People who are keenly aware of the trials and tribulations of life understand that since birth life has offered us different opportunities to build coping skills. Life is not kind to everyone. It doesn't matter if it's a break-up gone bad or a death in the family, we don't leave this planet unscathed. It does seem as though some people have a few more tough situations than others. The best advice I ever heard about working with people going through a hard time is, "Just because it's not the hardest thing you've ever been through doesn't mean it's not the ...


If we are to truly give our students a better education system, we first must get rid of a flawed system built on testing. This past week, many New York State students had to take field tests and my fourth grade students were one of the groups chosen. I'm sure it had nothing to do with this blog. I'm sure that there was some magical formula used to "choose" these schools. Field tests are used to see if questions are too easy, too hard or just right. Think...Goldilocks and The Three Bears only with a testing twist. Most administrators ...


The percentage of children aged 6-11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Weight of The Nation Our students don't get outside enough. When I taught second grade in a city school I brought my students outside for recess and a little girl came running up and thanked me for taking the outside. It's not like she was the first student to thank me for giving them recess but it was her words that followed that bothered me the most. "This is the only time I get to go ...


Great Lessons are a continuous conversation from one day to the next where you build on yesterday in preparation for tomorrow. It sounds like common sense. Shouldn't all observations be evidence based? Is this a passing fad using new vocabulary? Or is this a new focus for principals and teachers? The stakes are high and our focus has to be clear. We need evidence that our students are learning and state tests are not the way to do that. However, teacher observations and the conversations that take place before and after are important to that process because they can have ...


Today's guest blog is written by from former N.Y.C teacher and present Columbia Doctoral Candidate Michael Albertson. Mike previously wrote Urban Education: Issues and the Future for Finding Common Ground. Students of all backgrounds face a variety of challenges during their years of formal education. Environment is a large factor -- that is, rural, suburban, urban -- and each present unique conditions. However, the problems faced by students in urban schools are the most glaring. While cities serve both culturally and economically diverse populations of students, too often this diversity is not reflected in the student bodies of ...


In honor of my friends Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody I am publically submitting the following letter to President Obama. Diane, Anthony and teachers, administrators, students and parents from across the nation are doing this today. 10/17/12 Dear President Obama: As an elementary school principal and blogger for Education Week I am writing this letter out of concern for the education of our children. The increase in time spent on taking high stakes tests in New York State has grown exponentially over the past few years. Our students, as young as 7 years-old are subjected to hours of ...


Recently I read an article based on the book Faster Isn't Always Smarter (2009) by Cathy Seeley. Seeley stated, "Certainly as part of a complete and balanced mathematics program it is useful to be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide quickly, and it is important to know basic addition and multiplication facts without having to figure them out or count on your fingers. But asking students to demonstrate this knowledge within an arbitrary time limit may actually interfere with their learning." I'm one of those people who loved flashcards and doing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division at a fast ...


If you believe that technology is a distraction and not a way to enhance educational practices, you're probably not using it correctly. • Why do we have to talk about technology so much? • I'm too busy to use it. • Isn't Twitter for Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift? • Can't we just disconnect and move past this technology driven focus in education? • Kids are so disconnected from school. All they care about is playing games on their computers. There seems to be an issue with technology as well as social networking. There are those educators who are considered "connected" whom...


Testing, although seen as a way to hold schools accountable, has done nothing more than hold schools to a 20th century model of educating students. We have all heard the comment that there isn't a silver bullet to save education. I have said it from time to time but after thinking about it, there really is a silver bullet that can help us regain competitiveness and creativity. That silver bullet is getting rid of high stakes testing. I understand that at this point in our high stakes testing era it sounds impossible. After all, many of us have been giving ...


Perhaps it's my own need to write about happy moments after posting a blog about helping children who lost a parent but this is an attempt to focus on the positive. We read so many negative things throughout our day that I thought you might enjoy focusing on the positive. I heard a statistic that we only hear one positive statement for every ten negative statements. That is a staggering statistic if it is true, and considering we are knee deep in the middle of political campaigns, I'm sure the negative number is much higher these days. It feels as ...


The opinions expressed in Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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