Sick at school, but getting stuff done


Sadly, the air conditioning is on in my classroom and that coupled with already feeling feverish doesn’t make for comfort while I teach!

Being sick stinks… we can all agree on that, but sometimes we have to bite the bullet and work even when we should probably be at home taking care of ourselves.

The fact of the matter is, once we become parents, our “sick” time often goes to their sick time and balancing when we have to take off of school for various child related issues, it makes it challenging to take care of our own needs.

I’m in that predicament right now.

This year has been challenging. Between other health related matters that required immediate attending to, it has been one sinus infection after the next and this time it may even be bronchitis. (more…)

Got to get paid

dollar-clip-art-royalty-free-dollar-sign-clipart-illustration-10076Since I definitely got into teaching for the money, I figured I’d be rolling in it by now.

My cushy NYC teaching position where I work from 8-3 every day and make 6 figures because my work matters.

If you can’t read the sarcasm in the above lead, perhaps you should stop reading now.

Even though teaching isn’t about what I get paid, I still need to get paid.

The fact of the matter is that I do have bills like everyone else and just because I work for the city doesn’t mean that I can afford to work for free. (more…)

What a Good Coach Looks Like…


Growing up I played lots of sports and the best coaches I had were firm yet supportive. They challenged me to play hard and and taught me when appropriate to back off; they saw my talent, but never let me rest solely on that.

Whether on a field, on the sidelines or eagerly watching on from the back of the classroom, a good coach’s goal is to ensure his/her mentee or player finds success in a meaningful way.

This starts with great relationships.

A good coach needs to know the person he/she is working with. Developing a rapport with the person  is essential.

Being able to spot a person’s strengths to lift them, acknowledging their good work and knowing what their challenges are and where to balance the feedback.

Coaches know it isn’t about them but about the person they’re helping. It’s about building them up.


Using Google Forms to Gather Excellent Student Data

It’s time to give up the clipboard and empower students to tell us how they think they’re doing and what they want help with. (more…)

Blown away by student learning – Hamlet edition

Unfortunately, the sound quality without headphones wasn't good. But I was participating in the gallery walk with students

Unfortunately, the sound quality without headphones wasn’t good. But I was participating in the gallery walk with students

Computers set up around the room and the gallery walk of student learning began.

Each group was designated a particular act and scene of Hamlet and had to apply their learning to a comic strip screencast.

(Here’s the assignment – Act4cartoonassignment-smallgroup-Hamlet )

This year’s screencasts are amazing. Not only are they professional looking, but the level of analysis and interpretation is at an all time high.

Sometimes I watch my students in awe of what they accomplish, almost in disbelief. ( I even told them after class today… my job here is almost done… just in time for college).

Challenging students to do creative synthesis projects, requires them to work together and truly apply the skills we’ve been practicing in class. (more…)

Planning PD for Colleagues

Teaching ReflectionReflection.

To me, reflection is one of the most essential skills we can teach students to do to aid in their development as learners. It is possible for all learners regardless of age, ability or function to reflect if taught properly.

Too often, we assume that reflection is something kids know how to do, but the fact of the matter is that it MUST be taught.

After seeing the simplicity of how reflection was handled or not being handled by many of my peers, I suggested I lead a PD session on how to teach reflection to my principal and she agreed.

Now came the hard part…


And the debate rolled on… right through the bell

AP students engage in a short writing activity before the debate ensued. They were ready and engaged to duke it out verbally over whether or not Hamlet is a tragic hero... at least by act 3

AP students engage in a short writing activity before the debate ensued. They were ready and engaged to duke it out verbally over whether or not Hamlet is a tragic hero… at least by act 3

The bell rang and they were still going at it.

Not in a bad way…

In the best way possible.

This week we have been doing table reads of scenes from Act 3 in Hamlet. Students were expected to prepare their scene, practice reading it together and then prepare questions or an activity to engage the class in a discussion about their section.

Today’s went so well, we had a lot of respectful disagreement based on the text.

In the midst of being observed by a cohort of principals my students did what every teacher hopes will happen daily, they took over the space.

Once the group completed their line of questioning, I asked all the students to consider whether or not Hamlet is a tragic hero based on what they know of him now in Act 3. (more…)