Games project, 2019. There is nothing quite like the magic that happens in a middle-school language arts classroom when the word "project" finds its way out of a teacher's mouth. Whatever learning has been taking place, or not, can finally be used - or not - in creating some creative representation of that particular unit … Continue reading #30 – Project Time
I'm wearing pink today - I can't help it. More than 20 years of Valentine's Day in schools is pretty ingrained in me. I've done all sorts of activities in the classroom over the years - the best being the start of a sonnet-writing unit many years ago - until the curriculum was so overloaded … Continue reading #29 – V Day
This is an area that caused me all sorts of sadness through my years of teaching. For no matter how much I and my fellow educators tried to instill in our students the good vibes of giving in order to care for others - whether through donations of money, items, or time - the collections we held every couple of months always seemed less important, and emptier, than they should have been.
There they sit in the hallway, side by side, the first two chairs placed in the precious silence before parent-teacher conferences begin. Meanwhile, inside our rooms, we are eating a quick lunch or snack, checking our mail, checking in on children or parents,* arranging the conference spaces we have created, and doing a myriad other … Continue reading #26 – Parent-Teacher
It is the rare individual who happily goes back to the life of early wakeups and daily activities after a long weekend, not to mention a long break. But it feels much worse in education. On January 2nd, when teachers, feeling this way, are faced with students, feeling this way, the results are not pretty. … Continue reading #25: Back
A very long time ago, I received a little bag of something I’d never seen before as a holiday gift. They looked like raisin clusters, but these were covered in white chocolate instead. Some information came with them, I believe - something about being a family recipe called Polar Bears. I tucked them away until … Continue reading #24 – Polar Bears
Over the years, I taught this lesson - creating a timeline of events and emotions in preparation for writing a literary essay - many, many different ways. I've made a change in plans - in this case, how I am putting my blog out there. But this isn't surprising for anyone who teaches, because there … Continue reading #23 – Change in Plans
Chicken egg drop soup - 1/13/19 There's something indescribably wonderful about snow days - at least, for anyone who belongs to a school. (I realize that parents who have to get to work no matter what are often less than thrilled.) And children and staff alike have slept with their clothes inside out in hopes … Continue reading #22 – Snow Day?
Every year, around Thanksgiving, I tried to get my students thinking about giving thanks, as many teachers - especially ELA teachers - often do. In many cases in my suburban school district, it is an easy sell, and usually, it is "family and friends" that are most often cited as the objects for this thankfulness. … Continue reading #21 – Thankful?
Every year at about this time, our NJEA cards arrive in the mail. Those of us who teach in this state know that NJEA stands for New Jersey Education Association; however, no matter what state you’re in, if you are an employee of a public school, I hope you have an association - a union … Continue reading #15 – Union label
During the 2018-2019 school year, I began to collect photographs from my perspective as a teacher during my last year before retiring, trying to capture this unique world while I was still deeply, daily, in it. I took at least one, and sometimes several, photographs each day, focusing on what I saw as I went … Continue reading Overview
Every year, with the first spring sports flier I spotted, my heart began to flutter. Joy! No, I didn’t particularly care about the sports themselves starting up, per se, although baseball is the only team sport I really enjoy. The happiness came from the fact that somewhere in the not too far future, it would … Continue reading #28 – Almost Spring