As a film and book lover, I always look forward to the end-of-the-year critics' picks. I also prepare my own, just to share with friends and family. But this blog gives me an audience (you!) to share my personal favorite films and books for educators and parents for 2012. This time I'm focusing...Read More.
It was back to school night. I was teaching American History. A parent asked me, somewhat accusingly, "Given your liberal bias, how do you plan to teach the New Deal?" My assumption was that this was a Republican parent. My response was, "Well, as to being a liberal, guilty as charged! But as a...Read More.
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.