Play Personality

Understanding child development is serious business, but teaching isn’t; teaching is about ensuring a joyful, challenging journey for each child.  How can we do that if we do not remain joyful and challenged ourselves? So which play personality are you? From Stuart Brown’s work, Kristi Mraz and Christine Hertz, the authors of Kids 1st from Day…

I Teach (Authentic Task #9)

What started out as a catchy title – No Assembly Required – became a series that set out to explore authentic literacy instruction in the most authentic way that I know how:  through reading and writing ourselves.  And though at times it felt like I was Going Solo, in my disenchantment for this vision, I knew,…

Firmly Grounded

I came home still energized and invigorated from conversations at school that day. This time, not about who were are so much as who we are not. We are not page-turning practitioners.  We are not curriculum cronies. In fact, when curriculum is described as Google Maps and “they” tell you that you are free to…

A New Vision (Authentic Task #8)

This, as it did in the village of the previous post, this is where the narrative begins to change.  Our story–the one we tell about our students’ learning experiences–it changes at the doors of our classrooms. A few months ago, a few weeks ago even, people responded to the vision with questions: What does he…

Let Them Be

It was the easiest decision I made all day, and it actually wasn’t even mine to make.  I was simply asked for my “professional opinion.”  His words came like rapid-fire, the pace that has pervaded most conversations since we finished the spring testing schedule: So, do we go with the essay today or make the…

Already Our Classrooms (Authentic Task #7)

What do our classrooms and Malta have in common?  What a strange question, I know. A teacher in the back right corner of our #JCIRA18 Winter Gala described the experience we’d had up to this point (all that has been captured in previous posts so far) as akin to the “Buzzfeed video.”  More specifically, the…

It’s Not Something You Do (Authentic Task #6)

We’ve come a long way to get here.  Blade writes: (Solo, page 220). We could start this post in the same vein: On the way to this place, we’ve passed open classrooms and Acuity probes and rigor and cognitive load and school board elections and Common Core coming and college- and career-ready and 21st-Century skills…

Masterful (Authentic Task #5)

My #CCIRA18 session was to start in 45 minutes and I couldn’t help but turn to writing in order to capture all that this first week in February means to me and to the nearly 2,000 conference attendees, volunteers, and presenters.  A group of educators stood up this morning to show that this is their…

January 2018 (Authentic Task #4)

“So you need go have a drink with your girls.” Oh, how he knows me.  It isn’t even a question. You see, as I wrote about in last week’s post, There’s this vision for profoundly changing student task in our classrooms that I have been struggling with since the summer change in our district’s leadership.  Please…

There’s this vision (Authentic Task #3)

I’d like to officially begin this journey by introducing you to a new friend of mine:  His name is Blade. A seventeen-year-old African-American man growing up in Los Angeles.  The son of a music icon. The lead in Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess’s Solo.  As you know from the previous post, his story is my…

Going Solo (Authentic Task #2)

Solo: It is a story about a young man growing up in Los Angeles.  There is this dream that scares him almost as much as his reality.  He decides to find the meaning in both and leaves behind everything he knows, travelling halfway across the world where he discovers that the answers have been within him…

No Assembly Required (Authentic Task #1)

A few months ago I was honored with an invitation from a close friend to present at the Winter Gala hosted annually by JCIRA, our local literacy council.  Sounds fancy, right!?! It’s the same gala that has hosted the likes of Ellin Keene and Mark Hoog, among others.  The event that should inspire and engage…