Devil’s Teardrop Box: A Lesson from Before Women Had Wings

  Before Women Had Wings (1997),a novel written by Connie May Fowler, is one I end the year of American Literature with. Avocet, a.k.a. Bird, Jackson's narrative grips the reader before the end of page one. She's an innocent girl trying to understand life-- what's fair/ what isn't. She endures pain, often issued from her... Continue Reading →


[WHY] Is the LITERARY CANON Important?

The elusive canon that all of us literary types know exist but is difficult to define. Sure, there are lists of canonical literature while the contents vary dependent upon the source. Some classics, more than others, may find themselves on most lists. In truth, I believe the canon is and should be evolving. If the... Continue Reading →

Messy Learning Inherent to Great Teaching

Teaching is a challenging profession, no matter what the political pundits would have you believe. It takes a great deal of time (education, preparation, planning, assessing, reflecting, adjusting...), energy and experience to embody all of the characteristics of a great teacher. And, lets face it, there are a lot of great teachers out there. Two... Continue Reading →


Student X and Why We CANNOT #evaluatethat

In response to an email I received from a student just two days ago and a conversation I had with a former student in the Spring of last year, I am compelled to add my two cents worth to an invitation from BATs (Badass Teacher Association) to flood Twitter with reasons teachers should not and... Continue Reading →


This is ACTIVE Learning: The Reduced King Lear

Shakespeare's works are OH-SO-TEACHABLE! The trouble is students really have difficulty with the language, so I take a very interactive approach whenever I teach anything Shakespeare. Before we began reading King Lear, I showed The Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Abridged).  My rationale is and always has been to make Shakespeare's works accessible and relevant.... Continue Reading →


Diane Ravitch Speaks out on Common Core: the history and its implications

This article is too important not to share: Everything you need to know about Common Core — Ravitch, written by Valerie Strauss and published in the Washington Post  


Technology Think Tank: Organize Yourself with Planbook

Throw away your spiral-bound, paper planners. Get with the 21st century. Use Planbook, both web-based for MAC and windows, and available as an IPad app, to plan your instructional days. The problem with the old method is that even the best laid plans change. While you have every intention, even as the most seasoned teacher,... Continue Reading →


Technology Think Tank: EDMODO– a Communication Hub for Education

Are you looking for a communication hub for your students/classes/teachers? Edmodo, a free website, also available as IPhone/ IPad app and a Google Play app, simulates a Facebook-look for education. Several teachers in my district are using Edmodo to connect with students, other teachers (in our own building to as far as around the globe)... Continue Reading →


Technology Think Tank: Using Todaysmeet for a Socratic Seminar and MORE!

TodaysMeet, a free website, advertises its purpose is to help you "embrace the back channel and connect with your audience in realtime." I use it as a multi-purpose chat room. I've used it for discussion purposes; I've also used it to conduct a meeting remotely. As far as user-friendly websites, this is among the easiest for... Continue Reading →


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