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Paul Bogush  @paulbogush

Paul Bogush @paulbogush

Paul taught middle school social studies for 26 years, and is currently trying to reinvent himself as an alternative high school social studies teacher. Since writing a bio about yourself is hard, he asked a student to finish it and this is what she wrote:)
Paul Bogush is a remarkable man. His teaching methods are fun and unique, and he makes every class enjoyable. His energetic mood is infectious, and you can’t help but smile around him. He is very genuine, and is not strict or boring like other teachers. Everything he says is always stuck in your mind, because he delivers everything with boldness and confidence. He’s an all around incredible person, and makes learning ten times more fun than any other class. He will be dearly missed by not just me, but most of his students when we leave next year.

PS please send help, we weren’t very good listeners in homeroom this week so he has us in lock down every afternoon for a week.

Posted by on in Teens and Tweens

My dream has always been to have kids talk about what they are learning outside of class, at the dinner table, on the bus.  To be so passionate about what they are learning that they go home and watch a documentary, binge onNetflix, or continue reading more books about what we are learning long after the curriculum has asked us to move on. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes it does not. I have grown to learn that when they do continue their learning outside of the classroom, it is almost always when they are captivated by people's stories.  Whether it be Andrew Jackson's childhood, Samuel Cloud on the trail of tears, or Emmanuele who became a child soldier in the Republic of Congo and was the same age as my students. We need to focus on stories in class.  We need to tell those stories with the heart that they deserve.

I believe that great classrooms can change the world.  When classrooms include powerful  stories, when those stories are told with heart the way they deserve to be told, kids thought patterns can change, they can be moved, fires are lit, and they will be inspired.

Great classrooms just don’t just focus on content.  They use the content in their course to deliver a story that has heart.

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Posted by on in Classroom Management

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My daughter Annie did not get up and get ready for school with me today.  Yesterday was her last day at Amity Middle School and today she is sleeping in.  This year Annie talked about school non-stop.  Every time I got into the car with her I would hear about Mr. Goldstein's experiments, we now have a Sons of Liberty flag flying at our house after completing research for a social studies project, and the kid no longer believes that mathematics was created to simply destroy souls of children.

A couple days ago I received a letter from a graduating senior thanking me for 8th grade.  In the letter he mentioned many things, but not a single time did he mention any content or skills directly.

"...you were so encouraging..."

"...thank you for believing in me when I did not."

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Posted by on in Classroom Management

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 I let my children do dangerous things…

They have built fires by themselves.

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Posted by on in School Culture
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I realized early in my career that teachers actually have the same students each year.  After the first month or so all the students get shuffled into the roles of the previous year’s students and they receive their name.  You have probably met some of them.  There was Joe “Lazy,” Kathleen “Doesn’t want to work up to her potential,” Frank “Rude,” Mary “Her parents don’t even care,”  Harold “Doesn’t like anything,”  Nicole “I waste my time with her,”  Jerry “Never asks questions,”  Helen  “Doesn’t come back for extra help,” Greg “Never focused,” Melissa “Doesn’t Study,” and Carey “Needs to pay more attention.”

FierceThose labels take the pressure off teachers.  Why is Greg failing?  It is because he is never focused.  Why does Mary not pass in any homework?  It’s because her parents don’t care.  See how easy it is!  If you give each kid a label and a reason for their actions you remove responsibility from the teacher to figure it out and place it on the student. There is no need to continue wondering what is going on and why the kid is having problems.  Greg would simply do better in class if he just focused.  After labeling we perceive all of their actions as coming from that label.

We fear uncertainty.  Labels prevent uncertainty by predicting results.  Label a kid a jerk and that is what he is, no need to figure him out—it is certain what the problem is.  No need to figure out why the kid is doing what they are doing.  No need to try and figure out how to help the kid.  They are just a jerk.

Labeling a kid also changes our reaction to their actions.  When we label a kid we place our emotional baggage into the label and into our treatment of the kid.  We react to everything based on past experiences that we have had.  It is nearly impossible to not do this unless you stop, and realize that is what you are doing.  We interpret the students’ actions as being done to us.  If a student doesn’t hand in work the teacher says “He did not do MY work.”  If a kid says that a class is boring it is “He told me that MY class was boring.”  Teachers take the actions of the students personally, their words and actions hit on the baggage that we carry with us that was packed by our parents, our teachers, and our previous life experiences.

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Tagged in: words

Posted by on in Assessment

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The sun is setting on yet another school year.  It is about this time that teachers start talking about how kids have checked out, senioritis has kicked in, and spring fever is rampant.  I was lucky enough to be able to spend the last 27 years studying this problem.  I took blood samples from over three thousand students on the first day of school, and then again nine months later.  Every year I found the same thing...nothing.  No sign of spring fever, senoritis, or any of the other maladies that teachers were complaining their kids contract every year around this time.  When I dug deeper into the research what I found was shocking :)  Kids were slowly developing a common problem that was being misdiagnosed.  They were bored.  They did not want to be, they were just tired of doing the same thing over and over and over again.  


If your kids have caught boredom, I have some possible cures in this post.  Things you can do with your kids that are different than what they would normally expect to do.  Activities that allow them to be bold, have fun, and be themselves.  Some might even be considered challenging and difficult.  But don't worry, the most memorable experiences in your class will come when kids do things that they previously thought were impossible.  


A short warning before you continue.  Two years ago it was proven that kids can overdose on boredom.  They can become so bored that recovery is a difficult and slow process.  The same study showed that there is no possibility of overdosing in class on fun, creativity, courage, or being different.  There are two paths your kids can take to success, being like everyone else or being like no one else. Which one are you modeling for your kids in the final weeks?


Clicking on each title below leads to a boredom busting activity.

RSA Videos

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