To wrap up today, I just want to give a quick shout-out to Lluis Busse, who started following this blog yesterday and who maintains a stylish and literate blog that exhibits his compelling monochrome photographs.
Diane Ravitch's blog
When I was in the early grades in the Houston public schools, we learned penmanship. At the time, we dipped our quill pens into an inkwell. It was messy, at least for me. At some point we switched to pens that had ink reserves, and you filled them up and wrote with ink. That was better than dipping the quill.
Then a new writing technology came along, called the “ballpoint pen.” No messy inkwells or ink bottles. You just wrote until they were dry, and then you threw them out. The ballpoint pen was a nightmare for me because I am left-handed and all the desks in my classrooms were meant for people who wrote with their right hand. That meant that as I wrote, I smudged my hand across what I had just written. Not only was the writing smudged, but the fingers on my left hand were always…
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Elsewhere on this blog, I have sung the praises of The American Educator, the quarterly published by my union, The American Federation of Teachers. Let me belabor my point a tad further here by saying that I think this is a first-rate journal of educational theory and practice; it’s where I first encountered Daniel Willingham, who really is doing as much as anyone out there (with his “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column in The American Educator as well as his excellent books) to assist classroom teachers in applying research to practice.
The current number of the magazine addresses the issue of teaching traumatized students. I started my career working with traumatized adolescents in one of New England’s “ivy league” psychiatric hospitals, and I have continued to work with these kids as a teacher.
A discussion of this population’s needs is long, long, overdue. I cannot sufficiently or strongly encourage teachers to read this issue of The American Educator from cover to cover. This is vital stuff every teacher should know.
Here’s something I just cannot let pass.
Last year about this time, I published this blog post on the pedagogical fad of the “flipped classroom.” The theory of the flipped classroom was presented at a professional development meeting as a fait accompli several months earlier in the school in which I served. When I asked in this session about students living in homeless shelters, or in other circumstances where broadband internet is unavailable, and therefore the various videos on which the flipped classroom depends, the presenter and his administrative enablers had no answer.
So, I am not at all surprised to find in Google headlines this morning this report on the homework gap and its relation to students’ struggle in school. The culprit? Why it is none other than the absence of a reliable internet connection. My reaction? Roll “Theme from ‘The Vindicators'” by The Fleshtones.
Readers of Mark’s Text Terminal may recall that I posted this this item earlier this year about a particularly egregious incident of police violence in the dismal school in which I have worked this year.
I’m pleased to report that justice prevailed
In this instance, I hope Dr. King was right: “Let us remember the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
“The Sumerian god of water and wisdom. Enki lived near the ancient city of Eridu in his watery palace in the Abzu—probably the Persian Gulf. This god, like his later Babylonian counterpart Ea, was principally responsible for ordering the functions of the elements that affect life on earth. Cleverest of the gods, he provided the land with sweet water, fathered Uttu, the goddess of plants, found a way to rescue Inanna from the underworld, and saved mankind from extermination in the great flood. He was not, however, infallible. While in his cups, he let the goddess slip away with his “divine decrees,” which would give supremacy to her favored city of Erech instead of to Eridu. His attempt to create man was a pathetic failure, and it was left to the goddess Nintu to mold of clay a satisfactory human being.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
[Here’s an interesting blog I discovered this morning on Twitter. It’s definitely worth a look.]
Welcome to Pedagogy & American Literary Studies
PALS is pleased to welcome a guest post by Alex Bernstein a poet, teacher, and editor in New York City. Please find below Bernstein’s descriptions of how he made Robert Hayden’s poetry more accessible through Drake.
Poetry is a great medium for teaching students close reading skills. Usually, when introducing poetry to students who have never enjoyed reading at all, I say that poems are meant to be difficult because they are designed expressly to reanimate and reactivate the language we already know. This disclaimer often leads to relief: if you use language, I say, in any way on a daily basis, you can actively read poetry. The poet and teacher, Matthew Zapruder, says in his collection of essays, Why Poetry (2017), “the true difficulty—and reward—of poetry is in reading what is actually on the page carefully” (18). For me, the “reward” of poetry in the classroom is seeing…
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