letting students redesign my classroom

At first glance, my classroom looked “set up.”  I had a half-circle set up with netbooks, a solid amount of walking room and my one enrichment table where students could go when they had finished with their work.  I had the six traits and reading process canvases my past students had painted and I had […]

3 Changes In How I Teach Based Upon My Son’s Experiences

Joel’s comments this week have had an impact on how I teach.  It’s odd that I’m allowing a kindergartner to reshape how I think about my own classroom: He cried twice this week.  Once involved not being able to finish the chronicles of Narnia. I want to read books that captivate my students to the […]

a foot in each world: why digital natives are becoming earthy immigrants

Last night, I had a long Skype conversation with Gregory Hill, a fellow geek, artist, believer in immigrant rights and teacher.  He’s a genius and I recommend you check out his latest post on Cooperative Catalyst. Though we talked for awhile about Linux, our conversation often trailed back to the human side of life – […]

Creativity Never Runs Out

I’ve been listening to the rare songs of Sufjan Stevens while I wait for the boys to return home from a birthday party.  I’m amazed that he can produce so much music so quickly and that it keeps getting better.  I listen to Majesty Snowbird and Woman at the Well and Damascus.  Each song has […]

Bringing Back Home Economics

When I worked in an urban non-profit, I believed that the key to being relevant was to understand youth pop culture.  So, I watched MTV and I listened to the local hip hop station (Local is a misnomer here.  Every station is owned by Clear Channel) and I watched the movies that the students watched. […]

Being a Parent Versus Being a Teacher

I rarely use the term “my kids” when describing my students.  “My kids” are Joel and Micah and Brenna. I love my students and I love my kids, but the love is very different.   I’d give up a weekend for my students.  I’d take a bullet for my kids. Still, on some level, I’m a surrogate parent. […]

what kids can teach us about community

This last weekend, we watched a couple of neighborhood kids for a whole day.  Micah kept forgetting their names, but just referred to them as “my friends.”  In fact, that seems to be the going phrase they use for one another.  For all the talk of the death of community in America, I find that […]

what I can learn from early elementary teachers

I once sat in a meeting full of early elementary education teachers.  It was a bizarre location, filled with bubbly talks of picture books and peppered with Pamper Chef party invitations.  The speaker said, straight-faced, “Lee Canter is great and I recommend Fred Jones, but personally I’m all over Harry Wong.” To a kid raised […]

sometimes it’s best when technology isn’t user-friendly

The simple addition of “pages” tabs into Blogger has made student portfolios so much easier.  In the past, I would say, “I want you to have a blog that also functions as a website and as a wiki, allowing me to edit your portfolio.  I’m not telling you how to do it.  Figure it out […]

books should make you feel uncomfortable

I first read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school and felt bored with the dialog, annoyed by the flat (and always either entirely good or entirely bad) characters and unsure about why we had to read it.  Later, while working in a chaotic non-profit and dealing with issues of racial reconciliation, I thought I might […]