creative teaching

Common Core and Content Can Get Along


Not a day can go by without someone criticizing the Common Core State Standards or blaming the Common Core for all that ails our public education system. And while assessments are usually the prime target for Common Core haters, the standards’ emphasis on non-fiction texts have drawn greater scrutiny in recent months. No, I’m not […]

You’ll Know It When You See It

see it

I have had a week of driving, of not sleeping enough, of wearing myself a little thin. When you work for a school board that is roughly the size of Albania, you go through a lot of coffee. It’s been an exhausting week but it’s also been exhilarating. This week I got to be a […]

What Schools Can Learn From Creative Companies


In 1924, esteemed cultural observer and journalist H. L. Mencken offered this critique: “The aim of public education is not to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence… Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim… is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe […]

You Only Think You Know About Teaching Creativity


More than ever, educators are expected to foster creativity in the classroom—and to use emerging technology and pedagogical trends to do so. Whatever else is involved in this endeavor (and there’s a whole lot), I fear too few teachers know what creativity actually is, much less how to foster it. With this in mind, I […]

How to Use Nursery Rhymes to Meet the Standards


With all the material teachers have to cover, it is essential to be highly efficient in our teaching. One of the most powerful tools for efficient teaching is nursery rhymes and folk songs. Iuse nursery rhymes and folk songs to teach rhyming, fluency, one-to-one correspondence in reading, sight words, directionality, phonics, decoding skills, encoding skills, […]

Six Words Can Shape a Lesson


Inspired by a project at Smith MagazineSix Word Memoirsare a great tool to use in the classroom. With students feeling the pressure of producing more, turn thae tables on them and have them write less while continuing to use critical thinking skills. Here are some ideas inspired by Six Word Memoirs: Introduction Have students write […]


Try this 20-minute exercise, you might like it, and so will your kids. It’s not a trip into deep meditation, but a simple activity for clearing your head–and your students’–and then pumping it up in the classroom. And nowadays we all want something that helps inspire us. And,it’s all inside you, not so deep, and […]

Penmanship: Forgotten? Lost?

Why bother teaching penmanship when you have all the pressures of that alien organization, CC, hovering over your head? Teachers and parents alike shouldn’t turn away from this skill. Why? Cursive writing is not just about learning how to write “the letters,” in fact, it’s a lot more. In NYC public schools penmanship became a […]

Fun+Free+Nonfiction…What’s Not to Love?


During a field trip several years ago, I watched my students pile off the bus at a rest area. Instead of heading to the snack machines as I expected, however, they stood around a brochure display stand,trading travel pamphlets and discussing tourist attractions with enthusiasm. Intrigued, I began to gather brochures for my classroom. In […]

Educating the “Whole” Teacher

“Teaching is a Creative Art: Call It Human Rocket Science” —Jeffrey Pflaum I’m not their mother, father, guidance counselor, social worker, or therapist. I’m a teacher. I teach: that’s what I do. You hear that from educators, now even more so with CCSS, multiple standardized tests, and all sorts of assessments looming over their heads. […]