Blog

Run the Schools LIke WHAT Business? (from 7-10-11)
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This post may not seem to be about education at first – but bear with me. Two articles recently caught my eye after I saw them re-posted on Facebook. The first, posted by my wife, is “Driven off the Road by M.B.A.s.” It is about former GM vice Chairman Bob Lutz, and his book, Car Guys and Bean Counters. The article discusses Read More >>


What is Reading, and Can It Be Captured In Bubbles? (from 6-27-11)
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The student came into my room the morning after our state test scores came out. (This was back when test scores actually came out before students went home for the summer.) She looked dejected. “I can’t read,” she said. I couldn’t remember what her score was, so I asked her. She had either a one Read More >>


A Literacy Education Manifesto (from 4-9-11)
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I have been an English/Language Arts teacher for nearly 20 years, and most of what is going on today in education flies in the face of everything I believe about literacy education. Here are the beliefs that are currently taking control of literacy in public education: The only things that matter in education are things Read More >>


The Right Words– What Literacy Means (from 2-26-11)
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“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” – Mark Twain Everyone seems concerned about the literacy skills of our nation’s students. They can’t pass standardized reading tests. This is a problem. So we think the way to get literacy rates up is to “skill and drill” students on discrete Read More >>


How many reforms can dance on the head of a #2 pencil? (1-13-11)
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I was pondering today, as I often seem to lately, why I had a headache. It’s not just because I teach middle schoolers that I had a headache. They usually don’t give me a headache anymore, frustrating though they might be. They are, after all, middle-schoolers. It makes sense that they frustrate me. No, what Read More >>


Day of Blogging on Education Reform (from 11-22-10)
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On this, the National Day of Blogging on Education Reform, I return after a long absence to offer a few thoughts. Maja Wilson recently posted a piece to the Huffington Post about how she’s come to hate the word data – she compares it to a swear word. I recently journaled about other words I Read More >>


Tolstoy-ian Teacher Evaluation (from 8-25-10)
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Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (which I’ve read, thank you very much, but not in the original Russian) begins with the observation, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” I’ve sometimes wondered if I really believed that to be the case, but the phrase has stuck with me. It recently occurred to Read More >>


Re-Purposing Education (from 8-21-10)
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I’ve recently had a dawning realization, one that I haven’t heard anyone else out there discuss. I was thinking about Maja Wilson’s terrific book, Rethinking Rubrics in Writing Assessment recently, and was struck again by the idea that the multiple choice test, as developed originally, was designed to serve a “gatekeeper” function. The original IQ tests, designed by Read More >>


My Summer of Creative Teaching (from 8-20-11)
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This summer I taught for the month of July. And I was blissfully happy. My wife, Andrea, and I tried having our own creative writing camp, which we called “Write Away!” It ran for two weeks (nine days, actually), and then I moved into the second half of my summer, teaching at the HATS Program Read More >>


Priorities
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Questioning over answering Curiosity over standards Thinking over compliance Originality over regurgitation Wonder over certainty Students over scores Inquiry over ignorance Creativity over conformity Relationships over rules Ambiguity over arrogance Learning over letter-grades Humanity over harshness Meaning over meanness Investing over assessing Tools over rules Exploration over everything