Teachers and Magicians

Sometimes good teaching looks like magic. But like many things, it’s the result of intentionality, planning, practice and effort – all things that are invisible to the eye of the student or the classroom visitor. I spend a lot of time thinking about what goes into good teaching. What might surprise you is that I’ve…

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Responding to Donald Trump

The day after the recent presidential election, I faced class after class of students who were scared and outraged about the election of Donald Trump as the next president. My students are largely immigrants or the children of immigrants. Throughout the campaign they had heard Trump say hurtful and hateful things about Mexicans, women, Muslims,…

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Beyond “Behavior Intervention” – Classroom Discipline For Teachers

When I was a new teacher, my principal gave me a 768-page book called Behavior Intervention Manual.  It contained hundreds of strategies for changing students’ troublesome behavior. “Does it have all the answers?” I asked the principal.   “Just read it,” she said.   As if.   Fortunately I found something better. Connecting with Students,…

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Reflecting On Your Teaching Practice – 4 Painless Tips

Imagine you had a fairy godmother who could tell you – in advance – exactly where your lesson plan was going to go wrong. Or exactly where you could make a little tweak or hack, that would transform your fine (or mediocre) lesson into something truly powerful.  Or even give you guidance that would cut…

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How a Guy Who Hated History Makes History Come Alive

As a student, Daryl MacTavish hated history. It seemed like a collection of irrelevant and isolated facts. Somehow, however, a summer job turned into a career of sparking people’s interest in history, through the stories of old homes and the lives of the people who lived in them. I met Daryl on my Educational Road…

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Why I Was So Moved By Ripley, Ohio

Ripley, Ohio is a place that deeply resonated for me.  My Fund For Teachers fellowship led me to this small town with a big Underground Railroad history.  Here are three reasons I cannot get Ripley off my mind. 1. The Riveting Story of John P. Parker Ripley resident John P. Parker was a man of African…

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