Enduring beauty in students and curriculum

Another blogapalooz night; here’s the prompt: “write about something you find beautiful that you feel others may not understand.” I find so many things that are beautiful that others don’t understand… A frustrated student: bringing a child into the academic fold is so gratifying. What interests him? What does he value? Family? Cultural community? What... Read more »

Mitigating the pressures we put on students

Another Blogapalooz night. We get an hour to respond to this prompt: write about a time you told a lie. I don’t know if this is technically a lie. I love telling stories. I also love breaking rules that don’t make any sense. I broke some rules in my role as a gifted resource teacher.... Read more »

Going to the "unknown" with your students

Another blogapalooz night. Tonight’s subject involved sharing a favorite quote and explaining why it resonated. I chose a quote written by Jim Morrison of the Doors: “There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.” Let’s deconstruct Morrison’s quote. “There are things known,” and to many, what’s known is safe. I... Read more »
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Ode to experiences before my mom's dementia

Last night, there was a blogapalooz contest. Though I couldn’t participate, I decided to respond to the prompt anyway because it touched some unexpected chords: Write about a friend from childhood with whom you’ve lost touch. Wasn’t hard to come up with this person. We weren’t best friends in high school, but we were close.... Read more »

Guided by a wise teacher, kindergarteners model kindness and inclusive play

Guided by a wise teacher, kindergarteners model kindness and inclusive play
In my quest to make elementary school a kinder, happier, and more meaningful place, I’ve been reading a lot of books on democratic education. A couple of weeks ago, I came across a gem entitled, You Can’t Say, You Don’t Play. The book is written by Vivian Gussin Paley, a MacArthur genius grant recipient, and... Read more »

Teaching the teacher: Stern learns about engaging ways to address the summer slide

 Teaching the teacher:  Stern learns about engaging ways to address the summer slide
I love a lively discussion. That’s why I’m so appreciative of the responses to my last blog on possible learning loss over the summer, referred to as the summer slide by some educators. Readers had some creative responses to (and differences with) my thinking. A fair number supported summer learning, particularly for at risk students... Read more »
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Code switch: enjoy July and August and don’t panic over the reported negative impact of “summer” on test scores

Code switch:  enjoy July and August and don’t panic over the reported negative impact of “summer” on test scores
I was walking through a mall the other day (mid July and still raining in Chicago) and stopped dead in my tracks. Hanging in the atrium was at least a 7 x 10’ back to school sign. That same day, an NPR commentator added to my misery, making a big deal about the skills and... Read more »

Getting to the heart of darkness: how teachers can challenge institutional racism

Getting to the heart of darkness:  how teachers can challenge institutional racism
I know that it’s summer and teachers are supposed to take well-deserved breaks from thinking about the classroom, but now is not the time to turn a deaf ear, especially since violence, depravity, and institutional racism take no holidays. I wish I could remember a time when the shooting of a black person was not... Read more »

The year end audit: what does your child have to say about her growth this past year

The year end audit:  what does your child have to say about her growth this past year
I truly enjoy the end of the school year celebrations and believe they are very important. I also believe it’s equally important to reflect on gains your child has made over the course of the year. Sometime this month, I suggest that parents ask their children some of the following questions listed below. Their answers... Read more »
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Oh, the "places" I'll go as a grandma

Another Blogapalooz night. This night’s prompt: “Write about your tomorrow. Not figuratively, literally write about anything that you hope, fear, believe, expect — anything — that you may experience tomorrow.” Valentines Day. 2015. I drove my friends nuts that weekend. I was so convinced that one of my two kids was going to get engaged.... Read more »