Deeper Understanding Through Art: the ‘Word’ in ‘Flesh’

Steven LevyThe Teachers' Lounge2 Comments

When I was in the classroom I liked to challenge students to create images to represent an idea. Equally challenging, to look at images and infer the ideas they represented. Class discussions (remember to use protocols!) often yielded a deeper, nuanced understanding by thinking in pictures and picturing thoughts. Adults too! I participated in a workshop with a group of … Read More

Are Your Students Crew or Passengers?

Steven LevyThe Teachers' Lounge4 Comments

We are Crew, not Passengers. This is the motto of the organization I worked with for 20 years, Expeditionary Learning, now called EL Education. It comes from Kurt Hahn, the fonder of Outward Bound (the taproot of EL Education), and refers to people gathered together for a long boat journey where everyone is needed to row. Crew is at the … Read More

Where Do the Subjects Come From?

Steven LevyThe Teachers' LoungeLeave a Comment

I always scheduled a parent evening about 3 ½ weeks into the school year. Two things were happening by then. One, parents were thrilled that when they asked their children, “How was school today?” they didn’t get the usual, “Fine.” “OK.” The kids had all kinds of interesting stories to tell.  Parents liked that. The second thing was that the … Read More

Opportunity Costs of the Common Core, or Any System of High Stakes Test Accountability

Steven LevyThe Teachers' LoungeLeave a Comment

One of the highlights for me in my work with EL Education is our annual national conference, and the highlight of the conference was always the keynote presentation from the students. Over the past few years we were enthused by 6th graders in Rochester, NY, with their proposal to revitalize the city by rewatering the Erie Canal; stirred by 8th … Read More

Why Teach Math?

Steven LevyThe Teachers' LoungeLeave a Comment

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 on a test the kind … Read More

Real Work for a Real Audience

Steven LevyThe Teachers' LoungeLeave a Comment

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 would be engaging yielded little … Read More

Honoring the Treasures They Bring

Steven LevyThe Teachers' Lounge2 Comments

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!

What’s Your Plan? Part 2 of a Conversation with Dan Beerens and Steven Levy

Steven LevyThe CACE Roundtable, WebinarsLeave a Comment

In Part 2 of the CACE summer webinar series Dan Beerens and Steven Levy discuss how school leaders and teachers can use the summer to plan more effectively for the following school year. Part 1 was about “Ending Well” in celebrating the accomplishments of the school year and Part 3 will be about “Beginning Well” as we jump into the … Read More