Preparing students for success without tests and textbooks

In this TED Talk by South Bronx teacher Stephen Ritz we see how this innovative educator took a nontraditional route to lead his students to success. In his story, you will notice that when the focus is moved from subjects to students the results are amazing. You will also not see a single test or book report anywhere in sight.

As his recent TED Talk reveals, Ritz believes that students shouldn't have to leave their community to live, learn and earn in a better one. Ritz and his kids grow lush gardens for food, greenery -- and jobs. He is bringing generations of students successes they have never imagined while also reclaiming and rebuilding his community where they have grown more than 25,000 pounds of vegetables.

Rather than decorating class walls with the traditional carrots and sticks (grades and test scores) Ritz’s walls are edible generating enough produce to feed 450 students healthy meals. His students have gained the skills that have lead them to become the youngest nationally certified workforce in America traveling far and wide earning a wage and for some opening their family’s first bank account.

Watch the video below to discover out how one educator is growing a movement that is changing lives and rebuilding communities. Like what you see? Visit the student-run Green Bronx Machine Facebook page at

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.