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Different Year, Same Problem
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As the new year started, I attended a district professional learning and decided to draw a comic strip about it. The after-school workshop was ironic on so many levels, I HAD to write it. In fact I started writing this comic about the workshop while I was still sitting IN the workshop. Here is the Read More >>


The World’s Most Boring Topics, 2024
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Each January, I start the new year with my ninth graders with a weird activity. I know we will be working on expository writing, and I’m going to be encouraging them to write about an enthusiasm – something they love. But first, I want to build their confidence. I want to show them that they Read More >>


Five Comic Strips to See Me Through the New Year Ahead (and maybe you, too)
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So… it’s almost 2024. Our politics have seldom been so fraught and, frankly, so dangerous. Our country has seldom been so polarized. Education is part of the polarization, with some of us trying to preserve public schools as a cornerstone of our democracy even as we try to save them from becoming testing and standardization Read More >>


George Bailey, Buddy the Elf, Success, and the Power of Fiction
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The second quarter of the school year just ended, and my 9th graders and I spent it talking about definition. That may sound boring, but we start the quarter with two books excerpts. In the first excerpt, from Steven Pinker’s The Stuff of Thought, Pinker uses a debate about whether the 9/11 attacks at the Read More >>


An Innocent Question
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Today my Creative Writing class held its kickoff for this year’s Children’s Books project. This project involves a neighboring elementary school. We survey 25 first grade students with a series of questions, things like: What makes you happy? What makes you sad? What do you wonder about? What is your favorite toy, movie, character, etc.? Read More >>


Banned Books Week 2023
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For Banned Books Week this year, I posted about several books that I have taught or read that have been frequently banned or challenged. Some of them I love. Some changed me as a person. If someone had banned them, I might not be the person I am today. And while I may not be Read More >>


The VAM-pire Strikes Back
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In the 2011-2012 School year, Florida introduced one of the worst of its many bad ideas for education: VAM. VAM stands for Value Added Measure. It is a statistical formula that knows your students’ past scores, predicts what their future scores will be, and then rates students based on how much “growth” they showed. Here’s Read More >>


What We Say/What We Do: Constantine’s Sword and A Student Testing Assembly
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I recently finished reading James Carroll’s epic 2001 history book Constantine’s Sword: the Church and the Jews. The book traces anti-Semitism through church history, from the very early days of the church, through the Roman Emperor Constantine’s vision of a cross on the Milvian Bridge in Rome, all the way up to the Holocaust and Read More >>


A Teacher Monologue (A Tribute to Barbie – with apologies to Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach)
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It suddenly struck me that the now-famous and oft quoted monologue performed by America Ferrera's character, Gloria, could be adapted to be about teaching and teachers. So I did. Read More>>

An Open Letter to Education Reformers, Reform Cheerleaders, and Others Who Have Tried to “Fix” Education
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I am addressing this open letter to education reformers, most of whom will never see or read it. Mostly my fellow public educators will read it, and if it brings them some comfort, it will be worth it. I hope some reformers might read it and actually listen instead of getting defensive, but my hopes Read More >>


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