A place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools

Revealing Magical Powers in Reading

Trevor Barton - December 21, 2011

This year is the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl's classic children's book James and the Giant Peach. In the story, 7-year-old orphan James Henry Trotter escapes his two rotten, abusive aunts by crawling into a giant peach, which rolls, floats and flies him to a new life of wonder and love.

Making a ‘Thousand Decisions a Day’

Kathleen Melville - December 20, 2011

Whenever I see a movie about teachers, I get a little nervous. I wonder how my profession will be represented. I’m always curious, but usually disappointed. I have found that on-screen teachers tend to perpetuate two frustrating stereotypes about the profession. The first is that anyone can teach—or worse—“those who can’t, teach.” There’s a misconception that teaching requires no special skills or talents beyond a basic knowledge of the content area. The other stereotype is teacher as martyr-saint. This portrayal assumes that the one qualification for being a good teacher is a heart of gold, a willingness to sacrifice everything out of love for children.

Most films ignore the complexity of the craft of teaching. This makes me cringe.

‘Tis Always the Season

Sandra Wozniak - December 20, 2011

Somewhere around Thanksgiving, we’re bombarded with the commercial celebration of the holidays.

Schools are no exception, and the hype is difficult to ignore. Is this a great time for our students to study the holidays celebrated throughout the globe?

For the Love of All Families

Marti Weston - December 19, 2011

When I was in elementary school, it was common to overhear adults say that children were from “broken homes” if they lived with a single mom or dad or sometimes with grandparents. One of those families belonged to my friend Ellie, who lived with her mom. So I asked my father, a Congregational minister, why some people thought Ellie’s family was broken? Dad gently explained that strong families, Ellie’s included, have three characteristics: love, connectedness and commitment.

The Mistake That Led to a Great Lesson

Amanda Ryan Fear - December 16, 2011

I used to tell my art students that some of the best art comes from mistakes. It seems the same is true for teaching. If we can be flexible enough to recognize the lesson in mistakes, we can go a long way with our students.

Giving the Gift of a College Education

Pamela Cytrynbaum - December 16, 2011

One of the most powerful gifts we can give our children—for the future of our nation—is a college education. It may, in fact, be the most powerful gift. For so many of our country’s greatest success stories, the golden ticket that launched the inspiring life was the chance to go to college.

Students Write for Audiences Close to Home

Jacqueline Yahn - December 15, 2011

Hands jut into the crisp autumn air, restricting my field of vision to a sea of shirtsleeves. While this is not an odd phenomenon after a new writing assignment, the types of questions are. “When will we mail it?” and “Can I make
this longer than three paragraphs?” replace heavy sighs of “When is this due, again?”

Help Students Reap Diversity’s Benefits

Sarah Sansbury - December 15, 2011

One-third of my daughter's kindergarten class is bilingual, speaking both Spanish and English, and 10 percent speak only English. Where do we live?

Texas? Florida?

No, Forsyth County, Ga., where, a little over 20 years ago, Oprah Winfrey did a special on white supremacy.

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