Boost morale. Encourage teamwork.
Guide important conversations.

Like most good things, it begins with a story…

Who Moved My Standards?
Joyful Teaching in an Age of Change: A SOAR-ing Tale

Who Moved My Standards?

Author Michael D. Toth provides a touching parable that inspires educators to tackle rigorous standards with renewed confidence and enthusiasm. When everyone embraces innovation in new economy classrooms, everyone grows.

The Resources section includes the SOAR (Students’ Opportunities for Achieving Rigor) Rubric, a companion tool to standards-based lesson plans.

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fbeeeWe’d love to hear about your experiences with the SOAR theme!
Join the SOAR-ing Classrooms Facebook group to connect and collaborate.

SOAR-ing Classrooms

This is a forum for educators to share ideas, tips, advice about how to get their schools and classrooms SOAR-ing, based on the book Who Moved My Standards? by Michael Toth. We'll be uploading resources as we develop these pages. Please share your own experiences--how are you getting started? What's working?
Maia Appleby
Maia Appleby09/16/2016 at 9:29am
We're very excited to see schools kicking off the SOAR theme for the school year!
Maia Appleby
Maia Appleby updated the group photo in SOAR-ing Classrooms.09/16/2016 at 9:11am
Lsi Soar
Lsi Soar08/24/2016 at 11:30am
Lsi Soar
Lsi Soar08/24/2016 at 11:28am
Via Matt Drewette Card, brainstorming student-centered learning.
Lsi Soar
Lsi Soar08/23/2016 at 4:22pm
"The system signals unambiguously to students that it doesn’t matter if you stick with something because you’ll move on either way. This approach undermines the value of grit along with the development of noncognitive skills like agency and curiosity, as it ignores the potential to reward students for spending more time on a topic. It also de-motivates students, as many either become bored when they don’t have to work at concepts that come easily to them, or fall behind when they don’t understand a building-block concept and yet the class continues to progress. As a result, they develop major holes in their learning."
Lsi Soar
Lsi Soar08/12/2016 at 11:15am
“Anytime we do things for children, or anyone, that they can do for themselves, we rob them of the joy of accomplishment, and the enrichment of learning how to do things differently if they ‘fail,’”
Read more here:

From that story comes an inspiring theme…

“Who Moved My Standards? reminds us that learning should be about igniting the imagination, building a community, and reaching out and within to reach new heights. Bravo! A fun and challenging read that has much to teach us about where we are today in education!”

—CASEY REASON, PhD, Professor
University of Toledo

The SOAR School-Year Theme Kit connects students, teachers, administrators, and parents and motivates all to embrace the instructional shifts that deepen learning, inspire creativity, and renew every educator’s sense of purpose and commitment.

Order the Kit

The SOAR Kit includes:


10 full-color motivational posters to display in the hallway so everyone is reminded of the inspiring message

Laminated Guides

5 laminated SOAR Quick Reference Guides that give teachers at-a-glance access to the SOAR Rubric

Sample Agenda

An agenda pack that offers suggestions for leading meetings and activities to explore the SOAR theme


A CD with software to create a custom-sized banner that will remind everyone in the school to SOAR

Coloring Pages

3 reproducible coloring pages to inspire students’ creativity and motivation to SOAR with their peers


An inspirational DVD that makes it easy to spread the joy, aid engagement, and increase schoolwide buy-in


5 SOAR notepads, adorably illustrated to keep the SOAR theme at every educator’s fingertips

And of course…

2 copies of Who Moved My Standards? for the school library, so students can share the inspiring story with parents

And that theme will unify your work.

The SOAR Rubric is the perfect companion tool to standards-based lesson planning. Displayed on a laminated, two-sided Quick Reference Guide, it gives any teacher instant access to student evidences, making it easier to:

  • Monitor for evidence that all students master standards
  • Move from traditional to real-world applied classrooms
  • Plan performance tasks and teach standards-based lessons
  • Monitoring groups and increase student accountability
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“The final thoughts about ‘teacher over-support’ really stood out to me. Our students work for the rubric checklist instead of learning how to learn. I heard this as a theme throughout the book, and I totally agree with Toth that students need to take responsibility for their own learning. This is a great quick-but-powerful read. I can’t wait to share it with the schools I work with!”

—MEG ORMISTON, Author and Consultant
CEO of

Generate schoolwide optimism about standards-based instruction.

Unleash the potential for students to deepen their learning.

Narrow the achievement gap and boost school morale.

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