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Digressive Discourse

Sandy Merz

October 17, 2016

The Teachers of the Year Open Letter Is Partly Right but Mostly Wrong

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Nine state and national Teachers of the Year, two of whom I know personally, have published an open letter endorsing Hillary Clinton and arguing that they cannot remain neutral this election year. Putting aside for now the subject of how neutral a teacher is obliged to be regarding controversial issues (they mostly do, too), I’m going to both agree with and push back on how they characterize Trump and Clinton.

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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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