March 2009 Archives

In my e-mail inbox today, I received an invitation to examine exactly how much money my school district will get from the federal stimulus package. I agree that school districts need help right now. With a flat housing market and foreclosures across the country, school districts have lost a major source of funding—property tax revenues. The American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 prevents thousands of teachers from losing their jobs and sustains vital programs. If there is money left over, I have ideas about how to spend it (I bet we all do), and I don’t have ...


I almost didn’t recognize her. With flat-ironed hair and makeup, Madeline did not look like the gangly sixth grader with frizzy red hair who I remembered from my class four years ago. “Hi Mrs. Miller,” she said, “I am assigned to your room today.” Participating in Writers’ Day at a local intermediate school, I was asked to teach two rotations of writing lessons to budding 5th and 6th grade authors. High school volunteers, like Madeline, were paired with teachers to help with crowd control and work with the younger kids. I laughed, “I hope you don’t mind, but ...


March 10th marks the 95th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s death. Tubman is famous for leading slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses and trails from the South to the North. Nowadays, the term “Underground” represents other networks like the London Underground and subcultures apart from the mainstream like Underground music and art. The Underground represents freedom, escape, and unfortunately, hiding. I use the term "underground readers" to describe gifted readers, those students who live in a world that is often outside the confines of classroom cultures, which are often pitched toward developing readers. In ...


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