It’s true that I said, “It’s all about the money,” and also wondered whether or not the NBPTS process might have a negative impact on my teaching this year, as reported in Michael Alison Chandler’s Washington Post Jan 22 article about the National Board, “Teachers Tackle Their Own Extra Credit.” Unfortunately, Ms. Chandler failed to mention anything else I said during our recent hour-long phone interview. She took my comments out of context, successfully offering me up as a grumbling cynic in counterpoint to the smiling super teacher in the article and accompanying photo, a Loudon educator ...


On to Entry Three, “Instructional Analysis: Small Groups.” This time, my faithful Hum partner Jen filmed me as I checked in with kids working in small groups of 3-6 on a creative project called “3 D Posters.” The purpose of the assignment was to compare structure and other aspects of text and context of “Western” and non-Western works of literature in order to draw conclusions about the authors’ worldviews and aesthetic principles. In support of our year-long canoe project, the works being compared are James Michener’s Chesapeake and Native American author N. Scott Momoday’s The Way to Rainy ...


Tuesday is the last meeting of a graduate course I teach for GMU called “The Teaching of Writing.” This farewell class will take place at a local pub and feature a “readaround” where we’ll share and respond to pieces developed in workshop that are collated in a class anthology, titled (by class vote) Tuesdays with Emmet. The course, for teachers of grades K-high school and any subject, was based on an established writing project model. For 15 weeks, 23 colleagues and I met weekly to hear presentations from other teachers about some aspect of the teaching of writing; to ...


When we last left our hero he was dangling over a vat of boiling eggnog fiddling with a utility belt that had suddenly grown a couple of notches too small over the holidays. We now return to our regularly scheduled program, in which said hero makes his escape by completing the task of listing three factoids about the ninth grade class he videotaped in the media center that relate to the remaining five standards pertinent to Entry Two. The taped lesson that is the basis for my “whole group instruction” entry has me giving kids a mini-lesson on database research ...


Twas the night before Christmas And all through the house Not a teacher was stirring Not to grade or to grouse The folders were stacked By the desktop with care In hopes they’d be graded As if I were there The students at home Must be snug in their beds Independent variables Dance in their heads My wife with her vacuum And me with my blog Get set for the onslaught Of sisters and dog Once all were asleep There arose such a ruckus What could it be that Had up upon snuck us Away from my door A ...


I know that after last post you are waiting at the edge of your feed-readers to discover how my videotape of kids learning about databases in the library displays the rest of the ten standards related to Entry Two. And believe me, I want to discover this too. However, please allow me a week’s digression to pick the lint out of the bellybutton of my blog, and simultaneously fulfill a request to write a quick piece about it from the editor of the NVWP’s Journal. The truth about this blog is that it’s a blast to write-- ...


Eating liver. Grading papers. Doing the dishes. It’s not that there’s nothing to be said for activities like these. It’s just, most of it isn’t good. Especially when you’re at the beginning of the process, feeling put off by the idea of the work rather than the work itself. Which sometimes isn’t that bad (except for the liver). In the spirit of one bite at a time, here is a list of just three little things from the first five of the ten standards which apply to Entry Two. After all, I’ve only ...


Last Thursday I gave a lesson in the media center on how to use the databases for scientific research and had kids start working on a “search ladder” that helps them find good sources to use for upcoming “idea papers.” One really great thing about the lesson was that the librarian (sorry-- media center specialist) was kind enough to videotape me three periods in a row. The first time, we worked on camera angles and where to place the mic. The second time, the camera somehow clicked off. And the third time.... we got it! Usable footage. One student asked ...


Stuff I told myself I was going to do over the Thanksgiving break Write a fascinating blog post. Respond to the folders from the GMU class I teach on Tuesday nights. Knock out Entry Four. Finish grading ninth grade essays. Read The Way to Rainy Mountain. Rake backyard leaves. Reasons I didn’t do most of the stuff I was supposed to do Pack and play for my nephew was set up in my office from Wednesday to Saturday. Turkey Trot, 5 mile race through Del Ray on Thursday morning. TG I for 18 at Mom and Dad’s on ...


I talk a lot. That’s one thing I realized when I watched the video of me leading a classroom discussion on Michener’s Chesapeake this week. At least, I talk a lot louder and clearer than any student in the room. Years of projecting my voice over noisy groups of kids seems to have left me with a positively operatic larynx. This does not bode well for videotaping. The discussion itself was fairly balanced, really. Students had prepared by finding three passages in the book and making notes about how each illustrated one of eight “global themes,” like “political ...


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