Category: Beyond the Books

all i really need to know i learned in the covid classroom.

(with apologies to Robert Fulghum) In 1986, Robert Fulghum’s bestseller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten reminded us to return to the basics. Fulghum’s premise was, if we just recalled the principles from kindergarten (e.g., share, play nice, clean up… Continue Reading “all i really need to know i learned in the covid classroom.”

new year’s resolutions–covid edition.

2020 was, to quote CNN’s Jake Tapper, “a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a trainwreck.” And others agree. Towns rang in the new year with literal dumpster fires; the Holderness family pushed out a Billy Joel parody about them; and one YouTube… Continue Reading “new year’s resolutions–covid edition.”

silver linings.

There’s been lots of talk about finding the Silver Linings in the midst of our current COVID storm. At publishing time, we’ve been quarantined here in New England for ten weeks, and schools are closed indefinitely. However, despite all of the anxiety and unrest,… Continue Reading “silver linings.”

flattening the anxiety.

Photo Credit: Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris This is our students’ 9/11. Their JFK Assassination. Their Uphill-Both-Ways-in-the-Snow walks to school. This is their “I-Remember-When…,” the story they’ll be telling and retelling the next generation. This is also a breeding ground for anxiety. And the… Continue Reading “flattening the anxiety.”

on death and teaching.

I always tell my students that Life trumps School. I don’t want them worrying about a reading assignment or writing deadline when they should be caring for a post-op mom or sitting with a sick grandparent. Life is precious, our time together is limited,… Continue Reading “on death and teaching.”

the dangers of landscaping.

Teachers don’t have favorites. Sure, and Mom didn’t like me best because I was the baby. However, there are definitely those students whose growth leaves us beaming with pride, whose writing leaves a lasting impression, whose authenticity leaves us questioning how we can help fix… Continue Reading “the dangers of landscaping.”

stretching: it does a classroom good.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., asserted that “Man’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.” Since I’m assuming that applies to a woman’s mind, too, I’m fixing to celebrate: My mind has done quite a bit of stretching since September.… Continue Reading “stretching: it does a classroom good.”

the beauty of a blank canvas.

August ignites a range of emotions in teachers. We’re sad that our delicious, correcting-free days of summer are over. We’re disappointed that those ambitious To-Do Lists didn’t get completed. We’re dismayed at how quickly the school supplies, school clothes, and school lunches add up. And we’re eager to step down from our… Continue Reading “the beauty of a blank canvas.”

5 benefits of going paperless.

I love the planet; however, I didn’t go paperless in my classroom to save the Earth. It’s a fabulous, additional benefit, as we ELA teachers can photocopy like nobody’s business! But saving trees wasn’t the motivating force two years ago; engaging my students–while trying… Continue Reading “5 benefits of going paperless.”

“make a legal u-turn, if possible.”

2015 was rough. While I still functioned reasonably well on the outside, it entailed a lot of smoke and quite a few mirrors. Even if we’re grieving over a loved one, Standard RL.2.1 still needs to be taught. And regardless of our backlog of essays, Common… Continue Reading ““make a legal u-turn, if possible.””