Skip to main content
BlogEveryday Innovation

Celebrating “lightbulb moments”

By May 20, 2009June 16th, 20163 Comments

Excerpted from “A Second Chance at Success” in Northwest Education magazine, by Bracken Reed

On any given day in one of Debbie Watkins’s seventh-grade math classes you might find a student standing under a giant lightbulb, calling a parent, family member, or guardian on an old white telephone attached to the wall. Occasionally, the entire class will turn to watch the student make the call. Other times they barely notice, it’s become so commonplace.

It may sound like a punishment, but it’s actually a unique reward. A student gets to turn the light bulb on when they’ve finally demonstrated mastery of a difficult concept, typically one that has been causing them grief for several weeks. Then they get to call an adult of their choosing to share the good news.

These lightbulb moments and celebratory phone calls are indicative of several things at the grade 6–8 Vallivue Middle School, just outside Caldwell, Idaho.

McREL is a non-profit, non-partisan education research and development organization that since 1966 has turned knowledge about what works in education into practical, effective guidance and training for teachers and education leaders across the U.S. and around the world.


Leave a Reply