To many Americans, I’m sure Trump’s “1776 Project” to create pro-American history curriculum seems reasonable. After all, why wouldn’t you teach kids to love the country they live in? Won’t that instill loyalty and good citizenship down the road? Don’t we need loyalty and good citizenship to ensure our national security? And isn’t it preferable…Read More
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Are you ready for online teaching? Here are some tips to help smooth the way
If you’ve never taught online and suddenly you’re gearing up for weeks — if not months — of e-learning this spring, it can be very intimidating. You might be tempted to default to assigning an entire pre-made online curriculum package, assuming the kids will watch videos and do worksheets at home. I hope you won’t.…Read More
We talk about equality of opportunity, but do we really demand it?
In February, I wrote a blog post about the difference between social justice and socialism. In it, I defined social justice as “the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.” One skeptical reader responded: “There is literally NO ONE that disagrees with that definition of social justice. Everyone wants equality…Read More
How could we care about students and not want better opportunities for them?
“You don’t have to be indoctrinated by these loser teachers that are trying to sell you on socialism from birth.” Donald Trump, Jr. It’s hard not to be upset by the fact that one of our president’s sons — also a member of his inner circle — referred to our profession as “loser…Read More
What would teenagers want to learn, if we let them choose?
While I was researching for my book, Beat Boredom, a few years ago, I visited a high school that prides itself on student-directed, project-based learning. I was excited to see it, and after talking with the school’s passionate leader, I was predisposed to be impressed. But when I got there, instead of seeing energized students…Read More
Will later start times = more sleep? We’re going to find out.
Will a later start time help our high school students get more sleep, foster better academic performance and reduce rates of anxiety and depression? I think so. But a few weeks ago, I was championing our school’s new start times — the first bell now rings at 8:35 a.m. instead of 7:25 a.m. — and…Read More
Relationships: Necessary but NOT sufficient for student learning
“They don’t care what you know until they know you care.” “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” “Great teachers focus not on compliance but on connections and relationships.” “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” It’s that time of year when the teacher-web is heating up with inspirational reminders that we have…Read More
Let’s stop emphasizing ‘nice’ for girls
What is your first response when someone makes an unreasonable request of you? Hell no! With all due respect, a firm no No, but… (feeling guilty) OK, I guess I’ll do it Be honest. Is it easy to stand up for yourself, or do you hem and haw and feel guilty later? This might surprise…Read More
Our students want to do work — when it’s work that matters
I love this story from last week’s Minneapolis Star-Tribune about North High students presenting research on social issues at a recent University of Minnesota symposium. One student presented his research on police brutality. Another her work on disparate maternal mortality rates for black women. Other topics included domestic abuse, poverty and immigration. The students surveyed…Read More
College admissions IS a mania, but that doesn’t negate the value of hard work
It’s college decision season, so the internet is filled with chatter about the insanity of the current college application process. The main themes are anxiety and frustration. Anxiety driven by the fear that nothing short of a perfect GPA, multiple leadership positions, a resume full of volunteering and a patent will ensure college admission and…Read More