"Put your wands away!" Professor Umbridge from the Harry Potter stories would tell the students at the beginning of each class. After a few classes when Professor Umbridge would make the announcement, "Put your wands away," the students did not have to do anything because they never even...Read More.
In teachers' lounges nationwide, parents are a favorite topic of complaint: Now I know why Bertha behaves as she does -- the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! or, If parents would do their jobs and raise their children right, then I wouldn't have any trouble getting students to...Read More.
With the speed of change reaching a frenetic pace, the idea of schools preparing students for the future is becoming more and more of a challenge. I was fortunate to attend a P-20 Summit (preschool to doctorate -- I had to ask what it meant, too). Hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio...Read More.
In a conversation on LinkedIn, one person asked, "What are the characteristics of an effective teacher?" I read quite a few excellent remarks that describe what such a teacher does to be effective. I couldn't help thinking about some of...Read More.
Student debate has the capacity to both deeply engage the students in relevant learning, and to encourage students to be deep thinkers. Debate is more than simply arguing. It has structure and rules that are designed to keep both sides calm.Read More.
A backwoodsman went to a home improvement store and purchased a chainsaw to replace an old, worn-out saw. After a month, the backwoodsman returned the saw to the store, complaining, "It doesn't work worth a darn! I could hardly cut half the wood I normally do." The salesman, looking at the...Read More.
I walked into three different classrooms today and saw three different movies. This week, some of our students were taking standardized tests. Is there a correlation? In Texas this year, our high school students will spend over 33 days taking state standardized tests. The new and quite...Read More.
How do you tell if someone has been reading a book critically? One way is they have dog-eared the pages, underlined key ideas, annotated the margins, highlighted quotable phrases, and filled the book with tabs on pages of interest.Read More.
In Texas, there are 180 days of instruction, taking away 30 days for state testing so that leave 150 days for instruction. Let's say that a teacher gives a curriculum-based test once every two weeks and the district benchmark test three times a year. That is 21 less days of instruction or 129...Read More.
I am certain you feel the pressure of the testing season soon to be upon us. We want our students to do their very best and we see and feel the urgency (hopefully not panic) that we want them to feel. True learning, which is more than answers on a standardized test, is a naturally urgent...Read More.