Category Archives: Best Practice
We cannot control the weather, but there are so many things that educators do control.
It’s about intentionality. Everything we do as educators should be done with intention, not because that’s the way were were taught, not because it’s what “feels” right, or what’s easy for us; we must always act in ways that create safe conditions for learning to take place and to build the resilience of our kids.
Actions follow our beliefs. If there is one piece of advice that all middle school teachers must follow it is this, “Middle school kids are different, don’t expect to succeed with the same strategies that might work with elementary or high school kids.” Continue reading
Any middle school teacher knows that one of the most exciting but challenging aspects of the job is the frenetic pace of life with the kids here. The executive function portion of the adolescent brain, the part that slows things down so we don’t make poor decisions, hasn’t fully developed. As a consequence, middle school kids seem to be operating at 78 rpm while the rest of us are at 45rpm. The engines in their brains have more acceleration than brake.
We guide students to use “mentor texts” in their development as writers. Ralph Fletcher explains that mentor texts are, “…any texts that you can learn from, and every writer, no matter how skilled you are or how beginning you are, encounters and reads something that can lift and inform and infuse their own writing. I’d say anything that you can learn from – not by talking about but just looking at the actual writing itself, being used in really skillful, powerful way.” Continue reading
I’m a life-long fan of the New York football Giants. We’ve had season tickets in my family since 1963 when my dad and my uncle bought a pair of tickets to see them play at Yankee Stadium. My brothers and … Continue reading
Here’s a confession, I’ve been responsible for some pretty horrible professional development (PD). When I think about the faculty meetings I ran when I was a new principal, I am embarrassed. Often, my faculty meetings were the Don Gately Show. … Continue reading
Good teachers never take for granted that learning can be difficult! Continue reading
Last spring I had the opportunity to attend the world premiere of a film by a young and astounding filmmaker. Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion is a documentary about the history of the 1964 World’s Fair and especially the New York Pavilion. The filmmaker is a teacher from our school, Matt Silva. Continue reading