Penguins, Pythons, and Text Sets

Pop quiz: What do the following texts have to do with each other? “What Happens When it Rains” “Shasta Dam” “Water Main Break in Downtown New York City” “Penguins: Up Close and Personal” “Pythons Invade the Florida Everglades” “Who Wants a Spiny Snack?” If you answered that they all have some connection to water, you’re…

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Kids Love Knowing Stuff

By Karin Chenoweth Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence at The Education Trust, is the author of numerous articles and three books on schools that are succeeding with significant populations of children of color and children living in poverty. This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post, to which she is a regular contributor. A commonplace idea floating…

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“Putting Real Food on the Plate”

“I am in the medical field and while I ‘hated’ learning anatomy, I am not sure you would want me to treat you unless I had it memorized,” writes LSC from Seattle. That’s just one of the hundreds of comments in response to a terrific op-ed by Natalie Wexler in the New York Times. Wexler…

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Joy Hakim’s Science Stories: Proof that Informative Can Be Engaging

Kiana Hernandez is a young woman who opted out of a standardized test last spring. She had her reasons, as the Mother Jones article about her details, but that’s not what interests me about her story. What grabbed me is the reading instruction she received—or endured: She’d failed the Florida reading test every year since…

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I’m Afraid of Personalized Learning

There. I’ve admitted it. I’m afraid of personalized learning. Of course, I’m fascinated by it too. But the allure only adds to my fear—there’s a small chance that personalized learning could radically improve education and a large chance that it’ll produce the next flood of snake oil. Writing about DC’s foray into personalized learning, Natalie…

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Math and Science Increase Wages–Even Without College

In my last post, I mentioned a couple of reports showing huge disparities in the courses offered by high schools, with especially serious problems in access to advanced math, chemistry, and physics. I think such inequities are an embarrassment to the very idea of America. But I’ve met people who disagree. They see alternative courses…

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A Full Year of Knowledge, Questions, Thinking, and Learning

By Ilene Shafran Ilene Shafran is a second grade teacher with twenty-four years of experience. Her diverse public school has a large English as a second language population and has earned a Blue Ribbon  from the US Department of Education. Shafran is involved in curriculum design, is a facilitator for a professional learning committee, and…

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In Defense of Facts

One of my favorite blogs is by Katie Ashford, the director of inclusion at Michaela Community School in London (where another favorite blogger, Joe Kirby, is head of English). Ashford believes all children are capable of tackling rigorous content, and she mixes a strong research base with practical advice. In a recent post, she does…

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Teachers Want to Learn about Curriculum Design

The July 2nd SmartBrief has a little reader poll that doesn’t appear scientific or representative or trustworthy at all. But still, it brightens my day. More than a host of trendy topics, educators want to learn about curriculum design: Which topics are you most interested in learning about in your self-directed PD this summer? Curriculum…

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Life Is a High-Stakes Reading Test

Life is a high-stakes reading test. Those who pass gain entry to the best humanity has to offer—great literature, active and effective citizenship, fascinating dinner debates, meaningful connections with people across time and space, jobs that are both interesting and high paying, genuine capacity for self-directed learning, etc. The key to passing is broad knowledge….

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