Category: The Teachers’ Lounge

Why Teach Math?

I’ve never met a math teacher who was not asked to answer the inevitable moan from her students, “Why do we have to learn this?” Unfortunately, the most common response: “It’s going to be on the test.” What kind of message does that give about learning, and about math? Is working to get a grade …

Read more

We Did Our Job: Devotional from CESA 2016

In January of 2009, US Airways flight 1549 landed in the chilly waters of the Hudson River shortly after departing New York’s LaGuardia Airport. The movie Sully depicts the courage and fear of Captain Chesley Sullenberger as he led his crew and the passengers that morning. The film shows the aftermath of a media frenzy …

Read more

Real Work for a Real Audience

Lauren was walking away from the copy machine with a stack of copies from the Spanish workbook. She looked like she had just been abandoned by her deepest hope. It was her first year of teaching, first year Spanish to sixth graders. She had tried to involve them in active projects, but everything she thought …

Read more

Looking Under the Label: A Journey in Deeper Thinking

Exploring deeper learning through the study of ‘labels’ in a first grade classroom.   Deeper Learning is not an exotic new curricular approach that requires big projects – it is a frame of mind about how to approach all aspects of learning – even seemingly trivial details – in a deeper way. We open the door …

Read more

Honoring the Treasures They Bring

16 years out of the classroom, and I still feel the summer begin to bleed as the corn ripens and what seemed like an endless July surrenders to inevitable August. I haven’t seen the leaves turn red yet, nevertheless, the anxiety of the first day of school creeps into my dreams. I stand before my class, entirely unprepared, even naked sometimes, or blind, the children jumping off their desks, running wildly wherever... God, please wake me up!

Read more

Prensky Quote

Becoming a Digitally-Competent Teacher

It kind of drives me crazy when educators try to argue that they don’t need to be tech savvy. Yes, it takes work to keep up with rapidly changing technologies. No, not every new tech tool (toy?) needs to be adopted into a formal education setting. But it’s not 1989, people. I think it’s safe …

Read more

Technology and Innovation

I’m the first to admit it: I’m a technophile. I subscribe to Wired magazine. I love my iProducts. I enjoy networking with other educators through social media. And I am a techie-teacher–I’m always experimenting with new technologies in my classroom! It’s not that I think technology can solve all of our educational problems or make us into …

Read more

Getting Real about Differentiation

This past year, I was privileged to attend the Association for Middle Level Education conference. This is a huge, national conference in which thousands of educators interested in teaching young adolescents come together to share ideas and strategies and stories of life in the middle. One of the best sessions I had the chance to …

Read more

The 60% Rule

Do you have a favorite teaching strategy? What is your best approach in the classroom? Do you lecture with passion? Do you involve your students in collaborative groups? Do you have students complete stacks of worksheets? Do you use project-based learning? Do you have students craft personal, creative responses to demonstrate what they have learned? Do …

Read more

Math Homework

What’s Your Homework Policy?

Oh…homework. What shall we do with thee? I wonder, wonder, wonder about the value of homework. At different times in my teaching practice, homework has taken very different roles. Early in my teaching career, I assigned a lot of homework; my middle school math students had an assignment almost every day with a few dozen …

Read more