Archive for October 2013

Child with special needs triumphs!

Earlier this week, I shared a story about an adult in charge of an art program who excluded a child with special needs for having, well, special needs. This happened despite having accepted the child with full disclosure from her mother that she would need a helper.  Since a picture is worth far more than anything I... Read more »

The bullied end up the winners

Many years ago, a boy in middle school shared his anguish with me over being bullied.  He was subjected to the usual: taunting, teasing, shoves into lockers, prank phone calls, and even some cyber-bullying (which was in its infancy back then).  His life was an episode of Glee minus the slushies.  I’ll never forget what... Read more »

Bullying is not always between kids

We are nearing the end of both National Bullying Prevention Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  Schools all across the country have had their assemblies.  Every day this month, we have read tragic stories of bullying, often exacerbated by Internet bullying, that drove children to despair and even suicide.  We have also read inspiring... Read more »
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Mr. Rogers and Dr. Seuss Would Have Hated Standardized Testing!

A friend of mine who trains Chicago public elementary school teachers how to teach reading was lamenting how stressful her job had become.  While she was excited about some new techniques that enabled teachers to differentiate for their students, I asked her how a teacher with 30+ young students could manage having all of them... Read more »

Too much standardized testing

In a letter to President Obama dated October 22, 2013, top children’s authors and illustrators including Maya Angelou, Judy Blume, Sandra Boynton, Jules Feiffer, Judith Viorst, Rosemary Wells, and more than 120 others urge the President to curb standardized testing. They fear that teaching to standardized tests erodes a child’s love of reading and literature. ... Read more »

No child left behind, or leave no child behind - a big difference

Most of this post was printed in the Cherry Preschool newsletter in January of 2006, but it seems even more important today than it was then.  At the time, I was concerned about how many children were being left behind, despite the 2002 law that declared “no child left behind.” In an earlier post, I... Read more »
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A preschooler’s developmentally appropriate response to academic readiness

My four-year-old grandson will be one of the youngest boys in next year’s kindergarten class.  My daughter knows what kindergarten is like in her community because his older sister is now in first grade at the school he will attend.  He will be expected to know his letters and letter sounds right away.  He will... Read more »

Not useless or used up - just a retired volunteer

Volunteering my services, as a recently retired person seeking an encore career, sure is different from anything I have encountered before. I am surprised by how difficult it has been.  Why am I, a recently retired educator and school administrator, having a hard time finding the right fit?  Is it my age or a bias... Read more »

Warren Cherry: A School Community Builder Who Never Bowled Alone

My mentor, Warren Cherry(scroll down to view a film about his life), died on July 11, 1990, long before people shared almost everything with their online communities, but I am certain he would have agreed with Robert Putnam that people need to connect with each other in person around a common purpose.  Bowling Alone, a... Read more »
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Good Teaching is an Art, Not a Mathematical Formula

After being a teacher for seven years and supervising teachers for 25 years, I still firmly believe that teaching is a calling and good teaching is an art.  As wonderful as it may seem to find an objective mathematical formula for evaluating teachers, people who have worked with teachers over a period of time will... Read more »