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Outside the Lines

Marcia Powell

February 10, 2016

The Stinky No Good Day

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Today was a bad day. It's all the stinky dog's fault.  Alright, it is not the animal's fault. It has been extremely cold, and our older dog with arthritis needs to come in. Not perfect, but it is what you get when you accept the responsibility of an animal. I grabbed a suit jacket off a chair (In hindsight, I should have asked myself, "why wasn't it on the hanger?!") and headed out the door. Partway to work, I realized the suit had a musty dog smell. Most likely, it had fallen off the hanger, and our pet must have used it as a pillow before someone kindly picked it up off the floor.

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Marcia Powell

November 27, 2015

A Tale of Two Coaches

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I had an interesting conversation with a young professional recently, and it centered around what was best for the kids in the classroom with a difficult situation with a student who, let's say "boldly expresses herself."  The topics of punishment, logical consequences, and the value of content were raised.  I resisted the temptation to tell her my vision of the 'right answer' and shared this story, based on my own real experience, instead.  

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Marcia Powell

October 3, 2015

Parallel Lines In a Connected Educator World

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Nowadays, we call it direct instruction.  There are times when we need to interact with the material at hand, engage our students in examining ideas carefully, and use skillful questioning to tease out the ideas we know students have but may be afraid to express.  That's why the art of teaching is such a beautiful experience to witness, as we allow chances in a safe and caring environment.  In doing so, we create opportunities that allow thinkers to intersect content and action.

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Marcia Powell

September 25, 2015

Toeing the Line When Teachers are Absent

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Substitute teachers, I appreciate you and your efforts. They do the impossible. There was the English teacher who gamely subbed for my science class after the birth of my boy. I came back after three weeks, because there was no other option in my rural locale.

You can't make this stuff up.  

But I also know that seesaw that kids walk as the teacher prepares them for a substitute. Preparing them used to go something like this: 


"Hey, I will be gone for a couple of days for a funeral."
  "Mapowell, we're so sorry."
"Thank you, I appreciate it. Now let's talk about what will happen when I'm gone..."

<extended conversation>

 

What absolutely, positively has to be in that conversation?

  • How will you respond if or when you get that email or text from one of your students in an age of digital media?
  • How do you communicate with the substitute and the students so the time is utilized effectively?
  • What is your plan to ensure a good experience for the subsitute (classroom guest)? 
  • How will you debrief and learn from the students?

 

 

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Marcia Powell

September 7, 2015

Lines of Learning (How My Child Let Go of a 4.0)

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My students have taught me much about learning and teaching, but when it comes to my children, often I see myself as pupil.  Just for the sake of privacy, let's call this child Jae.  Jae came home and told us that the transcript s/he had gotten was no longer a 4.0.  Now, this was a bit surprising, as studying and rule-following always have been a big priority.  My spouse followed up and found that a summer class was an A- because of a technicality.  What followed was a great learning experience:

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Marcia Powell

August 29, 2015

Unintended Consequences of Short Line Thinking

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Many of us know the commercials where someone drinks something, then smacks his or her head, and says,  "I should have had a V8."  The point, of course, is that conscious choices are better than unconscious habit (short-term or short-line thinking)  Can we keep that in mind this school year?

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