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Digressive Discourse

Sandy Merz

June 4, 2016

The Only Class Rule You'll Ever Need

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Two and a half years ago, while reading Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess, I made his one class rule: Don't Be Mean, my one class rule. In the more than 2000 class periods since then, I've had to call for administrative help with an unruly student exactly one time. As this year wound down, I asked students to name the best and worst things about the rule. Below are the most representative of their replies. 

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Sandy Merz

May 30, 2016

Virtual Learning Communities and the Adjacent Possible

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When I started teaching in 1987, many colleagues had an "EZ-Grader" - a cardboard device they used to calculate a student's percent on an assignment by matching up the number of correct answers with the total number of problems. And by-golly, you can still buy an EZ-Grader for under $2.00.

Then came the 90s and as the world moved from atoms to bits, electronic grade books became one of about a billion adjacent possibles, and most teachers trashed their EZ-Graders. (Seriously, who actually buys an EZ-Grader in 2016?)

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Sandy Merz

April 27, 2016

How Not to Shuffle Teachers, Part One

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This year at my school a powerful cohort of outside forces, trying to do the right thing, used a financial incentive to fix something that wasn't broken and in the process derailed a promising teacher's first year, denied over 100 seventh graders six weeks of science, and added 20% to the workload of four full time teachers.  

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Sandy Merz

January 29, 2016

Does Moving Money From Prisons to Schools Really Make Sense?

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Will we forever be stuck shaking our heads at the annual cost to lock up a prisoner compared to the annual cost to educate a child and saying that since we're going to pay the money anyway why don’t we pay it up front by better funding our schools and then maybe more students will graduate and become productive citizens instead of dropping out and becoming criminals?

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