows and said good-bye to the inaugural group. The second cohort is preparing to meet in late June and it will be some time before they are ready to share their action research projects on this blog. So let's look back on the great work the first cohort did and continues to do as part of their projects!

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The Heinemann Fellows: Lisa Birno On Changing Deficit Language


Lisa Birno is a Heinemann Fellow with the 2014–2016 class, and has been an educator for 27 years. In this post, Lisa reflects on her time in the Heinemann Fellowship and how labels for students can convey a belief system, helpful or otherwise.

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The Heinemann Fellows: Video Spotlight on Lisa Birno


Earlier this year, Heinemann hosted a symposium for its 2014–2016 class of Fellows. Each Fellow gave a presentation on his or her action research project, and afterward sat down to answer some questions. Today, Lisa Birno gives two elegant and measured responses in two videos. The questions: "What would you want to share about your process of discovery?" and "What is the one word that describes you as an educator?" Videos below after the break.

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The Heinemann Fellows: A Review

Over the last three months, the 2014–2016 class of Heinemann Fellows wrote posts for our blog. Each Fellow described his or her background and defended a specific line of questioning, while offering us valuable insight into an established professional belief. This is a group of dedicated, ambitious, and earnest educators, all of whom have the desire and capacity to effect lasting change in the profession. Below, you can find each of the Fellows with an excerpt from his or her post. Click through to read further.


Introduction by Ellin Keene

"Stay tuned because these insightful, curious, gifted educators are about to infuse our profession with something very rare: original knowledge about teaching and learning."


Lisa Birno: Purposeful Use of Talk 

"I realized that the purposeful use of talk unlocked many of the barriers my students faced. I saw that talk didn't just level the playing field for my struggling students."


Tamara Ward: Giving Voice to Rural Schools

"Because small rural schools lack the resources and staffing of larger schools, teaching in them is more than just teaching. I am called on to wear many hats and have to roll up my sleeves and pitch in no matter what."


​Sascha Robinett: Knowing You Matter

"It is exhausting, overwhelming, and lonely at times. But the opportunity to create a culture in which all members feel they matter and have impact is worth the effort."


Lorilee Cabrera: Coaching and Luck

"I have a secret, though. All of this "luck" isn't just luck. My luck exists at the intersection of hard work, good timing, and education."


Amy Greenbaum Clark: Teaching Poetry

"Writing is subjective. We can't ignore the ethos of teaching poetry—as if the various forms of writing don't inform one another!"


Jessica Lifshitz: The Questions That Change Everything

"There had to be a better way to talk to my students about their reading. There had to be a better way to help them pick up on their thinking and push them toward new insights."


Julie Nora: Having Students Write for a Global Audience

"Students report they prefer writing on a tablet or computer, however most school tasks and online assessments require students to use technology differently than they do at home."


Kate Norem: Supporting Purposeful Student Writing

"These very different pieces of writing were creative, ambitious, and highly motivating, and I wondered, 'What is it about these creative pieces that hooked some of my most reluctant writers?'"


Michael Pershan: Student Feedback

"I have been looking more carefully at feedback that makes a difference for my students. The closer I look, the worse the commonly offered advice seems."


The Heinemann Fellows is a group of educators who wish to pursue the shared goal of advancing the teaching profession. Membership in the group is not a reward for past accomplishments, but rather an investment in an educator's originality, insight, and potential impact on teaching. In today's post, Ellin Keene provides the introduction to an ongoing series of blog posts about and by the current class of fellows.

Visit the Heinemann Fellows home page and follow along on our public Twitter list.