Students who build something "cool" are not necessarily engaging in engineering design. As teachers, we should find ways to guide our students towards thoughtful design instead of making cool stuff.

By thinking strategically and proactively, we can implement systems which are sustainable and support healthy interactions in our communities. Restorative justice should focus on those things we are DOING -- not on what we choose not to do. How do you actively "wage justice" in this busy and stressful time of year?

Ikea does a few things so that non-carpenters like myself can construct their furniture. They pre-drill holes in the wood, they provide would-be constructors with correctly sized tools which they'll need, and they write instructions for assembly which highlight the moves we should make as well as trouble spots where we are likely to go astray. Math teachers can create analogous scaffolds to empower our students.

When I ask the boys to work hard, have fun, and take care of each other, I'm really asking them to engage in the process of becoming good citizens and people. I assist in this process by teaching them a work ethic that will help them to be successful individuals, an attitude that will allow them to enjoy life, and relational skills that will enable them to make life better for all those with whom they interact.

My experience training my pit bull, Jax, taught me valuable insights into the way we shape our students' choices and behavior.

The state will have to decide if it wants to certify teachers or if instead wants to otherwise signal what it means to be qualified and prepared to teach computer science - because teaching computer science in school is not a new idea; but making computer science "for all" certainly is.

As a young teacher, I dreaded that moment in class when a student's frustration boiled over into a shout: "This doesn't make any sense!" At this point I've started to embrace those as moments where real thinking is going on and as opportunities for real learning.

Well, that time of year is fast approaching: the dreaded "testing season." In the coming weeks, Education Week and many other education-focused journalism outlets will be filled with stories about the horrors and opportunities of testing. I'll continue to share about the performance assessment process that we use at my school, but I wanted to take a chance to enter into this public conversation in a more explicit way. I hope to do this in a way that can move beyond the partisan bomb-throwing that often characterizes this conversation.

Readers of this blog know that I am a committed union leader and activist (see my perspective here, here, and here). Unionized teachers with a strong voice in shaping education policy represent our best chance to incorporate teachers' classroom-based knowledge into the decisions that directly impact classrooms and young people. But this won't just happen on its own. Kathleen Melville — a master educator, organizer, and leader who I met at a teacher leadership institute in the summer of 2012 — reminds us that we must commit attention and energy to our union if we want to keep it "fit." The Caucus...

Social media is everywhere and it is a part of our culture. I am thinking about ways to use platforms like Twitter to model explicitly alongside my students and their families how it can be used to enhance, engage, and enrich not only learning, but our conversations and our relationships. As a nation we know in the future that we are going to need to collaborate globally, use digital tools, and think critically to solve world problems. Why not begin in kindergarten?


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