October 2011 Archives

As one of my opening lessons on science lab safety, I use a scenario of students who create utter mayhem in the lab with glimpses of them also being safe. This anticipatory set is fun to read and students quickly identify things they should never do. By the end of the lesson they have internalized all eight safety rules. Today, Congress is struggling with how to advance teacher evaluations in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and states and school districts across the country are challenged to implement education reform laws on this topic. My hope ...


My principal abruptly had her baby this weekend leaving the staff a bit in shock. One of my students just confided to me that he is gay. I couldn't sleep for two days worrying about a different student who ran away from home on the coldest, wettest night of the season. (Now found, he survived by panhandling, riding the bus, and sleeping in a stranger's car). My husband and I took turns taking a day off work to nurse my kindergartener's nasty cold. During which time the gas company detected a gas leak in my basement so alarming that the ...


On Monday, we closed our schools in honor of Christopher Columbus Day. I love always having a long weekend to celebrate my Oct. 9 birthday. But it annoys me that we celebrate a man whose exploratory ambitions led to the demise of millions of indigenous people in the Caribbean and opened the Atlantic to the Africa slave trade. And Columbus' legacy continues to reverberate in the African American educational experience. My ancestors were slaves in America, in generations not far removed from mine. My maternal grandparents were sharecroppers in Shaw, Mississippi, which basically meant that they managed a white man's ...


Last night I met Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis at a Teach Plus roundtable discussion and sat right next to her at dinner. Lewis is a fascinating figure, a former high school chemistry teacher whose humorously blunt personality helped catapult her to the union's top spot in 2010. She prides herself on being brutally honest, which she said caused her to get famously cursed out by an angry Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. When a friend of mine at dinner asked her how Lewis envisioned charter and district schools working together, she responded, "I want to unionize charter schools." That's ...


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