I’ve been a teacher now for most of the last twenty years, pretty much only in two schools. I’ve been revisiting the design of my website, and revising how its organized and laid out, and it’s led me to some interesting conclusions. First, I don’t write about teaching much any more. There’s a reason for that. I was asked not to — not by a superior, but a crew of colleagues, both individually and as a group. They felt that my experiences as a teacher were not appropriate fodder for a semi-public blog under my own name. I thought long and hard about what they said, and I came to the conclusion that it was challenging to them that I write about my work in schools, and making it difficult for us to work together. And it was about then that I started to think about what I would write about instead — and that became the thread that eventually became the cable that is tai chi chuan in my life.
That said, there’s a good deal of history on this blog about my experiences in teaching, and some of that material is quite good, and may be useful to others. Accordingly, at the suggestion of a commenter, I’ve started to assemble this “Links Page” of connections to some of the more important daily experiences, themes, and reflections I’ve gained from writing about teaching. That page is here.
As you may also notice, if you hover over the “teaching” button above the page, but below the title of the blog, you’ll see links to two other sections. The first of these is “The Palace of Memory” a set of links about consciously teaching memory techniques in school in an ordered and deliberate way. The second of these, the Maker’s Grimoire, is a set of links to small projects and programs that can be used to a) teach a teacher how to be a more creatively-minded instructor in a Design Thinking methodology, and b) how to teach students to be more skill-oriented and creatively-minded in a Design Thinking methodology.
As of today (27 April 2013), this page represents links to the second half of this blog’s teaching entries… I’ll try to get to the first half at some point, but I figured better to begin and come back to it later, so that maybe it will be useful immediately. Make a Bad Draft, after all, is an important design principle.
I hope this helps you find your way around!
- Creativity: Teaching Creativity by Model, Language and Value — an essay on using three core strategies to awaken students to their creative potentials.
- Creativity within Rules — No one can be creatively inclined without having some rules to push against, or some tools to work with.
- Creative Confidence and David Kelley — One of America’s best known designers after Steve Jobs explains Creative Confidence, and why it’s an important skill to cultivate in students and adults
‘Renderin’ as a Fourth R — The importance of drawing in a modern education.
- The Semigram — I teach students this basic set of skills in every class I teach. If you don’t know how to draw a little bit by the end of one of my classes (since 2009) I’ve done something wrong.
- Sketchnotes as a Process — Mike Rohde invented sketchnotes by demonstrating that it’s way more effective at helping you remember stuff to draw it out, than to try to re-read your notes later.
- Teaching Two-Point Perspective — Why is a history teacher teaching art skills? Because he’s read his Albrecht Durer, and knows about the power of perspective. And that means he can teach it.
- Teaching using Tracing Boards — how an arrangement of tools might convey useful information to students.
- A Part is Worth A Thousand Pictures — Some of the philosophy of drawing, for me.
- Tweaking the dominant narrative — How I use some of my magical practice in the classroom.
- Teacher Demo, Student Practice, Praise of Strangers
- On Ramp to Sewing — Sewing, Crocheting, knot-making, and so on are critically-important skills to teach kids. Few people understand the Industrial Revolution who haven’t tried to make clothing, because — why would textiles be important? This was my brief guide to how to start up a sewing program at my school.
- Fifth Astrolabe, Verso — When teaching about the Age of Exploration, do you make kids build astrolabes and learn to use them? Would you like to?
- Mind Mapping — None of us do enough of it in school… and yet it’s such a powerful tool in the real world. Why is that?
- Make a Bad Draft NOW — Whenever you want students to re-write a paper, make them do a bad-draft right then and there… and have a checklist handy for them to double check their work against, so they know how to fix it.
- Tracking classroom discussions — the circle record. I tried it for a while and found it useful; giving it into kids’ hands to track what was going on was both a plus, and a minus.
- Paper Prototyping — asking kids to build a game or design a poster? Make them build a paper prototype of it first!
- Thesis statement planning with Visual Thinking skills
- The Brute Force Approach to Learning
The Philosophy of Teaching
- The Teacher Power — Is it better if your students don’t need you after they move on? Or if they do?
- Watching a Master Teacher — she is a fantastic teacher.
- Geometry and the Awareness of Problem-Solving Methods: It took a class in magic to make me realize that I hardly ever use algebra… I do geometry when I need to do math.
- Yes, you can have an extension — how to make an extension mean something important.
- Reclaiming the Medieval Seven — Maybe we should bring back the seven liberal arts as the basis of our middle school curriculums
- Educational Kung Fu
- Could Teachers learn something from accountants?
Teaching and Testing
- Experiments with Doug Lemov
- Paul Bambrick-Santoyo‘s Driven By Data gave me some powerful insights into how to be a more effective teacher… at the cost of being a statistician. But it made me a better grader and respondent to parents in comments.
- Teaching to do the minimum — Our school has a 30-minutes of homework per class rule… but kids do more than that all the time. How do you help them rethink that process a little? And did it yield results? It did.
- Ruth D’Andrea on Testing: Teaching is Under Attack.
- My comments on Susan Fine and why she’s leaving teaching.
- Classroom Size in private schools — the scaling problem is the elephant in the room for most discussions about the effectiveness of individual teachers.
Learning and the Brain
- The Amygdala and its role in learning — and boy howdy, it’s ugly. If the brain doesn’t feel safe, you don’t learn.
- The Chariot: John Madina wrote a fascinating book called Brain Rules, and I interpreted using the Chariot Card from a Tarot deck as a tool for understanding learning.
- You Can’t Think With Tools You Don’t Have
- Trying Sugata Mitra’s Experiment: Dr. Mitra gave Italian students an Internet treasure-hunt in English. I gave English-speaking students a test in Hindu and Spanish. Both revealed some interesting results.
- Teaching Graphic Design: It was kind of astonishing how hard it was for students to replicate certain basic designs effectively.
- The Mobile Disruption: I don’t think schools have really figured out how mobile computing is going to change the classroom yet. Thats because we don’t want it to.
- Teaching Scratch: If Statements and Broadcasts
- Toward a Maker Curriculum for Teachers: 17 Things
- Mise en Place in the Design Lab: A design lab- type space needs to be ready to teach all kinds of things, more or less on a moment’s notice. So does any classroom, really. What can you teach in your room besides your main subject?
- Edutopia Talks Design Thinking — Maybe learning how to sell your idea is part of the Design Thinking Process? Presenting it well certainly is.
- Teachers Adopting an Entrepreneurial Mindset:
- Civil War and Google Maps: How a parent’s archive of Civil War letters, diaries and newspaper clippings helped us figure out where a soldier died in battle.
- John Alden’s Inventory: How a Mayflower passenger’s death-day list of possessions helped my history class reconstruct the relative poverty of early American settlers.
- American High Tech: Maybe kids in your part of the world have never seen a New England mill. Here’s one.
- U.S. Constitution Scavenger Hunt
Debate and Public Speaking