Joshua Block

Blog Posts

Tags Student Engagement
April 16, 2014

I remember the first time we put a brush in my then two-year-old daughter’s hand. Perched on the edge of tiny a red chair at her wooden table, she quickly realized she could use the blueberry juice we had placed in a cup to create unique marks on the page. It was inspiring and moving to see my...

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Tags Student Engagement
March 27, 2014

Recognizing the Disconnect

Anyone who has worked with young people knows the student I am thinking of right now. When greeted, he (or she) keeps his eyes on the floor while mumbling a response. He may doodle constantly, or maybe he takes every free moment to mindlessly scroll through...

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Tags Student Engagement
March 6, 2014

The wonderful poet Naomi Shihab Nye first introduced me to William Stafford's idea that no one becomes a poet. She says that we are all born poets, and it's just that some of us choose to keep up the habit.

At times,...

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Tags Teacher Leadership
February 21, 2014

This post represents the work of a group of educators and education activists who wanted to help educators help students process the verdict in the Jordan Davis murder trial. Many of us wrote from our experiences both in and out of the classroom, and as such, many of us used "I" statements...

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Tags Social and Emotional Learning
February 10, 2014

When collaboration goes wrong, it can be toxic for learning and classroom culture. We are all familiar with the scene: a group of students that is supposed to be completing a collaborative project has splintered off into dysfunctional factions. Maybe it's one student who has sullenly separated...

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Tags Social and Emotional Learning
January 22, 2014

Blogger's note: This post focuses on the importance of integrating collaboration into classroom practice. In my next post, I'll talk about strategies for successful facilitation of collaborative work.

A Learned Skill

Sharing my rough writing with...

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Tags Student Engagement
January 7, 2014

Learning is a messy process -- and authentic, project-based learning immerses us in unique parts of this mess. There are days when my check-ins with students reveal that many young people are lost or unclear about how to proceed with the early stages of a project.

"What topic are you...

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Tags Social and Emotional Learning
December 4, 2013

I had been trying to start class for several minutes. Our normal post-weekend check-in had failed. Instead of hearing updates from each other, students were having side conversations about the school dance. Once I regained everyone's attention, two girls walked in late and the whole class...

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Tags Student Engagement
October 28, 2013

Early in my teaching career, I viewed students' struggles as a temporary phase that would end once they started working harder and "figured it out." Students would come to me with questions, or I would notice their confusion and talk with them, but I was very careful not to give them too much...

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Tags Student Engagement
October 1, 2013

Over the summer, I offered to help some friends convert their dining room light fixture into a ceiling fan. Once the electricity was off, the old fixture was down, and I'd opened the large cardboard box, my goal was clear and pressing. This needed to be accomplished before people began to...

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Arts Integration, Inquiry, PBL, Tech Integration