Controversial topics, ideas, and questions that aren’t easy to answer.
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Comments and input welcome!
The Forgotten Criterion – Making Writing Interesting - A compelling and outstanding paper is engaging, just as much as it is educational.
‘The Threat From Within’ – Why We Need To Pay Attention To What Our Schools/Universities Are Advocating - As educators, it is our job to teach, to inform, to instruct, but when it comes to issues such as politics, for example, we must do so with intent to be honest, fair, and unbiased.
9 Beautiful Truths You Can Only Learn From Children - There’s nothing wrong with a little mess.
Integrating Personal Life With The Classroom – Positive Or Negative? - "Whether you’re traveling near or far, show your students the “real life” version of you and “real-life” examples of what you teach." — Abbie Williams
7 Resources To Help Teach White Students About Racism - "The goals of these conversations are to dismantle the color-blind framework and prepare young people to work toward racial justice.”
Here’s How You Can Support Dreamers - If you've heard about the DACA, feel compelled to send a postcard, or are passionate about change, take the step.
5 Tips To Help Discuss (And Dismantle) Racism In The Classroom - "Racism isn't something that was created by people of color. It isn't something that is perpetuated by people of color. It isn't something that people of color benefit from. "
The Truth About Why We Teach ‘Dark’ Books To Young Adults - "Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea?"
Here’s The Truth About Education: It Can Save The World - “Education has always been my focus. I wanted to benefit the world in a way that nothing else could—education is that thing.”
Tackling Our Students’ Mental Health Through Literature - I can't say that it's the same for every classroom, every teacher, and every group of students. But what I can (and will) say, is that it's always better to face an issue, to discuss it, to have your classroom be an open forum, rather than avoid mental illness conversation altogether.
“The Opposite Of Addiction Is Not Sobriety, It’s Connection” – Understanding Drug Use And Students - In a Ted Talk video, Johann Hari talks about the idea that addiction can potentially be cured by people around the addict--the meaningful relationships, mentors, lovers, and support system that surround that person in his or her recovery. Is this truth? And if so, what does this mean for educators today?
It’s Time For Some Positive Self-Talk - Have you seen the video of the little girl, telling herself happy thoughts in the mirror? If not, you need to. And you need to show it to your classroom.
Drugs, Alcohol, & Death – Is The Literature We Give Our Young Students Negatively Influencing Them? - Today's YA lit has shown a tremendous increase in topics and words such as: 'alcohol,' 'drugs,' 'addiction,' 'overdose,' 'death,' and more. The question is this--is the literature we give our young students good for their young minds?
What No One Talks About – The Silence Of Sexual Assault - Today I stumbled across a moving post on Facebook. It was from Duke University, called 'Breaking Out,' that features pictures of people (mainly women) holding powerful signs--quotes, phrases, memories, and statements having to do with their experiences of sexual assault--words said to them by their rapists, quotes from others on the situation, or their most heartfelt, painful thoughts
“Tongues,” Latina Culture, and A Beautiful Connection Between Writers - A beautiful story of how meeting a young and talented Latina writer at an undergraduate writing conference connected to my classroom, my House on Mango Street teaching unit, and my eighth graders at Forest City Middle School.
Why the #LikeAGirl Video Is Necessary to Show In Your Classroom - What does it mean to be a girl? A guy? The socially-constructed stereotypes of each sex? The way we treat one another, intentionally or not? This campaign video, put together by Always in June of 2014, is interesting and speaks to some of the under-the-radar sexist stereotypes that are still prevalent today. And you should show it in your classroom.
What It Means to be a Transgender Youth in Small Town America - It means weird glances. Over the shoulder glances, when it doesn’t seem as obvious. Or blatant stares, for the ones who don’t know any better. Or do, and stare anyways.
What My Transgender High School Student Taught Me About Being True to Yourself - “She—he—goes by Elvin,” my coworker whispers. I look at the student fumbling with the cart of computers in the front of the room. She—he—formerly Cadence, then Cade, and now Elvin, is a thick bodied sophomore with glasses, an ‘I love pizza’ shirt, and short, spiky blue hair.
Social Media and Students - I came across this powerful video today, by Australian teen Essena O'Neill. She talks about why she's quitting social media and the damage she feels it has done to her and her life over the past three years. It honestly was such a wake-up call.
Concerns from the Community – Standards-Based Grading - "When I think about my school experience, I think of multiple choice and true-false and fill-in-the-blank. I think of a score at the top of the page. What kind of feedback is that?"
The Whats and Whys of Standards-Based Grading - The goal is to remove traditional grades from the education system and have the focus be on learning. Are students learning new skills? Are they proficient in those skills?
Launching My Teachers Pay Teachers Site! - To all my loyal followers, fellow teachers, and avid readers, I'd like to announce the launching of my official Teachers Pay Teachers Site!
An Eye-Opening Experience - My student teaching experience at Mason City High School has so far been an incredibly eye-opening experience. If I could name the one, most important thing that I'm pulling away from my time here, is that students come from such varied, different, and often difficult backgrounds.
My Kids Say the Darndest Things! (A Little Humor for Your Monday) - I'm having my English 10 students write in first person--narrative, autobiographical papers and journals. These can be tough because they're a mix of conversational and academic writing...but sometimes I just have to laugh at the hilarious, ridiculous things they write.
Baby Got Class! – A Must-See Video - Have you seen this adorable YouTube video? If not, take a few minutes to watch it. It will make your day!
ADHD vs. PTSD – Are We Misdiagnosing Children? - There’s been an increase in children/students diagnosed with ADHD in more recent years, no doubt about it. According to the CDC website, about 11% of American children ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011. This equals out to about 6.4 million, and that was four years ago. Numbers are only increasing.
Illegal Immigrants – So What’s the Big Deal? - Illegal Immigration: This is a huge, controversial topic that I find is often overlooked.