My three-year old son has watched Old Yeller hundreds of times and thinks he’s Travis (“Tavis,” he says), a wild west boy who knows how to track hogs and says “Get ‘im boy,” to his dog. (Our puppy, Bee, is enthusiastic but doesn’t have the instinct to run a fox to ground.) As part of Will River’s developmental acquisition of language, in addition to the frontierisms, he has somehow picked up a useful if inappropriate expletive, “Oh, sh*t!” I’m chagrined that he uses it, but at least he does so at the right times, like ...

The fan is whirring in my trailer, the grit of chocolate-covered espresso beans coats my teeth, and our sort of new puppy, Bee, rests at my feet. Doesn’t quite feel like school, yet here I am a full week earlier than most of my colleagues, sifting through text books and syllabi in order to get ready for the first day. Turns out, National Board had me so twisted last year that I agreed all the way back in January to a beach week with the wife’s family for this upcoming week before school. Before that fan has things ...

I got a perky email from Emily, a colleague who just finished the NVWP summer institute and felt jazzed about a presentation on tech-infused 21st century teaching by Teacher/Consultant Eric Hoeffler. I felt the same way last year when I heard Eric, and wrote then about my plans to use a wiki in my classroom (Starting from Scratch July 23, 2006) It turned into a student-curated website, which was fantastic but let me off the hook in terms of learning new tricks. I may be tech challenged but I know some people who aren’t. Members of the Teacher ...

When I finish teaching a class I ask the students what they’ve learned. Often this relates to what I’ve taught. The way that I ask students to demonstrate what they’ve learned is not by a multiple choice test, which would be helpful in determining what I thought they should have learned, but rather through an essay or a letter. I choose this open-ended form for a couple reasons. First, it supports differentiation of instruction. In the same way that all first graders don’t come to reading at the same time, learners at any level don’t ...

My three-week course with ten accomplished women is done, and there is a 696-sized hole in my life. I’m not sure when I will next be able to carve three hours per morning out of my life to write hard and workshop with motivated colleagues. “Voices from the Classroom” was a fantastic first run of a course that deserves to go again. It filled a need. Teachers are dying for permission to tell their tales, and the gift of time and support to do it. On the last day of class, we applied the finishing touches to our pieces ...


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