I’m Jim Bentley, a California native and teacher in the Elk Grove Unified School District.  I’ve taught 8th through 5th grade for over 20 years and am still learning how to refine my craft daily.

As a National Faculty for the Buck Institute for Education, I provide professional development to teachers on project-based learning. 

As a National Geographic Fellow, I provide professional development to teachers on using Geo-Inquiry to teach students about the world and how it works and to empower them to make it a better place.

I am the founder of Jim Bentley Consulting LLC, specializing in educational consulting and professional development related to project-based learning and Geo-Inquiry, incorporating civic action, filmmaking, and the integration of academic content standards and skills. Additionally, I advise ed-tech platforms such as Newsela, EDpuzzle, and Listenwise to help them develop and refine their learning platforms to enhance student learning.

My passions are many: integrating subjects through filmmaking, project-based learning and Geo-Inquiry. I created Curiosity Films (featured in Edutopia), so students could showcase their learning and express their voices through the production of documentaries, instructional films, PSAs, and other special projects. You can view my students’ work on their YouTube and Vimeo channels or via the Twitter handle @Curiosity_Films. I blog for P21.org as well as the Buck Institute for Education.

Since 1996 I’ve served as a mentor teacher, BTSA coordinator, peer coach, district trainer for various ELA and math initiatives, and co-directed a Student Violence Prevention Demonstration Program grant. I’ve served as a national trainer for the Center for Civic Education and a Teacher Ambassador for California’s Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI). I’ve been a guest blogger for P.21.org, Ten Strands, and the Right Question Institute and have contributed to other print publications on prosocial education and teacher effectiveness.

In 2011 I received the American Civic Education Teacher Award. In 2012 I earned the Allan Hinderstein Award for my filmmaking work with students. In 1995 I graduated with a B.S. in Social Sciences with special emphasis in Cross-Cultural Studies from C.S.U. Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Like most educators, my career is an ongoing work-in-progress. I’ve believe there is no limit to what a teacher can learn if they choose. Every day I discover new ideas, strategies, and tools to add to my teaching repertoire. And each day I give myself permission to grow as a teacher and trainer. It’s not about what’s wrong but what’s missing. It’s not about improving but growing.

I welcome the opportunity to work with you, your students, or your staff.


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