Social Media Advocacy in schools

One way of modeling how to use Facebook appropriately is showing students how it can be useful.

At the end of last year, the DOE put out a social media policy that regulates “appropriate” usage.

This new policy put the fear into all teachers who currently use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Many teachers I know started to defriend students (former and current) in fear that their jobs could at risk.

It is my feeling that technology is here to stay and rather than segregate teachers and students, educators should be teaching students through modeling proper usage.

These social media sites are powerful tools and when used purposefully can produce remarkable results.


Who says academic papers can’t be fun?

love of writing about literature gets fostered when we provide a forum for it with low stakes and high interest activities like blogs.

love of writing about literature gets fostered when we provide a forum for it with low stakes and high interest activities like blogs.

Who doesn’t love to write about books?

That’s a funny question because most students would probably say they don’t.

They probably dislike reading about books more then they like to write about them.

But I’d like to challenge the notion that we can’t make writing literature analysis papers fun.

Given the right circumstances, kids really can enjoy it.

Our last round of academic papers came in just a short time ago and for the first time in a while, I really enjoyed reading what students wrote about their literature.

The biggest change seemed to be their enthusiasm for writing them. (more…)

The Day the Internet Died – The educational sky is falling

One of the bulletin boards that we visited to try to get ideas for stories.

One of the bulletin boards that we visited to try to get ideas for stories.

Teachers should always have a plan B because we just don’t know when circumstances out of our control will create chaos otherwise.

Upon arriving at work today, it was evident early that there were some technical issues with the internet. At first I thought it was my laptop, only to find out that it was school wide, maybe even city wide.

What’s a journalism/English teacher who relies heavily on Tech to do?

It was time to get creative and so, we went on an in-school field trip (borrowed from Cadence Turner, but adjusted for our community). (more…)

Ed Perspectives #6 – 2014 in Review

Today, Brad Currie and I summed up 2014 in some fun highlights in our year. Both of us have been fortunate enough to be a part of the Corwin Connected Educator Series and are excited to promote the books at ISTE in Philadelphia in July 2015

Some topics of discussion:

  • Brad’s accomplishments of 2014 including starting business, writing a book and being named one of ASCD’s Emerging Leaders
  • My highlights included throwing out grading, writing for Education Week Teacher and the Corwin Connected Educator series.

Both of us are looking to bring reform into the new year – Challenging all of you to join us in future ed perspectives.

What was your top 3 highlights from 2014? Please share

Dealing with push-back in the no-grades classroom


recite-27051-1311462109-53liqwWhat happens when you take a risk and people don’t agree?

Making major changes to a system that has functioned (albeit dysfunctionally) for a long time will get people asking why and maybe even vehemently railing against your efforts.

What are you supposed to do to ease tensions? How do you help them see? Or don’t you?

Coping with the onslaught of “This is how we’ve always done it, why change it?” teachers dealing with any kind of educational reform often do battle with the resistance to change. (more…)

Engaging students as the holidays near

The first major vacation is nearing and you know what that means… bring on your crazy because everyone needs a break.

Teachers and students alike may be feeling the learning burnout and as teachers we must do everything in our power to make learning both meaningful and fun. Kids are easily distracted these last few weeks, so make sure to make class time extra memorable. (more…)

Student Satire Movies Inspire Change

students film a scene from their satire movie.

students film a scene from their satire movie.

Students don’t get to be wacky enough in school, that’s why we have to build it into our curricula.

There are always many ways for students to show what they know, so why not take a leap and try something new.

One assignment that has become a favorite of my AP literature and composition students is the annual satire movie project.

After completing a unit on satire (reading Animal Farm, A Modest Proposal, Gulliver’s Travels and Great Expectations), students have written about satire and have even watched South Park to see how it works in modern days.

Then it’s their turn to try their hand at it. (more…)