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Justin Minkel

June 22, 2014

A Great First Date with Marriage Potential: Legislators and Teachers Get to Know One Another


Teachers and legislators have plenty of first dates. What we need is more marriages.

We've all experienced those one-off meetings that are a trading of monologues rather than true dialogue. Lawmakers deliver pre-crafted talking points, teachers speak truth to power without worrying whether power listens; meeting adjourned. Last week I experienced a welcome exception to that script, when five teachers from CTQ met with 30 Education Chairs for two days of debate, dialogue, and a shattering of stereotypes.

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Dave Orphal

June 21, 2014

Meet The Authors


 Co-written with Ms. Wendi Pillars

“Oh, my God!  Mr. Orphal!  They are so f*#@ing cute!”

I glared at Ashley, horror and shock on my face.  Was she far enough away from the computer we were using to Skype with the 3rd graders?  Did they hear her?

To her credit, Allison was just as horrified at her slip.  Both her hands leapt to her mouth, her eyes growing wide.  “I’m so sorry, Mr. Orphal,” she whispered.  “It just slipped out.”

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José Luis Vilson

June 12, 2014

The Uncertainty of Success With Tests


Yesterday, after a grueling two periods with my more rambunctious class, the after-lunch crowd, I walked down to the auditorium, looked at one of my colleagues and said, "Just a couple more days left, right?" We got the news from our principal: the ELA and math pass / fail marks for the state tests had come out, and our percentage of students who met promotional criteria went up.  I also found out that, based on NYC promotional criteria, I only have three students who didn't meet promotional criteria, which means that the rest of my students absolutely did.

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Lauren Hill

June 5, 2014

Student demands more support for standardized tests


How do you prepare students for the ACT or SAT?  I teach the concepts tested, and I try to familiarize students with the test format, but that's the extent of it for my Kentucky juniors.  For his final project in AP Language this year, one of my students took me to task on this point.  Read his article and let us know what you think:

SAT/ACT Test Prep in Schools?

This Student Says Yes

By Andrew Bates

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Marie LaCassa

May 20, 2014

5 Takeaways from the 2014 EdSource Symposium


Earlier this month, I attended the 2014 EdSource symposium, an event drawing some of the biggest names in education to discuss "Testing Students and Evaluating Schools in the Age of the Common Core." Much of the discussion revolved around professional development and the field tests for California's statewide assessments, also known as Smarter Balanced.

While most of the attendees were California teachers and educators, I think many of these takeaways are relevant to educators in other states as well.

My Top 5 Takeaways

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Renee Moore

May 10, 2014

A Teacher's Appreciation of Her Week


It is not unusual for Teacher Appreciation Week to coincide with our last week of school here because we start in early August, so it’s also not unusual for it to be a hectic time.  Of course, those who know me know my life is pretty hectic any time. This week, however, set a new standard.

The lessons sandwiched between two family emergencies and my students’ final exams taught me some things that will forever make me a better teacher.

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Justin Minkel

May 7, 2014

Why I Hate the Starfish Parable (And Why the Drowning Babies Parable Is Better)


The parable of the little boy and the starfish is sweet, inspirational, and full of hope. Here’s why I’ve always hated it.

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