Increasing Relevancy and Rigor Through Student Choice

When I first began teaching, I was taught that the lowest achieving kids in a classroom must be “caught up” in the following manner: inform them of how “far behind” they are in their academic achievement (using as many graphs as possible) to spark a sense of urgency, followed by an intense schedule of drills … Continue reading Increasing Relevancy and Rigor Through Student Choice

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Sometimes It’s Best to Just Get Out of the Way and Let Students Do Their Thing

I’ll be the first to admit it; I’m a little bit of a control freak. I’m a planner. I’m an organizer. I’m prepared. When I’m making my lesson plans, I know what we’re going to be doing for each instructional minute. I have a goal for my students, and I know what we need to … Continue reading Sometimes It’s Best to Just Get Out of the Way and Let Students Do Their Thing

Why I Stopped Grading (and Why You Might Want To)

If you were to take a random poll of teachers, I bet a sizable portion of them would cite grading as their least favorite part of the profession. It’s time consuming, repetitive, and often leads to antagonistic conversations with students and their families. Contrast that with what grading should do— concisely and quickly communicate a … Continue reading Why I Stopped Grading (and Why You Might Want To)

Video Essays for More Authentic Literary Analysis

This post originally appeared on Moving Writers.  At my school, projects drive the learning process. Each grade level team collaborates to create project deliverables that are connected. Sometimes, students create one large product at the end, with each class focusing on a particular piece of the final creation. Other times, our team decides on a … Continue reading Video Essays for More Authentic Literary Analysis

Why You Should Use Harry Potter and The Sacred Text in Your Classroom

I’ve been a huge fan of the Harry Potter series since my 4th-grade teacher, Mrs. Spaulding read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to our class once a week after lunch recess. I’m also curious about the way that people think and the belief systems that influence their decisions. Thus, when I saw an article … Continue reading Why You Should Use Harry Potter and The Sacred Text in Your Classroom

Book Thoughts: Jill Levoy’s Ghettoside

Dear Friends, Jill Levoy’s Ghettoside explores the role that our justice system has in perpetuating systemic racism and in contributing to the disproportionately high number of young black men’s lives that are lost to homicide. Writing about such a complicated, nuanced issue could easily result in an overly academic, unapproachable style. Drawing on her years … Continue reading Book Thoughts: Jill Levoy’s Ghettoside