Posts by neonadmin

Join the Club

Clubs and affinity spaces are designed to appeal to people of common interests and experiences. This shared experience ignites a sense of understanding and support within the group, a familiar camaraderie. The sense of empowerment that exists in affinity spaces is more critical when this group of people is part of a less dominant, disadvantaged,…

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Educating As If We Are Already There

“I want to ask you a question, and that is: What is your life’s blueprint?” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asked this of Philadelphia’s Barratt Junior High students in 1967. When I read his speech at the King Center in Atlanta this July, it pulled me back into school mode because Dr. King’s question is ours.…

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A Rising Tide Will Lift All Boats

My parents immigrated to the United States from Central America, and I began my school career as an English Language Learner. Having graduated from Saint Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Saint Mary’s Kalmanovitz School of Education, I understand what it means to…

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Hit Pause! And Other Advice to Round Out the School Year

I was talking with my colleague recently about shifting a slightly large school policy, and as we were hashing out the specifics, I started to do a quick body scan: I felt tired; I was a bit ornery, and my brain was processing at a slower rate. The conclusion: it’s May, and I’m feeling it.…

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Describing Student Experiences in the Math Classroom

In a sentence or two, describe what your students did in class today. Go ahead. Don’t be shy. Talk to your device. Or engage in this activity with a colleague. Lessons. Tasks. Investigations. Projects. Problems. Worksheets. Labs. Assignment. Handouts. Exercises. Classwork. Did you use any of these terms in your description? Regardless of your answer,…

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Make Your Dumb Smart

Most of us know the times of day and days of the week when we do our best work. Tuesday mornings I feel like I am on fire, getting lots done with all cylinders firing. By Friday afternoons, though, I feel burned out. I am tired, daunted by the pile that has accumulated in my…

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Let the Nervous Come Out (And Other Advice From Kids)

Watch this first. the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo. February is a great time for storytelling and story listening. Whether in California or Vermont, there is an inherent coziness of the month, nestled between the January return and the sight of spring to come. I recently rewatched one of my all-time favorite…

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We Can’t Afford Not to Discuss Current Events

We discuss current events just about every day in my eighth-grade U.S. history classes. Sometimes it takes five minutes, when I bring in an article I think students should know about – on taxes or technology, oral arguments or international diplomacy. Sometimes it takes the whole period, especially on Fridays when students give presentations and…

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Vacations and Showers: Another Reason for Winter Break

At some point this week or next most of our schools will close for “Winter Break.” Why? Perhaps the most obvious reason for this school vacation is Christmas and Chanukah and the Judeo-Christian cultural norm to take an extended break during this time to celebrate and visit family. As educators, the vacation provides much needed…

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The One Word We Need for a Great School Year

I love to drop in on classes for five to fifteen minutes. Most often I leave having observed something about how a student learns or the way a teacher teaches. Occasionally, however, I learn something that makes me have the proverbial, “aha!” moment. That just happened. After leaving a fifth grade humanities class, I immediately…

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4 Must-Read Books for the Beginning of the School Year

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain This book by Zaretta Hammond draws on cutting-edge neuroscience research to offer an innovative approach for designing and implementing brain-compatible culturally responsive instruction and is appropriate for all teachers at any experience level who strive to make their classrooms a safe and rigorous place for all their students. In…

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