October 2007 Archives

Despite living for two years in the natural wonder that is New Mexico, I'm still a bit more Nordstroms than nature. That alone is enough to make me fascinated by outdoor education and its potential impact it has on individuals. This weekend, the Washington Post Magazine published a piece chronicling the journey of nine teens plucked from a notorious juvenile detention center and transplanted for eight days in the red rock canyons and rapids of Arizona and Utah. "This journey, he's been told, is supposed to expand his horizons beyond the streets of D.C., to transform his sense of ...

Full disclosure: I have watched the movies, but have not read the Harry Potter books. I'm an avid reader... but there are just other books I want to read before Harry Potter! (I await vicious phone calls from HP friends, including the one who owns the HP hat, Legos set, 4 shirts and 2 afghans.) Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling revealed Friday that Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore is gay. My Harry Potter-reading friends think it's no big deal. As an educator, I personally think it's not a big deal, but a step in the right direction: to expose children ...

This week's entry is by Jeremy Fried, a first-year Teach For America English teacher in the Rio Grande Valley. In this piece, Jeremy shares the grim reality and deeper responsibility of teaching. “Sir, I should be teaching this class,” “Diana” yelled across the room. My class erupted in laughter. For a second, I stood at the front of my class dumbfounded. I had no idea what to say. Worse, a little voice in that back of my head was saying, “She’s right.” Diana is 15 and pregnant, and she had just managed to get everyone in the room to ...

I used to think I was pretty normal. Now I'm beginning to wonder if I, too, am an eduholic. I guess the first tip-off was earlier this summer when I started talking about backward design. I mean really talking about backward design. Like most teacher prep programs around the country, Teach For America's teachers are taught to use backward design in their planning. I had first learned about backward design, aka UbD in reference to "Understanding by Design" by Wiggins and McTighe, back when I was a first year teacher. I used it to design my unit plans, but it ...


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