testing season

Saw this on an ELA teacher page on FB: teacher and her colleagues will be wearing them during #testing days and she said she thinks they’re cute pic.twitter.com/BLIFQyeako — Kelly Love, NBCT (@mrskellylove) April 19, 2019 An avocational educational historian and someone I admire is Jennifer Binis–she’s given me so much to consider and think about. One area where I sense I have some cognitive dissonance is understanding her position on state testing. From a few of her tweets, she suggested that the #optout movement was the domain of white, privileged suburban parents. (Jennifer, if I misinterpreted this I apologize…

Make Stuff, Not Subscribers

Middle School Misfortunes Then and Now, One Teacher’s Take Please read this post that provides an excellent example of then and now–before smartphones and their dopamine enhancers embedded into our psyches. I’ve been the classroom teacher who has witnessed this first hand. The students who find out that I have a Youtube channel and never, ever ask me what’s the content, but always “How many subscribers do you have?” (Currently 52.) The students who graffiti on any free surface: AMOS@(Snapchat username). The students who looked at me blankly when I suggested they use their Snapchat filters to create a monstrous…

Summer Series of Saves: It’s not just you.

Is anyone else finding that social media/cell phones have completely altered their capacity to read books and concentrate on multi-page sequences? It’s become a major problem… — Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) August 10, 2018 I am concerned about my #ProjectLIT project stalling out. I need these books. Don’t want: need. They aren’t some glib luxury for my incoming 8th students, they are a lifeline. These books pulled me out of my own fractured, terrible attention span thinking. They brought back mental stamina– what my students lack, and desperately need if they’re going to move through high school with courage. Eighth grade…

write now

It’s 12:15 PM on November 10th. Do you know where your NaNoMo novel is? Yeah, about that. Good intentions aside, I have done everything but just sit and type. I made a video. Updated grades. Reheated a bowl of chili mac (that will come back to haunt me), and read a few Tweets. But two things grabbed my brain this morning: The epiphany that teachers enjoy creating lessons for themselves and having agency, just like students. This has nothing to do with the rest of the post directly, just needed to remember this. We must flip reading around to writing,…

Heart-shaped box. (Or The Giving Tree reimagined.)

Are there two kinds of people in this world? Those who X or those who Y? Or maybe that is the paradox, thinking we can be this or that. But if I was the kind of person who asks if there are two kinds of people, (which I’m not) I would ask if you like The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. You know the book– the story begins with a boy and a tree, and the tree, or Tree, ends up giving the boy everything and ends up being a stump for the boy, now an old man, to sit…

Fluff the Knickers.

“There’s truth in every story told.” –Neil Gaiman Last spring, when I made a commitment to my administration that I would create, develop and lead curriculum and classes for the critical and important vision of bringing technology instruction for our students; however, I wasn’t quite ready to give up ELA. I hoped to be able to continue my work in ELA and at least have one class. But it wasn’t meant to be, and I even knew it last year. Some instinct whispered to me, but I ignored it. Something didn’t sit right, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. My…

Saving Summer: Amygdala and The Brain

Teaching is stressful, there is no doubt or debate. And it’s also joyous, satisfying, and filled with discovery and success. But let’s get back to the stress for a moment so we can move forward with more moments of joy, satisfaction, and discovery. My buddy Sharon and her Brainiacs are developing a PD session for SEL/Teachers/Students. Tangentially, I’m developing the digital curriculum, along with her and other colleague’s input. When we talk about preparing students for their futures, not our pasts, we must have a deep understanding or exploration of what is happening to our brains in the digital world….

Summer Series of Saves: S.O.S.

I am going on my twelfth year at the same Title I middle school. That is not said as a martyred projection or badge of honor, but a statement of fact, circumstances, decision making, and choices. Every teacher I know has had a rough time this past decade. Some have gone to “easier” schools, or districts, where they found a comfortable home. Some have expressed to me survivor’s guilt, and some have ‘ghosted’ our friendships, probably because working at a school like mine is hard, and it takes an emotional toll, causing me to leak out stress. Occasionally those leaks…

Grow up.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fviralthread%2Fvideos%2F824556247717060%2F&show_text=1&width=560 This was a post from TeenVogue on Facebook this morning. Now: TeenVogue is amazing. Its editorial and content have been one of the few media sanctuaries for many of us, young and old, in these troubled times. The magazine tackles politics, social justice, and yes, fashion issues. Its holistic approach to youth and news is refreshing. But dang, kids, really? Ageism?  My 8th-grade students often comment on how fast I type and text. I learned the QWERTY method when I was a sophomore, in a room full of electric typewriters, staring at an overhead projector screen with our typing…