We really don't need to be in the front of the room talking--pointing at a slide, rapidly firing questions at students and cold calling to make sure they are paying attention--in order to be "teaching." We know this, yet we still do it so much of the time. Just take a quick walk through the halls of your school and peek into each classroom. Where is the teacher? Who's talking?
Recently in adolescent education Category
August 08, 2018
April 19, 2018
Every year I have some students who arrive to my class with a fear or dislike of poetry. Spending some time away from deconstruction of meaning of poems has always worked to put these students at ease and allow them to open up to poetry anew.
February 27, 2018
There's a strange power children and adolescents can derive from watching adults be clueless about something they know—it's the role reversal that makes it a novel event.
February 14, 2018
I share these two stories for the chance they offer to think about the power of our words to students. What sentence will you say to a student--intentionally or not--that will stay with them for the rest of their lives? That might, for better or worse, reframe how they see themselves? How do we show students we see them?
January 31, 2018
If we provide structure and support for students to raise their voices and take action, they can astonish us with their capacity—and show us a good time!
January 06, 2018
Around the end of the semester, I like to use a simple speaking activity that accomplishes several things at once.
December 06, 2017
Reading is a skill necessary in pretty much any academic subject, so we all need to teach it. The eye rolls, however, remind us that we can say this all we want, but that doesn't make it clear how we should go about it, especially when content area teachers are struggling with their own content, pacing calendars, and the same staggering diversity of readers that challenge us in the ELA classroom. And that PD in June? It didn't help teachers make actionable plans, and it hasn't been discussed since. I've witnessed a version of this cycle in every school I've taught in.
October 11, 2017
There are two dilemmas I have around the Do Now activity; the first is about silence, and the second is about time. The one simple solution for both problems: reading.
October 05, 2017
"Remember, the curriculum is everything that happens in the classroom." About a decade later, I had an epiphany about what that means.
May 23, 2017
This year, I revived a poetry station which I haven't used in three years: bibliomancy. In it, students ask a question, and use a special process involving books to write a poem prophesying the future. Reading the questions they ask always gives me pangs of compassion for my students, who are in the throes of adolescence. What caught my attention this year, though, was a new category of questions I had not seen before--questions about humankind in general, and its future.