Martin Luther King, Jr and the Misuse of Facts
education Martin Luther King, Jr and the Misuse of Facts Every year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, this year on January 20th, we rightfully celebrate the man. We pull out our favorite quotes—there are so many, almost everything he said was memorable—we tell the stories of his heroic activities to gain respect for people of all colors and backgrounds. We admire his dedication to the Gandhian idea of peaceful resistance. We acknowledge his morality of righteousness rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic of his upbringing as a Baptist minister and theologian. The man stands as one of the handful of truly positive role models of the 20th century. However, recently, while lauding MLK’s accomplishments to a class of wide-eyed students, one of them questioned the received knowledge. continue reading January 15, 2020
education Etymology is your friend: Discovering the Joys of Structure Word Inquiry Words are stories. I don’t mean they tell stories. I mean they are stories. They have histories and dreams, subtleties of character and hidden innuendos. What I’m finding as a teacher in delving into Peter Bowers’ Structured Word Inquiry is that the primary function of words in English is to convey meaning, not to represent sounds. For example, students often ask why is there a “g” in the word “sign.” We don’t hear the “g.” The word is pronounced “sine.” So, why is English so cruel to newcomers, including English Language Learners, who can be heard muttering very meaningful words in their own language after a bout of English blues? continue reading December 8, 2019
Etymology is your friend: Discovering the Joys of Structure Word Inquiry
Using Design Thinking for Project Based Learning
education Using Design Thinking for Project Based Learning On my first day as a long-term sub, I instigated a project with inner city middle schoolers that when I look back on it now, I wish someone had talked me out of even attempting. Yes, it went off unbelievably well because I didn’t know that stringing wires across the playground on the first day of school and having kids break up into bands of silent “hunters” to catch wild pinata animals was probably a bit ambitious. But, after teaching for fifteen years, I don’t know if I would have had the ability or courage to pull that off again. continue reading November 19, 2019
education Developing Better Practices: How Action Research Leads to Education Innovation Every classroom experience is affected by predictable and unpredictable variables. For the most part what happens in the “trenches” is not covered in education classes. Sometimes there are instinctual situations where teachers just know what to do, but there is a way to bring more intentionality to practices. continue reading October 7, 2019
Developing Better Practices: How Action Research Leads to Education Innovation
Back to School: Five Quick Tips for Your Teacher’s Toolbox
education Back to School: Five Quick Tips for Your Teacher’s Toolbox Welcome Back to School! Here are a few highlights from our growing library of blogs, shortcuts to some helpful hints to make this a successful, fun, and effective school year. continue reading August 23, 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
History is Our Story
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
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
Kobayashi Maru
T.G.I.S. for Teachers
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
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
Three Ways to Assess Without Test Stress
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