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Drawkcab Planning
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
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 T.G.I.S. for Teachers Thank God It’s Summer. Well, Summer’s almost here—and to us that means dancing in the streets. But in between the boogie and the woogie, here are some revitalizing tips for teachers. continue reading May 31, 2019
T.G.I.S. for Teachers
Three Ways to Assess Without Test Stress
best practices Three Ways to Assess Without Test Stress Quizzes, games, and short tests to measure comprehension can be helpful to the teacher and fun for the students. But, when it comes to a summative evaluation of student work we often feel stuck with a long test about facts and/or a five-paragraph essay. Long tests do nothing but measure how many facts students can jam into their heads for a day or so before everything is forgotten. Essays are better—if the student is a verbal learner. If not, they just create stress and mental pabulum dripped onto the page or screen. There are other ways to assess how well students are incorporating information and demonstrating understanding. continue reading May 16, 2019
best practices What's the Question? What if I told you that asking questions is the single most important skill we can teach students? Aren’t questions the key to developing critical thinking skills and to writing with depth and complexity? What is all inquiry-based learning based on if not asking questions? continue reading May 10, 2019
What's the Question?
What Leonardo Taught Me About Teaching
best practices What Leonardo Taught Me About Teaching Techniques in one field can be applied to another. In Michael J. Gelb’s book, How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, he finds life advice in the Renaissance master’s notebooks that, with a New Age spin, he repurposes to help everybody maximize the genius within. Taking one from Gelb and adding a couple more that I found in Leonardo’s work, I’ll boil it down to three nuggets. continue reading May 10, 2019
best practices Discovering Midgard I was a wild child, too restless for my school in the rough streets of Brooklyn, and I spent more time in the principal’s office than in the classroom. In the fourth grade, functionally illiterate, I earned special placement—in the corner of the class. My teacher, Mrs. Coleman, dropped a stack of comic books next to me and told me to make something out of these. continue reading April 17, 2019
Discovering Midgard
Screened Out
best practices Screened Out Scanning screens is a fast and furious distraction, but it leaves me exhausted, anxious, vaguely frustrated, and even sometimes inexplicably depressed. I get the opposite feeling from holding a book in my hands and reading words in glorious black and white. Reading slows things down enough to actually feel like you’re learning or that you’ve been someplace beautiful or magical. continue reading April 17, 2019
best practices The Dinner Party Imagine a dinner party with Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, Crazy Horse, and Emma Goldman. Or the guests might be Confucius, Sundiata, Elizabeth I, and Napoleon. I would love to cater that. And I did. Every year my class culminated with such a “dinner party.” The food might have been pizza, but the conversation sparkled. continue reading April 17, 2019
The Dinner Party
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