Series: White People Homework- What’s in a name? (14) (Updated)

We’re not a football family in our house. And like many areas of fandom, it’s okay–no judgment on those who love football, and as far as we know we aren’t judged by others. Wouldn’t matter. So forgive me for not knowing who Emmanuel Acho is. Turns out, he’s pretty amazing! And I am so grateful for other media formats who bring people such as him into my life and help me learn. And I am an ELA/ELL teacher; however, full disclosure, I was not an English major in college. Most of what I learned about mechanics, style guides, and conventions…

Heroic measures: teach critical thinking

My big question this morning: how do we teach, and learn, to think critically? Not the surface-level fluff–but the hard questions, the wrestling with the trifecta of intellectual stagnation: cognitive dissonance, justification, and rationalization? Do we need heroes/heroines? What would happen…if…we…didn’t? What if…we were good to each other, did no harm, and made our classrooms, lecture halls, and online spaces engaged and safe places to discuss questions and seek ideas and answers? Consider and read this thread: keep track and curate the narratives you teach: by every figure, do a character study. We need to face and review the decisions of…

the devastating abyss

  I am not a fan of Ayn Rand. At all. Clearly, this is not an image of Ayn Rand. It’s Colin Kaepernick. There is a name on this T-shirt of someone I have seen. I didn’t know him, but my colleagues did. His name is on our gymnasium wall as an athlete of the year from a previous time. A few months ago at a gathering, a dear acquaintance stated how much she hated Colin Kaepernick. Since I was a guest in someone else’s home I didn’t pursue the topic nor challenge her opinion. We’ve already been divided and…

series: the good stuff

Things I think about in the middle of the night: What was that noise outside? What are the best ten to twenty best, time-tested lessons for middle and high school students? The noise was nothing. Probably just a small monster or trashcan panda. The best lessons, now that’s something else. The first post in this series is something new: Bob Probst of Beers/Probst renown gave us teachers this gift: Dialogue booklet by bob probst from kylenebeers It’s a dialogue booklet that helps students move through a text with purpose. I haven’t vetted it yet, but it holds much promise.  

Something wicked +1

Is it just me or does one become a veteran teacher far too soon in one’s journey? Meaning, how did I get so old?! Well, as scary as that is, it’s better than the alternative, right Poe? Allow me to present the context: through December I have a student teacher, and boy oh boy am I happy to know her. She’s going to be a fantastic teacher, wants to do well and jump right in. This has been an especially chaotic start to the new school year for me: our administration takes great care and time to balance the master…

Thematic Thursday

Last year one of my students had one of those lightbulb moments, that eureka shake up, awesome anagnorisis,  where she completely understood what I meant by the concept of the difference between topic and theme. This is a biggie. It’s important because it means I can do it. Because teaching theme…teaching it well that is..isn’t easy. So on Thematic Thursdays, there is intentional time to do just that, however the strategy, whatever the current unit of study. I am a lifelong devoted scholar of the study of themes, and yet, it is as painful to teach for me as doing my own…

Match up: texts, teachers, and students

This morning I promised myself not to touch either hand-held device, my cell phone or i-Pad, for at least five hours today. So far, so good. Lately I’ve acquired the odd habit of setting up arbitrary goals for myself, little mind games where only I know the rules. For example, in June, I told myself ‘no beer for a year.’ I really like beer, and though not trying to punish myself, just wanted to see if I could do it. Last night it got a little tricky because all I wanted to do was go out for a beer and…

Read the book, dummy.

  //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=mrsk06-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0325050805&asins=0325050805&linkId=d12e1b280c1386c7821e7588c08506cf&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff Noticed: I belong to the Notice & Note Facebook group, and it’s marvelous. Teachers helping other teachers, all grade levels (but predominately K-8), finding books, helping with lessons/units, etc. The big focus is on Kylene Beer’s and Robert Probst’s new book, Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, and therefore embarrassed myself a bit by one of my questions in a post. A teacher named Lisa Roth put together this PowerPoint intended to share with staff. (I hope she doesn’t mind if I link it here: if yes,…