Bargaining For Common Good: Chicago Teachers’ Strike

Getting to Yes. That’s what it takes. Saturday, an autumn day of falling leaves, football, Halloween parties and pumpkin patches. Hopefully you have power on, are safe, warm, and enjoying your weekend. However, in Chicago, teachers and city officials are meeting as I write, to possibly close the deal, ending traumatic negotiations, missed classes and […]

Spend More Time Planting Seeds and Less Time Measuring Vines

It’s only natural. We want to know how well we’re doing. If what we are saying or writing or creating is making any sense—if it is resonating with others. We often go about this by counting downloads, likes, retweets, shares, etc. This is okay up to a certain point. But after a while, it can […]

Recharged

There are those days when I leave my classroom thoroughly exhausted. The fatigue is real…and is so much more strongly felt as I age in this profession! All day long, I am “on” – asking questions, answering questions, making decisions, redirecting student behavior, grading, planning – spinning a million plates all at once. As I […]

The Importance of Building Capacity in Schools: Follow Up (One Week Later)

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Last week we learned more about how complex building capacity can be.  To build capacity effectively, change needs to occur in the following processes simultaneously: pedagogical, content, cognitive, affective, behavioral, and organizational processes.  One way to work with your colleagues to build capacity is to ensure that in your school, there is a focus on learning, […]

Leaves

(Ten years ago, I was nearing the end of my school administration career.  This story came from that year…) The first week back from Winter Break had been fairly uneventful.   The kids, still filled with a bit of holiday spirit, had for the most part succeeded in concealing their new DS Lites, iPods and cell […]

Slowing Down: The Soft Skill That Gets Left Behind

We spend our lives planning and hoping for them yet oftentimes the most beautiful moments happen by accident—when we slow down long enough to take in what was right in front of us along. I had to go to another school to pick up work for one of our students. I could have walked. I […]

Laughing About Mental Illness? The Joke Is on You

October has fallen upon us, and schools around the country are in full swing. While most student and parental fears have calmed down, school supplies are taken care of, what has been defined as edible and non-edible on the lunch menu, and students having a decent idea of what their typical day may look like […]

The Importance of Building Capacity in Schools

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There exists little evidence as to the direct effects school leaders have on student achievement (1). The reading expert Kelly Gallagher (2) asserts that the “Teacher is the X factor” in the classroom.  What, then, can school leaders and education researchers do to provide direction for a school improvement collaboration? We look to the context […]

Spark

The first quarter of my 37th year as an educator is officially at its end. There is always an overwhelming feeling of fatigue at this time of the year and a welcome sense of relief in knowing that there is a bit of a respite before heading into the holiday-laden second quarter. This year, I […]

What If Kids Didn’t Need To Act Out? Ask Rae Pica!

Celebrating World Teacher Day With Rae Pica! I’ve seen a lot of obnoxious behaviors and I admit I cleared a kindergarten class a couple times early on, before I knew better. I had a kid who tossed around pretty much everything in my Principal’s office, experienced the ‘joys’ of a key job on my car, […]

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