Archive | February, 2009

Giving School the Business

We have little money for books we could use tomorrow and less for supplies. It's March first and we have only enough to cover (not really) the costs of our photocopying for the rest of the year. Supplies? You're on your own. But we have eight software programs we must use, all of which are […]

What the ning is a blog, you twittering wiki?

I've spent more time in the last two months online–searching for, learning about, testing, investigating, and evaluating different sites–than I have in years. My guiding question when looking at Twitter, Ning, various wiki sites, blogs, and the many different applications available on Google was: What is the problem for which this particular application is the […]

Curriculum Vitae

You begin to teach Romeo and Juliet because it is required. You are coming up on the suicide scene in Act Five when a student quietly mentions that a boy many of them went to middle school with, who attends a different school, shot himself in the head the night before. You hear it was […]

“Moral Hazard” in the Classroom

We hear a lot about "moral hazard" lately in all the discussions about banking and finance. What does it mean? Here is what Wikipedia says: "Moral hazard is the prospect that a party insulated from risk may behave differently from the way it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk. Moral hazard […]

The Dinner Table Test

Every night families sit down to dinner with kids who have been in school that day. They mumble as they eat about what they did that day, sharing stories about activities, sports teams, work, and, of course, school. The Dinner Table Test refers to what happens when that last question comes up, as it always […]

What business are you in?

I read all sorts of things: magazines (Inc., New Yorker, Wired, Fast Company), books (literary, pedagogical, business, scientific, biographical), blogs, websites, and newspapers. Every word? No, of course not. A great skimmer, gliding through them with my teacher brain alert for possible ideas, my writer's brain on the hunt for details, data, sources. This week […]

X = The Solution

"What is the problem for which X is the solution?" This is arguably the most useful question to ask in most any situation related to education (or anything else for that matter). What is the problem for which computers are the solution? What is the problem for which textbooks are the solution? What is the […]

Heard or watched any great books lately?

I often read at about 65 miles an hour (okay, 70), sometimes in the rain, occasionally in the dark. Sometimes a novel like Edgar Sawtelle; other times, like now, a nonfiction book like The Next Hundred Years. The other day I bought and watched Jeff Jarvis's "video book" What Would Google Do? (My first experience […]

Selling Our Kids on English

English teachers need to think a bit more like marketers. Everyone does, if we want people—our students, our colleagues, even our own children—to buy what we are selling. Every class is a transaction, every discussion an opportunity to sell what you love, what means so much to you. People don't sell things and services: they […]

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