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Ecology of Education | exploring the landscapes of learning, one voice at a timeEcology of Education

5 Steps to Uncurling the Hedgehog Student

Here’s a huge problem that every educator encounters on a pretty regular basis: the classroom full of blank stares as you describe an assignment. Or worse, the rolling eyes and ...

11 Characteristics of Meaningful Work

Note from the Editor: While this piece is related to business practices and targeted to managers and business leaders, the parallels to education and student learning are striking. Teachers, curricula ...

The Paradox of Students’ “Deficits” as Society’s Strengths

The Economist article, “In praise of misfits,” lays out the business-related benefits of what the author  calls “creatives,” “anti-social geeks,” “oddball quants,” and “rule-breaking entrepreneurs.” While the entire article is ...

Education Policy

The GREAT Teachers & Principals Act will (not) fix our teachers

Kenneth Zeichner recently wrote an article for The Answer Sheet at the ...

A Nation at Risk? One class’ perspective.

Coauthors: Cue, Katrina; Dunn, Kim Misener; Foxsmith, Eve Laney; Gash, Ashley; Nowak, ...

@NYTimes’s Journalistic “Issue” vs. Journalistic “Integrity”

The NYTimes recently published a piece on teacher evaluation. I submitted the ...

A REAL Paradigm Shift in Education

I envy Thomas Paine’s way with language. I’ve been searching for years for words that ...

From “Deficits” to “Neurodiversity” — the Time is Now

In a recent commentary piece at Education Week, author, speaker and educator ...

Social Emotional Learning Core Competencies

Seeing the forest despite the trees. Our nation’s educational focus continues to ...

Latest News

Book Release

Share it now!For the readers of my column, and all others, my book _Social Studies Comes Alive_ was released on March 1st from Prufrock Press in Austin, Texas. It is filled with cross-curricular/interdisciplinary classroom instructional approaches that I have used and modified during my decade in the classroom. Ready to use handouts are included with […]

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Insurgent Instruction: Absurdity

Share it now!This is the final portion of this series on Insurgent Instruction. The examination and investigation into Insurgent Instruction has been purposely brief in order that this particular approach to instructional design and delivery does not become prescriptive in nature. There are already enough curriculum and instruction approach which minutely map out their fixes […]

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Insurgent Instruction: Silence

Share it now!Part of successfully begin agile in the classroom environment as a teacher is timing. Timing is everything when delivering a lesson, or guiding student practice. Like actors, comedians, predators as well as prey, getting the timing right can be the difference between life and death. One of the more overlooked aspects of timing […]

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Insurgent Instruction: Teachable Moments and Targets of Opportunity

Share it now!“The future is unwritten.” Joe Strummer Teachable moments are nothing new to the education profession. Generations of teachers have capitalized upon these. There have been journal articles written about them. Professional development workshops have filled summer days for generations. After teaching for a decade, I have enjoyed my share of them. But the […]

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Sidebar: Sound bites and sagacity, and synthesis

Share it now!Not that long ago, Jaden Smith encouraged everyone paying attention on the web via Twitter to drop out of school. The son of the famous actor, Will Smith tried his hand at being an educational philosopher at the end of this past September. This is actually nothing new in the realm of public […]

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Insurgent Instruction – Frontloading the Standards

Share it now! Insurgent instruction is an educational approach comprised of parts. Similarly, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The primary reason for this is due to the unknown and unexpected facets, the students and the teachers. This portion of education is what makes it so much fun as well as […]

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Insurgent Instruction – What is it?

Share it now! This next series of posts will focus on a new a different approach to classroom teaching. More than an approach, it is a perspective…a philosophy of teaching and learning. This term “philosophy of education” has been bandied about far too much in the recent decades. However, for this approach and understanding to […]

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Theater of the Classroom – What is a Storyteller?

Share it now!Here at the end of the journey of the Theater of the Classroom, the question remains of what exactly is a storyteller? This last portion of this examination of enlivening the classroom has been focused on the role of the storyteller. Part of the ultimate objective of classroom teaching is not only to […]

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Good News: Employers Are Warming Up to Online Degrees

Share it now!It’s pretty much standard that every job hunter should have some kind of college degree. You’ve probably seen job listings that require a specific level of education, probably at least a bachelor’s degree for any kind of specialized work, as well as a certain amount of experience even to be considered for the […]

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Thearter of the Classroom – The Importance of Storytelling

Share it now! Humans have been storytelling since before the advent for formal language. It seems as if we are literally hardwired for incomparable act of immortality. The great mythologist, Joseph Campbell showed through his life’s work that regardless of the era or location many of the stories were the same. From time immemorial, stories […]

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Theater of the Classroom – Presentation in the Round

Share it now!Theater of the Classroom – Presentation in the Round This final presentation of a theater production, and a lesson, is perhaps the most modern and most engaging for our audience. In this particular presentation the teacher and the students play the role of the principle players in the production. Now do not be […]

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Staging the Lesson – Thrust Presentation

Share it now!The Thrust presentation in the theater is one which marks a more modern interpretation of dramatic presentation of productions. One of the more difficult challenges that performers, as well as teachers, face are maintaining active audience engagement throughout the entirety of the production. Along with this dealing effectively with any disruption, or hecklers, […]

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Leadership Qualities Teachers Want in a Principal

Share it now!Every year in the United States, an estimated 500,000 teachers leave their schools, with only 16% of the departures the result of retirement. The bulk of teachers leave for a variety of other reasons, including whether or not they perceive their school’s leadership to be effective. Without strong leadership, it is much easier […]

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Matt Damon’s Save Our Schools Speech

Share it now!Below is the speech Matt Damon gave at the Save Our Schools March on July 30, 2012 in Washington, DC. I had incredible teachers. And as I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself — my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of […]

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At the Intersection of Youth and the Future

Share it now!Painting a picture that was both harrowing and hopeful, Van Jones titillated the gathering of educators on the final morning of ASCD’s 2013 Annual Conference with both the peril and promise of tomorrow. In short, despite the copious challenges we find ourselves in today, we can look to the generation currently in our […]

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Staging the Lesson: Proscenium Presentation

Share it now! The original and perhaps first presentation of dramatic works, barring the storytelling around the communal campfire, is the proscenium presentation. It is perhaps the best known and most widely recognized theatrical staging of any dramatic work. This staging is familiar as it resembles a box or television screen. In fact, many theorists […]

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Reframing Education: A Call to Action

Share it now!I recently attended the Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA) conference organized by ASCD, a professional organization for educators and administrators.  The keynote speaker at this conference was Diane Ravitch, a one-time staunch supporter of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  She has since recognized the damage being wrought in the name […]

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The Effective Teacher

Share it now!There are several dimensions taken together in varying levels of degree that embody the effective teacher. Since teachers range from preschool through post secondary levels, and are unique people, no two teachers will have the same combination nor will all of them be present in every excellent teacher. There are also qualities that […]

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Classrooms as Cages vs. Classrooms as Everywhere

Over reported research leads to “brain-based” products, perhaps at the cost of student learning. Under reported related research might provide an answer.

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