The weather is gorgeous, the flowers are blooming and the porch chair is more compelling than my desk chair. Like my students, I am yearning to be outside. In two days it’s May, it’s May, the month of “Yes, you may . . . open your test booklets and begin.” OK, that’s not really accurate because we do our testing on-line. But whether it’s paper and pencil or on-line, testing now dominates April and/or May for most schools. We need those tests. They provide verification of learning for students, parents, teachers, school policymakers and all other school stakeholders. ...


"It doesn't matter how poor, how tough the family background [or] socioeconomic challenges," Duncan said. "Where students have longer days, longer weeks, longer years -- that's making a difference." Humm…… So the best school would be one that meets 24/7? Is more better or is it just more? I find this interesting because just a week ago I was looking at The Washington Post Magazine Education Review which is a popular advertising venue for private schools. You know what? Not one of those private school ads marketed “longer days, longer weeks and longer school years.” Nor did they tout “data...


As Colleague and Mentor Program coordinator for my school, I love working with new teachers. The only problem is that I don’t get much business because we don’t have much turnover. When teachers leave our school, it’s usually because they are moving, pregnant or retiring. I barely make the top 10 senior-teacher list in terms of tenure with a mere 21 years. But at 58, I easily make the top five in terms of age. I have this weird sensation that theNational Commission on Teaching and America’s Future has been reading my mind. While they may ...


According to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, new research done at Cornell explains that The income–achievement gap is a formidable societal problem…. We show that childhood poverty is inversely related to working memory in young adults. Furthermore, this prospective relationship is mediated by elevated chronic stress during childhood. (Gary Evans and Michelle Shamberg) Their work adds to the body of knowledge of research on poverty and learning which addresses the concern that There is a gulf between low and middle Socioeconomic status (SES) children in their performance on just about every test of ...


DC schools’ Capital Gains program is in the news again. In fifteen District of Columbia schools 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are being paid for performance. While some factors are consistent in all schools, there is some variation, but every school includes attendance, behavior, and, in some form, grades. Uniforms are a criteria in nine of the schools, and service is a factor at one school. Students earn up to $10 a day, or $100 every two weeks, for meeting expectations in each area. It would appear that the formula is $2 for each of the target goals. The Capital ...


There’s a new teacher at Stepford Elementary, her name is Saya and she meets the need for ethnic diversity on the staff. Saya is from Japan. Saya demonstrates the Stepford School System's commitment to “Integrating Technology to Prepare Our Students for 21st Century Learning.” Saya is a Robot Teacher. You remember Stepford don’t you? It’s the quaint little suburban village where all those stay-at-home housewives are happy and beautiful because Dis, the president of the local Men’s Club, is replacing the old human models with new improved animatronic spouses. The nice thing about a robot is ...


Last week I wrote about how looking at pictures informed the way I thought about teaching and learning. I’ve been thinking about The Picture Lady ever since. The Picture Lady came to visit us in fifth grade. I think The Picture Lady was probably a Junior League member and her traveling art exhibit was a community service project. Each visit, she brought us a new picture – a large nicely framed copy of a famous work of art – and she gave us a little 15-minute lesson on the artist and some aspect of art appreciation. After her visit, the picture ...


A few weeks ago an article by Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik caught my attention. I tore it out and left in on my desk. I keep going back to it. Gopnik says, A few hours spent with the 48 paintings in "Pride of Place," the latest groundbreaking show from curator Arthur Wheelock, suggests that we might want to hunt for a proper, up-close viewing spot for every image. That's not what this exhibition is officially about; it's more focused on the urban world its pictures show. But it highlights something more profound: that over the past few centuries, ...


Dear Mildly, It’s way too late for me to be up, but for the last two nights I have been caught up in your life. It started with skimming a single post of your blog where, at the end of the workday, you are offered the option of resigning or being dismissed from your teaching postion in a New York charter middle school. I have now spent hours reading through years of your life and following your links. I read backwards from today's mohito back to your idealistic beginning as you reflect on your teaching practice right there in ...


One of the best things about our Teacher Magazine blog group is the range of perspectives we bring to teaching. The commonalities and the differences in what we know and have experienced as teachers enriches our understanding of our practice. For instance, it might appear that Jessica Shyu and I are worlds apart. I am old enough to be her mother. She's young enough to be my daughter. She’s urban, I’m suburban. I've been teaching 28 years. She's been an educator for three. She is a journalist who decided to be a teacher. I am a teacher who ...


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