Make. Believe. Observe.

“What do you think the moon is made of?” Joel answered, “I think it’s like the earth, but it has white clouds. Sometimes the clouds cover the whole moon and sometimes it covers none of the moon and then sometimes there’s big black clouds that cover the whole moon.” Micah answered, “I think it’s far […]

Teach Less

“How can splitting something that’s so small no one can see it turn into an explosion that can destroy a city?” a girl asks. I begin to explain the science as best as I can until I admit, “I don’t really understand all of it.  I know why it scared people afterward and how it […]

Rethinking Story

Each August, I make a prediction about the school year.  I attempt to read the situation and describe the story arc before it has begun.  Call it a coping strategy.  Or maybe just a good reading strategy.  If this were a standardized test, I’d be one step ahead.  But it’s life and the predictions are […]

Doodling Is Allowed

I allow students to doodle in my classroom.  It’s rare that I lecture, but when I do, I expect some students to sketch their own pictures.  As long as the pictures aren’t in permanent marker and on my tables, it’s fine with me. For what it’s worth, I do the same thing.  Even in a […]

Make. Believe. Work.

I hold my hands under the warm water and close my eyes for a moment. Slow down.  I visualize my to-do list and consider itemizing the list into categories. Life isn’t found on a list.  As I scrub the leftover gunk of chicken and dumplings, I am reminded that the meal was an act of […]

Make. Believe. Now.

Micah turns away from the movie and says, “Look, the sky is on fire!” As Joel runs outside, he says, “It just looks like it’s on fire.” It doesn’t matter.  Micah ignores him and stares at the sunset.  Joel, drops the argument, too.  And me?  I can’t stop looking at them looking at the sunset. […]

Make. Believe. Personal.

It’s an early Tuesday afternoon and my students are restless after learning to find the surface area and volume of prisms and cylinders.  Even the best students seem detached with the lesson and I overcompensate with high-energy explanations.  Passion isn’t bad, per se, but my students can see through me and recognize that my love […]

Grade Less. Assess More.

My principal sympathizes with my desire for authentic, constructivist methods of assessment, but I was still a little surprised when he agreed to let me go with a gradebook that involves both student and teacher feedback.  The goal is to keep it: Standards-based Focussed on learning rather than work completion An ongoing dialog based upon […]

Make. Believe. Nuance.

I read a quote by Andre Agassi about why the American Student should be the Person of the Year for Time Magazine.  His point is well-taken, regarding how society has failed our students.  Yet, he has to add the anti-union twist at the end about how there needs to be a “student union” protecting students. […]

Make. Believe. Seasons.

#8 in a series on what I believe and how it shapes my teaching We’re one of the few homes in the neighborhood with trees that drop leaves.  I’ve read up on the debates between whether it is better environmentally to have an energy-saving shade tree that sucks up water or a desert landscape that […]