It was the day before my first parent back to school night as a new teacher. My department chair, a superb mentor, took me aside and said, "You're going to get advice from other teachers to give parents as little time to ask questions as possible. Ignore that advice. Give them time; be...Read More.
A few months ago, I had a conversation with a highly intelligent colleague who told me that he was thinking of not voting in the presidential election because none of the candidates were "in touch with the coming revolution," represented by the Occupy Wall Street protests. I tried to explain...Read More.
The film Won't Back Down is scheduled to open in wide release on September 28. Yet, weeks in advance of this date, there has been a veritable deluge of extremely strong emotional and critical responses. Both the film and the responses deserve our attention, because they are each...Read More.
Act One, Scene One
It's the first day of the sophomore World History class. The teacher is standing in the front of the class and has just gotten their attention. A short squat man with a nylon stocking over his face, a dark fedora on his head and wearing a dark trench coat,...Read More.
Students should have a significant voice in school-based decision-making in every high school. They rarely do. With the teaching of democracy a stated goal of every high school, I still find this hard to believe.Read More.
I was in a local shopping mall a while ago and two girls who couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10 walked past me. Both were wearing makeup and dressed as if they were about to pose for a soft porn ad in Rolling Stone. I wasn’t even surprised. It just reconfirmed what I already knew...Read More.
The image projected on the screen in the front of the classroom is Magritte's painting of a pipe, including the words, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe." I ask the students to each briefly make a guess why they think Magritte...Read More.
The high school social studies class has just gotten seated. The lights go out and a video projector immediately begins showing a scene from the film Boyz n the Hood. In the scene it's late at night and two black teenagers...Read More.
I love movies. I especially love movies and television series about teachers, so I want to share a few of my favorites. Since these are especially recommended for viewing on a summer evening, I've purposely omitted didactic documentaries, like ...Read More.
School's out. Politics is in. Five months of presidential political combat lie ahead. So I'm psyched to revisit the challenge of effectively educating kids to be active participants in our democratic processes. I plan to post a number of columns over the next months that focus on student voice...Read More.