OSMOSIS: TEACHER AND CLASS

OSMOSIS: TEACHER AND CLASS Spend enough time in a classroom and you can eventually lose yourself in the turf wars between you and your kids, because you become overwhelmed, at times, with strong emotions and conflicting thoughts.  But you can’t help it, you are part of your environment, and like a sponge, your mind, imagination, […]

Higher Standards, Lower Stakes

Release of New York City “Progress Reports” and a plethora of other news from around the country reveal the tough truth that high-stakes accountability fails to raise academic achievement.  Indeed, it leads to watering down the very standards its advocates espouse, merely producing talking points that politicians and administrators use to claim success in reaching […]

OMG! Parent-Teacher Conferences: Why They Fail, Making Them Work

Parent-teacher conferences are notorious for being dreaded, poorly attended and adversarial when they do occur.  Our guests unpack the dynamics behind parent-teacher conferences and share tips on how to make them positive, effective, collaborative opportunities that help students.     For more information, here are some great tip sheets on parent-teacher conferences: from the Harvard […]

Building Stuff Outside with Kids: Learning Happens Naturally

The sun was shining. The kids– lots of kids– were outside. It was simple and inexpensive and fun. Bamboo (harvested in advance from a grateful neighbor’s yard) Kudzu (pulled by kids from the edges of the schoolyard) A ball of string A bale of straw Two ladders, some pruners and 5 volunteer moms. We can […]

Supporting Dual-Language Learners

Teachers have so many questions about working with children who speak different languages.  Experts recommend that preschool DLLs should continue learning in their home languages while they are also learning English.  In many cases, there will be three, four or more languages in one room and teachers feel overwhelmed.   There is one strategy that […]

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation in Reading: Which is the Real Deal?

INTRINSIC vs. EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION IN READING: WHICH IS THE REAL DEAL?   This passage is taken from a published article in the 2013 New Jersey English Journal titled, “The Creative Imagination and Its Impact on 21st Century Literacies”:   “On television I saw a radical new program in education called “Massage Therapy” which is used […]

Teaching Together: Moving from Isolation to Collaboration

The guests on this segment disagree on whether teacher collaboration is new, but they all agree that teacher collaboration is becoming more important, is being done in new ways, and is more important now than ever. On November 16th, Education Week will be running a series of articles on teacher collaboration. Be sure to check […]

3 Great Ways & Reasons to Move Your Class Outdoors

According to our guests, immersing your students in nature offers many benefits to both students and teachers. Find out why you should take your students outside as often as possible. This segment also offers specific outdoor lessons you can use with your class today. To Read:   Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation […]

A Literate African-American Boy: Fact or Fantasy?

If life imitates art, as the aphorism goes, I sure wish the boy drawn in a C.F. Payne illustration would become real like Pinocchio did. The illustration depicts an African-American boy standing on a street corner engrossed in reading a book while a crowd of people behind him is enthralled by the latest technological gadgets […]

Child’s Right to Risk

This post represents a summary of several talks at the recent “International Green Schoolyard Conference”.  Although I agree wholeheartedly with all of the ideas described below, I cannot take credit for many of the thoughts.  Because the speakers’ positions were so powerfully and clearly expressed, I have quoted liberally from my notes, in an effort […]