good teaching

How to Make a Teacher Smile

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Riding home from a friend’s house on a warm Friday night with my daughter is a privilege I know I wouldn’t have much longer. She is only twelve, but it won’t be long before her Friday nights are spent socializing with her peers while I anxiously await her safe return. So I cherish every moment. […]

A Teacher’s Presence

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He woke up crazy-early. 5 am to be exact. That in my opinion is too early for a little kid to be awake. And it was apparent by the way he behaved. Or didn’t, to be more exact. I brought a blanket and a pillow downstairs, hoping he would lie down and maybe–just maybe–fall asleep. […]

Teachers, Which Mic Will We Choose?

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I owned a Grandmaster Flash record. I bought LL Cool J’s Bigger & Deffer cassette tape when it first came out. I’ve seen De La Soul in concert. I thought I knew a little bit about hip hop. Well, it turns out that that is all I know. A little bit. But I am always […]

This Sucks!

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This sucks!!! This is awesome!!! If you’re reading this piece and you work with children, then the chances are good that you’ve heard these responses numerous times. The first onewe hate and the second onewe crave. To be quite honest, I hate the first response! It’s flip! It’s rude! And I can’t stand it when […]

6 Ways to Start the Year Off Right With Your Kids

Without a doubt the first few days of school are the most critical ones in helping to create the foundation of good human relationships with your students. Even the most skilled teacher in the pedagogical sciences of education will be less than effective if the kids don’t “like” them, yes, I said, “like them”. Now […]

3 Ways to Engage Kids Early

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My mantra is simple, “Where attention goes, energy flows”. Without a student’s authentic attention, you are basically swimming with no arms or legs in a choppy ocean of learning. Therefore, garnering student’s attention in the first few minutes of class as they walk in is perhaps your most important job as an educator. Setting the […]

Jump In and Swim!

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I nearly drowned as a second grader! A couple of the other kids had their arms around our coach as she walked closer to the deep end of the pool. I followed closely behind her. But before I knew it, I could no longer bob up and down and touch the bottom of the pool […]

The Calling, the Work, and the Miracles

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Educators everywhere immerse themselves into the work of impacting young lives because they love kids! Teaching is no ordinary job, and it takes an extraordinary teacher to overcome the many obstacles that children face. It takes an exceptional school leader to create a culture where children and adults have high expectations and can learn in […]

What The Little Prince Can Teach Us About Teaching

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I’ve lovedThe Little Princesince I was a child, and with each reading or exposure, I get something more out of it. As a kid, I’m certain I missed some of the symbolism or allegories, but I’m sure I empathized with the fact that I felt adults didn’t always understand me, or have the right priorities. […]

Homework Doesn’t Work. Now What?

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When I started as a brand new teacher in the Chicago Public Schools some 13 years ago I came across a poster on the wall of the attendance office, that explained the “Grade x 10” formula for assigning homework. So, a first grader should have 10 minutes of homework each night (1st grade x 10), […]