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The Girl Who Brought a Book to Testing
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So many students have been turned off to reading by our endless skills and drills to get them ready for state testing, I sometimes fear the post-literate society Ray Bradbury imagined in Fahrenheit 451 will be arriving next week. Read More>>

Little-Known Facts: The Vast Teacher Conspiracy
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The conspiracy-mongers want you to believe in one, monolithic idea of what teachers do, that they are all evil. It is a wildly nonsensical narrative, and yet people are buying it. Read More>>

Why Create?
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Sometime late today or early tomorrow I will post the final Mr. Fitz comic strip online. Read More>>

For the Holidays: A Student Question
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The strip above was inspired by an actual conversation with a student a few years ago – a conversation that has stuck with me. It took me a long time to figure out how to use it in the strip. The conversation with my real student happened after school one day. My student – “Roy” Read More >>


Introduction to Reading
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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 >>


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