George Lucas Educational Foundation
Jeffrey Pflaum profile

Jeffrey Pflaum

Education writer/author/blogger

A Contemplator in the Cyberspace Age

Who am I? I found answers teaching my students about their creativity, a forgotten area that needs to be addressed in the schools. I helped kids understand their everyday lives, to expand their awareness of self-and-others, focus, discover self-motivation independently, and to discover an organic purpose for learning. Once children penetrate their inside worlds, they begin to see the world outside in fresh, imaginative, perceptive ways and realize the possibilities before them.

For 34 years as an inner-city elementary school teacher (NYCDOE) to the present, I developed original, innovative, progressive projects in EI/SEL, character education, values clarification, creativity, concentration, writing, reading, thinking, poetry, and vocabulary, which culminated in a book titled MOTIVATING TEEN AND PRETEEN READERS: HOW TEACHERS AND PARENTS CAN LEAD THE WAY (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2011). I consider myself a teacher-developer-researcher-experimentalist who was not satisfied with the traditional curricula in reading and writing (EI and SEL were unheard of at the time) so I began making up stuff: call it experimental education.

My students’ poetry has been published in college, writers’, gifted secondary, and children’s literary journals, as well as in magazines, newspapers, and by major commercial publishers. The poetry, juxtaposed with their prose, is part of a compilation titled, “There’s a Soul Arising in My Mind,” and was read on “Poetry-In-The-Morning” (WNYE-FM), sponsored by the Teachers & Writers Collaborative (NYC). Triadae Magazine recently published my students' Persian Gulf War poetry. The kids translated their poems into Spanish.

I have written articles about my education projects in Teachers & Writers Magazine, Creative Teaching & Learning (UK), New Jersey English Journal, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and New York Teacher. An article in New York Newsday, “Making Life a Matter of Meter” by David Bornstein, describes my kids’ poetry and prose whose source was a dynamic form of writing called “Music Writing" or "Contemplation Music Writing."

I am currently a regular blogger on The BAM Radio Network's blog, EDWords, serving the greater education community at: Please see my posts on emotional intelligence, social-and-emotional learning, "Contemplation Music Writing," innovative teaching techniques, and the "prerequisite fundamental skills for learning and learning how to learn." You can also go to EDUCATION NEWS, at, where I write about my "internal education" curricula.

For additional articles on Contemplation Music Writing, its various offshoots and practical applications, sample student contemplations, and samples of the students' published poetry, please check out my website,, or contact me directly at:


  • Social and Emotional Learning
    Help your students increase their ability to concentrate with these exercises and discussion prompts.
  • Literacy
    Turn your students into poets by inspiring them to free-write about their inner world, introducing them to the rhythms of poetry, and prompting them with images and possible titles.
  • Student Voice
    The Contemplation Music Writing Project develops communication skills, creative self-expression, character education, and values clarification in young people through reflection, writing, discussion, and self-assessments.
  • Game-Based Learning
    Blogger and author Jeffrey Pflaum explains how his system of musical writing prompts is related to his approach of helping students visualize while reading -- and appreciate and practice creative use of language.