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Book Release

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 each chapter. […]

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Insurgent Instruction: Absurdity

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 and philosophies. […]

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Insurgent Instruction: Silence

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 in the […]

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Insurgent Instruction: Teachable Moments and Targets of Opportunity

“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 more interns […]

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

Kenneth Zeichner recently wrote an article for The Answer Sheet at the Washington Post detailing why the GRowing Excellent Achievement Training Academies (GREAT) Teachers and Principals Act, which is currently under discussion in Congress, is not so great.  He notes that, if passed, this “would establish state-based competitive grant programs to create charter teacher and […]

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Sidebar: Sound bites and sagacity, and synthesis

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 education. Part […]

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A Nation at Risk? One class’ perspective.

Coauthors: Cue, Katrina; Dunn, Kim Misener; Foxsmith, Eve Laney; Gash, Ashley; Nowak, Stacy; Santini, Joseph; Wright, Jordan We are seven graduate students and one professor at Gallaudet University learning together in a course called Education Policy and Politics. This class incorporates technology and social media using avenues such as Google Drive, Twitter (follow #EDU860), and […]

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Insurgent Instruction – Frontloading the Standards

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 so much challenging. […]

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Insurgent Instruction – What is it?

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 classroom instruction and […]

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Theater of the Classroom – What is a Storyteller?

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 engage the […]

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Thearter of the Classroom – The Importance of Storytelling

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 have been the […]

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Theater of the Classroom – Presentation in the Round

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 mistaken that […]

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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 heavy sighs. Been there? I’m sure you have. How do you overcome this kind of resistance? How do you handle the “Hedgehog Student“?  You know […]

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Staging the Lesson – Thrust Presentation

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, that may […]

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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 developers, and education leaders can find plenty herein to ponder, reflect on, and apply in practice.  It was originally posted at Switch and Shift.  Managers […]

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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 well worth the read, we have pulled out a few quotes to help frame the idea that we should work tirelessly to help our school […]

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

The NYTimes recently published a piece on teacher evaluation. I submitted the following comment (which they did not post) to the online forum: I searched through NYTimes’ archive of medical / law / finance / congressional / military reform articles looking for pieces that fail to quote a doctor / lawyer / banker / policy-maker / […]

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Leadership Qualities Teachers Want in a Principal

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 for good […]

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Matt Damon’s Save Our Schools Speech

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 learning, my […]

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