Quirky college applicants understood by this sharp educator, making a case for "weird" college essays

Guest author, Rachel Stern DeJong, is the Co-President of Academic Tutoring Centers in Highland Park, IL; before that, she taught AP English at the High School of Math, Science and Engineering in New York City. When assisting students writing college (and other professional school) application essays, Rachel excels at identifying and presenting an authentic and... Read more »

The Federal Government’s ICE trap: How a Serbian refugee/prisoner granted parole—but detained by ICE-- is facing a death sentence in Bosnia

The Federal Government’s ICE trap: How a Serbian refugee/prisoner granted parole—but detained by ICE-- is facing a death sentence in Bosnia
Those of you who know me are aware of two things:  my grandmother had a profound effect on my life because she always believed in me, and my parents forced me to go to law school, an experience that I mostly despised, with a silver lining; I met my husband and a few other great people... Read more »

A power shift--kids are questioning experts on climate change at KCS II (town hall format) on 4/13

Wondering whether COVID made a dent in global climate emissions? Concerned about rising sea levels impacting more than half our country?Worried that drought will lead to food insecurity? And, why should you buy that electric car (our government ought to go electric, when it comes to transportation, too)? Join six elementary and six middle school... Read more »
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Truth without consequences: Why teachers ought to expose their ideas and thought processes, but never impose their thinking on students.

Truth without consequences:  Why teachers ought to expose their ideas and thought processes, but never impose their thinking on students.
Stern:  What’s up? Pal:  Adam Kipzinger’s taking the heat on his vote to impeach Trump, etc.  Read the letter above.  Poor guy; his family (at least some members are) is ganging up on him big time. Stern:  Well, we gotta be open, gonna post this letter and share it with my students. Pal:  Ok, but... Read more »

On President's Day, a teachable moment: Trumpers may huff and puff but will they blow our Democracy down?

On President's Day, a teachable moment:  Trumpers may huff and puff but will they blow our Democracy down?
I teach upper elementary and middle school students about climate change every Thursday, and I keep thinking about what students might say about the second impeachment trial. As I try to make sense of the acquittal, I parody a Megan Trainor song…it’s all about that oath. So, what will I talk about this Thursday with... Read more »

Today's news: Toddler's learning contentment trumps the Trump trial and other planetary concerns

I woke up to the sounds of a baby in my house this morning; those delicious sounds of…uh, oh, oopsies, hi, ..wow, woow, wooow; the baby, our granddaughter, is 15 months old and a girl. Those in our family bubble surround her most of the day, awed by her every move, waiting for a smile,... Read more »
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How the Stennis' confederacy table (given to Biden) is primed to become MLK's proposed table of brotherhood

How the Stennis' confederacy table (given to Biden) is primed to become MLK's proposed table of brotherhood
Ever wonder if President-elect, Biden and MLK crossed paths? I sure did. Two champions of civil rights were bound to intersect. But, I don’t think they ever met in person, though if you comb through the I Have a Dream speech (“Speech”), you can see how their ideas intersect and how objects, literally a table,... Read more »

Analyze this: the convergence between fairy tale villains, Disney thugs, and Donald J. Trump

I love asking questions; I credit that to my legal and educational training. Over time, I have learned to listen—especially to youth–who I have to say, are much more honest than adults (adults have been influenced by political banter).  As an example, remember the young child who exposed the fraud and misdeeds in The Emperor’s New... Read more »

Fairy tales, climate change, and a spook-tacular invitation for youth

Fairy tales, climate change, and a spook-tacular invitation for youth
Every fall, I loved to teach folktales and fairy tales, setting the stage for the most imaginative holiday, Halloween. One of my favorite stories was The Emperor’s New Clothes. Remember that story? — The Emperor was a dull, boorish, clotheshorse who fell under the spell of thieves and “bought” or really imagined he bought, beautiful... Read more »
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Playful classroom activities foster joyful learning experiences, according to educators and pediatricians

Hello again ChicagoNow readers!  I have chosen to fold the blog Gifted Matters into this new blog, Academic Ink-lings!  Once again, the focus will be on education, with the belief that learning is a joyful enterprise and that every student deserves to be challenged.  I hope you will read on and comment!! A bit of... Read more »