Dynamo Girls

A few weeks ago, our younger daughter surprised us when she insisted that we do a “backyard birthday party.” We asked her what that meant, wondering whether she had in mind a throwback party from our own childhood birthday parties at home, before the age of parties at Sky High, Monkey Joes, and Sports Connection. […]

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To Writers Who Dare

People close to me know that my favorite author is Virginia Woolf. The image featured here is from a gift my friend Vicky gave to me just today with a pink sticky note attached: “Dear Jess — I saw this and couldn’t resist getting a copy for you.” I owe my mother for my appreciation for […]

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When it Comes to Words Per Minute, Less is More

“The Power of Handwriting,” a recent Wall Street Journal article by Robert Lee Hotz, argues what many teachers already believe: that students who handwrite their notes learn better than those who type. According to Hotz, faster note-taking does not correlate with deeper or even adequate understanding of the material. Researchers have found that “the very feature that […]

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Global America

Today it was back to school after a week off. While some of my colleagues took fortunate students to India and China over the spring break, I stayed home with my family and read a number of excellent books by authors from around the world. Each year, a group of teachers and I select a number […]

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When I Grow Up…

I recently went to the annual National Association of Independent Schools conference, where over 5000 administrators and teachers heard from speakers like Randi Zuckerberg, author of Dot.Complicated (and sister of Mark), and Jaime Casap , Google’s “education evangelist.” Unsurprisingly, they emphasized the amazing potential of technology to help us do everything we do, including school, better. But amid all […]

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Literacy & Numeracy

As a student, I was not the biggest fan of math. After learning about probability from playing epic rounds of Backgammon in 7th grade pre-algebra, I considered myself a pretty decent math student. But once I passed geometry and algebra and entered calculus, I was in a pretty constant state of treading water amid the […]

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Powering Up and Down

After a unanimous vote by the Academic Council a few weeks ago, our school decided to do a “Power Down Day” with students. No devices in classrooms (we are 1-1) and no cellphones in free time (we have an otherwise open policy). We wanted to see what would happen if we didn’t use technology in […]

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Static in the Feedback Loop

Feedback (n): “Information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement.” In Visible Learning, John Hattie says that for feedback to be meaningful, it needs to not only be timely and detailed, but also to clearly point students toward future improvement or success. He calls this […]

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Alexander Hamilton’s Next Act

I’m hurrying to write this post before it becomes a cliche to argue for teaching Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton in schools. I might be too late already — a recent article in Education World titled “Broadway Musical ‘Hamilton’ Revitalizes Civic Education” describes the impact that the play has begun to have on New York City kids studying civics and American history. In Hamilton, Miranda holds a […]

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