A Clumsy Teacher Stuck on a Balance Beam

When my youngest daughter participated in competitive gymnastics a few years ago, her favorite event was the beam. I would sit in the bleachers, perched above the practice floor, and watch her every move with both awe and horror as she would leap into the air and then land on a 4-inch-wide surface, narrowly escaping death … Continue reading A Clumsy Teacher Stuck on a Balance Beam

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Recalculating: A High School Teacher’s Venture into Standards-Based Grading

Over the past two decades (almost), it would periodically occur to me that the grades I assigned my students did not necessarily reflect their level of skill. Ten points off here. Ten points added there. A zero for this assignment. A 110/100 for that assignment. Such arbitrary numbers, it would seem. But education being what … Continue reading Recalculating: A High School Teacher’s Venture into Standards-Based Grading

Fluff Is Not Good Enough: A Case for Blogging in the Classroom

When most of us reflect on writing in our own high school English classes, we automatically think of essays and research papers, two structures that are notoriously formal and come with a long list of requirements. As a matter of fact, the requirements were so clear when I was a student, I often gave myself … Continue reading Fluff Is Not Good Enough: A Case for Blogging in the Classroom

From the Mouths of Freshmen: 11 Lessons I Learned from My Ninth Graders

As the last assignment of the year, I had my students write a reflection on their first official year as high school students. I wanted to know what they learned, what made them proud, what they regretted, and what I could have done better. As I read their final posts, I laughed, I cried, I … Continue reading From the Mouths of Freshmen: 11 Lessons I Learned from My Ninth Graders

3 Reasons to Keep a Growth Mindset about Design Thinking in the ELA Classroom

I tend to do this thing where I learn about something new and jump right in with both feet before I have time to think it through fully. So it should be no surprise to anyone who knows me well that I tackled incorporating design thinking into my English class pretty much right after I … Continue reading 3 Reasons to Keep a Growth Mindset about Design Thinking in the ELA Classroom