February 2008 Archives

“Teaching for the Test” came out in the Washington Post Magazine a little over a week ago, and if I ever cursed my word-count slashing editor, I’m sorry for that evil wish and now I wish her well. There’s something about holding it in your hands. The canoe, and the article about it that took me a year to live and write. Five minutes of fame is cool, but what’s cooler still is that I told the truth. And the response has been remarkable. Right now there are 85 emails in my inbox from readers who were ...

After two years of growing my own here on Teacher, I am finally using blogs in my own classroom. And I’m wondering what took me so long. This is a real live example of the pace at which technology gets integrated in a meaningful way into one’s practice. These days we throw a lot of money into Smart Boards and other electronic widgets for our schools. Some take, some don’t (what ever happened to laser discs?). The good stuff is only good insofar as we teachers are able to use it effectively. Not as shiny tech bells ...

Remember the test of the bow near the end of The Odyssey? It was when Penelope, the wandering hero’s long-suffering wife, finally agreed to let one of the suitors marry her if he could string her hubby’s bow and shoot an arrow through twelve axe heads lined up in a row. None of them was man enough to even bend the weapon, but luckily Odysseus himself was there, disguised as a beggar. When it was his turn he not only strung the thing, he proceeded to fire off a quiver of arrows at the bad guys (the first ...

I’m back from my trip to the netherworld (article has gone to bed) and ready to pick up where I left off, which was with a promise to discuss the media consumption habits of ninth graders who are reading Fahrenheit 451. I told you I wanted to look at the book not just as a parable about censorship but also, as Bradbury himself suggests, as a cautionary tale against couch potatoism. So, I asked the students to record their media consumption for one week, and we collated the data in class. The results were interesting, if not scientifically valid. ...


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