break it down break downs

“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.” ― Audre Lorde My friend John Spencer recently explored and wrote a wonderful piece about the “superhero” culture of teaching. It’s targeted toward new teachers, but his advice and insight are valuable for us veterans, too. I’ll pick up the conversation at that point–some advice for us more seasoned teachers. You’re right. That is someone desperate to set boundaries. Many of us teachers are told to say “no” but then pay a passive-aggressive price. — Kelly (@mrskellylove) March 9, 2019 Although, if I think about it, I am not a good source for…

the perils of control

  My head hurt all weekend since an odd idea came to me late last week. Did you ever get an off-hand comment that seemed vaguely critical and out of context the only explanation could be it was growing in the background for a long time? Writing is processing, and thinking about how to frame bizarre moments on this rainy Sunday afternoon solved the pain. The best thing about my PLN is that we all understand that sharing, curating, and responding are part of the culture of being a creative collaborator. There are no egos, no “stay in your lane’s”…

Confused? Good. You're thinking.

//giphy.com/embed/3o7TKDNV8ZqWei6iFq via GIPHY Without going into the long backstory, recently someone told me students in my class were confused and whispering to each other, seeking clarity. They said this like it was a bad thing.  Oh, silly teacher…! Well, it’s not. In fact, it’s an awesome thing. A tremendous thing…dare I say….maybe one of the best things a student can experience!? Confusion is metacognition as an expression: it means that the student or students are engaged, tracking, and wham! knows they’re lost–and when you know you’re lost you can try to find your way back. The point in question was during…

You know nothing, Mrs. Love.

Does anyone want to become a judge because they know how to write a claim, evidence and reasoning paragraph? Has anyone played scales on a clarinet and decided music was their life’s calling? Did you ever fall in love with someone because of their SAT scores? No? Me neither. In fact, I’m sensing legions of dissatisfied English/Language Arts professionals who bought into the dream of teaching the worth and beauty of communication rising up– an undercurrent of questioning and pushback to forces that represent the opposite of love of language. I’m pretty sure no one became an English/Humanities teacher because they…

The first rule of write club…

@mrskellylove Zinn’s take on the gentrification of Sesame Street? That would be priceless. — John Spencer (@spencerideas) May 28, 2016 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js   Must give credit to John Spencer once again for this idea. He tweeted: Now the thought of Chuck Palahniuk writing the back story for a cartoon intrigues me, and I began to think of multiple mash-ups of writers and stories. This morning I envisioned a complete Nathanial Hawthorne Scarlet Letter version of Rugrats, whereas every time Angelica attempts to bully the babies she must wear her insignia “A” embroidered on her chest, serving multiple purposes. The adults are the…

Graveyard of Jargon

My friend Philip Cummings recently posted something on social media that caught my eye, “Letting Go of Learning Styles” by Amber and Andy Ankowski on the PBS Parents site. This article busts the myth of learning styles, one of education’s most holiest of shrines, and offers much more authentic alternatives. And the Ankowskis have a point: no matter how special our snowflake, we’re all trying to figure out how to use gravity to our advantage during the storm. Wait–that was a TERRIBLE metaphor. Forgive me. I’ve been doing mom-chores and adulting all day, and I’m cranky. College boy is in town and…

Information overload.

  In a recent story on NPR, ‘Information Overload and the Tricky Art of Single-Tasking,’ there is a link to an Infomagical challenge–making information overload disappear. My relationship analogy with technology feels that the more tech I have/use, my lungs have de-evolved from breathing air to turning into gills. I am so submerged in this soup I don’t even know I’m swimming in it anymore. My focus is fractured to the point I may need to take drastic, heat-pressure methods to reform my brain cells into more granite-like thinking. Even this post is tough to write: I installed Grammarly, and it’s constantly green/red…

Purple Unicorns II: Time Bandits and the Case of the Great Umbrage

TL:DR ‘be happy in your time management’ Apologies to John Spencer, but dang, he does give me good ideas. He recently sent this great post about how to work a 40 hour week. I have included his words here, verbatim. Before you hunker down and start reading, I want to point out the first tip, and how it stopped me in my tracks. John has great ideas, and has proven himself to be creative and innovative. But I can’t get past #1: 1. Use prep time for real prep. Don’t use that time to go to the staff lounge. Spend that time filling…