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The Learning Studio

John Holland

May 6, 2014

Dear Teachers That Walk the Talk


Dear Teacher,

If you walk with us, we walk together, no matter the destination.

I wanted to share a few thoughts on what teaching is to me in the form of a love note. Not surprisingly, these beliefs lay across the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards' Five Core Propositions like a warm, fuzzy blanket. As I've been renewing my certification this spring, I've been reflecting on how enacting these propositions, on a daily basis in my practice, is both a challenge and a calling for me.

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John Holland

April 23, 2014

Vilson Decoded (A review of This Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class and Education)


Disclaimer: I want to say first, I love this book for many reasons. I will likely only be able to address a few here. I also need to say that I can not write this review with any sense of objectivity. It would really not do any justice to the work Jose Vilson put into this book or to my feelings about. Besides, objectivity is the language of the oppressor, like multiple choice tests.


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John Holland

March 20, 2014

Questions about Standardized Testing: A Discussion Post


The testing season is upon us. I can feel the stress tick up a notch and I don’t even test my students. We use anecdotal records to assess our students’ development. However, in my school, we have already had a pep rally for one content area of standardized testing. My students sang our class theme song, “You Can Make It If You Try”, to the students who were going to take the test.

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John Holland

March 17, 2014

9 Takeaways of an NBCT from the Teaching and Learning 2014 Conference


Nine years ago, I attended the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards conference in Washington, D.C. It was the most important thing I have ever done, after becoming an NBCT, for my professional soul.

I just got back from this year’s conference, and it was awesome. It was the conference I hoped to attend nine years ago. Here are my nine takeaways from the 2014 Teaching & Learning Conference.

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John Holland

December 25, 2013

The Joy of Giving: Head Start Angels

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In the past, my students have always received gifts from a local charity or community organization. This has always been arranged by my instructional assistants, older African American women with strong roots in our community. They took care of it and I was left to the joy and toil of teaching straight through till winter break.

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John Holland

December 24, 2013

A is for Apple


I am going to eat this apple. When I do it will be the best apple I have ever tasted. It is a special apple. You might say it is magical, even if it did come from the VCU dining hall. It was given to me by one of my college students in my Foundations of Education course. In fifteen years of teaching I have never received an apple before. I never really expected to either.

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John Holland

December 4, 2013

We Lose Our way



I was talking with a professor of foundations of education at a southern university recently and she made a comment that has been ringing in my ears. We were talking about a shift away from child centered curriculum in early childhood when she said, “We lose our way. We always lose our way.” In that simple comment she summed up many of my experiences recently.

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