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Teachers: How to Work with Teaching Artists

https://youtu.be/JtQWGbv2K5w Like countless other classroom teachers, I have experienced my share of both inspiring and disappointing lessons by visiting artists, also known as teaching artists.  I've seen not one, but two visiting artists lose their tempers with sixth and seventh grade students.  I've... Continue Reading →

7 Spoken Word Poems for Teaching Literary Elements

The first time I announced to a high school class that we were starting a poetry unit I was met with groans and broken-voiced protestations.  I realized that no matter how moving or influential the poems I'd selected were, teaching elements... Continue Reading →

Balancing Concepts, Content, and Skills

Sometimes I miss the good ol' days of grad school and student teaching, sticky Michigan summers and lake effect winters, and strict adherence to the UbD framework by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins.  To the best of my knowledge, nobody else at my... Continue Reading →

Why aren’t curriculum standards research-based?

It's no secret that I would love a career in curriculum development.  Some educators complain about how it's always changing, and mandates from above seem to disregard teachers' needs, but I actually kind of love it.  I like to think that... Continue Reading →

“You should know this,” or, What ever happened to ZPD?

Remember Zone of Proximal Development?  It's that sweet spot between what a student knows and can do, and what's out of reach.  A student's ZPD is the perfect "challenge level" for that individual.  We all learned about ZPD in our teacher... Continue Reading →

Mazel Tov! Learning about Culture through Celebration

This morning, my seventh grade social studies class had a holiday party.  They've been studying Judaism, and to wrap up that part of our unit on the Abrahamic religions they got into groups to research and prepare interactive stations for... Continue Reading →

A Call for Diversity in Literature Education – And Not Just During Black History Month

The thing is, reading about the evils of racism in books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, which feature White protagonists, is not the most effective way to prevent or halt the development of prejudice in children and teens.

Comparative Religion for Middle Schoolers

Of course, the whole point is for students to see that, while the armed conflicts and religious imperialism of ancient times still exist today, we must appreciate and try to understand others' beliefs rather than giving way to prejudice and hatred.

Shakespeare for All Ability Levels

My eighth grade English class is almost finished with their drama unit for the year.  Right off the bat, I want to clarify that Romeo and Juliet is not my favorite Shakespeare play.  Sure, I love a good tragedy, and Othello,... Continue Reading →

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