I wanted to start the year not by talking about the course, class expectations or even much of myself. I feel that we---teachers along with students---rarely wonder what's the purpose of education. This idea was lingering in my mind all summer and I happened to see a Ken Robinson talk specifically on this topic. So, … Continue reading Purposes of Education: Ken Robinson & First Day of School
A colleague just shared an article by William Cronon on the purposes of a Liberal Education. It eloquently argued what characteristics a liberally educated person should have (not what classes they should take or standards they should meet). The 10 traits Cronon identifies are: 1. They listen and they hear. 2. They read and they … Continue reading Purposes of a Liberal Education
The classrooms are empty, hallways silent and each final grade recorded. Yet, the school year feels incomplete. When I was younger and a student in school I was the type of person who was actually a little sad when school was over for the year. That student is still in my classroom. As sometimes happens, … Continue reading Reflections from 2011-2012
Dear Students, Parents and Guardians, Throughout the year teachers are constantly sharing what they know with students, learning from students and assessing what students learned. However, rarely do I find (or, more accurately, make) the time to think about and share what I learned. I want to get in the habit of doing that. So, … Continue reading Reflections from 2012-2013
Glazed eyes and drooping heads--bored students are the bane of any teacher's existence. That is why I read Daniel Willingham's book with the provocative title: Why Don't Students Like Schools? I found his suggestions for remembering and teaching skills especially fascinating. STUDENTS: What do you think of Willingham's suggestions--which of them do you think would … Continue reading Why Students Don’t Like School
The following are notes from an excellent book by Angeline Lillard on the philosophy and practice of Montessori Education. Learning about Montessori Education made me wonder: Is Montessori Education just good educational practice that all teachers should be applying? What portions of the model should be applied to a high school setting? What are the shortcomings/downfalls … Continue reading 8 Principles of Montessori Education
I just read an article, An A+ Student Regrets his Grades, that reminded me of my own schooling and reminded me what I aspire to be as an educator. The passages that resonated with me most were: "Education is not confined to the walls of a classroom; it stretches well beyond that. Valuing success above all … Continue reading An A+ Student Regrets his Grades & Finland
How often do we allow students to pursue their passions? How often do we let students' curiosity drive their learning? I know I have often been guilty of deciding what my students study and how they study the topics in our curriculum. That has started to change after I read Dan Pink's Drive. In his … Continue reading How can you light a fire in a classroom?
I hope to apply his ideas through more innovative projects this semester. Specifically, I want students to pose more questions and think of more authentic ways of demonstrating their learning.
A constant concern I have as an educator is the fact that I can usually predict what grade a student will earn at the end of the year after just a couple weeks. Namely, I can generally identify which students have the habits necessary to succeed as the school defines it. However, this also … Continue reading How do Children Succeed?