My old stomping grounds: United Opt Out doubles and triples down.

United Opt Out (UOO), a true grassroots organization if there ever was one, is lately expressing a much more forceful message against high stakes testing. This small group of roughly seven individuals is largely doing so on the shoulders of co-founder and chief activist, Peggy Robertson. She seems to be assuming all of the risk […]

Author trying to “refute” Anthony Cody has typo in blog tagline. Better get that fixed.

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See. BTW, TL;DR.

The iPads were literally sitting untouched on the play table, next to the play cutlery, plates, and a giant wedge of plastic cheese. #edtech

It’s easy to fascinate and receive kudos from the broader education community when you can do something interesting with technology. Before this school year started, I was asked to lead a technology club after school for fourth and fifth grade students. After brainstorming what was possible, what I wanted to do, what students might want […]

The delicate art of stacking interventions

Economically impoverished or Title I schools are forcefully engaged in the delicate art of “intervention stacking.” And by delicate, I really mean clumsy and thoughtless. Leadership in many “struggling” schools, both within the school and without, are under the mistaken impression that more is more. Or, that we should flail our arms about and accept […]

Notes on a co-location

Overheard from a fifth grade charter school student: You know we’re taking over this building, right? Indeed.

@homedepot foundation rejected my small grant application. We don’t have enough needs, apparently.

I put in for a $750 grant for the Home Depot Foundation to get some start up funding for a school garden, meeting space that would eventually generate revenue at a local farmer’s market in Ward 8, DC. I get the automatic reply: Dear Applicant, The Home Depot Foundation appreciated the opportunity to consider your […]

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I am about six weeks into the new school year. You may have noticed, maybe not, that my personal contributions here, and to the “radio” show, dropped off precipitously. Teaching is a busy job, as you know. I have hobbies, a personal life, and other interests that supersede the old education reform commentary. Beyond the […]

Obsessions with the f-word. I mean, FRUSTRATION

I saw this posted today from the Answer Sheet on reading in our current standards-obsessed era. The article poses an interesting question: is cultivating frustration in children something we should embrace? My instincts tell me no, and I’ll let you debate that answer for yourself. But what I will say is that I’ve seen this word, […]

In an era of the “Clipboard Culture.”

I can’t say for sure if I invented this term on the fly or not. I lamented to my colleagues that the “clipboard culture” needs to end. Those of us subjected to daily and weekly observations from insiders and outsiders, each with their own rubrics and requirements, we teachers tire immensely of the “visitor.” They […]

A grave mythology is propagated by our own colleagues.

I am certain that any educator and reader of this website has been confronted with the following: You are against standardized testing. Therefore, you are against all assessment. You are against test-based accountability. Therefore, you are against all accountability. High-stakes are removed. Therefore, you have no incentive to work hard. For many years now, I […]

Sorry to say, many teachers are instruments of oppression

There are teachers who, despite how they’ve been mistreated by accountability, embrace some measures of accountability because they’ve worked with fellow teachers who are indeed trifling and deserve a swift kick out the door. It takes willful ignorance, nay, stupidity of the supreme order, to think you are, as an educator, serving your profession by […]

Received via email: “Subject: Major injustice committed by TFA”

I am posting the full-text here. I can’t substantiate these unsolicited claims. But I think many of them ring true with other accounts we’ve read online. I’m pretty sure that Ms. Rojas wanted to be heard, so I’d like to honor that. To whom it may concern, I would like to express how unfair it […]

Data paranoia hits home. Conclusion: meh.

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For the record, I use Class Dojo. In fact, one of the developers was @ the Chalk Face for an interview in August. I wouldn’t mandate its use, but I do recommend it because I actually like it. One of the primary reasons is its simplicity. The interface is crazily easy and I can create any […]

The practice of lesson plan review

Beginning my second year back in the classroom, I am once again becoming aware of the obligatory lesson plan review by administration. I have no problem with this in theory, but I am curious as to the overall value of this practice. In many cases, schools are staffed by a lot of people who teach […]

To all the cynics out there about the “ice bucket challenge”

Yes, I’ve read the critiques. I get it. I actually never thought I’d actually do one, especially since I wasn’t nominated. But then school started, and I thought that this would set an interesting example for students. So, I did it, with a nomination of another staff member and a promise of a $100 donation […]

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