Tracking is a Dirty Word

To track or not to track? Is that a question? Have I already lost you? Tracking has been a dirty word for decades. Mostly for good reason. But. Leveled classes might have a place. We all know that "tracking" happens when we offer advanced courses and co-taught sections. The limitations of scheduling mean groups of [...]

What My Students Have Taught Me About Politics: Communication

Based on the definition of the word, one would probably say I am a liberal. Needless to say, I think I’m actually a bit of a centrist, agreeing with stances and policies on both ends of the political spectrum. On Election Night, much of our country was sitting on pins and needles; waiting to see who [...]

Rethinking the Literary Canon

There have been countless discussions launched about the need to teach the historically accepted literary pieces included in the canon. Just as controversial as the discussions engendered about the canon, so too is the definition. The "canon" is defined by dictionary.com as “a collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine.”  The very definition [...]

I Remember When Teachers Were Allowed to Teach Their Passions

There are few things that I enjoy more than getting students to question, analyze, write about, discuss, and, ultimately, clarify their own views on complicated questions.  It reminds me of my own history teachers in high school and how they communicated their passions to us students.  In one class, we were supposed to study American history [...]

Literature Circles in Middle School: Assignments & Assessment

Over the course of three articles, I have talked about doing Literature Circles with my 8th-grade students. For a list of the novels we used, check here. To read about the procedures I put in place for my students, check here. And for an explanation of how I used mini-lessons both as a full class [...]