(originally published on MiddleWeb)
(This post was written after encountering yet another courageous link admiring yet another courageous blog about the importance of courage. While that blog, and thus this post, is centered on the diversity of gender and sexuality, I want to explicitly recognize that many marginalized people have been saying exactly the same thing for years, be it non-white people on “courageous conversations about race,” disabled people on “inspiration porn,” and so on.)
It builds up over time. Sometimes, you ignore it. Other times, you shake your head. Or mutter, “I don’t think so.” Or suddenly close your laptop and jump up and stride away. And then, every so often, you crack.
I understand that in our society, how we dress is linked to respect. Though I love wearing gym shorts and a tank top, there are certainly occasions where I wouldn’t do so.
Alfie Kohn is one of my educational heroes. His thoughts and work have infused my practice for decades, as well as that of a number of my colleagues, and from our first days in 2004, these principles have provided key foundations and touchpoints for our middle school program. I follow him on Twitter, and read nearly everything he shares.
I started a blog post back in mid June entitled “Beyond Intentions,” but time and time again I would crank out a few sentences or even a paragraph and then grind to a halt, staring at my screen with an increasing sense of despair before acknowledging I was - once again - stuck. Stabbing at my laptop’s keys (apologies to our IT team, Tod and Jason!), I would erase everything in my Google Doc and, with a mental sigh, find something, anything else to do.
(title courtesy of Nancy Flanagan)During the early summer heat wave in Europe, stories were turning up all over the Internet about boys wearing skirts to school and men wearing dresses to work. Jake Steward (our English Department Chair) sent me an email one day with a link to an article I hadn’t yet seen (though it began to crop up increasingly frequently), “ Teenage Boys Turn Up at Devon School Dressed in Skirts.” At one level, these boys may not have made that choice if (in order of ease of remedy) a) their schools had a dress code that permitted boys to wear shorts, b) their schools had air-conditioning, and/or c) climate change wasn’t contributing to ever more extreme weather patterns. But at another level, there was fairly rapid and widespread buy-in to the skirt protest. I’m honestly not sure that would have been true just five years ago, no matter what the weather.
(originally published on MiddleWeb)
The further I get into my career, the more I realize how fundamentally critical formative assessment is to the process of learning – assessment for learning as opposed to assessment of learning (Stiggins and others).
(read more here)
It was a beautiful sunny Wednesday. My wife was away on an administrators’ retreat as her school was preparing to start the year, and I needed to focus on preparing for the upcoming NENTS 2.0 conference (designed for inexperienced teachers who have spent at least a year in the classroom) that I was co-facilitating. I hopped in the car and drove up to Charlottesville.
I decided to get to Fenway early so I could walk around, take things in, absorb the atmosphere. On an impulse, and for the first time in years, I walked into a clothing shop. Looking at the wide variety of colours, styles, and cuts, I couldn’t help but think how far we’ve come. Remember when Major League Baseball suddenly realized that if they actually reached out to women, they might be able to greatly expand their fan base? Overnight, you could, if you wanted, get pink t-shirts and pink caps. Only, it developed that’s not necessarily what women wanted from Major League Baseball, at least not exclusively. Women all over the country raised their voices and said, “You want us as loyal fans? Take us seriously. One good way to do that would be to actually ask us what we want rather than just assuming we all love pink. Another good way would be to acknowledge a lot of us not only already like the game but also know a lot about it.” Major League Baseball took the hint.
Read at the end-of-year faculty party to honor and celebrate my long-time friend and colleague Ann Sorvino, dance teacher extraordinaire, on her retirement.
Ann, when you first came to Stoneleigh-Burnham… hmm, when was it? Did we ever figure out which of the two of us came first?! Anyway, when I first came to Stoneleigh-Burnham, the dance program existed in the shadows and relative anonymity throughout the year until it suddenly burst forth in a spectacular and, to first-year people at least, completely unanticipated show the night before graduation. To me in those early years, you were this enigmatic person somehow working magic with kids though I had no idea how.