A Baltimore City teacher blames Teach for America for her difficulty finding a job, and says the program "pretends to have the solution."


Liana's post this morning about the NY Times article on how kids today may be "hard-wired for learning differently" made me think of this video clip I came across recently (maybe you've seen it) of a kid completing not one but two Rubik's Cubes while playing Guitar Hero and, of course, hitting all the notes. There's got to be some message in this for educators, right? I guess the question would be: Are schools leveraging or building on this kind of aptitude? Can they? Should they? Obviously this kid is a special case, but I suspect he's also representative in ...


A somewhat polarizing article in the New York Times says there's research suggesting that kids these days—immersed in technology that rewards small doses of attention—are hard-wired for learning differently than previous generations. The piece profiles a talented 12th grader who spends late nights making short films for YouTube and playing video games, and whose grades are suffering because of it. Some educators are embracing kids' new skill-sets by incorporating the technology they use at home into the classroom environment. One principal "asked teachers to build Web sites to communicate with students, introduced popular classes on using digital ...


Live from the National Council of Teachers of English, Annual Convention, Orlando Author Gary Paulsen spoke at Saturday's ALAN—Assembly of Literature for Adolescents—breakfast. He likes to talk and spoke for almost an hour. There might have been a few eye rolls at my table and murmurings of "indulgent" towards the end of his speech. But I was told that is because language arts teachers know his books and his biography well. My confession is that I've never read a book by Gary Paulsen. He's a late-20th century Jack London who loves and writes about dogs. He's raced the...


New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman—purveyor of the "The World Is Flat" trope—bemoans the current indicators of the state of U.S. schools and praises U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's efforts to introduce performance pay and increased competition into the teaching profession. Duncan's view, Friedman argues, "is not anti-teacher. It's taking the profession much more seriously and elevating it to where should be." But he also notes that the burden shouldn't only be on teachers: "The more we demand from teachers the more we have to demand from students and parents," he writes....


Just saw this press release for iDiscipline HD, an app that allows teachers to track student behavior issues—and send e-mail notifications to parents, if needed—on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Out of curiosity, how many of our readers use mobile devices to monitor daily classroom data, such as discipline and attendance? What are the benefits of tracking students this way? Do you use your own device or do you get one from your school? For those who don't use mobile devices for record-keeping, would you have any interest in starting? What's holding you back?...


Renee Moore questions the wisdom of the the idea—raised in recent days by both Bill Gates and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—of paying effective teachers more for taking on larger class sizes: Giving the most effective teachers larger classes is NOT a way to reward them, but it is a way to lessen their effectiveness. It also begs the question: What kind of teachers will be working with the students that can't be crammed into the overcrowded classes of the "effective teachers"? A blogging middle school principal, meanwhile, picks up on the budgetary implications of Duncan's...


Live from the National Council of Teachers of English, Annual Convention, Orlando A quick hit post...(Gary Paulsen and the Ed. Dept. are coming) Just stopped by for the last few minutes of "Modeling and Mentoring Literate Lives: Trusting the Reading Workshop" with Franki Sibberson, Aimee Buckner, and our own Donalyn Miller. Here are some really cool resources offered by Ohio teacher Franki Sibberson, whose presentation is the only one of the three that I heard. She's working with the idea that kids need to "write" the media they are "reading." On a side note, Franki offered that she gets ...


Live from the National Council of Teachers of English, Annual Convention, Orlando Greetings and apologies for the lack of posting from the convention world of Disney where things are not always "magical." I've had a lot of technical issues which have made live blogging virtually impossible. This afternoon I attended a session called "Designing and Assessing Student Learning With Social Media." It was kind of like speed dating, as my friend Donalyn Miller pronounced it, so I didn't get to every table but what I heard was interesting. There was more "designing" and a little less "assessing" from what I ...


Live from the National Council of Teachers of English's annual convention, Orlando. I had hoped to hear the discussion "Schooling Native Americans," but alas the presenter was a no-show, so I wandered over to "Teacher Talk About Conflict at a Multicultural High School: The Pinnacle Classroom Discourse Study Group." The presenters, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas from Wayne State University in Detroit and Ameer Daniel from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., discussed the importance of having a shared language among teachers and students and within each of these groups. The importance, they explained, really comes down to navigating uncomfortable moments ...


Live from the National Council of Teachers of English's annual convention, Orlando. In between catching up with teacher friends here on what feels a bit like Gilligan's Island (kind of couldn't figure out how to get off the compound if you wanted to), I scoured the 370-page NCTE program last night. (By the time I arrived at the convention site and checked in, sessions had ended.) This year marks the 100th annual convention (although NCTE's centennial celebration is in 2011) and the theme is "Teachers and Students Together: Living Literate Lives." But the buzzwords are 21st century and multiculturalism. I ...


An Arizona superintendent who cut $8 million from the budget without laying off teachers and the Secretary of Education discussed the need for education leaders to make "creative and bold" fiscal choices.


Welcome to sunny Orlando, where it's a balmy 75 degrees and you can easily spot the NCTE attendees because they're the only adults not accompanied by children. There are also some tell tale signs like folks carrying canvas bags labeled "Reading Recovery" with their heads bowed in their books. (My neighbor is reading a YA book, The Stone Goddess by Minfong Ho, for her multi-ethnic literature course at University of Texas, Arlington. Have you read it?) On the flight out, I sat next to an instructional coach from Ballou High School, in Washington, D.C., who was also headed to ...


A few years ago, with the idea of better incorporating teachers' own voices into our coverage, we entered into a more or less casual agreement with the Teacher Leaders Network to publish a weekly article by their members on our site. I'm not sure how long any of us expected this to last. But lo and behold: I've been informed by a reliable source that the excellent article we just put up by Ken Bernstein is the 200th in the series. That's not bad in a media climate where change seems to be the one constant. We know from our ...


A blogger-educator responds to the notion that teachers hold a grudge against students who don't give them holiday gifts.


New data shows that U.S. students' performance in math may be even worse than is commonly thought.


Schools in Flagstaff, Ariz. are sending letters to parents of overweight students, urging lifestyle changes.


A conversation with the stars of "The Lottery," a documentary about families hoping their children win spots at a successful Harlem charter school, fails to address the big-picture implications of school choice.


Food for thought: College students who used twitter, both inside and outside of the classroom, performed better in school than their non-twitternig peers, according to a study. The twittering students not only had higher grade-point averages but scored better on a student-engagement survey designed for the study. ... (HT: Alexander Russo, via—where else?—Twitter.)...


The right-wing activist-slash-videographer who was behind the infamous ACORN sting videos in 2009 has reportedly turned his undercover cameras on teachers' unions.


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