“Are you nervous,” asked my 3-year old son, with all the right emotion but maybe the wrong words as I sat on the couch in the depths of post-blast blues last Friday. “Nervous about what?” I asked. “The board went down,” he said, repeating more or less what my wife had explained to him and his brother in the car on the way home. “Yes, pal, I’m nervous that the board went down.” “Okay, I’ll fix it,” he said confidently, and went off to find his red and blue plastic hammer. I’m pretty sure he was picturing ...

In this post I’m supposed to tell you about how I got kids to dress up like gladiators and chant Om as they brought books to life in our recent “Epic X” unit, but I need to interrupt the regularly scheduled broadcast to bring you this (heart-) breaking news… I failed. National Board scores were released online to candidates today and my score of 265 missed the passing score of 275 by 10 points. Some Eduholic readers may have missed the year of blood, sweat and aggravation that was chronicled in this blog’s predecessor, “Certifiable?”, where I wrote ...

or, Spinning Plates II Recently, my tenth graders finished reading novels in small groups, and this is the second of what will probably be three posts in which I share ideas for managing the class when every kid is not reading the same book at the same time. Last week, I described how kids chose books and what they did as they read. This week, I will continue talking about what they did as they read and tell about one of the assessments, called a “fishbowl.” You’ll have to wait until next week to hear you about the grand ...

I like to have different books going in a class at one time. Think of a circus performer weaving precariously beneath sticks balanced on his chin, nose and outstretched index fingers. This is not a comfortable image to some, I’m sure. The standard model, after all, is that everyone reads the same book at the same time, and discusses it together. The teacher assumes either an explicit or implicit role as Literary Authority (lion tamer?). There is value to this approach, at times. Frankly, in most cases the teacher is the authority. He can guide students to deeper understanding ...

Or, Teach and the Net Will Appear Oh, to be perfect. Last Thursday, a series of unfortunate events conspired to prove once again that I’m not. A Wednesday early release for kids, something I’d anticipated as a break, except I forgot that giving inservice presentations to colleagues might leave me feeling zonked at the end of the day. “You just lost your planning period,” pointed out the artful Roger. Then a purple marble comp book went missing, the one in which I do free writes along with kids, and take notes at every meeting, and plan my days ...


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