September 2010 Archives

October is National Arts & Humanities Month. With the push in our country for greater accountability (i.e. higher test scores) and an emphasis on STEM education, too frequently the arts get short shrift. At best, they suffer from reduced funding for supplies and materials. At worst, they are cut completely from our schools. Keep Arts in Schools (http://keepartsinschools.org), one of the many online resources for arts education advocates, provides educators, parents, and community members with research on the impact of arts education and toolkits for advocating for arts education in our schools. Administrators and educational leaders are in ...


Therefore, we would like to discuss the possibility of including something in the coursework for the teacher and administrators' college curriculum... something we like to call: "Reality Check: What your role as teacher or administration REALLY looks like!"


Isaac got in between his mom and her boyfriend when they were fighting and caught the flying coffee pot right on the corner of his cheekbone. Even through the stitches he refused to cry. Andre lost his little sister when she rode her bicycle in front of the trolley. Erica has a parent in prison. Both of Emilio’s parents are incarcerated. Joaquin never knew his parents. Beto is the parent because his mom works three jobs and is still below the poverty level. Survivors. But teaching survivors how to add fractions or to sort between metaphors and similes or ...


Systems are not overrated, not by a long shot. When I took over as principal at a junior high school after nine years at an elementary school, there were virtually no systems, rituals, or routines in place; in other words, very little structure and an awful lot of chaos. Students used (more like abused) cell phones, iPods, and other electronics all day while teachers put on blinders. There were daily brawls, blatant gang activity, and worst of all, declining student achievement and a very serious gap. Systems put everyone on the same the same book, but only if everyone interprets ...


For two decades, I have sought to help students find their way as readers and writers. As I reflect back on the years I spend as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and later University professor, I fed my students a steady diet of fiction text. I touched on nonfiction when we had a topic to research or a problem to solve, but I cautiously shied away. I had great confidence and passion for literature, and understood how to make fiction come alive. I had little personal confidence in how to help them find their way in the complex world of ...


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