The epilogue to my 2021 book, “Improve Every Lesson Plan with SEL” stands on its own as an essay. I ask us to ponder how schools replicate or challenge the vast inequalities in our country. I ask: “To what end, to what world view, are we relentlessly pushing students so hard?” I ask us to say the words poverty and capitalism.
The Art of Creating School-Wide CoherenceSchool initiatives need to allow space for flexibility and innovation
Finally, for all who have asked for years, the full explanation of “Interests, Uniformity, Guidelines and Inventions” to have a successful school initiative, including my school’s bulletin board story. A must read for leadership.
Most teachers get time each day when they are not with students in order to prepare—“prep period”–grading papers, responding to emails, researching for coming lessons, using the copy machine, developing PowerPoint slides, writing reports and evaluations for students with IEPs, using the bathroom, calling parents, consulting with the school nurse about a student’s medication, conferring […]
The first year of the pandemic, when schools went hybrid and remote, was incredibly difficult—a principal said that he felt like he was juggling on a unicycle in a hurricane; teachers felt the same. Every day blew us into unchartered territory. We re-experienced the daily anxiety of being a first year professional—all new, all untested. We did our best to not crash. Kudos to all who hung in.
What if we used the time usually spent punishing students to instead talk with them and makes plans in ways that help them succeed?
Our factory model of schooling obscures the fact that all learning is personal. We’ve been forcing too many children at the same time to be presented with the same stimulation in hopes they develop the same understanding.
Despite the boredom and enforced pass-fail monomania of schools, I still love being in them. I see when students experience, despite all the barriers, the moments of joy for having their minds opened and their neurons firing in unexpected patterns and, in those moments, transcendence.
Let’s agree that we are not pouring money into public education without wanting a return for our investment. We need our kids to grow up to pay taxes, enough taxes to pay the government back for their schooling, or what’s the point?
There is never one thing that defines a challenging student, never one cause, never one life event, never one disability. If it were one thing, the solutions would be simple. One of my own teachers confronted me with this important and demanding advice: “Keep the complexity as long as you can.”
The ASCD annual conference took place in Los Angeles from March 14-17, 2014. It was consistently thrilling to be among a diverse group of 12,000 educators. Everyone had stories to tell, aspirations to share, and good work to do. You just had to sit down next to anyone and say, “Where are you from? What do you do?” and an hour later you had another colleague.