paradigm shifts on assessment

I used to spend hours hunched over a computer grading papers.  I’d pass them back only to have students ignore the final grade.  I would print a progress report out each week only to realize that the hard workers who were doing well were the only ones who took the reports home.  I gradually began […]

why gardening taught me structure

Instruction ·      I will develop quality lessons that fit my set criteria (cooperative learning, higher order thinking, metacognition, linking to prior learning, student options, multiple intelligences, etc. – see checklist on the lesson plan format) ·      I will develop an intervention and enrichment for all lessons I create ·      I will analyze each lesson for […]

it’s not about sugar cube missions

People use the term “art inclusion,” with a pejorative connotation, the same way that they use special ed inclusion.  It’s as if art is a complimentary extra, a whip cream on a latte or sprinkles on the cup cake.  It’s easy to view art as decorative or intriguing, but not necessarily powerful. In the fourth […]

in memory of my grandpa

The clouds were ominous this morning, a foreshadowing forecast.  It’s hard not to read meaning into geography when I know that Grandpa is dying.  Every glistening puddle takes on a new meaning.  I am not thinking of him.  I’m thinking of mom and her daddy.  I’m thinking of Grandma and her beloved husband.  I’m thinking […]

we want heroes without alter-egos

My friend Sam thinks that colleges should have an “Alumni We Aren’t Proud of” section on their websites. As he puts it, “Rod Blagojevich went to Pepperdine. Think they’re proud?” I’d love to see Ivy League colleges with the names of the men (yes, they were almost all men) who created the financial crisis. America […]

Welcome to the World

A note to my newborn daughter: Welcome to our world.  It’s beautiful and it’s dark and it’s amazing and it’s terrifying.  My hope is that you’ll face life with courage and wisdom and boldness and humility.  I cried when I heard you cry and I saw you in person for the first time.  I wept […]

why I no longer complain about parents

It’s a common trend among edubloggers to vent about parents.  On some level, I get it.  Parents can seem apathetic to grades (Here’s a shocker, I’m apathetic to grades, too.  I don’t even believe in them.) Few of them sign up immediately for field trips or coffee with the principal or PTA meetings.  Some of […]

Creative Commons

We had a great dialogue the other day about Creative Commons, intellectual property and what exactly does “belong to the public.” One of the hardest issues is the concept of mixing and borrowing, especially when information now feels essentially free and creativity is a prime assett on the free market. What surprises me, though, is […]

the attention span myth

A well-intentioned teacher (whom I respect greatly) comments at a training, “We have fifteen seconds. In a digital culture, that’s all you get. They are the point and click video game generation.” I’ve heard this before. It’s the idea that the medium itself changes our attention spans. I don’t buy it. Don’t get me wrong, […]


Every year when I do the career exploration unit, the most popular profession is crime scene investigator. I’m sure a real crime scene investigator would cringe at this and tell me that it’s not at all like television. It’s long hours and micromanaging superiors and a really hard degree and tediuos tasks and paperwork and […]