Monday Metaphor: Concrete and Dirt

When I first began long-distance running, I prefered the feel of smooth concrete.  Being a bit too abstract (read “unable to pay attention to what’s in front of me”) it was nice to guarantee that everything was flat and clean.  Concrete worked fine at first, but after my third 14 miler, my knees hurt.  So […]

What-if Wednesday: What if electives are as important as the core curriculum?

Two of my most important classes could be considered by some as “fluff,” easy electives that nearly guaranteed an A.  My freshman year, I took public speaking and keyboarding.  I was shy in front of a crowd.  I would freeze up and stop talking.  I would hold a script and shake so bad that the […]

What-if Wednesday: What if we changed professional development?

One of the many hilariously cynical posters at despair.com Twice in the last year, I have had the opportunity to conduct professional development at my school.  I suppose “conduct” is the wrong word, given the fact that I was not exactly a director leading the teachers.  Instead, I was able to work with teachers to […]

What-if Wednesday: What if there are no formulas?

I’m abandoning “Wiki Wednesday,” for a few reasons. First, it wasn’t all that popular and, as you know, popularity is the goal of life. Okay, I’ve been teaching middle school way too long. Second, I’m realizing that my personality doesn’t work well with offering a bunch of practical tips. I can sprinkle them here and […]

Monday Metaphor: Driving a Car

On three separate occasions, my mom attempted to teach me how to drive. At first it seemed to work. However, she would quickly micromanage, offer too much feedback, give some seemingly phony praise and I would grow nervous. I would over-correct to one side and then the other. My stops were too abrupt. When my […]

Philosophical Friday: A Better Living or a Better Life?

Socrates takes a bite of the apple, spewing juice on the staff lounge poster that advertizes the latest professional development opportunity. “Why do you teach here?” he asks the group, sitting huddled over their instant soup (the kind that you can microwave so that you don’t have to bother taking it out of a can […]

Thursday Thoughts: Thanksgiving List

Thanksgiving is the ultimate holiday. Unlike Christmas, there is no pressure to put on a mask, no fear about buying a gift (or pretending to like a gift), no annoying music. It’s a solid day of being in community with family, eating great food and thinking well about the best things in life. I’m not […]

cross-curricular

Often, when people think about going cross-curricular in social studies, they automatically assume the best subject is language arts. However, I have found a few times when science and math fit well within social studies. For example, in attempting to understand how the Nazis got absolute compliance, our class applied a few social psychology experiments […]

America’s Test Kitchen

Joel and Micah love the t.v. show “America’s Test Kitchen.” The host is a geeky chef who wears a dress shirt and a Tucker Carlson bow tie. They test kitchen gadgets, grocery products and recipes. It sounds awful when I describe it, but I have grown to love the show.  One reason is that the […]

the urgent and the important

This morning I will set up ten blog accounts for students (who couldn’t follow directions the first time), reformat my lesson plans (into the district-mandated, heavy-handed format) and figure out how to turn in receipts the correct why (becuase I didn’t follow directions the first time. Apparently I’m not all that different from students). Sometimes […]