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Games in the Classroom

Gamification in Education One of the new, at least newer, aspects of education is Gamification. This is basically the use of games to teach, review, and intervention for the students. With the constant, exponential expansion of online and blended learning it was only a matter of time that computer and video games infiltrated the classroom […]

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Night Driving

Break the Speed Limits, Mind the Stop Signs

When working with teachers, a colleague of mine often asks, “Why do people speed?” The inevitable list of reasons include but are not limited to: time lack of awareness everyone else is doing it just going with the flow no-one else is around etc, etc, etc. Her response is always, “Hmmmm. No-one mentioned it was […]

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Education HAS – Applied Content

As learners ourselves, we have been recently deluged with a myriad of opportunities to pursue higher educational goals in the form of Ph.D. programs. By its very nature, a Ph.D. is a terminal degree in the philosophy of a particular content area. However, more and more for-profit universities and colleges are shifting their focuses in […]

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Reframing Education: A Call to Action

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 of achievement […]

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Teddy Bears Can Be Action Figures

Marquin Parks shares the story of learning that a former student has decided to follow in his footsteps and become a teacher.

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Language Rights of Deaf Children: Working within a Budget

It is hard to imagine that a person’s rights are only granted when there is money to pay for them.  Seriously, how would it go if people were given the freedom of religion only if there happened to be enough money to build the churches and pay for the preachers?  When times are tough, there […]

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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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What we talk about when we talk about gaps

We debate testing, tenure, and “great teachers” ad nauseum. We one up each other over who is putting students more first than anyone else. We parse choice, accountability, and common core until we can barely stand one another. We do this, not because we are gluttons for punishment, but because we know learning matters, and […]

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Childhood Poverty: Shame of the Nation

I just attended a brief webinar with the Carsey Institute on their recent brief that identifies patterns in childhood poverty using data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey. The brief is sobering to say the least. In short, despite the recession being “over,” poverty rates among children continue to rise, most dramatically in urban areas, among the unemployed […]

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Learned Humanity

While in DC this past week for the Bammy Awards I had the chance to tour the Holocaust Museum with a few colleagues. It was powerful, moving, and saddening. I left convinced more than ever that what we do matters, and matters mightily. Wandering the beautifully and hauntingly constructed museum, the visceral taste of blind bigotry […]

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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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Educational Reform: A Starting Point (Perhaps)

We’ve heard the studies and statistics. Today’s students will likely change jobs X times in their adult lives. Creativity and critical thinking are prized by employers but not found in new hires. The world’s knowledge is doubling every X days/weeks/months. The current school structure is better suited for the factory age than the technological age. […]

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Wisdom: A Missing Focus

You’ve likely heard the chatter. Educational reform seems to be to be the obsession of the moment in Educaburgh. Testing’s good! Testing’s bad! Take this acronym and call us in the morning! Here comes our superhero! No, it’s just a guy with an eraser that can change standardized test answers in a single swipe. Join […]

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Distracting Ourselves from Learning

I really try not to rant in blog posts. (I do most of my ranting around the house where my dog greets it with a yawn before burying his head under a blanket.) But I’m growing weary of something that I’m seeing more and more. One of the reasons I like and participate in social […]

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Harper: We’ll Miss You

We used to say two things about Harper: 1. His favorite part of a walk was getting home, and 2. The only things that ever need fear him were flies and bowls of dog food. Both of those things certainly were true, but with his passing yesterday, I’m overwhelmed by a flood of other cherished […]

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The View From Here: Ed Reform & the Veteran Teacher

I remember the first day I walked into my first classroom, and I stood there for the longest time looking at 30 empty desks, empty bulletin boards and an empty chalk board, and I was terrified. I was excited. With tears welling in my eyes, I was so full of emotion. There would be voices […]

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In Teaching, Impact Matters

1986.  That was a big year for me.  I was 12, in sixth grade, liked Garfield, Opus the Penguin, was “going” with a boy named Kevin, liked Zingers and Corn-nuts, loved my class and my friends, and had suffered a pointed moment of tween angst when my mom made me wear a training bra to […]

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Rigor vs Vigor

I hear parents, teachers, administrators and politicians speak about education a lot, and too often I hear them speak of the need for more rigor in school. Before blindly accepting the need for more rigor, I would like us to look more closely at the definition of rigor:

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Maybe We Should Just Go Back Outside and Teach

In the 500 years since Columbus’s Big Misunderstanding in the “West Indies”, our education system has come a long way.  After manhandling the country away from the natives (who’s “schools” probably consisted of ridiculously worthless lessons like feeding your family, shelters that last, and building fires without zippos, anyway) we’ve managed to construct an institution that has […]

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