December 2011 Archives

It's the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa. On Christmas we celebrate the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. At Hanukkah we celebrate the miraculous drop of oil that lighted candles for eight days in the Jewish Temple. On Kwanzaa we celebrate the miraculous strength of our African ancestors who passed down virtue in spite of unimaginable hardships. And others simply celebrate the festive winter season. This time of year is unlike any other because despite all the suffering in the world, a large percentage of the world's population has something to celebrate. This sounds like a teachable ...


A Dream Deferred What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? I was driving home from work last week, passing through one of most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, and I observed the blight surrounding my minivan. My two daughters were on the back seat, the kindergartener was asleep and the fourth grader was awake but oblivious to ...


An education consultant planted a seed in my mind several years ago about the usefulness of the triple Venn diagram. She showed the school staff one similar to the one on the left and argued that students learn best when all three rings—the curriculum, the state standards, and the teacher's creative pedagogy overlap. The problem, she explained, is that the darkest, shared patch in the center is almost always the smallest, making the overwhelming amount of what we teach void of one or two essential elements that make up quality instruction. As a result, a typical teacher's lesson is either...


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