Taming the Tiger Mom
education Taming the Tiger Mom After a recent blog post about inclusivity in the classroom, I heard from a parent who suggested I explore the prejudice against Asians. “Everyone assumes we all get straight A’s all the time,” she said. In fact, that bias can be destructive as a recent case of discrimination attests. Several Asian-American students sued Harvard University after getting rejected for admission, they claimed, because they were held to a higher standard than other applicants. continue reading July 4, 2019
education Drawkcab Planning Early on in my teaching career, I started a class with the final exam. The stupefied students looked at me like I was crazy. But the test, which didn’t count, wasn’t really a test as much as a road map. continue reading July 4, 2019
Drawkcab Planning
Dog School
best practices Dog School It’s a well-known fact that we don’t deserve dogs. As a species, they are far in advance of human beings in all the values we most prize and seldom achieve: courage, loyalty, unconditional love, patience, resilience, perseverance, I don’t know where to stop. But we are fortunate in that by some quirk of evolution, our two species, human and canine, have been linked together for thousands of years (no offense to cats, but it’s as well known a fact that felines barely tolerate us). Maybe what we’ve been leaning away from since the dawn of civilization is what makes us most human, animals. continue reading June 30, 2019
education Chicago, Our Kind of Town There is an education crisis in the entire country, and Chicago is at the epicenter of it. The third largest school district, Chicago has 644 public K-12 schools and 361,000 students—few of them getting the education they need. continue reading June 30, 2019
Chicago, Our Kind of Town
Teaching the Unthinkable
education Teaching the Unthinkable When David Lee Miller and I set out to write the children’s picture book, The Cat Who Lived with Anne Frank, we strongly believed that a new generation of young people needed to learn more about the events of World War II and the Holocaust. What better way than to tell a true story from the point of view of a cat who was really present at one of the most dramatic stories that came out of the war. Yes, a cat really lived in an Amsterdam attic with Anne Frank, Peter Van Pels, and six other Jews. continue reading June 21, 2019
Cool projects History is Our Story “StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” continue reading June 21, 2019
History is Our Story
Kobayashi Maru
best practices Kobayashi Maru We live in a super competitive world. And we push kids on to that race track at an early age. School has become, for many, less about learning and more about winning. We win school when we get an A—and we really win with straight A’s. A 4.0 cum isn’t even good enough. We expect kids to take extra AP courses and get that 5.0, a perfect SAT or ACT score. High grades—best colleges—highest paying jobs—happy life. We implant this idea that life can be undefeated. Yet, we know it’s a) not true and b) unnecessarily stressful. Although failure is a dirty word, maybe giving kids experience with something that will confront them with failure in their lives will help them be better prepared for it. continue reading June 13, 2019
education From Roots to Rainbow Most middle school students today weren’t born when Reading Rainbow went off the air in 2006. Most of the books read on the show were for younger readers, and it was a formative experience for my kids when they were just starting their adventures in reading. When I was young, Roots and Star Trek helped me realize that there’s a lot more to our past and our future than is commonly taught in schools. continue reading June 13, 2019
From Roots to Rainbow
Whose Story Is It?
American Hero Whose Story Is It? I once had a parent who demanded a conference with me and my principal because she objected to a lesson I gave tracing Thomas Jefferson’s political philosophy through John Locke and, before him, to Abu Bakr ibn Tufayl. It wasn’t the Scottish philosopher she was upset about, but the Arab. She contended that referencing Arabs in an early American history course was inappropriate, if not wrong. Luckily, my principal allowed me to walk her through the direct influence Islamic thinkers have had on republican democracies. At times, (non-Native) parents have questioned whether the Iroquois really deserve to be considered influencers on the U.S. Constitution. (Non-African-American) parents have also wondered why I have to “talk about black people so much.” I’ve gotten similar comments about Jewish influencers and historic figures who were gay, lesbian, or gender non-normative. continue reading June 8, 2019
education Jordan O.'s Guest Student Blog Last year in my Humanities class, I had Stuart as my teacher. His methods for teaching were both unusual and fantastic. He used a collection of books he wrote to convey what he was teaching in a unique and interesting way. These books deliver history in very fascinating and distinct way that gives a sense of the times and culture for the subject period. continue reading June 8, 2019
Jordan O.'s Guest Student Blog
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