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Introduction to Reading
Posted

I wrote in my last blog about how I started my school year. I’d like to write this time about how I begin my classes on reading for the year. I am often afraid that if our goal is to create lifelong readers (and learners) we often go about it all wrong. We bribe them Read More >>


How I Start a School Year
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There are so many ways to start a school year: list rules and procedures and consequences, talk about yourself, give them a worksheet, give a diagnostic test… I guess how you start a school year depends on your model of teaching. The new model of teaching I see being promoted these days it this: List Read More >>


A Few Thoughts About Teachers Expressing Their Thoughts
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I have a lot of posters and a few bumper stickers hanging in my classroom. One of the bumper stickers simply says, “Speak up, even if your voice shakes.” I do speak up, and while you can’t tell because I draw and type my ideas, my figurative voice often shakes – a lot. And yet, Read More >>


Writing: What It Is and What It Could Be
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Here is how writing is typically taught in schools these days. Students are given three essays to read about a dull topic – say, fence posts for instance – and then asked to write a synthesis essay, either expository or argumentative, about fence posts. These essays are designed to get them ready for the writing Read More >>


Starting on a Hat: How Rubrics Kill Creativity
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I am a fan of the great Broadway composter/lyricist Stephen Sondheim. My high school English teacher Mr. Jacobs introduced me to his plays during my senior year, and Sondheim’s lyrics became the subject of my college senior thesis in English. I was a high school senior in 1984/85, when Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize winning musical Sunday Read More >>


The Necessity of Questioning Everything
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Teacher and theologian David Dark (what a cool name – so much better than Finkle!) wrote a book I enjoyed titled The Sacredness of Questioning Everything. Since that title is taken, and since I teach in a secular setting, I’ve titled this post “The Necessity of Questioning Everything.” It doesn’t mean I think questioning is Read More >>


Teach Happy, Teach Right, Speak Up – an overview of Mr. Fitz’s Teacher Mantra (9-2-13)
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I posted at length about each part of Mr. Fitz’s new mantra, “Teach Happy, Teach Right, Speak Up” on recent posts, but perhaps “at length” made the ideas I presented less rather than more accessable. I’ve always liked brief, meaningful pieces like Rudyard Kipling’s “If” and Kent M. Keith’s “Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments,” so in Read More >>


Models for Education: Education as Synthesis (from 2017)
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In my last post, I lamented the fact that our entire school system in the U.S. has been built around a model of assigning and assessing, of measurement. Everything we do in schools becomes about hoop jumping. The Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus closed last night, though, so perhaps hoop jumping is too dated Read More >>


Announcement: Mr. Fitz will be saying goodbye… for now
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It is with a heavy heart, and a sense of relief, that I have decided to end the newspaper run of Mr. Fitz and stop producing new Mr. Fitz comics at the end of its 22nd year, on March 27th, 2022. There are plenty of new strips to come before then, and I have a Read More >>


Lessons From a Year of Pandemic Teaching
Posted

I am sure I am not the only teacher to have some of these insights, but after a few weeks away from the 2020-2021 school year, I feel a need to write them down, if only for myself. I spent this school year kind of exhausted. I was teaching with a mask on all day, Read More >>


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