6 Reasons to Ban Homework

July 29, 2017


With the recent headlines about a school district in Florida doing away with homework, I thought it would be helpful to review some of the disturbing facts about homework that have been known for decades but still ignored by adults who want to continue to haze children with this dreaded practice:

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Disconnected Thoughts

September 5, 2016


Here are some things I’ve been thinking today. If we were eating a meal together, I would probably figure out a way to inject them into the conversation. But because I have no social life, I am sharing them here, in this blog post, with random strangers, lurkers and family members checking up on me.

  • Why We’re Hearing More Racist Comments in “Polite Society”
    • I believe that future social scientists will come to the conclusion that one result of Barack Obama’s presidency was a resurgence in public sphere racist dialogue. Not just as a reaction to Obama, but Obama gave racists an opportunity to say racist stuff that heretofore had been discouraged in public, under the guise of complaining about a President, and it just grew from there.

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School World Conversation

March 7, 2015

Previously on Daisybrain, I reported some funny things I overheard children say when I was teaching. I also posted, in the form of a poem called School World, some of the absurd things I heard from grown-ups working in schools. I have now combined the two lists of completely unrelated sentences and comments, into one fictitious conversation, called School World Conversation. Think of it like something you might overhear if you went to Zippy the Pinhead‘s school. It may not make literal sense, but it gives the over all impression that I got from attending and then working in public schools….

Child: “My life is over. My life has always been over. I just never realized it.”

Adult: “Please disregard the bell until it rings.”

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On Retroactively Lowering School Grades

February 3, 2015

One day, at the New Hampshire middle school where I taught, a school administrator informed me that one of my students was going to have her previous quarter’s grades lowered to all Ds, due to excessive absences during the school year. I was stunned. We do that? We lower grades that students earned, after the fact, as a punishment/incentive to change behavior?

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Click-a-Day to Help Middle School Students

November 13, 2012

I teach 7th & 8th graders in a non-profit program called JAG (“Jobs for America’s Graduates”). JAG students learn social/emotional, organizational & study skills, as well as communication skills, health and wellness, and conflict resolution. We focus on the skills and dispositions helpful for success in school and careers. We use a student-centered approach that helps to develop leadership skills and good citizenship.

Our funding has run out & we have been entered into a grant contest from the Clorox company. The programs that receive the most votes will get funding.

There are two ways to vote: Visit the site by clicking on this picture, or text 2016pbf to 95248. Will texting work from outside the United States? I don’t know – let me know. The great news is that you can vote once per day until December 19, 2012. Please do!

Advantage to texting: You don’t have to register in order to vote.

Advantage to following this link & voting online: You don’t have to text.

Haverhill JAG. Click to vote for funding.

This is really a terrific program. It encourages middle school students to stay connected to school, and helps them transition to high school. We include a follow-up program to support students in high school. Please help us to keep our commitment to these kids by voting for our program and encouraging others to do the same.

Please reblog this post.

Thank you!

UPDATE: Voting is over; we didn’t win the grant. Thanks for supporting our program and any program you support to make the world a better place.

How Differentiated Instruction Misses the Point

September 28, 2011

The groundbreaking developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky described a zone of proximal development where children can learn best. It is a place between that which is too easy and that which is too hard; a productive space where the guidance of a person more competent in a task can help a learner to reach his or her potential. The most effective teachers work to create these zones to meet the learning needs of individual students.

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Ten Reasons to Actively Oppose Standardized State Tests in Schools

September 3, 2010

Congratulations, me; that is the longest title I have ever written for a blog post. It is exactly ten words long, which is fitting because I now present ten crazy things about standardized tests in primary and secondary schools. This list should be enough to spark a revolution. But if you’re still not sure you want to dedicate your life to changing the system, please refer to the links at the end for further incitement.

  1. Standardized tests assume that children come standardized, which they don’t. Not only is there a huge developmental span between children in the same grade, but it’s normal and healthy for there to be a span. They aren’t factory widgets, folks, they are developing humans. Read the rest of this entry »

A Teacher’s Perspective on School Reform

March 5, 2010

When people talk about problems with our schools, I hear a lot of blame: blaming, teachers, blaming parents, blaming kids. And when they talk about how to reform schools, I hear a lot of “get tough” measures: get tough on schools, get tough on teachers, get tough on kids.

What I don’t hear are the sort of obvious, logical reforms that educators – people who have the most direct experience in education – advocate.

None of my ideas are original, but I have compiled them here to give you a sample of what what one teacher, one person who actually works with students on a daily basis, strongly believes would make a difference. Read the rest of this entry »

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