November 2011 Archives

When I worked in business, managers--not the people they supervised--decided who would work together on a project. This made sense, since they were in the best position to objectively determine which staff members would provide the right combination of skill, teamwork, and other qualities to ensure a successful project. The same goes for the classroom where teachers are in the best position to ensure all students are set up for success when they work in small groups. That's why it's better for you to assign students to groups than let students choose groups themselves--even in homogeneous classes, since you never ...


Note to readers: With legislators considering the future of NCLB, I feel compelled to share some thoughts on this from my experience as an urban teacher and school leader. So, here's my first post on policy rather than practice: No Chance for Latinos and Blacks. That's what came to mind for me when I first heard about NCLB, and that's what still comes to mind nearly ten years later. I'm referring in particular to at-risk Latino and African American public school students like those I taught in Chicago. And though I had few students from other ethnic/racial groups, my ...


"Man, I didn't do nothing," students often said to me when I spoke with them about their behavior. "My point exactly," I replied. "If you didn't do nothing, you must have done something." It was after one of those exchanges when it occurred to me that the English language might provide a better way of helping kids add and subtract integers (really all real numbers) than the many approaches--from rules to manipulatives to real-life illustrations such as temperature and money--I had tried up to that point. I started by asking students, "If Fluffy is not not a dog, what is ...


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