Once you’re stuffed with turkey and dressing and Uncle Earl has begun to repeat stories from his oh-so-distant childhood, push back from the table, excuse yourself for some “Internet research,” and partake of these recent writings by teachers in the Teacher Leaders Network.  

Cindi Rigsbee gives thanks for being “Called to Teach” in this Teacher Magazine essay from 2008, which we’ve asked our Education Week partners to repost during the Thanksgiving holiday. Cindi, one of four finalists for 2009 National Teacher of the Year, is currently a middle school literacy coach in Orange County, NC.

High school English teacher David B. Cohen offers tongue-in-cheek thanks to those teachers from his past who ignored his “whole child” in favor of rigor and regimentation in “A Rigorous Thanksgiving.” You’ll find his essay at our companion blog TLN Teacher Voices.

In case you missed them, two recent Teacher Magazine contributions from the Teacher Leaders Network feature dialog excerpts from our never-ending TLN Forum conversation. In “The Experience Factor” (11/11), TLN members from the Baby Boomer generation explain why they’ll postpone retirement to reap the benefits of their hard-won knowledge and skills. And in the article “Should Teachers Sell Their Classroom Materials?” (11/18), our members offer a variety of opinions about a recent New York Times article reporting on teachers who sell their lesson plans and other intellectual property via the Internet.

Uncle Earl still telling the one about chasing the Thanksgiving turkey around the barnyard with a hatchet? Keep your seat – we’ve got more! Among the blog offerings at our Teacher Leaders Network website:

Nancy Flanagan (Teacher in a Strange Land) believes that “It’s a good week for thinking about what makes us happy–and how we, the village, can raise our collective children to pursue the kind of happiness that matters, while simultaneously being aware of and grateful for their many blessings.”

Dan Brown (Get in the Fracas) acknowledges that “Keeping a sharp eye on what isn’t entirely working is a crucial piece of the reflection process, and an indispensable facet of teaching well.” But this is a week, he says, to celebrate “the good classroom moments, the tiny breakthroughs, [that] are everywhere….”

Renee Moore (TeachMoore) offers her own selection of good Thanksgiving weekend reading, as she enumerates “A Few of My Favorite Things” — in her case, committed colleagues. “Contrary to myth, there are many successful educators among us, some of whom are pointing us toward a promising future.”

Ariel Sacks (On the Shoulders of Giants) has been reading the recent research about the attitudes of today’s teachers toward their profession — and “questioning whether I fit into the contented, idealist, or disheartened category of teacher.” She suspects she’s leaning toward “disheartened” and would be thankful for any and all advice.

Bill Ferriter (The Tempered Radical) is not thankful when faced with “blocked websites, antiquated tools, or technology decisions that are not aligned with a new vision for teaching and learning…” But he’s determined to be Digitally Resilient on behalf of his students, for as long as he can stand it.




Finally, your delicious reward for reading this far: A series of blog posts detailing the Pow Wow unit taught each year at Chets Creek Elementary in Jacksonville, FL. You’ll find it at the blog of Dayle Timmons, TLN member and former Florida Teacher of the Year. She recounts:

About six years ago Kindergarten teachers became uncomfortable with their generic “Indian” Pow Wow celebration around Thanksgiving where all the little “Indians” wore brown pillowcase garb with feathers and pounded homemade drums. The teachers began researching Native American tribes as a professional learning community and decided that each class would research a specific tribe and bring those traditions to our annual Pow Wow celebration.

Dayle’s commitment to capturing the instructional life of her school is unmatched, in our opinion. Follow this link to a collection of Pow Wow posts and see for yourself. You can begin with this year’s first entry (Nov. 10) or view posts from the very beginning in 2007.

Happy Thanksgiving! Is that slamming car door we hear the sound of Uncle Earl heading home? Wonder if he ate all the dessert?

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