Posts in Teaching
The Fine Art of Spin Doctoring

Andrews’ book was the one that caused me feel as though I was being dared to test it all out. He discusses a poll by the New York Times on welfare spending.  There were two questions posed on the same issue; however, they were phrased differently.  The results were contradictory. This is a commonly used technique that can help pollsters know more about their audience than just yes or no.  So, I decided to see how my students would react to a sample poll.

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The Benefit of Rehearsal

That was when I learned to deliberately script some responses or interactions I could anticipate.  Obviously, I’d developed go-to responses when a parent or student came to me with garden-variety issues.  Those were essentially scripted too, but through an evolutionary process.  The experience with the phone call list brought me to try it in other situations.  I have carried this over to my coaching work, especially that with novice teachers fresh from Ed School.

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Bloom's v. SOLO: Some Thoughts

Bloom’s problematizes learning stages by placing them in a hierarchy which seems to prioritize attainment of the pinnacle value as ideal.  With SOLO Taxonomy, the value of the learner’s knowledge attainment is not based on an arbitrary definition of complexity, but rather that knowledge’s utility to the learner’s own growth.  This model recognizes the recursive nature of authentic learning, and leaves some wiggle room for what constitutes the requisite knowledge.

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Open Question--How to Quantify the Efficacy of a Coach?

Interpreting data from Education studies can often be a test of faith more than anything.  There are a lot of studies that conflate causation with correlation.  To clarify what causation and correlation are, here’s a classic example: when ice cream sales increase, so does the murder rate.  When one reads this, it seems that increased ice cream sales cause an increase in murder….

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Play--It's Not Just For Kids...

In general, more than anything, taking advantage of those moments where play is just hovering over your shoulder, can make the difference between staying sane, and losing your mind—and vice versa.  It can feel risky, but at the same time, that’s where kids live in school, perched on the edge of risk.  Play can take risk and show it who’s boss.  It can say, “See, I told you! No big deal.” And really, how often is that really the case—that what we have blown up to monstrous proportions, never was a big deal outside our own mind?

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Some Thoughts on Teachers Pay Teachers

As an educator, I’m of (at least) two minds on Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT). On the one hand, I think that because teachers are paid less than other professional fields while working so many additional hours, they should have additional opportunities to reap the benefits of their hard work. On one of the other hands, I feel that even though time is a premium for all teachers, to nickel and dime teachers so that they can build their curriculum is problematic.

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Assuming the Positive: Things to Consider About the Norming Process

I think what stymied my connection to the norming process was that I’d seen and experienced it done haphazardly. So, my view, initially, was that this was a lot of pageantry to make a group leader feel effective. I know why, now that I’m on the other end of things, these sessions didn’t work. They were one and done, poster on the wall, and then they were never spoken of again.

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Diffusion of Innovation: Fanning the Flames

As we prepare to build a fire, a really good fire that will warm our community and provide light and social connection, we must arrange our materials intentionally, and those big pieces of wood, the ones that burn the longest and keep the best coals, those are kept to the side, not because they are not necessary, but because creating the perfect conditions to get them to ignite is our ultimate goal.

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Some Thoughts on Beginning CRT Work

CRT is not a boxed program, or a couple strategies to streamline a unit, it is harder to teach it.  And, as most people are aware, we are living in a time in which some of the socio-economic and racial biases in this country have been opened up and are raw to the touch.  Teaching this approach would have been a difficult process even without the current moment exacerbating things, but here we are and we must take the situation as it is, and not (unfortunately) as we’d prefer it to be.

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Stealing the Thinking

The new school year always brings excitement and anticipation, especially for new teachers.  It also brings Dr. Dan Mulligan. He’s able to encapsulate the bulk of best practice into a rapid-fire review, and do so in a way that holds your attention.  This time however, I heard him say something I’d never heard from him before. He said, “Don’t steal the thinking,”

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Teacher Clarity: A Supplement to the Podcast with Dr. John Almarode

When one considers the place to start with learning, the teacher's clarity around learning targets and how to achieve them is the first step.  If a teacher can be clear in expectations to students, then what's left is orchestrating the strategies that will yield the highest growth for students.  

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If You're Looking for Truth, Don't Look Here...

I'm not sure what to do with truth anymore.  Is it more about rightness?  If the truth is going to destroy someone or something, is it always important to make it known?  Or, are there some truths we must keep quiet out of self interest?  If that is the case is this honest practice?  Perhaps truth is merely a weapon to wield, as are lies.

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