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11 Collaboratory conversations you don’t want to miss!

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Our virtual community is turning 11! To celebrate: 11 productive conversations to give you a rush of professional insight, whether you have an hour or just 5 minutes.


Teachers! Leave Those Kids Alone.


When most of us were children, we had a lot of unsupervised time to explore. Sometimes we got lost. Sometimes we got hurt. We faced bullies, cranky adults, and aggressive neighborhood dogs. These adventures helped us learn to negotiate risk as we explored the ragged borders of our world.

Our students need exploration, complexity, and the risk of failure. If we spare them from struggle, we might rob them of fulfillment, too.


On unions and the future of the teaching profession


I’m no blame-the-unions pundit. After all, management—not unions—have imposed many of the rules that stifle creative (heck, even just sensible) practices in schools.

But here’s the plain truth: it’s time for unions to innovate.

Latest Blog Posts

Renee Moore

January 16, 2011

Lead from the front


My first principal, Mr. Leroy Byars, who had been a very successful football coach, always admonished the staff at our school to "lead from the front."  He said we should show our expectations for our students through our own actions and behaviors.

As I reflect on the life and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it strikes me how well he exemplified that admonition—and how many of us in public education do not.

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Bill Ferriter

January 15, 2011

Can texting help teens with writing and spelling?


One of my parents dropped me a line today, asking for a bit of advice about her daughter—who, because of a bit of reading reluctance has always struggled with spelling proficiency. 

Specifically, she was wondering whether or not texting might be a good forum for spelling practice for her daughter—and if so, whether cell phones with autocorrect become a crutch for kids who struggle with spelling.

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Dan Brown

January 10, 2011

Talk to babies...or else!


As I wrote in October, I’m a recovering NPR listener. I have little relapses on an almost daily basis, but I’ve noticed that I’m happier and less angry when I commute to mindless sports talk or CD’s that were emotionally significant to me 10 years ago. The ceaseless coverage of John Boehner, foreclosures, the Taliban, and now Jared Loughner can really be too much to take when you’re trying to get set for first block.

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Bill Ferriter

January 10, 2011

Maybe reading ISN’T fun


A friend of mine who teaches in a high poverty school dropped me a really discouraging email today. 

She told me that a training specialist assigned to her school had dropped in to one of their faculty’s vertical articulation meetings to offer feedback on the school’s attempts to integrate annotation into their reading instruction. 

Her message was less than inspirational, though.  Here’s the most disturbing quote:

"I tell kids this is not fun…This is work, and most of the reading you'll do in life will not be for fun."

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Bill Ferriter

January 7, 2011

New slide: The gadget happy classroom fail


Later today, I'm presenting a session for my longtime digital mentor and friend, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and her PLP peeps.  The theme of the session---and a lesson that I learned from Sheryl almost a decade ago---is that digital tools are only powerful when teachers think about their content and their pedagogy first.

Sheryl explains it this way: "Learning how to use technology is much different than knowing what to do with it for instructional purposes."

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