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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

  • The Perils of the United States of Smug

    on Oct 7, 15 • in Current Events in Education, High School, Opinion • with Comments

    The Perils of the United States of Smug

    I make my living by teaching politics to high school seniors and college students. I am not a “read-the-textbook” kind of teacher. I want my students to watch the news. I want them to read political biographies. I want them to watch the complete seven seasons of The West Wing. Of course, few of them read beyond the headlines and, to my dismay, they are not rushing to Barnes and Noble after school to mentally digest Robert Caro’s latest 700-page tome about Lyndon Johnson. What bothers me is not their indifference to the news or

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  • What If You Couldn’t!? — Shifting our Thinking about Teaching

    on Oct 2, 15 • in Educator Professionalism, Elementary Classrooms, Featured, Opinion • with Comments

    Going into the classroom to finish up the second decade of my career I still learn.  My room and my style are different from that first class 19 years ago, but the philosophy behind what I do has not changed.  I believe in active learning.  I believe in appreciating differences.  I believe every child has a right to learn.  I believe learning is fun! Teaching has changed.  From the 19th century one-room school houses to the charter schools of today things are different.  Society has changed.  From a primarily farming society to a double working

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  • How to Stop Zombie Students Dead in Their Tracks

    on Sep 30, 15 • in Featured, Instruction&Curriculum, Opinion • with Comments


    Last week, I wrote about how disengaged students are like zombies. It’s scary how quickly the epidemic of disengaged, zombie students spreads when you don’t take appropriate steps to prevent it, but thankfully there are measures you can take to bring your students back to life without creating a mob. Prevention Imagine a classroom where students learn and love the process of learning. A classroom without zombie students. A classroom where your students don’t suck the life out of you. Benjamin Franklin said “an ounce of prevention is worth of a pound of cure.” Truer

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  • Thoughts on Grading Part 1: To Give or Not to Give a Zero

    on Sep 29, 15 • in Featured, High School, Instruction&Curriculum, Middle School, Opinion • with Comments


    A couple of weeks ago, I went to a district meeting and we discussed grading, which is a sensitive subject. While we all grade differently, teach different ways, and teach different grade levels (6th-12th), there is one element we all agree on- secondary students are not turning assignments in when they are due. I cannot speak for the elementary level, but at the middle school and high school levels, we seem to be struggling to get our students to turn in assignments whether it is homework or classwork. I plug an “X” into my grade

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  • Why I Don’t Assign Homework

    on Sep 28, 15 • in Featured, High School, Instruction&Curriculum, Opinion • with Comments


    Homework: The eternal struggle of student, parent, and teacher. I see it all over my Facebook feed and Twitter feed. The lament of parents bemoaning the amount, the complexity, or the sheer ridiculousness of their children’s homework. Homework seems to be the bane of everyone’s existence, doesn’t it? Teachers hate grading it; students hate doing it; and parents hate begging their kids to do it. So why is it a thing? What good does homework do? I will admit up front that as a high school teacher I give very VERY little homework.  I never

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