Lessons By Design

I like expanding the condensed meanings in poetry, especially with the help of my students. But my students don’t always feel the same way. For some, poems  — and poetry lessons —  are like labyrinths with pathways to nowhere. Which is why, after teaching a poetry survey for nearly two months, and listening to various […]

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Literary Guides

I loved Nicholas Noyes’ recent NYT article with pop-up illustrations, “How to Use a Novel as a Guidebook,”  in which he describes following Oliver Twist’s footsteps in London to see the city through Oliver’s eyes. With help from a map of 1830s London, Noyes was able to connect as a 21st century reader/traveler with a place […]

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What I Learned in School This Year (2016)

I learned a lot this year, much of it in and around schools. I learned to be an instructional coach, I learned a skill set for antiracist education, and I learned to be a design thinker. I took four students to our state conference to present on leadership, I wrote book reviews for different publications, and I kept my blog going while teaching […]

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Malaprops & More

People often ask me what my favorite book is, and I always have a lot of trouble answering. There are so many books that have imprinted my heart and mind. Right now I’m loving Ann Leary’s The Children and Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth, but next week I’ll be touting some other titles, I’m sure. Easier to answer is the […]

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The Play’s the Thing

My favorite play in recent years, Hamilton, continues to grab headlines. Featuring our country’s founding fathers in their full (albeit imagined) humanity, Hamilton is worthy of continued attention, and not just because actor Brandon Victor Dixon addressed Vice-President Elect Mike Pence at a recent performance. Dixon asked Pence to “work on behalf of all of us” — a clear plea […]

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Just What the Doctor Ordered

For many, Wednesday was a day of triumph. For more, it was a day of defeat. Such is the nature of competition. But for me as an educator and a parent, the 2016 election was a shameful spectacle from start to finish. An experienced female candidate for president, the first our nation has ever seen, […]

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Ode to the Passage of Time

I’m about to teach a unit on Romantic poetry by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats. There are many other noteworthy Romantic poets, but these four stand out for me as favorites, not only because I love their poems, but also because their poems remind me of some of the best moments in my life. My […]

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Focus In & Let it Flow

“Stop what you’re doing,” Verena von Pfetten of The New York Times instructs us in her recent article, “Read This Story Without Distraction (Can You?).” She quickly qualifies her directive: “Well, keep reading. Just stop everything else that you’re doing. Mute your music. Turn off your television. Put down your sandwich and ignore that text message. While you’re at it, […]

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