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Pulling the 10 of Hearts

There was Mr. White in middle school. He taught a Social Studies class that had an extra spoonful of African and African American experiences and influences on the world. A lot of his talking points and teachings were in line with many of the events and ideologies that my own father talked about with us […]

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Race and the Missing Ed Reform Agenda

When we talk about education reform and fail to mention race, we leave the opportunity to face a central piece of the racial achievement gap at the door. And that is not putting students first.

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Quick Rant: Early Childhood, Poverty, and PBS

Let’s just be clear for a second: Millions of children living below the poverty line have NO access to quality early childcare to nurture their minds. They enter school already well behind their more affluent peers. That deficit is minimized (not solved, just lessened) by the quality programming on PBS, the flagship of which is […]

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On Being a Bold School

Over the past three years, I have been told a number of times that the work that we do at Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School is innovative, outside the box, and exciting. Sometimes the word ‘bold’ even creeps into the equation. Certainly the experience-based learning environment is highly engaging and plays to students’ passions, but […]

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Reflecting on the Bammy Awards

The first annual Bammy Awards were held this past weekend in Washington DC to celebrate teachers and educators through recognition and acknowledgment. The black tie affair brought together the likes of Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, John Merrow and a host of teachers, bloggers, administrators, and assorted arm candies (as one husband referred to himself). With a red […]

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A Message to My Teacher Friends at the Start of a New School Year

The start of a new school year is normally an exciting time. Teachers are busy decorating their classrooms, preparing their lessons, reconnecting with colleagues, imagining what they are going to say that first day when they meet their students. But this year, teachers will have many other things on their minds. We live in a […]

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What You Believe Shapes How You Teach

My son says he likes school, but he offers one caveat. “I want to draw. Or if they won’t let me draw, I want to paint,” my son says. “And we can’t make paper airplanes. They say it makes too much trash. And I was blowing on my paper and it flies. Dad, it really flies. […]

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Why teachers quit—and why we can’t fire our way to excellence

In the past few weeks, two major reports on teacher turnover and retention have been released. One was rolled out with extensive media coverage, and has been the subject of much discussion among policymakers and education commentators. The other was written by me, along with Teachers College doctoral student Clare Buckley. The first report, “The […]

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Ideas on Universal Design for Learning

In this Kappa Delta Pi Record article, Susan Trostle Brand (University of Rhode Island/Kingston), Antoinette Favazza (University of Rhode Island), and Elizabeth Dalton (TechACCESS) present ways that teachers can use Universal Design for Learning to make lessons accessible to students with a wide spectrum of learning styles and abilities: Multiple means of representation – Giving […]

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Rethinking clinical practice in teacher training

A graduate student seeking a degree in secondary math education has been studying research about the ways children learn and evidence-based methods developed to support those ways.  He enters his practicum site and teaches a lesson on the Pythagorean Theorem. The lesson consists of displaying a page from the textbook on the electronic whiteboard, lecturing […]

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Effective Teaching Strategies for Creating Teachable Moments

Effective teachers provide their students with experiences that will create memories that stay with them for a lifetime. While a person can become a teacher through continuing education courses and training, it is experience and time that the top teachers will attribute to their success in the classroom. Fortunately, there are several simple ways that any teacher […]

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Education’s Davids and Goliaths

Fairtest, Parents Across America, Save Our Schools, United Opt-Out National, and regional groups such as Fund Education Now, are fighting to stop the corporate takeover of public education. It’s a David-Goliath match. They’re up against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the biggest philanthropic foundations in the world, most of […]

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Five Act Lesson Cycle – Humor In The Classroom

Ancient physicians believed that humors ruled the health–both physical and mental–of the human body. Any imbalance was a sure cause for illness and disease. This belief gave rise to the practice of administering curatives such as bleedings, purgatives, diuretics, among others in order to restore the balance of humors within the patient’s body. Similarly, the […]

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Engage (the Teachers as Transformative Collaborators)

Over the course of my 11 years in the classroom I lost a lot of sleep. Over students. Over parents. Over grading papers and lesson plans. During my last years, and even now as I leave the classroom to embark on something new, I’ve been up nights pondering the brand of educator professionalization being heralded […]

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Four questions about education in Finland

Q: What is the purpose of public education? Public education guarantees every child good basic education and equal opportunities to further learning. Public education also equalizes the differences that income inequalities and other socioeconomic characteristics create to different learners. In brief, public education is basic human right and basic service to all children and their […]

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Disparate Impact Gone Awry: Civil Rights Law & the Demonizaton of the Teachers

One of the unexamined dimensions of the history of the School Reform Movement is the role that Civil Rights law played in shaping its guiding assumptions and strategies. I was reminded of this the other day when reading an unpublished manuscript by an Oklahoma City based teacher named John Thompson, who pointed out that civil […]

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You Matter: A Message, A Reminder, A Connector, A Mission

We want to know that we matter. We want to know that we were heard and that what we had to say meant something. —Oprah YOU MATTER. This is more than simple, cheerful proclamation; it is a message that is at the heart and soul of our work as educators and more importantly our lives […]

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What standardized tests should assess

If you fly, thank Myron Tribus for helping make your flight safer. He played a major role in the development of the equipment that keeps airliner wings free of ice. Myron was a captain in the Army Air Force during World War II. Later, he was a gas turbine design engineer for General Electric, dean of […]

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Emerging Trend: Grassroots Growth

Imagine a seed planted in the ground. To merely survive as a plant its needs are fairly basic. Dirt. Moisture. Light. However, in order to truly thrive, its needs become a bit more complex. Rich, aerated soil. Consistent, clean water. Full spectrum light. Climate, weather, competition, air quality, and locality all play a role as […]

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