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A Conversation with Mike Schmoker

By Dave Stuart Jr.

NFO 2.0 - Fig 1Four years ago, at the very outset of this blog, I was starting to blog through the Common Core State Standards. Providentially, at about the same time I had decided to re-read Mike Schmoker's Focus.

That re-read bit was new for me. I was at a point in my career where I sensed it was high time I stop reading new PD books. I think we can all reach that point where reading more professional stuff can actually be quite bad for us. So instead of reading something new, I decided to re-read the one book that I thought had the greatest chance of training me to think more clearly. Focus was the book I chose.

About six months after starting the blogging quest and embarking on the re-reading of Focus, I wrote the first version of the Non-Freaked Out Framework. You can click here to see what it was at first, and you'll see in Figure 1 what it looks like presently [1]. Schmoker's “less is more” mindset was seminal, and I said as much in a post that preceded NFO 1.0, titled “How to Not Freak Out About the Common Core.” If you're someone who has appreciated that framework in any of its iterations, you are in for a treat today.

I won't include any spoilers for today's interview. Let's just dive into it.

The interview

Please use the embedded player below to listen to the mp3 interview. If it’s not working, you can find the mp3 here — download it at your pleasure. Enjoy!

Notes from the interview:

  1. That first draft was so rough, in fact, that a reader (Kathy) had to remind me that it was missing writing! See this comment.

Thank you to Mike Schmoker for giving his time toward this interview and making the contributions to the field that he has. Many teachers, administrators, and students are saner and more successful today as a result of Mr. Schmoker's recommendations. I would also like to thank a recent interviewee, Dr. Gerald Graff, for playing a role in introducing Mike to what I write about.



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