Summer Series of Saves: The Weight of Lies

My burning question: What does living with constant, unrelenting lies do to the human brain/learner? John Brennan’s tweet made me consider this from an educator’s point of view. Take away the incredulous, dangerous propaganda machine this current administration is, and any political leanings, it is well documented that he is a liar. And while I am not capable of diagnosing his narcissistic, pathological and malignant personality traits, I can objectively do some research into how lies affect students. The current president of the U.S. is a liar. On Thursday, the Washington Post published a remarkable story on its front page revealing a recent spike…

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…

Saving Summer: Flat-lining.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpermalink.php%3Fstory_fbid%3D980549355418923%26id%3D402441646563033%26substory_index%3D0&width=500 The Ongoing Battle Between Science Teachers And Fake News NPR-Ed posted an article this morning about how science teachers encounter young minds already signed onto misconceptions and falsehoods. This touched a hard nerve with me, as for years I’ve done my best to straddle the dangerous tightrope between critical thinking skills and teachings of celebrities/prophets. Every time I teach a mythology or origin mythology unit I state a disclaimer that this is just what other cultures believe, and if they practice a religion/faith, their leaders at their place of worship have studied these same stories, too, to gain better…

Los Zumbis de Washington

  //giphy.com/embed/4cfV5bkDSYUx2 via GIPHY This will be a long post: I am retracing my steps on the creation of a unit. TL:DR: Zombies and survival themes are great for 8th-grade students. E-mail me if you want resources or have questions. One of my teammates Nate had a fantastic idea for argumentative work: Zombies. With the help of my teammates Nate, Sabrina, and the Notice & Note social media site, especially Beth Crawford, we unleashed zombies. Trying to put together a unit without common planning or time to meet (each of us is in different phases in life: I could work on…

Structure Series: Essays for the 21st Century

  The five-paragraph essay is likened to learning the foundations of structure and organization critical to being able to write other organized pieces. There may be merit to this, however learning how to write something no one reads anymore may only serve to rust and crumble authenticity. Might I offer some suggestions, or additions to the five-paragraph essay, especially for secondary students? Consider these sites/links as mentor texts as well as powerful places to publish essays. Use examples of the essays written here and challenge students to compare their essays to these. Some close reading/close writing ideas: Read for anecdotes:…

Game on.

Great conversation the other day: student in my “struggling” reading comprehension group reminded me once again that many kids aren’t necessarily “bad” readers, but not motivatedto read. We had a few moments just to talk about what we were reading, a topic at hand, a bird-walk, so to speak, and he and I discussed a high-level, critical analysis about: games. We talked about the genres and analyzed the varying classification of the wide variety of video/computer games. (The student sent me this link, by the way: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_genres) Recently, I had a conversation with my husband about this very same topic,…