Most days, Robert walks into his elementary school with his head down. It's not that he doesn't like his teacher or school, it's just that is how he likes to walk. Students quickly walk past him on the sidewalk and the hallway because he walks so slow. They smile, laugh and talk with one another as they pass him one by one. They're not laughing at him but they're not inviting him into the conversations either. Robert has a hard time getting his schoolwork in the right place, so his teacher has to remind him where to put his homework ...


We take the mystery out of learning because we have a habit of talking at children and not to them. As many schools prepare for parent-teacher conferences they should consider involving the students in the process. It sounds like a radical concept to involve the student in the process of discussing their academic progress but it is an approach that many schools use and it has been around for decades. It's called Student-Led Conferences. For a long time schooling has focused on one to glow on, one to grow on and one to go on. During the conference, teachers tell ...


Facebook certainly has made life interesting over the past few years since its inception. For those of us over 30, we have been faced with the opportunity to see those people from high school that we long forgot about. There was a time when we only had to worry about seeing high school friends every ten years when we attended our high school class reunions, which is why some of us skipped our ten year reunion. My own high school experience, where I graduated in 1989, was not stellar and many of my classmates that I reconnected with were surprised ...


Every year we have students who need a "tune-up." A tune-up is when they need to see the principal because they had a one time issue with a student or teacher that needs an administrative intervention. Sometimes students are beginning to show a pattern of behavior and it is a good time for principals to step in and talk with the students about their behavior. I enjoy doing a tune-up with students because it involves a conversation where we try to get to the heart of an issue. For a long time, I have felt that screaming at a student ...


"The sky is falling. I saw it with my eyes. I heard it with my ears. Some of it fell on my tail." Chicken Little Many educators have spent the past couple of years dealing with the realities of our economic crisis. Our budgets have been voted down and we are forced to do more with less. Schools are in crisis mode and are at the verge of collapsing. Schools have an increase in mandates, a decrease in funding and are seeing a rise in social issues (i.e. homlessness, parents losing jobs, etc). This may sound overly dramatic but ...


Growing up with four older siblings was always interesting. At a young age I learned how to share, and privacy was non-existent until a few older siblings got married and moved out of the house. My brother Jody is three years older, although everyone thinks he's younger, and we spent a great deal of time together as kids. He lives in Bahrain but we still talk and see each other often considering the distance and he still tortures me from time to time. One of his usual lines is is, "I failed recess...you know why? Because I don't play!" ...


The other day I was going through some old Word files. I have a lot of pieces of writing I started but never finished. Usually, things sound like a great idea in my mind and then it just doesn't look right on paper. I save a few pieces and revisit them from time to time. One piece of writing that I found was entitled "Ode to NCLB." I had written it in 2003 while I was working at an underfunded small city elementary school. I was frustrated at the time because NCLB was seen as the umbrella that covered us ...


As I walk around the school building getting to know my students, I love to hear their stories about what they did after school or hear their plans for the upcoming weekend. From first glance, they are much like we were when we were young. They want to hang with their friends and have fun with their families. In other ways, students have changed a great deal simply because of what they can access on a daily basis. For a long time I used to resist the urge to say that kids have changed since I was young because I ...


Over the past few decades we have seen politicians who make us proud and others who make us want to hide our heads in shame. The more we watch the news the more it seems as though our politicians are disconnected from the people who voted them into office. As many people suffer during these tough economic times, many politicians argue about who is right and point fingers at who they believe is wrong. All of this behavior has an effect on our daily morale because we are exposed to the fighting through our 24/7 media outlets. Even on ...


"We are raising a stressed out generation of students who are over-tested and overanalyzed." The other day I took some time to craft an e-mail in a Word document. I needed to take the time to make sure that I chose my words correctly. Sending the whole staff a message is something that I take seriously because once your words are out there, they can be interpreted in numerous ways. The reason for the e-mail was to communicate something that I feel strongly about. It had to do with the overuse of testing in the U.S. and the need ...


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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