Now Playing Tracks


Watch 70 years of educational progress in 30 seconds

The generation that really made a difference was those veterans’ children — the baby boomers. The number of public colleges in the US doubled between 1960 and 1980, and college enrollment nationally more than tripled. And graduation rates followed. Among the Baby Boom generation, Americans are still the best-educated people in the world. It’s younger Americans who have fallen behind.


I asked my tumblr followers:

What book should every teacher read?

here are zwelinzima answers:

In no order,

1.) The Book of Learning and Forgetting, by Frank Smith, discusses social relevance and control

In this thought-provoking book, Frank Smith explains how schools and educational authorities systematically obstruct the powerful inherent learning abilities of children, creating handicaps that often persist through life. The author eloquently contrasts a false and fabricated “official theory” that learning is work (used to justify the external control of teachers and students through excessive regulation and massive testing) with a correct but officially suppressed “classic view” that learning is a social process that can occur naturally and continually through collaborative activities. This book will be crucial reading in a time when national authorities continue to blame teachers and students for alleged failures in education. It will help educators and parents to combat sterile attitudes toward teaching and learning and prevent current practices from doing further harm.

2.) Teaching as a Subversive Activity, by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner, speaks, again—directly and eloquently—on liberating young minds (here is my recommendation again)

“There is no way to help a learner to be disciplined, active, and thoroughly engaged unless he perceives a problem to be a problem or whatever is to-be-learned as worth learning, and unless he plays an active role in determining the process of solution.”
Neil Postman, Teaching as a Subversive Activity

3.) Walking on Water, by Derrick Jensen, has just awesome stories with terrific lessons about asking questions (Note: I also recommend this book highly)

Walking on Water is a startling and provocative look at teaching, writing, creativity, and life by a writer increasingly recognized for his passionate and articulate critique of modern civilization. This time Derrick Jensen brings us into his classroom—whether college or maximum security prison—where he teaches writing. He reveals how schools perpetuate the great illusion that happiness lies outside of ourselves and that learning to please and submit to those in power makes us into lifelong clock-watchers. As a writing teacher Jensen guides his students out of the confines of traditional education to find their own voices, freedom, and creativity.


Text reads: When you look at the kind of schooling that’s all about superior results and “raising the bar,” you tend to find a variety of unwelcome consequences: less interest in learning for its own sake, less willingness to take on challenging tasks (since the point is to produce good results, not to take intellectual risks), more superficial thinking … and more cheating. -Alfie Kohn (Feel-Bad Education)







Does anyone use “Grammar Journals”? Essentially, on the left side of a notebook, you take grammar notes. On the right sides, students are able to try out the grammar rule/topic in some sort of a writing prompt or activity.

I like it and want to use it next year. I could also have my sixth graders glue things into the notebooks (hand outs/guided notes).

I like this idea, reblogging to try and remember it. 

I like this idea.

Ooooh. I like this.

I am going to try and do interactive notebooks next year which would include this. I think it’s an amazing tool!!!!

I’m using it as part of my interactive notebooks too.


Common Core in the States: Mapping the Future of Testing in America

This spring, students across the country are taking the first iterations of year-end exams aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core is a set of benchmarks - not a curriculum - that lays out what students across the country should know by the end of each grade level. Individual states and districts determine how to teach and assess their students to meet those standards. These standards were developed by educational experts and interest groups representing state leaders in an effort to ensure students are college-and career-ready by the time they graduate high school.

Nationally, 45 states, Washington, D.C. and three territories adopted the standards between 2010 and 2011, but Indiana became the first state to drop out of the Common Core in March following months of backlash against the education benchmarks.

Interactive infographic

Making the Most of Professional Development Days


Teaching is a treadmill. You start the beginning of the semester and you go to the end—preparing, presenting, grading, and advising for multiple courses and multitudes of students. It’s not until the semester ends that you realize just how much energy it has taken and how tired it has made you.

Professional development days can encourage teachers to reflect and take stock. I try to interrogate their practices, in gentle and constructive ways. “What are you doing?” So many of the “problems” teachers have with students are exacerbated, if not caused, by teaching policies and practices. We don’t submit what we’re doing to careful scrutiny as regularly as we should.

We make Tumblr themes